VFL Ted Schwanger: 'I was in a position where I saw his knee go down'

VFL Ted Schwanger: 'I was in a position where I saw his knee go down'

Football

VFL Ted Schwanger: 'I was in a position where I saw his knee go down'

Vol Phantom: How the Beer Barrel was stolen from Kentucky in 1953

Kentucky ended Tennessee’s 18-game winning streak in the Battle for the Barrel series in 1953.

General Robert Neyland retired as head coach following the 1952 season and remained at UT as athletics director in 1953.

From 1946-1952, Neyland did not lose to Bear Bryant and Kentucky. After going 0-5-2 against Neyland, Bryant finally beat Tennessee 27-21 in 1953.

1953

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The six-point win was controversial as Kentucky took the lead when running back Ralph Paolone scored a touchdown after taking a pitch from quarterback Bob Hardy.

Many thought Hardy’s knee was down before pitching the ball.

Ted Schwanger played both ways on Tennessee’s 1953 team as a defensive half back and he was in front of Hardy as the play unfolded.

“I was right there,” Schwanger told Vols Wire. “He pitched and I thought his knee was down and we just stopped. I was in a position to tackle him as close as anyone was. I remember it quite well.

“I was in a position where I saw his knee go down. I was that close that I could see it. I had better eyes than the referee. We felt bad that the streak ended.”

The loss to Kentucky was tough for Tennessee’s team after playing better under first-year head coach Harvey Robinson.

Tennessee lost the first two games of the 1953 season to Mississippi State and Duke as UT transitioned from Neyland to Robinson.

“It really hurt losing to Kentucky,” Schwanger said. “That hurt more than losing the first two games. After the first two games our lineman started catching on. We then tied Alabama, beat LSU and Florida. So, we were doing pretty good going into Kentucky.”

Schwanger says during his playing days that Alabama and Kentucky were Tennessee’s top rivals.

“Alabama was the biggest and then Kentucky was the second. Some felt Vanderbilt was too, and was the reason General Neyland was hired to beat Vanderbilt.”

The Battle for the Beer Barrel ended a week before the 1998 game after a fatal alcohol-related car crash involving two Kentucky football players. The Beer Barrel has not returned to the rivalry since.

20 years later, Schwanger says that he would like for the Beer Barrel to return with it being a college football tradition.

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