Friday, September 21, 2018

What a Downer!

Cover to Novermber 16, 1940, Dartmouth-Cornell football programWhat a weird cover for a football program. It is for the 1940 Dartmouth-Cornell game that was held here in Hanover on November 16th. The strange dolls on the cover represent Cornell cheerleaders and the drum major in a state of despair. The designer of the cover couldn't have gotten it any better, but the dismay of the Cornell faithful was not over a thrashing of the football team by Dartmouth--it was far stranger.

It was a defensive battle. The game remained scoreless until the fourth quarter when Dartmouth managed a field goal to go up 3-0. But the next drive, with only minutes to play, Cornell methodically marched down the field for a first and goal on the six-yard line. On first down, they moved it to the three, then on second down to the one-yard-line, and on third down to the one-foot-line. The quarterback called a timeout, but the team had none, so Cornell penalized five yards back to the five-yard line. Fourth down... and the pass into the end zone was knocked down by a Dartmouth defender. As the head linesman carried the ball out to the 20-yard line for Dartmouth to take over and run out the final three seconds, the referee overruled him and placed the ball on the five, Cornell ball. In the ensuing play Cornell scored to win the game. You can picture those cheerleaders on the cover perking up!

But... that was FIVE downs. Cornell got the hell out of town with a 7-3 victory. Protests and chaos overcame campus for two days until, on Monday, the head linesman sent a telegram to Lou Young, the captain of the Dartmouth football team, apologizing for his mistake, and Cornell conceded the game to Dartmouth. According to the yearbook, the campus "went all out in the greatest demonstration of  football enthusiasm the college has ever known." Those Cornell cheerleaders stooped in despair, the drum major despondent, just like the program prophesied.

We pulled this program from Charles "Stubbie" Pearson's papers, MS-895, Box 4, Folder 16. Stubbie is one of our favorite Dartmouth heroes--for more on him see our "March Madness" post.

No comments :

Post a Comment