Roar, Lion, Roar: A Celebration of Columbia Football

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Cliff Montgomery

Cliff Montgomery sitting on the lion statue at Baker Field, November 1933.

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Cliff Montgomery, CC 1934

Cliff "Monty" Montgomery quarterbacked a Rose Bowl champion, played in the NFL, and earned the Silver Star in World War II. In his three varsity seasons under Coach Lou Little (freshmen could not play varsity), Montgomery's teams lost just three games.

In the fall 1933, Montgomery led the team in passing and scoring, performed the punting chores, and starred on defense. The Lions lost only one game (Princeton 20-0) and were invited to the Rose Bowl. Still scoreless in the second quarter, Montgomery called for KF-79, a trick play devised by Coach Lou Little. He took the snap from center, slipped the ball to halfback Al Barabas, and faked a pass to linebacker Eddie "Bronco" Brominski. According to the Times, "Montgomery's fake to Brominski was so good that Barabas, who was hiding the ball for what would be a naked reverse, added to the deception by standing for a few seconds and watching Brominski." (April 23, 2005) Barabas ran 17 yards for the score. Right end Tony "Red" Matal called it "a perfectly executed play, the kind that usually works only on paper." (Spectator, March 21, 1947) Montgomery earned the Rose Bowl MVP award on January 1, 1934 when Columbia upset Stanford, 7-0. While in Hollywood, Montgomery also took a screen test at the Warner Bros. Studios and was offered a movie contract. Coach Lou Little was able to persuade him to return to Columbia and graduate. Montgomery also competed in the first collegiate All-Star football game, in which a collegiate squad tied the NFL's Chicago Bears 0-0.

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