1869 College Football Summary

College football, like everything, had to have a beginning. And in 1869, the sport of college football kicked-off a long and storied history.

Princeton and state rival, Rutgers had the honor of playing in the first game.

It was a cold windy day when each school lined-up tp play a game that more resembled soccer than modern-day football; regardless of the type of sport, it's credited as football. That opening game saw each team field 25 players—playing at the same time—as they lined-up to begin their part of history.

That historic contest would be in no way resemble how the game was played today and its unlimited scoring.

In 1869, scoring was by goals or as it was called then, a "game;" with 10 games being played and a winner being determined.

A Rutgers goal gave the Scarlet Knights the honor of being the first team record a college football statistic.

"Taken b surprise, the Princeton men fought valiantly, but in five minutes we (Rutgers) had gotten the ball through to our captains on the eneny's goal and S.G. Gano, '71 and G. R. Dixon, '73, neatly kicked it over." (November 6, 1869: The Birth of College Football."

Unlike games today, when rain comes down, a game will continue to be played—but not in 1869.

Two weeks before the landmark game, a pair of Virginia schools had agreed to take-part in playing against the other.

But the on October, 23, 1869, the Virginia skies opened-up and as a result, Washington & Lee and Virginia Military, both out of the same city, Lexington, had to wait and as a result so would history.

Over the next 142 college football seasons, the game would not only be played and in one style or type of foot ball or another; but also the method of scoring values would change as the game advanced forward and more recognized as we know it today.

Sportsfans.com will not attempt to rewrite college football history; but instead set-out flashback down through the years refreshing memories—or even making new ones—through accomplishments and statistical highlights.

Each season will contain a brief review; along with outstanding statistical highlights such as the annual leader for most points scored and least allowed; and maybe the longest scoring run made by a player that season. And in time a consensus Top 10 and all available source that named a national champion—either by retroactive or actual selections.

Naturally, during the game's infancy, very few statistical accomplishments will be available other than the scores and team's Won-Lost records.

Princeton, eventhough falling in the very first game, 6-4; would rebound to take Game 2 and recording the first shutout, 8-0.

1869 Leaders show:

  • Offensive Scoring Leader (Most Scored)
    Princeton (1-1) 12 Goals
  • Defensive Scoring Leader (Least Allowed)
    Princeton (1-1) 6 Goals
  • National Champions (Retroactive)
    Princeton (1-1)
    Rutgers (1-1)

New! Facebook Comments

Leave a comment about this article in the box below and share it with your Facebook friends.

What do you think?

We'd love to hear your comments and/or opinions. If you submit them here, other visitors can read them, rate them and comment on them. An e-mail address is not required.

Top of This Page