Jim Thorpe leads Carlisle to upset of Harvard in 1911
The Carlisle Indian Industrial School pulled off one of the most famous upsets in college football history on Nov. 11, 1911. Led by coach Glenn “Pop” Warner and legendary athlete Jim Thorpe, the Indians toppled powerhouse Harvard, 18-15, in front of 25,000 fans in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
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Thorpe led the Carlisle offense on the ground and kicked four field goals in the game. Although there is a popular belief that Thorpe accounted for all of the Indians’ points, Alex Arcasa scored the team’s lone touchdown.
Thorpe opened up the game’s scoring with a field goal on the Indians’ second drive. He kicked another field goal in the second quarter, but Harvard led, 9-6, going into the break. Carlisle took the lead in the third quarter on Arcasa’s touchdown and Thorpe extended that lead to 18-9 heading into the fourth with another field goal. Harvard cut the deficit to three in the fourth with a blocked punt return for a touchdown, but Carlisle held on.
The monumental upset pushed Carlisle to a 9-0 record. The team finished the season 11-1, losing only to Syracuse, the week following the Harvard victory.