Shutout Streak Extended From 1938 to 1940

Published on November 29th, 2023 6:29 pm EST
Written By: Dave Manuel

The Tennessee Volunteers in the 1939 were a defensive force. Continuing with the theme of unbreakable college football records, here is another that will almost certainly never be broken.

From November 5th, 1938 through to October 19th, 1940, the Tennessee Volunteers defense posted 17 straight shutouts.

For 71 straight quarters, Tennessee did not allow a single point to be scored on them.

No passing or rushing touchdowns. No turnovers for a touchdown. No punt return TDs. No kickoff returns for a touchdown. No field goals. No safeties.



As mentioned, Tennessee's shutout streak started on November 5th, 1938, when the team blanked Chattanooga by a score of 45-0.

The crazy thing is that prior to this game, Tennessee had a three-game shutout streak interrupted by LSU, who managed to put up 6 points in a losing effort.

So, the 17 game shutout streak could have been even longer.

After the 45-0 pasting of Chattanooga, Tennessee won the following games to close out their season:

Win over Vanderbilt, 14-0
Win over Kentucky, 46-0
Win over Ole Miss, 47-0
Win over Oklahoma, 17-0


The carnage for Tennessee's opponents would spill over into 1939, as Tennessee didn't allow a SINGLE regular season point.

This included shutout wins over ranked teams such as Alabama and LSU.

In fact, the only points that Tennessee would allow that season would come in the Rose Bowl, when they lost 14-0 to USC.

Having said that, the regular season shutout streak was still intact heading into 1940.


Tennessee would open up their 1940 season with regular season shutout wins against Mercer (49-0), Duke (13-0) and Chattanooga (53-0), sending their regular season shutout streak to 17 games.

The streak would end on October 19th, 1940, when Tennessee would defeat Alabama 27-12 on the road.

Tennessee would post five more shutouts that season, running the table again, only to lose (once again) in their Bowl game, this time to Boston College by a score of 19-13.


This is another one of those records that will likely remain in place for many more decades, if not forever.

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