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Classic Games in Cyclone Football History: 1903 at Drake

Referee Clyde Williams, four years before becoming ISC’s head coach: “It is not my custom to discuss games in which I officiate. However, I will state that it was a great battle.”

Ames and College Railroad, better known as the Dinkey, departs from west side of ISC campus building for downtown Ames. The year is about 1900. The Dinkey ran from 1892 until 1907. The fare was five cents. Morrill Hall, in background, was built in 1890.
Farwell T. Brown

According to “The sports editor of The Des Moines Register convinces the head coaches at Iowa State and Drake to wear numbers on their team’s uniforms for the upcoming Cyclone-Bulldog showdown in Des Moines. The game, played on Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 26), makes the two schools among the first nationally to don numerals for fan and media identification. Results are flown back to Ames by carrier pigeon.”

The Minneapolis Journal, 26 Nov 1903

The following recap is via The Register and Leader from November 27, 1903.

The Register and Leader - November 27, 1903

After seventy minutes of desperate play, filled to the brim with high class and exciting football, the blue and white of Drake university bowed in defeat before the cardinal and gold of the Iowa college at Ames, in the great Thanksgiving day football match played in this city. The final score was 16 to 0. Ames scored three touchdowns, but was able to convert only one of them into a goal.

(Jared’s note: Scoring was different in 1903. Touchdowns were worth five points, as were field goals, safeties were worth two and “goals from touchdown”/PATs as we know them now were worth one.)

The game was without dispute one of the greatest exhibitions of the great fall sport, which had ever been seen in Des Moines. Both teams trained specially for the contest, and were on edge when they cantered on the field. The result of the game is a clear indication of the relative merits of the two teams, as they played yesterday. The Ames men were able to negotiate through the Drake line, and Drake’s fast halves did not do the execution expected around the Ames ends, who played a remarkable game. The difference in weight, though not so great as expected, was not inconsiderable. The Drake team, as it entered the game, averaged a trifle over 160 pounds and Ames’ average weight was 170, a discrepancy of about ten pounds in favor of the agriculturalists.

During the first half the two teams were fairly evenly matched. Ames from first showed the greater ground gaining abilities, but Drake interposed a desperate defense which held for downs once on her six-yard line and kept the plunging Ames backs and tackles safely away from the goal line until 32 34 minutes of the first half had elapsed. The first half ended with a score of 5 to 0. In the second half, superior physical condition on the part of Ames began to manifest itself, and the Drake team weakened by repeated substitutions was not able to hold its own. The farmers continued to play hard, fast football, and had little difficulty in adding two more touchdowns to their list.

Haskins field, Drake University, Nov. 26, ‘08, Ames 12, Drake 6
Bandholtz, F. J. (Frederick J.) (June 21, 1877-December 31, 1963)

Crowd Large and Enthusiastic

The weather was ideal for the game and one of the largest Thanksgiving crowds in the history of Des Moines football filled the stands and crowded about the fence encircling the field. Ames banners of cardinal and gold flaunted gaily from the south where fully a thousand representatives from the State college were stationed.

South side of Onondaga near Douglas corner from 1907 panoramic photo, showing Cupps & Cupps Millenery, a drug store, dentist office, and the Wettstein Tailoring Co. | North side of Onondaga (Main) Street. Buildings shown between Douglas and Kellogg include Wallace Greeley’s Union National Bank at right with O.K. Barbershop in basement. Tilden Department Store occupied building west of bank, down to Judisch’s Drug Store at left. | Northeast corner of Onondaga and Douglas showing Parley Sheldon’s Story County Bank. On second floor of bank are offices of McCarthy & Lee, lawyers.
Photo by: F. J. Bandholtz | Caption by Farwell T. Brown

The Ames band was present, and its inspiring strains whiled away the time before the teams came on the field. Ames was enthusiastic before the game and afterword. Yelling masters conducted the cheering, and led in the rendition of such inspiring slogans such as:

A-M-E-S, rah rah, rah rah,

A-M-E-S, rah rah, rah rah,

Hoo rah, hoo ray,

State college, Ioway.

Another famous battle cry which was a favorite was:

Riff raff ruff, riff raff ruff,

Cyclones, cyclones,

Pretty hot stuff.

The Ames side of the field was draped in cardinal and gold bunting, and banners of the same colors waved jubilantly everywhere.