Thursday, November 11, 2010

November 11, 1944: Mr. Inside and Mr. Outside

BRONX, N.Y. - "I've just seen Superman in the flesh. He wears number 35 and goes by the name of Blanchard."

So wrote Notre Dame Ed McKeever on his way back from New York in 1944. There's no wonder he was in awe: His fifth-ranked Notre Dame team had just been humiliated by top-ranked Army, 59-0, led by one of the most prolific duos in college football history.

Felix "Doc" Blanchard and Glenn Davis played together at West Point from 1944-1946. During that time, Army went 27-0-1, the only blemish being a 0-0 tie against Notre Dame in 1946. Army did have an athletic advantage during this era - most college football teams had greatly reduced rosters during the height of the war, while all the best athletes were suiting up for the service acadamies - but it was Blanchard and Davis that gave them the true advantage.

Blanchard, the fullback, was known as "Mr. Inside," punishing opponents with straight-ahead runs that couldn't be stopped. Blanchard would win the Heisman Trophy in 1945 and ended his Army career with 38 touchdowns.

Davis, though, was even more prolific. "Mr. Outside" would win the Heisman in 1946 and finished his career with 59 touchdowns, averaging a still-standing record of 8.3 yards per carry during his career. In 1945, he averaged 11.5 yards per rush, a single-season record - and remember, his teammate Blanchard won the Heisman that year, not Davis.

Blanchard and Davis combined total of 97 touchdowns as teammates stood as the college football record until 2005. Both were multi-sport stars, as well, with both starring on the West Point track team and Davis also playing baseball and basketball.

But it was on November 11, 1944, that they reached the peak of their powers. Against a still-good Notre Dame team, Blanchard and Davis completely dominated in every aspect of the game. It was no fluke, either; the 1944 Army team was ran roughshod over the its opponents, giving up only 35 points all season and scoring at least 46 points in seven of their nine games. The 1944-45 Army teams are still considered among the best in college football history, due largely to the presence of Mr. Inside and Mr. Outside.

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