Friday, November 28, 2014

Rivalry Week(s): Harvard-Yale

Oh, come on, like there's anything I can add about this one? The Crimson and the Bulldogs have been duking it out since Ulysses S. Grant was in the White House, and there's usually an Ivy League title, an undefeated season or both (as was the case this year) at stake. Heck, even ESPN College Gameday paid a visit this year!
Although Harvard has won 13 of the last 14 games, Yale still leads the all-time series, 65-58-8 -- the Bulldogs owned this series in the 19th century.
There are plenty of books on this series. The Game: The Harvard-Yale Football Rivalry, 1875-1983 has some great photos and interesting info, but it reads like a near-parody of haughty Ivy League dialogue. Oddity: Yale is rarely referred to as the "Bulldogs;" it's usually the "Blue" or the "Bulldog" -- singular, like the old Philadelphia Bell of the WFL. The Only Game That Matters, which I have but haven't read, centers around the 2002 game and the buildup. I don't have Harvard Beats Yale 29-29, nor have I seen the film (I’m feeling shame as I type this).
Let's look at a few highlights:

1968: Harvard Beats Yale 29-29
This game came in with ridiculous amounts of hype: Two 8-0 teams battling for the Ivy League title and an undefeated season. Harvard trailed by 16 points with 42 seconds left. You know the rest. The images of future MLB catcher Pete Varney holding the ball after the tying 2-point conversion and the classic Harvard scoreboard reading "29-29" are two of my all-time favorites. Somehow, this game did the impossible and surpassed the hype. (Having pored through the Boston Globe archives, I can definitely tell you the hype was pretty amazing.) 



Pete Varney celebrates his "winning" 2-point conversion as dusk descends upon Harvard Stadium.
Varney has coached the Brandeis University baseball team for more than three decades.

The most famous tie in New England football history has been commemorated
on record albums ...

... and posters. These are both from eBay listings.


The classic Harvard scoreboard tells the story.
This is from the Nov. 25, 1968 Yale Daily News.

1974: The Best Ever?
As great as The Game (excuse me, THE GAME) was in '68, some say the '74 edition was even better. Harvard QB Milt Holt led the Crimson on a 90-yard drive in the closing minutes, scoring the winning TD on a 1-yard run with 16 seconds left to give Harvard a 21-16 win over unbeaten Yale and a tie for the Ivy title with the Bulldogs. The Crimson had trailed 13-0 in the second quarter.


* Note the Harvard helmet, with the "Real Football Centennial" helmet, touched upon here.

The headline from the Nov. 25, 1974 Yale Daily News.

1976: The 'Drop Dead' Game
Yale backup QB Bob Rizzo, replacing starter Stone Phillips (yes, that Stone Phillips, of Dateline NBC fame in the 90s), led the Bulldogs to three second-half touchdowns in a 21-7 win and a tie for the Ivy League crown with Brown.


Geez, Yale, don't hold your emotions in or anything.

I included this game basically for the Yale Daily News headline, a parody of the New York Daily News' "Ford To City: Drop Dead" headline from that era.


1999: The Catch
Before he was a standout tight end for the San Francisco 49ers, before he was married to Jessica Simpson (and before that, a pole dancing instructor), Eric Johnson was a damn good wide receiver for Yale, and against Harvard in 1999, he had perhaps the greatest game of anyone in the history of the storied rivalry. 
Johnson caught 21 passes (the NFL record is 20) for 244 yards, including the game-winning touchdown with 29 seconds left, in a 24-21 win that gave the Bulldogs another shared Ivy title with Brown. A year later, his one-handed catch in the back of the end zone helped Yale to a 34-24 win. You can read a little more about it here.
Johnson left as the Bulldogs' all-time leader in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns.
Perhaps not coincidentally, Yale has beaten Harvard only once since then.

