One month after Babe Ruth capped off a then-record 60-home run season as a member of a legendary New York Yankees team that won a then-record 110 games and their second World Series crown, the South Dakota State football team made the 900-mile trek to Detroit to close out the 1927 season.

It did not go well for the Jackrabitts that November day 96 years ago.

Detroit News recently uncovered newsreel footage from that November 24, 1927 game at Dinan Field on the University of Detroit campus, chronicling some of the highlights of the Titans' 38-0 win over the Jacks.

Detroit had a score to settle with SDSU after the Jackrabbits had been on the same field a year earlier (November 20, 1926) and came away with a 3-0 road win.

In 1927, the Titans got their revenge, scoring three times in the first quarter, with one touchdown coming via a 'triple pass'. They never looked back after that, although the final score could have been a lot worse if not for two Detroit scores being nullified by penalties.

1927 SDSU-Detroit Football Story

Some interesting side notes from that game:

  • SDSU finished the season 5-3-1.
  • Detroit went 7-2 in 1927. The next season, the Titans finished 9-0. According to Wikipedia: 'Several years later, Parke H. Davis, considered to be a 'major selector' by the NCAA, named the 1928 team to a share of the national championship (with USC and Georgia Tech).
  • The Titans' head coach, Gus Dorais, would go on to become a bit of a legend. Prior to coming to Detroit, Dorais was an All-American quarterback at Notre Dame in 1913 and was later hired to be a member of Knute Rockne's coaching staff with the Fighting Irish from 1918 to 1920. During that time, Dorais served as both the Notre Dame basketball and baseball coach. From 1943 to 1947 he served as head coach for the NFL's Detroit Lions. Dorais was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1954 and is also a member of the Wisconsin and Michigan Halls of Fame. He is the winningest coach in University of Detroit football history (113 victories). The school's football program disbanded in 1964.
  • The 1926 and 1927 games were the only two times South Dakota State and Detroit ever squared off on the football field.
  • The 1927 season was the first year that the goalposts in college football were placed at the rear of the end zone.
  • In 1927, South Dakota State was a member of the North Central Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, which later became the North Central Conference. The NCC disbanded in 2008.
  • The Detroit game was the last for Jackrabbits head coach Charles A. West, who in nine seasons, won conference titles with SDSU in 1922 and 1926. He took over at North Dakota the next season. He was UND's head coach until 1941.

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