Until 1800 outdoor exercise for Princeton students usually
took the form of walking, horseback riding, canoeing down the
Millstone River, and hunting small game in the hills and fields
nearby. By 1857, cricket, baseball, and football arose as popular
sports on campus.
The first American intercollegiate football game was held between
Princeton and Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J. on November
6, 1869. The game played was a form of association
football, forerunner of later-day soccer.
The 25 players from each college played in their street clothes,
hundred spectators stood around on the
side or sat on a wooden fence. The Rutgers Targum reported
that Princeton's first goal
was made "by a well directed kick, from a gentleman whose
name we don't know, but who did the best kicking on the Princeton
side." The Targum is equally silent about the identity
of the first wrong-way player in American football history, a
man "who, in his ardor, forgot which way he was kicking," and
scored for Princeton instead of Rutgers.
Rutgers ended up winning the game 6 to 4. A week later,
however, Princeton won the return match on its grounds, 8 to
(Adapted from A