* Harvard began wearing solid crimson socks that year; Yale's uniforms, with the logos splashed all over and the outlined "Y" on the helmet, were in full post-Carm Cozza bloom.
***
Over the next few weeks, we'll update the 2014 uniforms for the teams covered on this blog, then get back to some more historical goodies!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Rivalry Week(s): Cornell-Penn

Thanksgiving and football go together like overeating and indigestion, but you might be surprised to know the Ivy League used to make an annual contribution to the Turkey Day gridiron tradition. Cornell and Penn faced off every Thanksgiving in Philadelphia until 1964, when it was moved to the last Saturday of the season; they played on Thanksgiving again in '65 before making the Saturday game permanent. They've played on Thanksgiving only once since (1989).

Turkey Day and Cornell-Penn football used to be synonymous.

Here's a look at some of their showdowns. Penn leads 70-46-5 through 2014:

1956: Cornell Saves Face
Coming in with an 0-8 mark, Cornell prevailed 20-7 thanks to Art Boland's 91-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage in the second half. Bo Roberson and Bob McAniff also scored touchdowns in the Big Red's win.


* Penn was still sporting the "classic" striped shirts at this point, while Cornell's tops had the trademark thin red stripes on each sleeve. As for the Big Red helmets ... well, they kinda remind me of Indiana's.


Cornell (in white) and Penn duke it out in 1956 at Franklin Field.
Check out the scoreboard in the background of the first photo
and the funky facemask on No. 78 on the second pic.
These are both from the Cornell Daily Sun.

1965: End of an Era
Behind the running of Bill Wilson (126 yards, enough for the Ivy rushing title) and Pete Larson (111 yards, three TDs), Cornell defeated Penn 38-14 on Thanksgiving after a one-year hiatus. It was the last Thanksgiving game until '89.


* Penn wore new jerseys that year, as red replaced blue as the primary color, and the striped shirts were gone until 1971. The crimson helmets with the navy "P" were also new, and used through '70. Cornell's unis were awfully generic, even for that era; it might be a one-year style.

1986: Penn Runs the Table
Jim Crocicchia threw two TD passes and Rich Comizio ran for a TD as Penn wrapped up its fifth straight Ivy title and first undefeated, untied season since 1904.
And hey, you can watch highlights here:


* I believe the stripeless Penn jerseys were only a one-year style, and the Quakers returned to the old jerseys in ’87. Cornell still had the ginormous “CORNELL” across the jersey front, a leftover trait from the Bob Blackman years. Names on the back were introduced this year and used until the late ‘90s.

1989: Back to Turkey Day
To accommodate an ESPN broadcast, Penn and Cornell played on Thanksgiving morning as a one-shot deal. Cornell prevailed, 20-6.


* This was the last year Cornell showed its school pride on the jersey fronts. Penn’s sleeves underwent a stripe reduction that year.
***
Up next: It’s all about The Game. 
Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Rivalry Week(s): Dartmouth-Princeton

You don’t think of Dartmouth-Princeton as a white-hot rivalry, but there’s often something big at stake when these teams face off — like, oh, an Ivy title or an undefeated season — usually on the final week of the season. 
Dartmouth leads the series 47-43-4 and has won the last five games -- including Saturday's 41-10 thumping -- after dropping the previous six.
***
Some of the many highlights from this underrated rivalry:
1950: The Day of the Hurricane
So there was this little hurricane going on outside that killed 278 people and caused more than $400 million in property damages. Let’s have a football game anyway! An alleged crowd of 8,000 braved genuinely dangerous conditions to watch Princeton go for an undefeated season.
The field was drenched in standing water. Let me repeat this quote from Princeton fullback Jack Davison, in A Century of Dartmouth Football (1980): “The officials had to hold the ball and hand it to the center when he was ready to snap it,” lest it would float away. 
The Daily Princetonian offered this analysis after the game: "Let's face it. The game Saturday was not football; it was much more like water polo played in a wind-tunnel."
But Princeton, led by future Heisman trophy winner Dick Kazmaier, won 13-7.


The headline from the Daily Prinetonian after Princeton's
water-polo win over Dartmouth.

