For the Record: The 7-time National Champion Penn Quakers Football Team

Text by Greg Johnson

Between 1894 and 1924, the Penn football team won seven national championships.

Penn football national champions
Photo by University Archives and Records Center

During a 30-year span from 1894 to 1924, the Penn football team won seven national championships.

The Quakers won their first national title in 1894 with a record of 12-0, the first undefeated team in the program’s history. Coached by George Woodruff, who would later be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, the Quakers began the season with five straight shutouts, including a 66-0 demolition of Swarthmore. The team averaged 30.5 points per game while only giving up 1.6.

In 1895, the Quakers (pictured) repeated as national champions, going 14-0 with wins over the likes of Virginia, Penn State, and Harvard. Led by team captain Carl S. Williams, the Red & Blue did not give up a point until their 11th game, and finished the season with 10 shutouts.

Penn won its third national title in 1897, when the Quakers finished an unprecedented 15-0. Twelve of the 15 games were shutouts.

National championship No. 4 came in 1904. The Quakers, led by Coach Carl Williams, finished 12-0. Every opponent except Swarthmore was shutout. The sticky and stingy defense held opponents to 0.3 points per game.

Title No. 5 was won in 1907. Penn finished 11-1. Their only loss was a 6-26 defeat vs. Carlisle. The Quaker D surrendered 3.3 points per game, and the team defeated Michigan on the road, Penn State, Cornell, Villanova, and North Carolina.

The Red & Blue went back-to-back for their sixth national championship in 1908. Coached by Sol Metzger, his only season as head of the Quakers, the team finished 11-0-1. The tie was a 6-6 draw versus Carlisle. Seven of Penn’s victories were shutouts, including a 29-0 victory at Michigan.

In 1924, the Quakers won their seventh national championship. The team finished 9-1-1. The sole loss was a 0-14 defeat by California. Penn and Penn State tied 0-0.

For more information on the history of Penn football, visit the 2017 Penn Football Fact Book. For more information on other historical events at Penn, visit the University Archives

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