Bill Purdue leads Army to '52 upset over Penn

Most old-time Army fans forget a cadet by the name of Purdue, Bill that is. Bill was a 20-year old sub halfback playing for the cadets in 1952 behind a fellow named John Wing. The following story illustrates that even on one day, an unheralded substitute can make a difference in bringing home an Army Football win against a team that was destined to beat the cadets who, at the time, were still in the throes from the effects of the cribbing scandal a year earlier.

This write-up appeared in the New York Daily News dated November 15,1952----
Philadelphia--- An unheralded second classman named Bill Purdue, so new to the Army varsity that he wasn't even listed in the program, added another glorious page to Army football history here this dark, rainy and muddy day.

The 20-year old sub right halfback, who left the sickbed of his father, BG Branner Purdue, to play for the Black Knights this afternoon, sparked a fourth-period drive and scored a last minute touchdown which permitted Army to finally overcome favored Penn, 14-13, on Rox Shains conversion kick.

A rain-drenched crowd of 40,000 saw Purdue, who was rushed into the game in the last six minutes, fool Penn defenders completely with a run wide around left and from the two with the payoff touchdown. Before scoring, the 6-2, 170-pounder picked up 20 yards of Army's final drive from the Penn 48. He ran 11 to the Quakers 37, and on the next play nabbed a Peter (Moving) Vann pass that was good for 9 yards. When Shain, Armys placement kicker, booted the point that gave Army the game with 44 seconds to go in the slippery contest, one of the most stirring rallies in collegiate football this season had been accomplished.  For the Cadets, 1-touchdown underdogs, were smothered by the Quakers for 13 points in the very first period as the Penn backs literally shredded the Army line.

Purdue didn't even have time to practice this week because he was at his seriously ill fathers side in Walter Reed Hospital in Washington.

Penn plowed through Army for 45 yards and their first score at 6:40, fullback Joe Varaitis bulling his way over from the 3. The Quakers got underway again from 49 yards out late in the session and climaxed another drive with Glenn Adams fourth down 14-yard pass to halfback Bill Deuber for another TD.

And when Carl Sempier's kick was blocked by Army's Gerry Lodge, there wasn't a Penn rooter who gave the fizzled kick a serious thought. For Penn's offense-a mixture of the T and single-wing had Army running around in circles. Adams and Varaitis were slashing the Cadet forward wall at will.

But Army started to recover late in the second period, after a punting duel between Penn's Ed Binkowski and Fred Attaya. After getting only one first down in the opening session, they finally started to click after putting a punt in play on their own 20.

They kept clicking, helped a good deal by an Attaya to end Bobby Mischak aerial good for 36 yards, and drove to the 19. There, Mario DeLucia took a hand-off from Vann and went all the way across. When Shain made his kick good, Penn first began to realize that Lodges block of Sempiers kick might be vital.

After Army's first score, Penn immediately went on the defensive in the second half. Binkowski was even kicking on second down, at times; so much was Penn trying to keep the Cadets back in their own territory. The Cadets threw a scare into the Quakers by marching to the Penn 10 early in the third session.

Army played a waiting game along with the Quakers, returning kicks and waiting for a break. They finally got what they wanted late in the final period when Binkowskis 14th punt of the game sailed out of bounds on the Penn 48.

At that point, Purdue got off the bench. After Vann fumbled for no gain, Purdue dashed to the 37. He then took a pass from Vann to the 28.  Attaya, shaking off a horde of tacklers, zigged to the 12. He and DeLucia carried to the 2, and Purdue did the rest.

While the Penn line congealed for an expected Army charge, Purdue took a pitchout from Vann and scampered all by himself around his left side. With Haff holding the ball, Shain calmly kicked the point that clinched a great comeback victory fot Army and sent the Quakers down for their third straight defeat.
ARMY-- LE- Sisson, Weaver, Krobock, Chance
               LT- Rose, Wilkerson
               LG- Lunn, Paulekas, Krause
               C-  Ordway, Stephen, Lodge, Rodgers
               RG- Ziegler, Lapchick, Kramer, Ryan
               RT- Doremus, Lincoln, Hicks
               RE- Mischak, Dorr, Chamberlain, Sullivan
               QB- Vann, Boyle, Fuqua, Smith
               LH- Attaya, Haff, Bell
               RH- Wing, Purdue, Manus
               FB- DeLucia, Schwiekert, Wing, Meglin
 NOTES- The referee for that game was Bill Halloran,a long time and well known official of that era and the Head Linesman was J. Walter Coffee who officiated many of the Army games during the '50s.
Penn's Ed Bell became an All-American end before he graduated.  Billy Deuber was a fine running back and Fullback Joe Variatis became one of the Quakers all time best at that position.
William P. Purdue did not earn a letter that season of 1952 but did earn his only letter the following season of 1953. Bill graduated from the academy in June of 1954. Top Stories