The Blanchards had moved from South Carolina to Dexter, Iowa, in 1929, but returned two years later to Bishopville, S.C., where Little Doc, as he was known, went to school until he was 13. Then Big Doc enrolled him in the St. Stanislaus prep school in Bay St. Louis, Miss., where he himself had first learned to play football. Little Doc stayed at St. Stanislaus for four years, and in his senior year scored 165 points and led an otherwise so-so football team to an undefeated regular season.
Young Blanchard was besieged with college football scholarship offers, and he settled on North Carolina, where his mother's cousin was the head coach. He starred on the Tar Heel freshman team in 1942 (that year freshmen were still unable to play varsity) and was drafted into the Army the following spring. He played no football in 1943, but West Point became interested in him, and on July 1, 1944, he received his appointment to the Academy from South Carolina Congressman John L. McMillan.
Blanchard reported for the Beast Barracks indoctrination for new cadets. Davis, although technically a plebe, was not there to suffer with him; he had undergone the ordeal a year earlier. Mr. Inside and Mr. Outside did not meet until the first day of football practice, an encounter much dramatized in film and story. But neither of the principals recalls anything significant about their meeting beyond "Pleased to meet you."
Blanchard and Davis were entirely different personalities then. Davis was the more earnest of the two, something of a worrier, a physical-fitness zealot who neither smoked nor drank. He had a round baby face, and a lock of hair that always seemed to be spilling over his forehead. He was photographed more often pouting than smiling.
Blanchard, on the other hand, was something of a good-time Charlie. "I never regarded Glenn as exactly shy, but Doc was looser, less straitlaced," says former teammate Coulter. "He was just a lot of fun. I remember Colonel Blaik asking each of us before our first practice if we drank. Well, most of us dodged that one, but Doc just said, 'Oh, sure.' "
Blanchard was actually closer to Ralph Davis than he was to Glenn. "Doc was such a good guy, always joking, laughing, so easy to get along with," says Ralph, now a real estate appraiser in Joshua Tree, Calif. "The track coach asked me to teach him the shot put. It was something he'd never done before, but he went from 30 feet to almost 54 feet in the same season."
Anyone knowing the two football players then would have guessed that Blanchard would be the one to bridle at West Point restrictions and want to get out of the Army as soon as possible, and that the self-disciplined Davis would be the one to adapt to the regimen. And it would surely be Blanchard, well known as a ladies' man, who would date one actress, Elizabeth Taylor no less, and marry another, Terry Moore. It is one of the peculiar paradoxes of the Blanchard-Davis legend that it was exactly the other way around. And now, years after West Point, it is as if they had just switched personalities; Glenn is outgoing and Doc retiring.
Their final season together was the most taxing and, because of the Notre Dame tie and the narrow Navy win, the most disappointing. And yet because the team lacked depth, it was the most rewarding. The team had lost through graduation or dismissal All-America linemen Coulter, John Green and Al Nemetz. And in the opening game, against Villanova, Blanchard tore ligaments in his left knee and missed the next two games, against Oklahoma and Cornell.
He returned, still hurting, to the lineup for the fourth game, against Michigan, a team loaded with stars like Bob Chappuis, Bump Elliott, Jack Weisenburger, Len Ford and Bob Mann. On the fourth play of the game, Army quarterback Tucker, himself an All-America, suffered a shoulder separation and a sprained elbow and wrist in his passing arm. Davis, taking direct snaps through the quarterback's legs or pitchouts on the pass-run option, took over the Army passing game. He completed seven of eight for 168 yards, including a 23-yard toss to Folsom for a touchdown. He also had a 69-yard touchdown run. Blanchard, held to 44 yards for the day, scored the winning touchdown in the 13-10 win on a seven-yard plunge in the fourth quarter.
The Notre Dame game at Yankee Stadium on Nov. 9 was one of the most publicized college football games ever played. The undefeated Irish had a lineup loaded with once and future All-Americas—Johnny Lujack at quarterback with his backups George Ratter-man and Frank Tripucka, and All-America linemen George Connor, Bill Fischer and Jim Martin. They were out to avenge successive 59-0 and 48-0 cadet wins over inferior wartime Notre Dame teams.