Turn Back the Clock: Oct. 3, 1953

Penn Football defeats Penn State, 13-7
October 3, 1953

It was the second game of the season. The Quakers were coming off a season-opening victory over Vanderbilt.

Among those the Quakers took on in the game was Penn State sophomore Lenny “Sputnik” Moore, who was NFL Rookie of the Year after joining the Baltimore Colts in 1956.

In what would ultimately be the final time the Red and Blue would take down Penn State in football, the Quakers defeated the Nittany Lions, 13-7, under coach George Munger.

Though it would only last a week, Penn cracked the top 25 at No. 20 in the country following the win.

In Munger’s final season as coach, and only losing season, his Penn team went 3-5-1.

During his coaching campaign, Franklin Field held upwards of 75,000 spectators for big games.

The Quakers won the overall series 25-19-4 after the yearly matchup between the two Pennsylvania schools ended in 1958.

7 thoughts on “Turn Back the Clock: Oct. 3, 1953

  1. Nice historical feature. Coach Munger was a legend, and his players set the standard for years to come. They were the MUNGERMEN.

    Kudos to Allison Bart for sharing this.

  2. Interesting info about Penn's illustious football past.
    This week Penn plays its last non-conference game against the College of William and Mary of the CAA, located in Williamsburg, Virginia. As a student of History I always wondered why this pre-American Revolutionary college never joined the Ivy League. W & M was founded in 1693, making it second only to Harvard in longevity of of American institutions of higher learning. Its famous Wren Building is the oldest college building still in use (1695). Its Alumni includes the likes of Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, John Tyler, John Marshall, Henry Clay and Edmund Randolph to name but a few. It would seem to be a natural fit. Could it have been that the regional and cultural differences between W & M and its brother institutions to the north were too difficult to bridge during the formative years of intercollegiate football? Could it have been that it was just too far geographically from the other schools that were to become the Ivy League?
    Whatever the reason, W & M never developed long lasting relationships with the other Ivy Schools and never joined the Ivy League in the mid 1950's, adhering to a different football philosophy.Penn began playing the other Ivy League schools in the 1870's, 1880's and 1890's. Penn first played W & M in 1944.
    What a shame! The Tribe would have been a great addition to the Ivy League.

  3. Following up on my above post the same could be said of Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ. Rutgers is also a pre-American Revolutionary college, dating back to 1766. Unlike W & M, Rutgers is located between Columbia and Princeton and did have close ties with the future Ivy institutions.(The participated in the first intercollegiate football game against Princeton in 1869) and played Columbia and Yale in the early 1870's before Penn had a football team. Rutgers also would have been a natural fit for the Ivy League. In fact when the Ivy League was in its formative stages in the early 1950's Rutgers considered about becoming a member.. The Scarlet Knights decided otherwise, becoming a public institution, unlike the other Ivy schools and deciding to go big-time in football.
    Just think had W & M and Rutgers joined the Ivy League back in 1954 the "Ancient Eight" would have been known as the "Ancient Ten", could have played a nine League game schedule and had only one non-conference opening contest. I GUESS I AM A DREAMEER !

  4. Penn Grad,

    Though I agree that from a historic perspective Rutgers and William and Mary might make sense as Ivy League members, they're both state schools. Therefore I don't think they would've fit in with the rest of the private Ivy schools (outside of part of Cornell that's publicly funded).

  5. @Zach: First of all my two posts were strictly hypothetical. It never happened and never will happen.
    Secondly, I do mention that Rugers is a public (state) school. (State University of New Jersey). W & M became a state school after the Civil War due to lack of funds. As I stated at the end of the second post, it could have made for an interesting scenario back in the 1950's.
    I was only DREAMING what might have been.
    Thanks for your interest in the article.

  6. Always good to see a contribution from ZK -- one of our esteemed recent DP Alumns and a good man!

    THANKS ZACHARY!

  7. Sorry to nitpick, but the team opposing Penn in the picture was not Penn State; it was Notre Dame. I'm pretty sure I saw that game, in which the underdog Quakers were tied with the mighty Irish at halftime, 14-14. Unfortunately, the rule book calls for two halves, and Notre Dame won it going away, 48-14. Franklin Field was in an uproar that day when Penn halfback Frank Riepl ran 108 yards up the middle of the field with the opening kickoff to put the Red & Blue ahead by 7-0!

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