Former Dallas Morning News sportswriter Horace McCoy once wrote, "Overnight, the Southern Methodists burst into some measure of fame; a trite, story book quotation, but a genuine fact." What he was referring to was the SMU-Army game on October 6, 1928 at West Point. It was the farthest SMU had ever traveled to play a football game. In the end, Army prevailed, but this game was about more than just winning and losing. The 1928 game versus Army takes its rightful place among the 90 greatest Moments in SMU Football History.
Prior to making the trip to New York, the furthest away an SMU team had traveled was to play at Missouri. The trip to New York was the first truly intersectional game versus a team from the East. It was considered by many to be a superior brand of football that boys from the southwestern United States would not be able to handle. Twenty-five player, captained by guard Earl Baccus and featuring Redman Hume and Willis Tate, along with coaches, and 700 supporters boarded four special trains for the five-day trip--each way.
When the dust had settled, the Cadets had managed to survive, 14-13, but the exciting performance of the SMU team stamped SWC football as first class. In fact, 25 years later in 1953, Texas sportswriters covering the Southwest Conference voted the game at West Point in 1928 as the most important out of a list of 10 games which gained the most national recognition for the conference.
Despite Army's strength, Kern Tips of the Houston Chronicle would later write. "the East was shocked by the Mustangs passing on first and second down--a bold break with the book. Army only threw four passes. SMU's Redman Hume and Sammy Reed threw 30." A line came across the news wire from the Associated Press that stated, "Passes such as Eastern football never saw before flew from the hands of Redman Hume, a Texas version of what Red Grange should have been."
Coach Ray Morrison made it a goal to get on the scoreboard early to let Army know SMU was there to play. Horace McCoy wrote, "Hume rushed far back and passed to Charlton Fincher. He caught the ball on the 10-yard line and stumbled across the goal. It was football at its highest point. A small school from two thousand miles away had scored in four minutes on one of the strongest teams in the nation."
Army, being the powerhouse that it was, battled back to take the lead 14-7. When Army was starting to mount another drive, the Mustangs forced a fumble. Hume took a swipe at the ball and in an instant had it under his left arm, racing towards the end zone. Unfortunately, after the score Hume missed the extra point. Several reporters claim that an Army defender tipped it at the line. There would be no more scoring on the day, and Army escaped, 14-13.
Having seen SMU dazzle Army with its aerial capabilities, New York Times reporter Allison Danzig called SMU "a spectacular display of forward, double, and triple laterals." But it was not only offensive genius that impressed the masses, it was SMU's heart. The Mustangs stood toe-to-toe with Army at the SMU one yard line. The Mustangs did not give an inch and kept the Cadets out of the end zone on four straight downs. Horace McCoy noted that, "One of the New York writers said the Mustangs stopped the Army there with nothing but supreme, dying courage, and that is quite correct. There is no doubt that the game was quite as thrilling as any one ever played."
The game opened the way for more SMU intersectional games, for All-America recognition and bowl considerations in the 1930s. Even the Mustang Band drew national raves for its double-time, Broadway showmanship in contrast to most bands' stiff military marching. Even in defeat, Ray Morrison's Mustangs had shocked the football world. America took notice; the Southwest Conference was for real. The 1928 game at Army takes its place among the 90 greatest Moments in SMU Football History.