Tuesday, January 14, 2020

From The Time Machine

In each of the last two years Dartmouth and Princeton have brought 7-0 records into their meeting. While both games were memorable – in 2018 for being a defensive battle of the ages and in 2019 for the Yankee Stadium venue – the most memorable battle of 7-0 Big Green and Tiger teams took place in 1935.

A crowd of more than 50,000 in a "driving snowstorm" at Palmer Stadium saw Princeton take a commanding 26-6 win over the visitors, outgaining the Big Green, 200 yards to three.

But that's not what the game was best known for. It's hard to make out exactly what's happening in video below (posted on YouTube last week) but here's how Richard Goldstein described the scene in his 1996 book Ivy League Autumns; An Illustrated History of College Football's Grand Old Rivalries:
The game would be remembered long afterward – not for the Princeton comeback but for a bizarre moment in the fourth quarter. Princeton, leading by three touchdowns, was at the Dartmouth 3. Just as the ball was snapped, a spectator who had sneaked onto the field lined up with the defense. Princeton went ahead with the play and gained 2 yards despite the extra defender. Seconds later – with the 12th man having been escorted away – the Tigers’ Jack White ran in for the score. 
A few days later, a cook and counterman at a Rahway, New Jersey diner named Mike Mesko garnered headlines by claiming to be the interloper, saying he had bet $2 on Dartmouth. "I saw they were taking a pretty rough shellacking and I wanted to help them," he told reporters while slapping together a ham sandwich. 
But Mesko later admitted that his story wasn't true, and newspaper accounts suggested that the invader was a Princeton man liberally fortified with alcohol. Many years afterword, an article in the Princeton Athletic News identified the culprit as Georg Larsen, an architect from Cranford New Jersey, who evidently had partaken in a bit of partying. Larsen claims neither Princeton nor Dartmouth allegiance – he had gone to the University of Cincinnati. 
Dave Camerer, a Dartmouth tackle that day, later speculated that his helper had never experienced higher education of any sort. 
“I don't think he was a college man," said Camerer.”At least what he yelled was,’Kill THEM Princeton bastards.’ ” 
Princeton’s president Harold W. Dodds, was unamused by what came to be called “The 12th Man Game." The following October, he imposed a ban on liquor at Princeton Stadium.
Find a couple more stories about the game HERE and HERE.

THE 12TH MAN GAME VIDEO (which suggests the fan was trying to help Princeton ;-)