1965: Dartmouth Wins Battle of Unbeatens
Both Dartmouth and Princeton were 8-0 heading into the season finale at Princeton’s Palmer Stadium, with an undefeated season, Ivy League title and Lambert Trophy (awarded to the best team in the East; a big deal then, nothing now) on the line.
In front of 45,000 fans (45,000?! Princeton's attendance for the 2013 season was 42,195), Dartmouth QB Mickey Beard threw for 229 yards in a 28-14 Big Green victory. The Tigers suffered their first loss since the 1963 season finale — to Dartmouth, of course.


This was the first year Dartmouth wore the “Indian Head” on the sleeves of the road jerseys; the home greens still had stripes and curvy Clarendon uniform numbers. Except for the addition of a number on the helmets, Princeton's look barely changed from '50.
1969: Princeton Plays Spoiler
Dartmouth entered the game 8-0 and looking for another Ivy title and undefeated season, but Princeton was having none of that. The Tigers’ Hank Bjorklund ran for 132 yards and three TDs as Princeton shocked Dartmouth, 35-7, sending the Big Green into a three-way tie for the Ivy crown with Princeton and Yale. Going into the game, Dartmouth had outscored its foes by an average score of 35-8.


Dartmouth still had the “Indian Head” on the sleeves; note the “100” decal on Princeton’s helmet. The Tigers, of course, played the first recognized game of intercollegiate football a century earlier.


Princeton's 1969 win over Dartmouth was front-page news.

1996: Dartmouth’s Last Ivy Title
Dartmouth was playing for an Ivy title and a 10-0 season; Princeton was playing in the memory of ancient Palmer Stadium, slated for the wrecking ball after 82 years of service. The Big Green dismantled the Tigers 24-0, and the Princeton fans tore down the goal posts anyway. Dartmouth won its 17th — and to date, last — Ivy championship. 


Tearing down the goal posts after a lopsided loss?
That sounds like something the fans would do at Columbia.

2013: Dartmouth Pulls a Snow Job
In snowy conditions at Dartmouth’s Memorial Field (check this photo gallery), Dominick Pierre ran for 112 yards and a TD as Dartmouth spoiled Princeton’s bid for an undefeated Ivy season with a 28-24 win.



Up next: A yummy Turkey Day treat with Penn and Cornell.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Rivalry Week(s): Boston College-Holy Cross

Before we were so rudely interrupted ... Yes, we're back up and running. Let's not mess around!
***
Maybe it was never Alabama-Auburn or Ohio State-Michigan, but once upon a long ago Boston College and Holy Cross waged a “holy war” that was one of the centerpieces of the New England sports calendar. Alas, Holy Cross’ decision to drop down to Division I-AA (FCS) in 1982 marked the beginning of the end of this once-great rivalry, and final game was played in 1986. Word is that they’re going to play again in 2018 … it may not be pretty, but should make for a neat nostalgia trip.
A gentleman named Wally Carew wrote a fine book called A Farewell to Glory about the history of this rivalry. What I liked about it is that it isn’t a simple retelling of every game; Carew focuses on interviews and profiles of the players and coaches involved, and gets their views and memories on the rivalry. Check it out.
Much of the info here was culled from “Farewell” and the awesome Boston College Football Vault, filled with reproductions of old program covers, cartoons, even bumper stickers. Reid Oslin, a former BC sports information director, is the author.
BC leads (led?) the series, 48–31–3.
***
A few highlights:
1942: Holy Cross Upsets No. 1 BC
… aka “The Cocoanut Grove Fire” game. Boston College came into the Fenway Park showdown with a No. 1 ranking, an 8-0 record and a one-way ticket to its second Sugar Bowl in three years, Holy Cross came in with a 4-4-1 record and no bowl aspirations. But the Crusaders stunned the Eagles 55-12 in a game voted by Associated Press sports editors as the ninth-biggest upset from 1900-1950. (No. 1: The 1914 “Miracle Braves” sweeping the Philly A’s in the World Series.)
BC got a trip to the Orange Bowl as a consolation prize (not bad, huh?) … and lost t oAlabama 37-21 to end the season 8-2.
A BC victory party at the Cocoanut Grove was cancelled; that night, a fire at the establishment killed 492 people.


