Yearbook: San Fransisco

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Long before the South Florida Bulls appeared on the college football roll books the name "USF" was reserved solely for the Dons of the University of San Fransisco. Univ of San Fransisco's yearbooks are available online and present a great look at student life at USF. The yearbooks are complete from 1910 to 2003 and were named the Ignation (1911-1931), Adios (1941-1950) and the Don (1937, 1939,  1951-2003). These are great yearbooks and the editions I looked at are a fantastic chronicle of USF sport culture.

The Dons basketball acumen is well known with their back-to-back national titles in 1955 and 1956, but San Fransisco football had a stellar season of their own 5 years prior in 1951. The 1951 team went undefeated at 9-0 and by the numbers had the best rushing defense in the country. The team placed ten players into the NFL and produced the school's first All-American Ollie Matson.

Matson was a big part of the season for the Dons. In their 9 games Matson rushed for 1566 which was 114 yards fewer than the standing college record. Matson's number of 1566 yards on the year wasn't bested until O.J. Simpson rushed for 1709 over 11 games in 1968. Ironically Matson made All-America as a defensive player. Here's a look at Matson running wild on offense in that great 1951 season:

The Dons were offered a bid to the Orange Bowl with the condition that they leave behind their two African-American players - Ollie Matson and Burl Toler. The team refused the bowl bid due to that stipulation and sat on their unbeaten, untied and uninvited season.

Here is a short documentary on San Fransisco's 1951season with interviews from some of the players. 


Sadly the 1951 season was USF's final year of football as the varsity team gave way to a four team intramural league.

The USF Yearbook does well to chronicle that intramural football league as well as San Fransisco's varsity sports teams. Go to the yearbooks page and check out the USF Don and the USF Ignation yearbooks.


It is the mission of The Unbalanced Line Online Library to present important and interesting historical texts to college football fans. Items will be added regularly as blog postings and can be easily indexed in the Yearbooks button on the site bar.

Copyrighted material is used expressly under the fair use guidelines of U.S. Code 17 #107 through #118 stating that the criticism, comment, news reporting, educational use or research of copyrighted material is not held in violation of copyright laws.

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