News 12’s Brian Donohue celebrates the birth of college football the Jersey way

The first college football game took place in New Jersey 150 years ago. It was a game between Princeton and Rutgers universities.

News 12 Staff

Nov 7, 2019, 1:10 AM

Updated 1,663 days ago

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The first college football game took place in New Jersey 150 years ago. It was a game between Princeton and Rutgers universities.
Rutgers and New Brunswick officials commemorated the event Wednesday with a ceremony that included a marching band, a proclamation and a brand-new plaque.
The plaque stands in front of the College Avenue Gymnasium, which was built alongside the field where the first game was played. But the site of that first historic game is now a parking lot.
So, News 12 New Jersey’s Brian Donohue decided that he wanted to commemorate the first college football game in his own way – the Jersey way.
Donohue found a group of Rutgers students and convinced them to play a game of touch football with him in that parking lot so that they could feel a bit of kinship with the students who first played a college football game over a century ago.
“An actual game on the site of that first Rutgers-Princeton matchup. Impromptu, in the spirit of that first game,” Donohue said.
Cars in the parking lot were the end zones, just like pickup games of football that countless New Jersey residents played when they were kids.
“I could tell they could feel the weight of history on their shoulders,” Donohue said of his student teammates.
That first college game took place on Nov. 6, 1869. Rutgers won that first game with a score of 6-4.


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