Those Holy Cross helmets are interesting; if you look at them closely, you can see the Michigan-style “wings” are painted silver, but the stripes are painted purple. BC’s uniforms here were first used in 1939, the first year of coach Frank Leahy’s two-year stint at The Heights.

A photo spread of the 1942 Holy Cross-BC game, from the '43 Purple Patcher.
What are those itty-bitty guys doing way down there?

1951: BC’s Turn for an Upset
On Dec. 1, 1951, the tables were turned. Holy Cross was 8-1, ranked as high as 14th in the polls and smarting over an Orange Bowl rejection. Boston College was a ho-hum 3-5 and favored to lose by as many as 20 points. It didn’t matter; BC won 19-14 on QB Jimmy Kane’s 56-yard pass to Joe Sullivan, which set up a Joe Johnson 1-yard TD run. The celebrations in Boston, if the pictures from the 1952 Sub Turri are any indication, lasted well into the night. Holy Cross finished 19th in the AP poll; 17th in the UPI poll.


During this time period, Holy Cross wore the white uniform most of the time, even at home; the Crusaders went some years without ever wearing the purple jersey. The big differences between these BC uniforms and the ones from a decade earlier are the larger numbers and the plastic helmet shells.

The 1952 BC Sub Turri yearbook used a mushroom cloud to illustrate
the Eagles' big upset over The Cross. Would this even be allowed today?

1986: The End on an Era
By the 1980s, the game had changed. Boston College was a national power making regular bowl appearances; Holy Cross was a national power — in Division I-AA, its home since 1982, and the series hadn’t been competitive in years. The Crusaders jumped out to a quick 14-0 lead, but the Eagles stormed back to win 56-26 at muddy Fitton Field in Worcester, Mass. Eagles QB Shawn Halloran threw for four TDs and running back Troy Stradford added a couple more. 
Although the good fathers at Holy Cross voted to cancel the series three months later, word had already swirled the week of the game that the series’ end was approaching. Well, until 2018.


We looked at the 80s BC uniform here and the Holy Cross uni here. No. 68 for BC was Mike Ruth, the '86 Outland Trophy winner as college football's top lineman; No. 17 for Holy Cross is Gordie Lockbaum, college football's other Jesus in Cleats during the 80s.

A 1986 Boston College sked, with future Dallas Cowboy Kelvin Martin.

The one and only.


Tuesday: An underrated Ivy League rivalry.

Dartmouth Big Green (2005-06)


This is hopefully our last holdover post until my computer is fixed. 

When Buddy Teevens returned as Dartmouth's head coach (2005), he changed the uniforms, ditching the 2003-04 black pants for green versions and introducing flashy new jerseys with "DARTMOUTH" across the front in big letters and early 2000s-era stripes down the front and sides. In 2007, white pants were phased in and the green pants were entirely gone in 2008, when Dartmouth went 0-10. In 2009, the uniforms were replaced with these versions -- a big improvement.

If you haven't down so yet, you can read more about Dartmouth's unis here.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Dartmouth Indians/Big Green (1955-56)

My computer remains on the DL, but I do have several Dartmouth files untouched, thanks to this Valley News blog post I wrote pre-crash on the history of the Big Green uniforms. There are plenty of styles that have never been featured here, so check it out!
***
When Bob Blackman became Dartmouth coach in 1955, he gave the uniform a dramatic overhaul: The green-and-gray leather helmets of the Tuss McLaughry era were ditched for white, plastic shells. The gray pants became white, and the jerseys featured larger numbers -- and more stripes, especially on the roads.



