Cohen, Jack : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Cohen, Jack

Jack B. Cohen

Cohen played tackle on the 1939 UCLA team that had a backfield consisting of fullback Leo Cantor and halfback Jackie Robinson.

Birth and Death Dates:

Career Highlights:
In 1939, Cohen and the Bruins were undefeated as they entered the showdown with their crosstown rivals USC. With Cantor, Robinson, and Kenny Washington, the Bruins hoped for their first-ever victory over the Trojans.

Although both teams were undefeated, USC were 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 Cantor on second and third down, but he was stopped by three Trojan defenders, led by Ben Sohn, just inches from the end zone.

On fourth down, the UCLA coach Babe Horrell refused to make a decision and sent no instructions to his team on the field. In the huddle, the team voted on what they wanted to do and while five players said kick the field goal for the guaranteed win, six others voted for a pass play. On fourth down, 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 after winning the Rose Bowl, and the Bruins had to wait another three years to defeat USC.

When asked why he did not send in a man with instructions to kick the field goal, coach Horrell just grinned and said: "The game is over now; it makes little difference, don't you think?" UCLA finished the season ranked No. 7 in the nation. It was first time in school history that the Bruins were ranked in the final poll. After the most successful season in Bruins history in 1939, with a No. 7 ranking and record of 6-0-4, the Bruins posted a dismal record of 1-9-0 in 1940.


Career Dates:
Cohen played tackle at UCLA from 1939-1940.

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encyclopedia of JEWS in sports, by Bernard Postal, Jesse Silver, and Roy Silver (New York: Bloch Publishing Co., 1965)