Remember, college football: Show the world. Let them know; it’s Halloween. HIT IT!
It’s Oct. 31, All Hallow’s Eve, and what would this quintessential autumn holiday be without marrying two of the season’s foremost traditions? In the spirit of the day, The Open Man proudly presents its All-Halloween Team, which isn’t really a team, but a collection of Halloween and horror-themed names in college football history.
Andrew Voorhees, OL, USC (Present)
Let’s start in present day, where the USC Trojans have faced more physical maladies than a group of camp counselors at Crystal Lake. The loss of veterans like Viane Talamaivao, Chuma Edoga and Toa Lobendahn for various stretches pushed freshman Andrew Voorhees into a more prominent role midway through the season.
Bubba Sawyer, WR, Alabama (1969-1971)
In the Texas Chainsaw Massacre series, the vicious Leatherface is known by the birth name Bubba Sawyer. Just two years before Tobe Hooper’s shocking horror classic graced the big screen, the Alabama Crimson Tide had their own Bubba Sawyer.
Sawyer scored three touchdowns in 1969, but for the Crimson Tide, an idyllic season became college football season became ‘Bama fans’ worst nightmare: a 6-5 and sub-.500 SEC finish.
Igor Olshansky, DE, Oregon (2001-2003)
The historic roots behind the mythos of many Golden Age horror stories lie in Eastern Europe — hence the lab assistant of Dr. Frankenstein sharing a name with Ukrainian-born Oregon Ducks star, Igor Olshansky.
Olshansky terrorized Pac-10 backfields in his time as a Duck, recording 11.5 sacks in two seasons as a starter.
John “Wolfman” White, RB, Utah (2011-2012)
When Utah joined the Pac-12 in 2011, running back John “Wolfman” White carried the Utes to a bowl game and contention for the South division title. He howled his way to 1519 yards, 15 rushing touchdowns and two receiving scores that season.
“The Galloping Ghost” Red Grange, HB, Illinois (1923-1925)
One of college football’s earliest true stars, The Galloping Ghost led Illinois to a national championship. His individual output was the stuff of legend, beginning from his debut game in which he scored three touchdowns against Nebraska.
Red Grange earned his nickname from Grantland Rice, also responsible for another inductee into the All-Halloween Team still to come.
Grange starred in a serial that shared his nickname, but was as fictitious as any horror film.
The Four Horsemen, Notre Dame (1924)
Grantland Rice is celebrated as the forefather of sportswriting, evident in the cultural impact he left behind decades later. I can’t help but wonder if he wasn’t also a fan of the silent film era’s thrillers like The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and Phantom of the Opera, given Rice’s penchant for ominous nicknames.
The Notre Dame quartet of Jim Crowley, Elmer Layden, Don Miller, and Harry Stuhldreher were immortalized by Rice as “The Four Horsemen,” complete with a horrifyingly biblical depiction of their actions:
Outlined against a blue-gray October sky, the Four Horsemen rode again. In dramatic lore their names are Death, Destruction, Pestilence, and Famine. But those are aliases. Their real names are: Stuhldreher, Crowley, Miller and Layden. They formed the crest of the South Bend cyclone before which another fighting Army team was swept over the precipice at the Polo Grounds this afternoon as 55,000 spectators peered down upon the bewildering panorama spread out upon the green plain below.
Transylvania Pioneers, 1880-1941
The village in which Dracula laid siege to the people, Transylvania, is a real city in Romania. As with many American towns, the name was brought over by settlers from European nations. And Transylvania, Kentucky, is home to the Bluegrass State’s first-ever college football game.
Transylvania University was Kentucky’s football forerunner in the years before Teddy Roosevelt and university presidents initiated needed changes to the game. In the era before the forward pass, Transylvania won a regional championship.
Like many small universities’ football programs, Transylvania’s ceased operations during the Great Depression and just prior to a number of the college-aged men who would have filled out rosters were instead fighting in World War II.
Imagine a timeline in which Transylvania grows into a Southern football power. The only phrase more unnerving in Transylvania than “I want to suck your blood!” is “It just means more.”