The 1934 Bulldogs, The 1992 Bulldogs
The 1934Bulldogs (5-0-2)
The 1934 Union College football squad recorded the program's first, and currently, only undefeated season as the Bulldogs rumbled to a 5-0-2 record.
The Bulldogs boasted one of the program's stingiest defenses as they outscored their opponents 79-21 and posted four shutouts during the final four games of the season. And Union's schedule was not full of slouches with Eastern Kentucky, Morehead State, East Tennessee State and Louisville on the slate.
Union opened the season the year with three straight wins. The Bulldogs posted their most lopsided victory in the opener as Union rolled to a 31-6 win over Lees-McRae. Union followed that with a pair of seven-point wins as it defeated Eastern Kentucky 14-7 and Morehead State 15-8.
The only 'blemishes' on the Bulldogs' record came in the next two contests as they battled to back-to-back scoreless draws. Union tied both East Tennessee State and then Georgetown to the tune of 0-0.
But Union returned to its winning ways with a 12-0 whitewashing over Transylvania. Then, on Nov. 24, the Bulldogs completed its first undefeated season with a 7-0 victory at Louisville.
The team was coached by Union Athletic Hall of Fame member J.R. Bacon, who coached by football and basketball at Union. He finished his football coaching career with a 46-33-12 record at Union and ranks first in victories in program history.
Leading the Bulldogs was Union Athletic Hall of Fame member Ossie Burch, who scored the winning touchdown versus Louisville. Burch didn't do it alone as fellow Union Athletic Hall of Fame member Bert Catron was also on the undefeated squad.
Head Coach: J.R. Bacon
|East Tennessee State
The 1992Bulldogs (8-2, 5-1 MSC), Mid-South Conference Co-Champions
Union registered the program's first, and currently, only conference championship when it posted an 8-2 overall record and a 5-1 mark in Mid-South Conference play. However, the title is a shared one as Georgetown and Campbellsville also went 5-1 in conference play.
The 1992 Bulldogs were one of the more balanced squads in team history. Union scored 304 points, which still ranks third all-time in school history, and allowed only 236 points, which ranks 10th all-time. In addition, the eight wins are the most by any Bulldog football team ever.
The season was filled with drama. After motoring past Evangel 42-31 in the season opener, Union won a couple of nail-bitters as it downed Lambuth 14-6 and Hampden-Sydney 24-23. The Bulldogs then suffered 56-28 loss to Findlay. (NOTE: Turns out, Findlay was an excellent team. The Oilers went 12-1 in 1992 en route to winning the NAIA Division II National Championship as they outscored their opponents 408-154.)
Union rebounded from the loss with a 48-14 win over Clinch Valley (now known as UVa-Wise), setting up a showdown at Georgetown.
Although the Bulldogs lost 48-41, the 1992 Georgetown game is arguably one of the more exciting games in program history. The game time was moved back to 10 a.m. to accommodate WKYT-TV, and both teams took full advantage of being on television as they traded touchdowns. Union held a seven-point lead going into the fourth quarter, but Georgetown, which was the defending national champion, grabbed a 48-41 lead. The Bulldogs mounted one final drive, but came up just short. The drive ended as Union came up inches short of a first down on the Georgetown 14-yard line.
Union bounced back win its next four games. In the next two games, the Bulldogs went on the road to defeat Cumberland (Tenn.) 20-7 and Cumberland (Ky.) 28-19.
The ninth game of the season was vital if Union was going to own at least a share of the Mid-South Conference title. Campbellsville was undefeated in league play heading into the game and tied for first place with Georgetown. Defensive lineman Don Vandygriff came up big in helping secure the 26-22 victory as he recovered a school-record four fumbles, earning him NAIA Defensive Player of the Week honors.
During the final week of the regular season, Union still needed to win its finale as well as get some help from its most recent victim if it was going to at least share the league crown. The Bulldogs took care of business with a 33-10 win over Tusculum, while Campbellsville did its part by edging Georgetown 29-27 to force a three-way tie for the conference championship.
Clarence Mackey led the team in rushing with 978 yards and 11 touchdowns on 188 carries. Lee Worley passed for 2,358 yards, completing 158-of308 passes for 15 scores. Kevin Bradshaw was the team's best all-around player as he led the team in receiving with 40 catches for 624 yards and three touchdowns, ran for 327 yards and three more scores, returned 29 punts for 484 yards and one score and returned 15 kickoffs for 392 yards.
Union had four players to amass over 1,000 all-purpose yards. They were Worley (2,419), Bradshaw (1,827), Mackey (1,389) and Willie Larkin (1,164).
Six players were named to the MSC All-Conference First Team. Bradshaw, Mackey were joined by defensive back Doug Davis, linebacker Tyrone Hamilton, offensive lineman J.T. Pennington and defensive lineman Calvin Pryor on the First Team.
Bradshaw was named First Team All-American for the second year in a row, becoming the first athlete in Union College history to do so in any sport. Pennington was named an All-American Honorable mention.
Another prominent member of the 1992 Bulldogs was Tommy Oates. In 1992, Oates was a sophomore defensive back and had 57 total tackles (40 solos) with two interceptions, eight pass breakups and three blocked kicks. Oates would eventually go on to bigger and better things as he became the first Bulldog to play professional football as member of the Birmingham (Ala.) Barracudas in the Canadian Football League in 1995.
Matt Ballard was the head coach of the 1992 squad. In all, he coached six seasons (1988-93) and compiled a 34-24-1 overall record.
Head Coach: Matt Ballard
|at Cumberland (TN)
|at Cumberland (KY)