Football's amazing 0's: From Tennessee of yesteryear to Washington of today


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Perhaps you saw the note in the paper Monday in the "Today in Sports" feature: 1940 -- Tennessee registers its 17th consecutive regular-season shutout with a 53-0 rout of Tennessee-Chattanooga. The record streak started Nov. 5, 1938.

No sooner did the Vols enter the record book than the streak ended, Alabama crossing the goal line a couple of times but still losing, 27-12, while Tennessee continued on to an unbeaten campaign.

Starting in 1938, when Bowden Wyatt was the captain and over the next three years, the Vols won 31 games and lost two (in bowl games). The 1939 season was particularly noteworthy in that they outscored N.C. State, Suwanee, Chattanooga, Alabama, Mercer, LSU, Citadel, Vanderbilt, Kentucky and Auburn, 212-0, but then were blanked themselves by Southern Cal in the Rose Bowl, 14-0. The other bowl loss was to Boston College, 19-13, in the 1940 Sugar Bowl.

While no points were scored against Tennessee over the course of three months, 60 quarters and 600 minutes in the great by and by, Washington got a couple of six-pointers with no time coming off the clock last Saturday. First, the Huskies scored on a running play, then recovered the ensuing kickoff in the end zone, no time elapsing from the game clock.

* You gotta love the slogan of the pro basketball team in Washington this season: "You gotta love this game!" Notice it makes no mention of your affection toward the Bullets.

* Maryland plays its fourth home game Saturday against Wake Forest and, strangely, utilizes its fourth different starting time, 1:30 joining noon, 7 p.m. and 4 p.m. Is it that the 1-5 Terps are hiding?

Hardly. They've been a terrific show all season and, as coach Mark Duffner points out, "We have to be the team that is best ZTC prepared, the most emotional and most anxious to play in order to win." And darned if they haven't been.

Meanwhile, at Duffner's previous port of call, Holy Cross, the expression what goes around comes around is certainly proving true. The Crusaders got whomped by Dartmouth Saturday, 48-0, and are 1-4.

See, the last few years, H.C. enjoyed more scholarships than all its opponents in the Bookworm Conference and had a merry time running up the score on Bucknell, Lehigh, Colgate and the rest of them.

* All in favor of a moratorium on Deion Sanders stories at least until he does something worth noting on the football or baseball fields signify in the customary manner. Riding back and forth between sitting on the bench at baseball games to play a game of football for $118,000 is hardly the big deal being made of it.

* Last year, in a move completely out of character, the Washington Capitals won eight of their first 10 games, then went 7-3 to reach the quarter pole of the season atop the NHL standings. It set up an excellent 98-point campaign.

It was after losing their third straight game the other night and falling to 1-3 while being outplayed badly that center Mike Ridley said, "It's looking like we're not going to get off to a fast start again." Good call.

* Riddick Bowe, who seems to work harder on his one-liners than he does his boxing skills as he prepares for his Nov. 13 heavyweight title scrap with Evander Holyfield, is constantly asking reporters, "Why are you guys always getting on me about my weight?"

Simply put, Bowe is pretty slow at his usual fighting weight of 230, and in his last fight, he was nearly inert at 250 pounds. He's still sporting a paunch these days that isn't easy to hide behind his corny routine.

For instance, someone asked him who his first defense will be against should he wrest the title from Holyfield and his reply is, "Pernell Whitaker [lightweight champion]."

* Maybe it's to Maryland quarterback John Kaleo's advantage that he spent his first two seasons making junior college All-America and last year sitting on the bench for Joe Krivak's wildly successful 2-9 football team. Kaleo contributed a knee to the Terps' win over Pittsburgh 11 days ago and his left shoulder to Saturday's close loss to Georgia Tech. Still, he's sixth in the country in total offense with 282 yards per game. How much more has the guy who's sixth in the country in total offense (283 yards per game) got to give?

* Does anyone think America's sweethearts, Ted Turner and Jane Fonda, are really snoozing in the middle of the afternoon in a jam-packed, noisy ballpark, or is this their way of perhaps grabbing a little national TV exposure for the cable, the exercise videos, etc.?

* Despite being 0-8 at University Park and 1-18 in the series against Penn State, Boston College (4-0-1), coming off a week's rest, is given a good chance against the Nittany Lions Saturday. After Penn State blew the game against Miami before 96,000 Happy Valleyers the other day? Come on.

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