Terps vs. the Ivies

If you asked the first 100 fans you meet in Maryland Stadium “Did the Terps ever take on an Ivy League team on the gridiron,” probably the vast majority would respond, “No.” They would be surprised to learn that Maryland did indeed face off with Yale, Princeton, and Penn a total of 18 times, beginning in 1919 with a game against the Yale Bulldogs.

Terps’ losses far outnumbered their wins–vs. Yale (2-8-1), Princeton (0-2) and Pennsylvania (1-4). Their most lopsided loss came against Penn, 51-0, in the 1940 match-up.  The last time Maryland played against an Ivy League team was in 1941, losing again to Penn, 55-6. Terps have never taken on Columbia, Brown, Cornell or Dartmouth.

Despite this dismal record, a game against an Ivy League opponent was still  a very big deal, as our intrepid co-ed Ruth Finzel, Class of 1931, recounts in her diary, recalling  the rip-roaring motor trip from College Park to Connecticut to attend Maryland-Yale game on October 4, 1930:

MD vs Yale pennant 1928
Pennant from Maryland’s 1928 win over Yale. From the Cobey Family Collection.

Fri., October 3, 1930:

Eleanor Monsell came over and I heard her say something about Yale so I asked what about it.  She wanted to know if I’d go so I said yes.  We had dinner and then she called up Bernie Cox, a a Sigma Nu, to see if he really was in earnest about going.  He said he was and would be right over to go.  I called Crissie and told her to get ready that we were going to Yale.  We left at 7:20 — Crissie and I in the rumble seat.  We had a flat tire in Baltimore.  Just outside of Baltimore we met Arley Unger, Jimmy Andews, Dixon, and two other boys.  We stopped later and they gave us another blanket.  The boys wanted Bernie to drink but he wouldn’t.  He was marvelous to us.  Jimmy Andrews was tight and said to Babs 5 times, “you’re Joe Calara’s girl.  I can tell by the look on your face.”  The boys teased him silly.  We stopped a lot and once in New York City to get coffee.  It was a terrible dump.  Arley was stopped outside the tube in N.Y.  We went through Baltimore, Philadelphia, Trenton, Newark, Jersey City and New York City.

reveille1931_car with rumble seat_crop
Road trip!!

Sat., Oct. 4, 1931

We got to New Haven and Lofts Hotel at 8:30.  Crissie and Jimmie got into rooms.  The clerk  wanted to know just what our intentions were!  We got a bath and rested awhile and then went to lunch.  We saw R. Miles, Heather, B. Kent, Bob, Jack and Freddie there.  Bob said I was a mess with the dark circles and chapped face.  We went to the game which was at the Yale Bowl.  There were 30,000 people there and room for some more.  Yale won 40-13.  Our first defeat by them.  We saw Jo at the game and she came and sat with us awhile when not leading cheers.  He called Bonnie down front and we went down, too.  Saw Bill, Nook, Downey and Kenny there after the game.  We went to the hotel and checked out and waited for Jo.  Bill and Downey tricked us and we started out together, but they left us.

Yale football program 1929
Yale game day program, 1929.

Sun., Oct. 5:

We, Jane Smith, and all of us stopped to see New York.  We drove around for an hour then went on and stopped for dinner at a cute place.  Babs and I would have frozen if we hadn’t stopped now and then.  We enjoyed it though and slept a lot.  I slept most of the time we were in New York City.  We stopped for coffee and breakfast at other times too.  We got with Arley before New York too.  And then went on.  We got home in 15 hrs. and 15 min, and I surely was glad to get here.  I took a bath and went to bed.  Bob up for dinner and went to bed.  Got up for supper, studied and went to bed.

Ruth’s ride in the rumble seat and all the weekend’s adventures didn’t help her with her Econ quiz the following Monday. “I think I flunked it.”

Will the Terps vs. Ivies gridiron rivalry ever be resurrected?  One thing for certain, the Maryland team and fans promise to bring a more competitive showing and an exciting day of football!

Ruth Finzel-cropWe post this today, on the 86th anniversary of this special day in Ruth’s life, and encourage you to check back for future snapshots of this era in UMD history! You can find her account of the 1930 May Day fun with Zingaree and the Gypsies here.





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