Blanchard half of famous backfield

Updated: April 21, 2009, 8:47 AM ET
By Mark Schlabach | ESPN.com

Felix "Doc" Blanchard, who won the 1945 Heisman Trophy and teamed with Glenn Davis to form one of the most famous backfields in college football history, died at his home in Bulverde, Texas, on Saturday, according to family members. He was 84.

Blanchard's daughter, Mary Blanchard, told The Associated Press late Sunday night in a phone interview that her father died of pneumonia.

Blanchard and Davis helped lead Army to a 27-0-1 record from 1944 to '46, the only blemish coming in a famous 0-0 tie against Notre Dame at Yankee Stadium on Nov. 9, 1946.

[+] EnlargeDoc Blanchard
AP Photo/LindsayDoc Blanchard won the 1945 Heisman Trophy.

New York Sun columnist George Trevor first described the bruising Blanchard as "Mr. Inside" and the swifter Davis as "Mr. Outside." Along with Notre Dame's famed "Four Horsemen," "Mr. Inside and Mr. Outside" were perhaps college football's most recognizable backfields.

Behind Blanchard and Davis, Army won consecutive national championships in 1944-45 and finished unbeaten again in 1946. The 1944 Army team averaged 56 points and allowed only 3.9. Army won 25 consecutive games before tying the Fighting Irish in 1946.

In a 28-game career, Blanchard scored 38 touchdowns, leading the country in scoring in 1945. Blanchard also played linebacker on defense and handled the team's kicking duties.

Blanchard and Davis were All-Americans in three consecutive seasons from 1944 to '46 -- still the sport's only three-time All-America backfield. Blanchard became the first junior to win the Heisman Trophy in 1945; Davis won college football's most coveted award the next season. Blanchard also won the Maxwell Trophy and Sullivan Award as a junior.

Blanchard was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1959.

Blanchard was raised in Bishopville, S.C., and was the son of Felix Anthony Blanchard Sr., a doctor and former Tulane football player. He was given the moniker "Little Doc" as a child. Blanchard attended high school at Saint Stanislaus College in Bay Saint Louis, Miss.

Blanchard played football as a freshman in 1942 at North Carolina, where his mother's cousin, Jim Tatum, was head coach. Blanchard was drafted into the military the next year and served until receiving his appointment to the U.S. Military Academy by a South Carolina congressman in 1943.

Blanchard was selected third overall in the 1946 NFL draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers, but he was required to enlist in the military. After graduating from West Point in 1947, Blanchard joined the U.S. Air Force, where he flew fighter planes during the Korean and Vietnam wars.

Blanchard was the earliest living Heisman Trophy winner until his death. Davis died of complications from prostate cancer in 2005.

Mark Schlabach is a college football writer for ESPN.com

Mark Schlabach | email

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