In 1956, the second and final year of the design, Dartmouth achieved its first winning season since 1949 ('55 and '68 were Blackman's only losing seasons in his 16 years in Hanover). By '57, curved, UCLA-style numbers were creeping onto the jerseys and the helmets featured numbers on the side.


The cover of the 1956 Dartmouth media guide, taken from an eBay listing.
Fifty-six also marked the debut of formal Ivy League play.
The Big Green players are in white.

The '55 Big Green in action at Memorial Field.
This picture is from the incredible Dartmouth Digital Library Collections,
and also appears in the  '56 Aegis yearbook.
It's guaranteed to subsist any Ivy League fan through the long off-season.

A special thanks to the very patient folks at the Baker-Berry Library, who let me pore through several Aegis yearbooks on a rainy October afternoon.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Rivalry Week(s): UConn-Rhode Island

Well, my computer remains on injured reserve, and will until next week, but here's the bulk of the UConn-Rhode Island rivalry post, which lacks uniforms for the last game profiled here ... but you can find the 80s Rhody unis here. Again, all apologies.
***
UConn-Rhode Island? Sounds like a decent basketball game. But believe it or not, it was an intense football rivalry for many years, and for many years was their Yankee Conference finale. (UConn traditionally ended the regular season against … Holy Cross? Yup, the Cross used to play UConn the week before the BC game every year.) 
The campuses are only 60 miles apart, which makes for a natural rivalry. But this game was played for the coolest-sounding prize in all of college football: The Ramnapping Trophy. In 1934, some UConn students had the gall to kidnap Rhody’s mascot — a real-live ram — and parade it around at the game against URI. You can see clips of that game here; is that the Notre Dame box UConn is using?



A pair of stills from the 1934 UConn-Rhode Island "Ramnapping" film.
Plenty of light blue to go around. Well, if these pix were in color.

The irony to all this? UConn had no mascot or nickname; the team was often referred to as the "Aggies" or even “Blue and White.” (An old UMaine Prism yearbook from this period calls them the "U-Conns.")
In 1935, the Ramnapping Trophy was dedicated and presented to the winner of the UConn-Rhody game each year. The newly-christiened Huskies dominated the trophy series, 40–19–3, and the overall series, 51–35–8.
Let’s look at a few classic games …
***
The Ramnapping game, Nov. 11, 1934
The one that started it all … if you can say that about a rivalry that began in 1897. Read a fun essay about the history of the trophy's origins here.


The Ramnapping Trophy, circa 1935.
Needs a ram, though.

UConn’s unis look really slapdash. I was particularly amazed at the use of light blue;  I had no idea UConn ever used that. If you see the images above, you’d think fans must have had a hard time telling the teams apart. The “white” in the caption looks more like a dirty gray, so I’ve reflected that here.


Rhody’s uniforms during the 1930s were pretty flashy, with the super-sized, iconic “RI” logo on the front. I believe ’34 marked the debut of numbers on the jersey fronts. The shoes should be high-tops; I'm working on that one.

The Yankee Conference deadlock, Nov. 16, 1957
Heading into their YanCon finale in Storrs, Conn., both teams sported 3-0 records; the winner would clinch the league title. Instead, they battled to a scoreless draw, ignoring pundits who predicted a UConn victory and/or a high-scoring game. The teams shared the title that year; wonder if they shared the Ramnapping trophy? With its shared crown, UConn won the second of five straight YC titles.


You’ll notice the teams used very similar templates, right down the font used for the helmet numbers. This was the last year Rhody sported a pale blue monochrome look until 2007; as for UConn; gold pants were won on and off until 1964. In 1957, both gold and blue pants were worn. Interesting how the striped socks were worn with the blue pants only.



The 1957 UConn Huskies in action against Delaware, as shown in the 1958 Nutmeg.
These pix have nothing to do with Rhody, but they were too cool to ignore.

The UConn and Delaware captains gather for the coin toss.
Those Blue Hen unis hardly changed until the 21st century.
Note the red, not yellow, flag, stuffed into the referee's back pocket.

