Inside Spencer: The KSRL Blog

Throwback Thursday: Beat Oklahoma Edition

Each week we’ll be posting a photograph from University Archives that shows a scene from KU’s past. We’ve also scanned more than 9,800 images from KU’s University Archives and made them available online; be sure to check them out!

This Saturday’s Homecoming game will be against Oklahoma, so this week’s photo – taken by well-known Lawrence photographer Duke D’Ambra – captures the Jayhawks’ dramatic win over the Sooners in the 1946 game at Memorial Stadium.

Photograph of a football game versus Oklahoma, 1946

KU’s winning field goal against Oklahoma on November 9, 1946.
Photograph by Duke D’Ambra. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 66/14 1946 Games Oklahoma: Athletic Department: Football (Photos).
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Information on the back of the photograph describes what happened.

At the KU-Oklahoma game in Lawrence, Kans. in 1946 it was foggy, dark, gloomy – and the score was 13-13 – and only one minute and 20 seconds remaining. With K.U. in possession, Paul Turner, an unknown, came on the field and kicked a field goal to win for Kansas. See the ball over the bars?

A May 22, 1972, article in the Lawrence Journal-World announced D’Ambra’s death and further described the scene captured in the photograph. As the article also noted, D’Amdra was a “familiar figure on the sidelines at KU sports events.”

One of [D’Ambra’s] most famous photos came in November of 1946 when Kansas and Oklahoma were tied 13-all in a league football title showdown. With 75 seconds left, KU’s Paul Turner was called on to try an “impossible” field goal from 41 yards out in a driving rain that made Memorial Stadium‘s field a quagmire.

D’Ambra, with a beat-up box-style Graflex camera was the only photographer to get into place for the shot. Turner did the “impossible” and D’Ambra chronicled the ball passing through the crossbars to give Kansas a 16-13 upset of the powerful Sooners.

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Melissa Kleinschmidt, Megan Sims, and Abbey Ulrich
Public Services Student Assistants

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