According to the diary of 1930’s coed, Ruth Finzel, recently donated to the University of Maryland Archives, the Aggies football team got a “dirty deal” in their loss to the Naval Academy Middies 86 years ago today at Washington’s Griffith Stadium.
The Crab Bowl, as it is presently known, was played on November 22, 1930. Notable attendees at the game included Charles F. Adams, Secretary of the Navy, Albert E. Ritchie, Maryland Governor, Sir Ronald Lindsay, British Ambassador, and Rear Adm. S.S. Robinson, Naval Academy Superintendent. By many accounts, the 1930 game proved to be the first competitive contest of the series, with Navy scoring the only points on the second play of the game. The remaining 58 minutes were a defensive struggle
Here’s Ruth’s account of that football showdown:
“Norma, Jake, Morselly, Jane Smith and I went with Ruth Gilbert to the Navy game. The girls wore chrysanthemums and ribbons to it [sic]. The traffic was terrible and Ruth was driving like wild. Smacked into someone and nearly upset [sic] another time. Parked way off. Lost 6-0 by a dirty deal. Kennedy came down with me for the last 10 minutes of the game and walked out with me. He’s so cute. I told him about my Iota Nu Delta date, so he told me about his. I’m glad he had a punk time. Went to bed early.
The dirty deal to which Ruth refers? Check out the account of the game in The Diamondback: “Byrdmen Beaten by Kirn Plus Ten Men in Annapolis Fracas. Adverse Decision Turns Possible Triumph into Defeat”
This was the latest installment of an intense football rivalry between two institutions close in proximity (30 miles) but many miles apart in cultural and institutional differences. Play began in 1905, ended abruptly 60 years later, but was renewed in 2005. Losing the first 8 games, Maryland finally won in 1931, the season after Ruth graduated. One of the highlights of this long series is the September 30, 1951, game at which Byrd Stadium, now known as Maryland Stadium, was dedicated. The Terps topped the Middies, 35-21, that day, and UMD Heisman Trophy runner-up Jack Scarbath scored the first touchdown in the new stadium. A total of 21 games have been played with an overall record of 14 Navy wins to Maryland’s 7.
Historically, the in-state rivalry was fueled by what some young men perceived as the coeds’ attraction to nattily-attired Midshipmen in their handsome uniforms over the more typical casual appearance and behavior of men on the Maryland campus. There was also an enduring grudge borne out of a single-finger gesture made by a Maryland linebacker after tackling Navy QB Roger Staubach, during a narrow Maryland victory, 27-22, in 1964. Consequently, the Maryland-Navy competition was suspended for 40 years by Navy.
Here’s a selection of program covers from some of our contests against the Middies:
We 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.