‘Ehr’ Force Bombs Huskies, Nov. 16, 1985
Exactly 28 years after their scoreless tie, the Rams and Huskies went the opposite route and staged a shootout for the ages. This was during one of Rhody’s few periods of brilliance, when QB Tom Ehrhardt led the team to back-to-back NCAA tournaments by throwing on every down. Against UConn, Rhody trailed by deficits of 35-21 and 42-28 (at halftime! What is this, Baylor-TCU?) before Ehrhardt cranked it up to 11. He finished with 566 yards and EiGHT touchdown passes in a 56-42 win. 
The TD record remains a YC/Atlantic 10/CAA record; the league yardage record was broken by Old Dominion’s Taylor Heinicke, who threw for a mere 730 yards against UNH in 2012.
As one of my old Rhody media guides puts it: “The Ehr Force stands as a measure for all future Rhode Island teams. It stands as a monument to the achievements of a great player and a great team.”



The greatest quarterback in URI history, Tom Ehrhardt, and coach Bob Griffin talk strategy in 1985
in this image from the 1986 Renaissance yearbook.

Another UConn-Delaware game, this one from 1987.
The pic is taken from the '88 Nutmeg, complete with a partial school stamp.

We talked about Rhody’s uniforms here. UConn used the above look, with a few variations, from 1977-88. We’ll talk more about these unis down the road. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Delay of Game.

Well, these things happen.

Thanks to a computer crash, Gridiron Garb has been put on hold indefinitely, but I hope to be up and running ASAP. In the meantime, enjoy these swell pictures of UConn and Delaware from the 1958 Nutmeg yearbook.




Monday, November 17, 2014

Rivalry Week: Maine-New Hampshire


Welcome to Rivalry Week -- actually, Rivalry Weeks -- in which we’ll profile what makes college football so special … well, other than the cheerleaders and tailgating. 
For the next two weeks starting today, we’ll look at six great rivalries, all involving teams in our little uniform project. Four of these showdowns still happen annually, while two ended because of teams changing classifications (FBS to FCS, or vice versa). We’ll look at some key moments in each rivalry, with accompanying uniforms and other goodies. Many of the uniforms shown here will be profiled in greater detail down the road, but we’ll take a closer look at a few this week.
***
We’re not going to mess around: Maine-New Hampshire will kick off our special week(s). The teams play annually for the Brice-Cowell Musket, named for former coaches Fred Brice (Maine) and Butch Cowell (UNH). The musket is an 18th-century flintlock rifle made by one Ebenezer Nutting of Falmouth, Maine, and was first put up for grabs in the late 1940s.
As for the rivalry itself … Well, it pains me to say this as a Maine grad, but there hasn’t been much of one in recent years. UNH leads the series, 52–44–8, and has won 11 of the last 12 games, including an NCAA second-round tournament win last December. (Google “Brice-Cowell Musket” and you’ll see tons of photos of Wildcats celebrating around the fabled firearm.) But it wasn’t always like this, Black Bear fans. Once upon a time, Maine dominated this rivalry, and the Wildcats were none too pleased, as we shall see.
Here are some highlights of Maine-UNH:


The “BEAT MAINE” game, Oct. 13, 1962
I stumbled upon the below photo while poring through the 1963 Prism yearbook online several years ago. When I first noticed the words “BEAT MAINE” plastered the shoulders, I thought it was Bates or some ancient State Series opponent looking to make a statement against the big ol’ Black Bears. 

Yes, UNH went through the time and effort to place the words "BEAT MAINE"
on the players' jerseys before they visited Maine in 1962. Perhaps the Black Bears should
put "BEAT UNH" across their shirts this weekend. This is from the 1963 Prism yearbook.

