1890 College Football Summary

As college football entered its third decade, the popularity of the game itself began to spread across the country.

The cry went-out for experienced coaches; as schools were taking-up the sport in record fashion.

Schools hired men who had played the game to lead in their efforts to have a football team. Once again, graduates of the Big Three, Yale, Princeton and Harvard graduates were in high demand.

And these coaches were paid top dollar for their work--$40 to $50 a week plus expenses.

The University of Virginia accomplished something this season that has yet to be equaled and undoubtedly, never will.

After opening the season with a 72-0 loss at the hands of the Pennsylvania Quakers; then, the Cavaliers were soundly defeated by Princeton, 115-0; as the latter jumped-out to a 63-0 margin at intermission.

Edgar Allen Poe, nephew of the author, scored 16 touchdowns to lead in the on victory.

Searching for its first win of the season, UVA found it and fully regrouped from the previous game to defeat Randolph-Macon, 136-0; thus becoming the only team to surrender and score 100 or more points in the same season.

Virginia scored 31 touchdowns in the route.

In what began as a joke, turned into a way of protection from head injuries as players grew long hair to aid in protecting themselves.

This season also brought an end to the three year period where various styles of the game were played.

The "V" formation; sending interference ahead of the runner; bringing a back up to the line of scrimmage giving teams an 8-man front and also would prevent long passes and protecting the runner from behind.

Yale was once again the dominate team, winning 13 of 14 games. It's only setback came in at the hands of Harvard, 6-12; in Yale's only road game all season.

The season finale was against the other Big Three powerhouse, Princeton, as Yale was victorious, 32-0 givng the Tigers their lone defeat of the season.

In fact, after this triumph, Yale would go on to win its next 34 in-a-row all by shutouts!

In Harvard's 77-0 crushing of Cornell, Bernard Trafford connected on 5 goals from the field: a pair from 35-yards and three 30-yarders.

Princeton's Phillip King found the end zone to his liking this year, with 29 rushing scores; a mark that that would last until 1926.

He would also lead the nation with 145 points.

Marshall Newell, T, Harvard, 1890-93, becomes the first of five players to have earned All-America honors in four consecutive seasons.

1890 Leaders:

  • Offensive Scoring Leader (Most Points Scored)
      Harvard (12-0-0), 555 points
  • Defensive Scoring Leader (Least Points Allowed)
      Harvard (11-0-0), 12 points
  • National Champions (Retroactive)
      Harvard (11-0-0)
  • Intercollegiate Football Association Standings
Team IFA Standings Full Season
Yale 3-0-0 13-1-0
Princeton 2-1-0 11-1-1
Pennsylvania 1-2-0 11-3-0
Wesleyan 0-3-0 5-6-0

Writer Walter Camp /The Outing Magazine named Yale National Champion.

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