March, 20 2023
With only nine wins in a 42-game series, there are not a great deal of collegiate highlights. But in looking at the All-Star wins it’s interesting to note the number of future Hall of Famers who contributed to so many victories.
1937 - The first All-Star win came when TCU’s Sammy Baugh and LSU’s Gaynell Tinsley connected on a 47-yard touchdown pass for the only scoring in a 6-0 win over the Green Bay Packers.
1938 - The following year, Baugh was playing for the Washington Redskins and due to an injury may have helped contribute to an All-Star win. The injury caused Slinging Sam to be in and out of the lineup with his replacements helping Washington to throw five interceptions two of which were returned for touchdowns. Purdue’s Cecil Isbell threw for the first All-Star touchdown and set up the third with a pass inside the Washington one-yard line in a 28-16 win.
1943 - Sammy Baugh’s Redskins were again the victim in the next All-Star win. While Baugh threw for the only pro touchdown, he was intercepted by Northwestern’s Otto Graham who returned the pass 97-yards for a touchdown in a 27-7 win which was the largest margin of victory gained by the All-Stars in series history.
1946 – Due to World War II, Otto Graham was one of the few players to have the opportunity to play in two All-Star games. After his 1943 performance he was back three years later again playing a key role in an All-Star win. This time “Automatic Otto” threw a 62-yard touchdown pass to Elroy Hirsch. “Crazylegs” had two scores adding a 68-yard run as he helped shutout his future pro team, the Los Angeles Rams 16-0.
1947 – For the second consecutive year the All-Stars shut out the pros beating the Chicago Bears by an identical 16-0 score. With a roster that included Hall of Fame backfield stars like Doc Blanchard, Glenn Davis, Charley Trippi, Bob Fenimore, Arnold Tucker and Buddy Young it was a second string Notre Dame quarterback that was the offensive star. Playing behind Johnny Lujack, George Ratterman had little opportunity to show his skills with the Irish. Against the Bears his 31-yard pass to Buddy Young set up one score, a 41-yarder set up a field goal and he closed with a 46-yard touchdown toss.
1950 – North Carolina’s Charlie Justice and Pacific’s Eddie LeBaron led the All-Stars to a 17-7 win over the Philadelphia Eagles. A 31-yard run by “Choo-Choo” helped set up the game’s first score. In the second quarter LeBaron hit Justice for a 35-yard touchdown. After the Eagles closed to within a touchdown, a drive that was highlighted by a 28-yard run by Justice and a 35-yard pass by LeBaron set up the game-clinching field goal.
1955 - In the one-platoon era, few college teams were able to employ kicking specialists. One school that did was Ohio State’s 1954 national championship team. In the All-Star game, Buckeye 146-pound placekicker Tad Weed kicked three field goals and two extra points in a 30-27 win over the Cleveland Browns. Cleveland’s comeback led by former All-Star George Ratterman fell short.
1958 – The 25th All-Star team was coached by former All-Star Otto Graham, a role he would perform in ten games. The All-Stars who made the difference in the 35-19 win over the Detroit Lions were kicker Bobby Joe Conrad, quarterback Jim Ninowski and halfback Bobby Mitchell. Conrad kicked four field goals, Mitchell scored twice connecting with Ninowski. While neither Conrad, Mitchell nor Ninowski reached the Hall of Fame, Iowa’s Alex Karras did score a safety against his future pro team.
1963 – The final victory for the All-Stars came against Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers. The Packers won 42-20 the year before and quickly led 7-0. Wisconsin’s Ron VanderKelen led the collegians to a field goal and then the lead after hitting fellow Badger Pat Richter for a 21-yard gain, the key play of the scoring drive. Leading 13-10, VanderKelen and Richter connected on a 73-yard touchdown. Green Bay scored with only seven seconds left as the undrafted VanderKelen was carried from the field by his teammates.