College Football History made–98 years ago

FYI: This is a special edition of Lighting-up the Scoreboard. The regular post will be online later this week.

In a span of four days, American College Football history was made. It was the first time that a team had scored 100 more points in a game since Walter Camp introduced the scoring vales in 1883.

There was no wide-spread media coverage to cover this game, much less transmitting it along the electronic air waves.

The first, as with so many of college football’s initial events, would involve Yale. On Oct. 25 1884, the team traveled Dartmouth; returning back to its campus with a 113-0 winner. Not to be out, rival Princeton would surpass the mark in its defeat of Lafayette, 140-0 four days later.

It was also the initial contest between the two schools.

In the season finale, between the two high scoring teams, defense prevailed…final score 0-0.

An interesting note: this is the only game when Dartmouth has ever been involved in a game where both teams combined for 100 or more points.

According to Richard Topp, an expert at score research, there has been 982 games where the winner has tallied at least 100; as verified by his work within his database, The American College Football Scorebook

As most college football fans know, the east coast was the haven of college football during its formative falls.

Princeton’s mark would only last until the 1886 season, when Harvard tallied 158 points when it shutout Phillips-Exeter Academy.

Returning to the field…After Harvard canceled the 1885 season; the school came back a year later revived and ready to play. Aided by the 158 point total, Harvard would finish the season with 765 points—a record for all of college football until the 2004 season. That season Pittsburg State (Kansas) must have burned scoreboard lights all across its 14-game schedule—scoring 837 points.

Between the 1884-99 seasons, 29 games were played with the winner tallying 100 or more markers.

College Football’s Big Three: Harvard, Princeton and Yale led the way; as each school was involved with four games, scoring over 100 points each time.

The early powerhouses scored 1421 points between them; while not so much as allowing a goal-from-the field–an early name for field goals–by their opponents.

Seven of the games that were dominated by the pre-Ivy schools were Wesleyan and Johns Hopkins, as they lost by a combined 793-0.

A closer look at the scores show the dominance.

Combined Points: 581
Yale 136, Wesleyan 0
    1891 Harvard 124, Wesleyan 0
    1887 Harvard 110, Wesleyan 0
Yale 106, Wesleyan 0
  1888 Yale 105, Wesleyan 0
Combined Points: 212 1885 Princeton 108, Johns Hopkins 0
Princeton 104, Johns Hopkins 0


The only other time when two teams met and one totally dominated the other on the scoreboard was during the Oklahoma-Kingfisher games; played during the decade of the teens. (Really the Sooners had a total dominance over this school; but just time three times saw its team register 100 or more points.)

The first such game coincided with the Sooners’ first century output. In 1911, OU scored 104 and the onslaught was on. (This was the sixth of 13 games that the victor tallied this amount.)

Twice later the high-scoring Sooners would combine to defeat this opponent by a 336-0 count; for a three-game tally of 440-0.

History was about to be made…twice in a 24-hour period

While Oklahoma consistently found the end zone against Kingfisher; another school from the Sooner State, Central State Normal, would set and hold the single-game mark for the most points scored in a game—in less than 24 hours.

Richard Topp sent this:



Edmond, Okla. Oct. 7. – Football authorities of Oklahoma Central Normal here believe the score rolled up against Oklahoma Methodist university (sic) here yesterday 183 to 0 is the largest on record. During the game twenty-seven touchdowns were made by Central Normal.

By the end of the games played on the date shown above; the record for most point scored in a college football game had been eclipsed by Georgia Tech in its high-scoring contest; as it defeated Cumberland, Tenn., 222-0.

Georgia Tech scored 29 total touchdowns; while Oklahoma Central Normal had 27. *[Stars of an Earlier Autumn second edition]

Worth Noting: Games before and after for Cumberland and Georgia Tech

Cumberland opened its three-game season with a loss to Sewanee 107 Cumberland 0.

Georgia Tech, ‘tuned-up for the high-scoring affair’ by defeating Mercer, 61-0.


Middle Tennessee ended Cumberland’s with the former scoring a 49-0 victory.

Georgia Tech must have been exhausted after the previous week’s game; as they would only register a 9-0 triumph over Davidson.


A review of the teams recording 100 or more points in a season show that for the 1916 season 17 teams reached the century mark—up 7 from the previous season.

The single-season high was 20 (1912—the first year that current scoring values of 6 points for a TD was first used). Taking advantage of the higher TD value was a couple of small college from Kansas, as each tallied 151 points. Southwestern and Kansas State Manuel shutout their opponents: Friends and Springfield Normal (Missouri), respectively.

A total of 138 games, played from 1884-1916, saw a victorious eleven would put their mark of 100-plus points on the scoreboard.

To put the 222 points in perspective, here’s a progression of teams that would hold the single-season mark; including Georgia Tech’s scoreboard busting offensive explosion.

140 1884 Princeton 140, Lafayette 0
158 1886 Harvard 158, Phillips-Exeter Academy 0
159 1913 Newberry 159, Bailey Military Institute 0
165 1915 Christian Brothers 165, Marvin College 0
222 1916 Georgia Tech 222, Cumberland 0



After the 1916 season (1917-36), 116 times a college football team would hit the century mark; as King (Tenn.) became the third team to score 200 points in a game.

The school’s most lopsided “W” came when it defeated Lenior (now, Lenior-Rhyne NC), 205-0.

A Baker’s Dozen…

Official college football statistics began with the 1937 season. Since that time only 13 games have been played where the winner topped the century point total.

111 1937 Arkansas A & M 111, Northeast Center-LSU 0
104 1941 Morehead Teachers 104, Rio Grande 0
105 1946 Wiley 105, Philander Smith 0
101 1947 Wilberforce State 101, Wright-Patterson Field 0
125 1949 Connecticut 125, Newport Navy 0
107 1949 High Point 107, Pope Field 0
103 1949 Wyoming 103, Colorado State College 0
103 1949 San Jose State 103, University of Mexico 0
111 1951 Paul Quinn 111, Mary Allen JC 0
103 1967 Alcorn A & M 103, Paul Quinn 0
106 1968 Houston 100, Tulsa 6
101 1989 Central State (Ohio) 101, Lane 0
105 2003 Rockford 105, Trinity Bible 0


[Courtesy of Richard Topp’s American Football Scorebook; used by permission.]


Early in the 2014 season, Texas A&M-Commerce just missed, by two points, from joining the 13 teams above.

Since 2010, six teams were within 10 points of 100.

98 118 Texas A&M-Commerce 98, East Texas Baptist 20 2014 NCAA II
95 184 Faulkner 95, Union (Ky.) 89 2011 NAIA
91 119 West Alabama 91, Central State (Ohio) 28 2013 NCAA II
90 147 West Texas A & M 90, McMurry 57 2013 NCAA II
90 118 Pittsburg State 90, Southwest Minnesota State 28 2013 NCAA II
90 109 Lindenwood 90, Culver-Stockton 19 2010 NAIA

 Will college football every see another game with the winner Lighting-up the Scoreboard with three spots on the scoreboard? I think so…I hope so…do you?


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