Sohn, Ben : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Sohn, Ben

Benjamin Forester Sohn

Sohn played both ways on the line for the USC (University of Southern California) Trojans in the late 1930s and played in one of the greatest USC-UCLA games in history. In 1939, Sohn and the Trojans were undefeated as they entered the showdown with their crosstown rivals, undefeated UCLA. The game would determine the Pacific Coast Championship and possibly the National Championship. Whereas the Trojans had dominated their opponents, the Bruins had lived on the edge all season, with last-minue heroics, so USC entered the game as 14-point favorites.

A record-breaking crowd of 103,300 fans filled the Los Angeles Coliseum to watch one of the greatest football games in the history of the UCLA-USC rivalry. After 55 evenly battled minutes, the game remained a scoreless tie, but UCLA had possession of the ball. They drove down to the USC three yard line for a first and goal as the clock was winding down. After being stopped on first down, the Bruins gave the ball to fullback Leo Cantor on second he was stopped by three Trojan defenders just inches from the end zone. On third down, Cantor again ran the ball, but Sohn stopped him for a three-yard loss.

On fourth down, the UCLA coach Babe Horrell refused to make a decision and sent no instructions to his team on the field. On fourth down, the Trojan players chose to effect a pass play rather than go for the field goal. The pass play failed and the USC players mobbed one another as the game ended 0-0. The Trojans went on to win the National Championship defeating Tennessee, 14-0, in the Rose Bowl (it was the first time anyone scored on Tennessee all season).

In 1965, Sohn was honored for being the Trojans' best lineman in the 1940 USC-UCLA game, which USC won 28-12.

Birth and Death Dates:
b. September 16, 1918 - d. July 15, 1999

Career Highlights:
Sohn, who grew up in San Diego and attended San Diego High School, was the only sophomore starter for USC in 1938 and helped lead the Trojans to a 8-2-0 regular season record and then a Rose Bowl victory over Duke. USC finished the season ranked No. 7 in the country. Then, in 1939, Sohn was considered one of the top guards on the West Coast as USC went undefeated and captured the National Championship. In 1940, USC struggled to a 3-4-2 record. In 1941, Ben played for the West in the East-West Shrine Game.

After graduating in 1941, Sohn was selected in the seventh round (76th overall) by the New York Giants in the NFL Draft. That season, he played in all 11 games for the 8-3-0 Giants, who won the Eastern Division but lost in the NFL Championship game to all-NFL quarterback Sid Luckman and the Chicago Bears, 37-9. It was Ben's only season in the NFL.

San Diego, California

Career Dates:
Sohn played guard at the University of Southern California from 1938-1940. He then played guard in the NFL with the New York Giants in 1941.

Physical description:
6'2", 220 pounds

Use links below to navigate through the football section of Jews In Sports.

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The Encyclopedia of Football, by Roger Treat (New York: A.S. Barnes and Co., 1976 -- 14th Edition)
Total Football: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League, edited by Bob Carroll, Michael Gershman, David Neft, and John Thorn (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1999)
encyclopedia of JEWS in sports, by Bernard Postal, Jesse Silver, and Roy Silver (New York: Bloch Publishing Co., 1965)
Los Angeles Times, September 23, 1938
Los Angeles Times, November 20, 1965