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The Coe/Cornell Rivalry - The Beginning

"The longest living rivalry west of the Mississippi"

As long as there has been football at Coe, there has been the rivalry between Coe and Cornell College, located in Mount Vernon, just a few miles east on Highway 30. The first game between the two teams was in 1891, Coe's first season of football, when the Rams beat the inexperienced Coe team 82-0. Coe at 125 tells the story of that initial match-up: "Almost none of the Coe men had played football before, while Cornell had had several games under its belt. The Coe students (including George Bryant and Fredrick Murray) trooped onto the freight train heading for Mt. Vernon for the inaugural game. These innocents put on their unpadded canvas uniforms, fluffed their heavy hair in lieu of helmets, and hastily looked at a rule book. The field was a cattle pasture with a creek running along the 50-yard line and the cows had to be driven off before the game could start."

The 1894 season brought about Coe' first victory over the Cornell eleven with a score of 28-6. This first decade of football rivalry was fueled by the 1903 game, in which the score has long been refuted. According to guy Simons, '94, who wrote The History of Coe College Football. "In that 1903 contest, Coe claims a 6-5 victory over Cornell, while the Rams say that they won the game 11-6. Most contests at that time consisted of two halves, thirty minutes each, but before this particular game both squads and the referee agreed to play two, twenty-minute halves. However, the timekeeper was unaware of this change and allowed an extra four and a half minutes to expire in the opening half before anyone realized the mistake. Coe had already led 6-0 at the conclusion of the twenty minutes when Cornell scored, which was during this extra four and a half minute span. Cornell's touchdown, five points, along with a second half touchdown made the score, according to Cornell, 11-6."

For the next few years, the victories Were shared pretty evenly between the two schools. In 1913, however, the Coe "1000% team" was in full action. During the entire season, no team had scored a point against them, and this was the case in the Cornell match as well, as the teams tied at 0-0. The year 1914 was another banner year for the Coe eleven. This was Moray Eby's first year as coach, and the team became known as the "Point-A-Minute" team for their incredible action in their five Iowa Conference games. Cornell was the last of the teams to be played, and the Crimson and Gold polished off their regular season with a score of 19-7.

Before Coe was the Kohawks, before the Victory Bell had been put up, even before Coe had existed for ten years, there was a fierce rivalry between Cornell and Coe. The Cosmos from October 25, 1918 states: "The Coe-Cornell game is without a doubt the most important on the schedule, for a Coe season is not complete without administering a defeat to Cornell." The rivalry continues today, serious on the field, but often entailing pranks and high jinks. It is rumored that in 2001, mice that had been dyed Cornell's purple were let loose in one of the building on Coe's campus. The 2001 Acorn describes that year's game: "Coe had been unvictorious against rival Cornell for the past five years, but this year would turn out to be different. They ended the first quarter with a 14­0 lead over the Rams, and followed by humiliating them in the second quarter, sending Cornell into the locker room with a score of 42-0. The third quarter proved to not be any better for the Rams, when Coe proceeded to score again ending the third quarter at 49-0. By the end of the game, the Kohawks handed Cornell a defeat they will not soon forget. With a final score of 56-13, Coe stomped Cornell with the biggest victory they had ever had against this rival team since 1897.

 
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