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  • Sam Cunningham RIP

    One of the great athletes of his generation: https://admin.usctrojans.com/news/20...rose-bowl.aspx

  • #2
    An excellent player from a very talented family.

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    • #3
      He is still the all time rusher for the NE Patriots.

      RIP

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      • #4
        California State SP champion in 1969 (64′9″) and a 9.8 100yd in high school.

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        • #5
          Oh man, did I hate Sam Bam! He was USC's fullback while I was at the Red Tree Farm, and John McKay used to run the living crap out of him - high 30s carries a game. In short-yardage situations, he was virtually unstoppable and it wasn't just because SC's O-line was so dominant. He was just a punishing runner.

          Great memories of those games. We beat him in '70, Plunkett's H-year, when we won the Rose Bowl over Ohio St's juggernaut, but he was a fearsome weapon.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Atticus View Post
            Oh man, did I hate Sam Bam! He was USC's fullback while I was at the Red Tree Farm, and John McKay used to run the living crap out of him - high 30s carries a game. In short-yardage situations, he was virtually unstoppable and it wasn't just because SC's O-line was so dominant. He was just a punishing runner.

            Great memories of those games. We beat him in '70, Plunkett's H-year, when we won the Rose Bowl over Ohio St's juggernaut, but he was a fearsome weapon.
            Stop complaining Atticus. I was at WSU during that period when Sam and Stanford (and everyone else) ran over, around and through the Cougs.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by jc203 View Post
              California State SP champion in 1969 (64′9″) and a 9.8 100yd in high school.
              Verne Wolfe touted him as a great decathlon prospect at one point.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Atticus View Post
                ...John McKay used to run the living crap out of him - high 30s carries a game.
                1970: 76 attempts ÷ 11 games = 7 attempts per game
                1971: 159 attempts ÷ 11 games = 14 attempts per game
                1972: 102 attempts ÷ 12 games = 9 attempts per game

                Source: https://www.sports-reference.com/cfb

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                • #9
                  There are a million John McKay lines. When he coached O.J. Simpson at USC, someone asked him about having O.J. carry the ball 40 times a game. Answer: "It's not heavy. And he doesn't belong to a union."

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Atticus View Post
                    Oh man, did I hate Sam Bam! He was USC's fullback while I was at the Red Tree Farm, and John McKay used to run the living crap out of him - high 30s carries a game. In short-yardage situations, he was virtually unstoppable and it wasn't just because SC's O-line was so dominant. He was just a punishing runner.

                    Great memories of those games. We beat him in '70, Plunkett's H-year, when we won the Rose Bowl over Ohio St's juggernaut, but he was a fearsome weapon.
                    Cunningham was good but if he carried the ball 30 times in a game it was probably once. He was generally a 10-12 carry guy when the focus was on Clarence and Anthony Davis. He was more of a feature guy as a pro. For his time, he was a very good receiver as well.

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                    • #11
                      I believe Cunningham was important in another way in college football. Wasn't he the guy that played for USC circa 1970 when they beat Alabama and seeing him caused Bear Bryant to realize he had to recruit black athletes? That started the deluge of great black college football players in the SEC.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by bambam1729 View Post
                        I believe Cunningham was important in another way in college football. Wasn't he the guy that played for USC circa 1970 when they beat Alabama and seeing him caused Bear Bryant to realize he had to recruit black athletes? That started the deluge of great black college football players in the SEC.
                        Not quite. Bear Bryant was already convinced he needed to integrate but Cunningham convinced the fans that Alabama needed to integrate. The previous year, Bryant approached McKay and asked him to bring the Trojans to Birmingham and after the game when they met in the middle of the field to shake hands, Bryant said to McKay, "Thank you my friend."

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by jazzcyclist View Post

                          Not quite. Bear Bryant was already convinced he needed to integrate but Cunningham convinced the fans that Alabama needed to integrate. The previous year, Bryant approached McKay and asked him to bring the Trojans to Birmingham and after the game when they met in the middle of the field to shake hands, Bryant said to McKay, "Thank you my friend."
                          Wilbur Jackson was a freshman ineligible on the '70 Alabama team but Cunningham sledgehammered the integration point home to the fans and administration holdouts.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by NotDutra5 View Post

                            Cunningham was good but if he carried the ball 30 times in a game it was probably once. He was generally a 10-12 carry guy when the focus was on Clarence and Anthony Davis. He was more of a feature guy as a pro. For his time, he was a very good receiver as well.
                            In 34 games for USC, Cunningham carried the ball 337 times.

                            1972 USC 30, Stanford 21 -- Cunningham 11/48
                            1971 Stanford 33, USC 18 -- Cunningham 19/87
                            1970 Stanford 24, USC 14 -- Cunningham 6/31
                            Last edited by gm; 09-08-2021, 04:31 AM.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by gm View Post
                              In 34 games for USC, Cunningham carried the ball 337 times.
                              1972 USC 30, Stanford 21 -- Cunningham 11/48
                              1971 Stanford 33, USC 18 -- Cunningham 19/87
                              1970 Stanford 24, USC 14 -- Cunningham 6/31
                              Proof positive that as I age, I make up a more interesting narrative of my life than my meager existence afforded me!

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