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Rout of Blue Team in 1875 Blamed On Two Different Sets Of Football Rules


Sixty-two years ago, in 1875, fifteen good Harvard men and true and one substitute invaded New Haven and licked the handlebar moustaches off the home team in the first Harvard-Yale football game in history. The gruelling contest lasted an hour and a half.

Men were men in these days, for the records only show one injury. "Keys was kicked in the wind, and the game was stopped for a couple of minutes," a contemporary account states. The only other casualty occurred in the third half-hour, when Thompson of Yale fell heavily on the pigskin, which gave up the ghost and exploded. Taking a realistic view of the situation, the referee blew the ball up and tossed it up in the air.

Harvard Rules Different

That Harvard drubbed Yale to the tune of four goals and four touchdowns to nothing say be partially explained by the rules difficulties. Football as it was played at Cambridge and football as it was played at Cambridge and football as it was played at New Haven were as unlike as marbles and ping-pong. For years the Yales and the Harvards couldn't get together.

By 1875 all the other colleges had adopted the Yale rules, but Harvard went serenely ahead playing her own game. Yale gave in anyway, and spent a week learning the Cambridge version of the game, with disastrous results.

At 2:45 o'clock on November 13, Yale kicked off. In six minutes the invaders scored when Seamans made a touchdown and a goal. Shortly afterwards he kicked another one, and the scoring spree was on.

Have Tea

The referee stopped the slaughter by calling time after Seamans had scored the last Harvard point in the third period. Both teams adjourned to tea.

140 spectators went down from Cambridge for the game. A large group on the Friday night train found a cheering Brown contingent awaiting them at Providence.

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