BLAST FROM THE AGGIE PAST: UAC beats Utah in first-ever football game

LOGAN, Utah  It was a simple headline in the Nov. 26, 1892, edition of The Daily Tribune (now The Salt Lake Tribune).

“THE UNIVERSITIES’ FOOTBALL,” in all caps it read, followed by the sub-headline: “THE GAME AT LOGAN YESTERDAY WON BY THE AGICULTURALS,” again in all caps.

The Agricultural College of Utah (UAC), later renamed Utah State University, was founded on March 8, 1888. Four years later, on Nov. 25, 1892, the Farmers of UAC defeated the University of Utah 12-0 in the first football game, and athletic event, in school history. The contest was played on what is now the USU quad.

The game, which was originally scheduled to be played on Nov. 24, Thanksgiving Day, but had to be postponed one day due to a snow storm, kicked off at 2 or 3 p.m. – depending on which account you read – on a muddy field that had been partially cleared of snow. The Daily Tribune received the detailed account of the game from referee W.P. Cutter, a professor at UAC.

An excerpt (with no changes) from the second paragraph in the paper: The College team won the toss and chose the ball. During the first half of the game it was somewhat tame, the ball being somewhat nearer to the College goal, but the University failed to score. The University team showed evidence of much better practice, and their game was scientifically played, but was ineffectual against the much heavier rush line of the College team.

According to the referee’s report, the second half was “much more lively, the ball being mainly in the hands of one of the college team.”

Again, with no changes to the report, we read word-for-word: Early in the half the College team having taken the ball forward, it was taken by Garff and a touchdown was made in professional style. From this touchdown the goal was kicked by F. Olsen. Soon after F. Olsen was ruled off by the umpire for foul play, and Allison was substituted. A series of rushes followed, the ball changing hands several times, until at the end of the half three rushes carried the ball again into the University goal; from this touchdown Raybould kicked second goal, making the score 12 to 0 in favor of the Agricultural College. Umpire, Oglesby of the University; referee, Cutter of the Agricultural College. No one was injured except a few sprains.

Cutter was part of the first faculty of the UAC. He taught chemistry, physics, geology and mineralogy.

Several other detailed accounts of the game were found in the Nov. 27, 1892, edition of The Salt Lake Herald, and the Nov. 28, 1892, edition of The Daily Tribune.

The first paragraph of the Nov. 27 article stated: The University of Utah football team returned yesterday from Logan, after allowing the crimson and silver to be trampled in the snow by the Agricultural college. The game was to have come off on Thanksgiving, but owing to the falling snow it was postponed one day later. At the appointed hour all the “A.C.” students turned out to urge and exhilarate their team on to victory by frequent shouts.

The article listed the players and positions from each team (as seen and listed in the report):

U. of U. Positions. Ag. College.
Cunningham Full back Sanborn
Jennings Right half back Hughes
McIntyre Left half back F. Olsen
Thomas Quarter back Raybould
Wallace Right end Croft
Groesbeck Left end Crittenden
Christiansen Right tackle Bimher
Fisher Left tackle Ashton
Grover Right guard Garf
Naylor Left guard B.L. Olsen
Dow Center rush Erwin
  Substitute Allison

The full names of Utah State’s players, with the exception of F. Olsen, are as follows: Carl Allison, Lynne Ashton, John Bimher, Frank Crittenden, Walter Croft, Robert Erwin, George Garf, George Hughes, Blaine Olsen, Claude Raybould and Harry Sanborn.

After its victory over Utah, UAC did not play another collegiate football game until 1896. Utah State and Utah have faced each other a total of 112 times since that first meeting.

Fans can follow the Aggie football program at twitter.com/USUFootball or on Facebook at Utah State Football, as well as on Instagram at instagram.com/USUFootball. Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at twitter.com/USUAthletics or on Facebook at Utah State University Athletics.

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