A close-up of the jersey shoulder.
But as this pastime slowly turned into a research project, I saw the distinctive white jersey with blue sleeves over and over again, and I eventually realized it was Maine’s greatest historic rival expressing its disdain for the Black Bears. When UNH posted the 1963 Granite yearbook online a few years ago, a read through the football chapter confirmed my suspicions. This is part of the actual page:


The numbers are a little off; UNH was winless in its last seven games against Maine, not eight, and there were a couple of ties thrown in (Maine went 5-0-2 in that span). But the jerseys worked their magic, and the Wildcats handled the Bears 21-6 on their way to the Yankee Conference title. And the pep rallies in Durham were barren no more.



Maine’s uniforms were from the heyday of the Michigan-style helmet; otherwise, it was a classic, no-frills look. But red stripes on the socks? 
UNH, as mentioned earlier, had the distinctive sleeves with the silver helmets and pants, which were ditched in 1965. Here's the full UNH uniform for '62:


Note the "BEAT MAINE" shirts lacked numbers of the sleeves; the late '50s roads lacked sleeve numbers, so I suspect these might have been older jerseys recycled for the occasion. I also suspect blue socks were worn at times that year.

The “Batplay” game, Oct. 14, 1978
Where to start with this one? By 1978, New Hampshire was a perennial Yankee Conference powerhouse, and Maine was stuck in a three-year death march in which it went 1-13-1 in YC play. This was the second “1”: a 7-7 deadlock played in a quagmire at Cowell Stadium, even though UNH was a 24-point favorite.
Here, in grainy black-and-white, is how Maine scored its TD.
Maine lined up for a field goal, only for holder Tony Trafton to flip the ball to kicker Mike Hodgdon, who punched the ball into the end zone, where tight end Dave Higgins recovered for the unlikely TD. Just your typical play — one that received national attention, including a blurb in Sports Illustrated (scroll down to the entry marked "Educated Fist").
Before the game, Maine coach Jack Bicknell tipped off the officials he might use the “batplay,” as he had done with the zebras all season. After the game, he noted the rules stated you could bat a lateral pass forward, since it was technically a fumble.
The play came from a book by David Nelson, a former Maine coach who later made his name at Delaware, called Illustrated Football Rules. “I wasn’t looking for loopholes,” Bicknell told The Boston Globe. Loophole or not, the NCAA banned the "batplay" after the season.
Lost among the controversy was that Maine’s defense stopped UNH cold at the 1-yard line and the Wildcats missed four field goal attempts in the muck. 


UNH’s uniforms from this era need no introduction; anyone older than 30 who grew up watching football in the Granite State — or New England, for that matter — remembers this classic look. Maine’s uniforms in the Jack Bicknell/Ron Rogerson era were pretty conservative, almost like Penn State from the neck down. I want to talk about this uniform in more detail later on. No. 89 was future NFL linebacker Chris Keating.

The Alfond Stadium opener, Sept. 12, 1998
A few weeks ago, I mentioned the final game at dilapidated Alumni Field, which was torn down before the termites could eat it first. In 1998, Maine opened shiny Harold Alfond Sports Stadium — and crushed UNH 52-28, even though the Wildcats’ roster featured running back Jerry Azumah, who went on to win the Walter Payton award that year as the best player in Division I-AA (now FCS). Your humble servant was one of the 9,244 fans in attendance.

The Alfond Stadium opener, from the back cover of the 1999 Maine media guide.
I'm somewhere behind the 40-yard-line on the far end, about a dozen rows back.


UNH’s uniforms … see 1978. We profiled them back in August. Maine’s “Darth Vader” unis were profiled here.

The first playoff meeting, Dec. 7, 2013
Maine had steamrolled through the CAA in 2013, winning its first seven league games en route to its first league title in 11 years. Then came a trip to UNH and a 24-3 mauling by the Wildcats. To add insult to, er, insult, Maine hosted UNH in the second round of the NCAA tournament two weeks later — the first time the Bears had ever hosted a postseason game. The Wildcats spoiled the party with a 41-27 win. Someday, Black Bear fans …


We discussed these uniforms in our initial posts on Maine and UNH, all those months ago. 
***
Later this week: A trophy that got its name from the kidnapping of livestock.