Friday, November 8, 2019

Time For History

TigerBlog, as you're probably aware as a loyal reader, is a huge fan of history.

It's one of the best things about working at Princeton. There's so much of it here.

There's also so much still to be learned, and it always fascinates TB when he stumbles on something he didn't already know.

That happened to him yesterday, when he learned something about Hobey Baker that he didn't already know.

Baker, of course, is one of the most iconic figures in Princeton Athletics history. A 1914 grad, he is a member of the hockey and college football Halls of Fame, something nobody else has ever achieved. He was a legend before he ever came to Princeton, and his heroic status only grew with his flying record in World War I and his subsequent death a few weeks after the war ended in a plane crash in France, just before he was to be return home.

It turns out that Baker scored 180 points, which at the time was a school record. Or at least that's what it says on Wikipedia.

What it also says is that Baker held the school record until the fourth quarter of Cosmo Iacavazzi's last collegiate game, which was in 1964 - or 51 years later. Iacavazzi did finish with 186 career points, which at the time he graduated was the Princeton record.

Today that's sixth, by the way. Keith Elias, John Lovett, Judd Garrett, Derek Javarone and Nolan Bieck all surpassed Iacavazzi.

TB was asked to write some bullet points that featured some of the highlights of Princeton football history. That's a fun thing for him to do, and he could do that off the top of his head.

The last bullet he wrote said this:

2019 - 7-0, and ... ???

Princeton and Dartmouth are about to add another chapter to their long histories when they meet tomorrow at Yankee Stadium, with kickoff at 3:30 for a game that can be seen on ESPNU.

Tomorrow will be a historic moment, no matter what. It's two teams who are 7-0, both nationally ranked, and playing in a game that is being held at one of the most famous sporting venues in the country.

It's the second-straight year that both have played when they were 7-0. The Ivy League has never had the same two teams play each other this late in the season when both were unbeaten in consecutive years before.

In fact, it happened only five times prior to last year in the league's history, and only once in the 25 years prior. That was in 2001, when Harvard defeated Penn.

So tomorrow's game is the seventh of these games. The first six have featured the following margins of victory:

21, 14, 0 (the famous 1968 Harvard-Yale tie), 16, 7, 5 (last year's Princeton 14-9 win).

For the first six such games, three were at least two touchdowns, and three were within a touchdown. That's sort of suggesting that there's no way to know what will happen tomorrow.

The game last year at Princeton Stadium might have been the best Ivy League football game TigerBlog has ever seen. It was high drama from start to finish, with two teams that weren't separated by much. One play, is how Princeton head coach Bob Surace described it.

This year's Princeton team hasn't been the dominant juggernaut that last year's was, and it has been special to see how the new faces have taken over from the ones who were such high profile members of last year's team. Dartmouth, too, has been great all year, whether it's been in games in which the Green has just dominated from the start or in last week's thrilling 9-6 win over Harvard.

And now they meet again with a lot on the line.

Princeton has won 17 straight. Dartmouth has won 19 of 20, with only last year's loss to Princeton mixed in there.

What should you expect to see tomorrow?

It'll be hard to match last year's drama, but these teams could do it. Or one could just have one of those days where everything goes right and the other team just can't match it.

The teams are ranked among the Ivy and national leaders in just about every statistic, especially scoring defense, where Dartmouth is one and Princeton is three. In between is North Dakota State, and those three are the only three unbeaten FCS teams, so there must be some sort of correlation.

TB is excited to watch this one. It's two great teams, in a stadium that makes it that much more special.

This one will make history, no matter what happens. Most games end up being final scores on a schedule. Some stand out more than others.

Some will be remembered forever, and that's what tomorrow's will be, for every player on both teams.

It usually takes a little while to appreciate historic moments. This is one that you know will be special, no matter what.

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