1873 College Football Summary

More teams highlight this season.

With the season not starting till November; four schools—Columbia, Princeton, Rutgers and Yale—would meet in New York on Oct. 19 to adopt the rules for the forthcoming season.

  • Scores can be made only by kicking or butting the ball with the head across the opponent's goal line.
  • Players can't run with the ball.
  • Passes can only be made laterally or backwards.
  • Tackling below the waist is prohibited.
  • The field is to be 140 yards in length and 70 yards wide.
  • There are two 45-minute periods of play.
  • The uprights width is changed to 25 feet with no crossbar.

As it was meant to be, the very first game under the new guidelines was very first Princeton-Yale match-up; with the former winning its only played game of the season, 3-goals to zip.

Yale, on the other hand, played three times this season, finishing with a 2-1 slate. One of its games was played in England and it was also the beginning of something that would later be the standard—11 players per side.

Yale's opponent was was Eton as the school fielded a team with just an 11-man roster.

But before the 11 player limit would take effect, consider the first game played in the southern part of the country.

If you recall, back in 1869 Washington & Lee and cross-town rival Virginia Military Institute were suppose to kick-off the start the sport, but was rained out.

Now, 5 years later they finally met. While no score has ever located; its eaay to see why—as both teams played 50 men per side AT THE SAME TIME.

Carrying on the earlier scoring rule required 6 goals for a victory—with a margin of 2 goals—no school had tallied this mark.

However, Rutgers defeated Columbia 5-4 and was declared the victor.

While most teams played under "Association Football" including Princeton and Yale; one school set-out on its own, Harvard.

The school was played under 'Boston Rules Game; finishing the season 2-1-1 with a 10 goal margin over its opponents, 18-8; as the only team to play under this style of foot ball.

1873 Leaders (min. of 2 games) show:

  • Offensive Scoring Leader (Most Scored)
    Washington & Lee (4-0) 17 goals scored
  • Defensive Scoring Leader (Least Allowed)
    Princeton (2-0) 2 goals allowed
  • National Champions (Retroactive)
    Princeton (2-0)

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