We’ve gone back and looked at the top 10 moments of the Davis Wade era (2001-2013) and the Scott Field upper deck era (1986-2000). Then we took a look at the top 10 games of the era with concrete stands on either side (1948-1985). If you missed any of them you can visit our football page.
Now we’ll go even further back to the era of concrete stands on the West side and steel bleachers on the East side, which was from 1936-1947. This time is often referred to as the ‘golden years’ of MSU football (or Mississippi State College as it was known at the time).
Instead of trying to find a list of top 10 games during this era that only included 12 years (11 seasons), and probably 99% of the people reading this don’t remember them, let’s just take a look back at what happened during these years.
The inaugural year of the newly expanded Scott Field was a tremendously successful one. Scott Field played was host to a 26-6 win over Mississippi to end a 10-game winless streak vs. the (newly named) Rebels. A 7-2-1 record led the Maroons to their first bowl invitation: the Orange Bowl (loss to Dequesne 13-12).
Ralph Sasse was head football coach from 1935-1937.
Major Ralph Sasse (football coach 1935-37), right, posing w/ MSU’s first mascot, Ptolemy. Sasse got him from Memphis. pic.twitter.com/YTb70Q6DGv
— The Flying M (@MSUhistory) June 27, 2014
The Maroons opened this new era 13-0 in home games at Scott Field. The first loss came to Centenary (LA) in 1938.
In 1939, Allyn McKeen took over as head coach. He is without a doubt Mississippi State’s most successful coach in football history going 65-19-3 (.764).
Not too many big games were played at home in McKeen’s first two years, but when he got his first chance at a ranked team at home he beat #11 Ole Miss 19-0 in 1940. That team still holds the only undefeated season in school history as they finished 10-0-1 with an Orange Bowl victory over #9 Georgetown. Tennessee finished the year undefeated and untied for the SEC crown. State was one of just five undefeated teams in the country, however, we finished 9th in the final AP poll.
The undefeated 1940 Miss. State Maroons (10-0-1). On top is QB Harvey Johnson, who died in WWII a few years later. pic.twitter.com/cg3lQKcuXU
— The Flying M (@MSUhistory) June 30, 2014
1941 is considered by many to be Mississippi State’s best season. Perhaps adding to the justification of a national championship banner, the Maroons only played three home games that year – and only one of them was a SEC game (Florida). State beat Alabama 14-0 on the road, however, the Tide claim a national title. Our team was 8-1-1 but unable to travel to a bowl game due to the travel conditions after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, thus Alabama was able to play Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl despite Mississippi State’s SEC championship that year.
The next few years were really good, however, they did not feature many big games at Scott Field. In fact, only four SEC games were played in Starkville despite playing in 25 conference games during this span. And three of those four home SEC games were against Ole Miss.
- 1942: 8-2
- 1944: 6-2
- 1945: 6-3
- 1946: 8-2
- 1947: 7-3
*no games were played in 1943 due to World War II.
These “golden years” under Allen McKeen were exceptional. A 61-15-2 record from 1939-1947. The program won six games vs. ranked opponents during this time, and was ranked in the top 20 in six of the eight years, but only 1940’s win over #11 Ole Miss occurred at Scott Field. It’s a shame that the student body and fans alike were unable to see such great Mississippi State teams play on their home field in the biggest games.