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.