So by now you know that Syracuse and Colgate are old timey rivals with a rich history. But what does that really mean? For most of us, that's just words and stats on a page. What made the rivalry great was not the breadth of it but the memories and moments that existed within. We know these two teams played, but what did it mean to win this game in 1910? (Answer: A helluva lot more than it means in 2010).
And so, I give you the Ten Most Memorable Games in the Syracuse-Colgate football rivalry, as best I can tell. (Chronological order)
The first game goes back. Way back. Like, November 7th, 1891 back. As a sign of things to come, Colgate won the game 22-16. It wouldn't be until 1895 that Syracuse got its first win in the series, a 4-0 defensive struggle. They wouldn't get that many more for the next forty years.
With both teams in the win column, the series was finally a full-fledged rivalry. This game was especially hard-fought and the two teams were deadlocked 6-6 late. With the clock running down, a Syracuse player broke free for what looked like the winning touchdown. It was at this point that someone from the Colgate sideline came onto the field and tackled the player! Was it a coach? Nope. A player? No way. It was a reporter. A REPORTER. Imagine Bud Poliquin jumping on the field to tackle one of the players mid-play. Crazy.
The game ended in a 6-6 tie and as a result of the wackiness, the game was put in hiatus for four years. God damn liberal media.
The game itself, which Colgate won 6-3, was not of great consequence. It was what happened around it. One hundred spectators were injured and one was killed when the bleachers collapsed during the game. The tragedy was one of the impetuses to build Archbold Stadium.
The first game played in Archbold Stadium started a very unfortunate curse for Syracuse when it came to playing Colgate. The rumor was, during construction in 1907, a Colgate student placed a varsity "C" sweater in the cement before it dried. But curses aren't real, right? Well, on the day Syracuse had the ball eight times inside the Colgate 10-yard line and once on the three-yard line.
Colgate won the game 6-0. Friggin' Hoodoo.
Up until this game, Colgate had the look of champion. They were 5-0 and had outscored their opponents 223-0. Syracuse, who was in the middle of a pretty good season themselves, was not impressed. Before a then-New York record of 25,000 spectators, the Orangemen blew out the Red Raiders 38-0. There only so much Hoodoo to go around, apparently.
One of the teams that played in the game this season went on to become National Champions. Sadly, it was not the Orangemen. Colgate would finish the year 9-0 and would not allow a single point to be scored against them the entire year. They soundly beat Syracuse 16-0 en route to their title.
As was known to happen during football season, the Syracuse-Colgate game took place during a near-blizzard. Players and fans couldn't even see the markers on the field, so it's no wonder the score was 0-0 heading into the fourth quarter. As time wound down, 150-pound Syracuse halfback Walter "Slivers" Slovenski took a pitch and ran the ball 75 yards for the touchdown, much to the delight of the 35,000 on hand. Slivers was a recent returnee from WWII and a fan favorite. SU won the game 7-0.
The last time Colgate defeated Syracuse, a 19-14 win at Archbold. Notable since it wasn't THAT long before the National Title year. Syracuse grew up in the 50's and it grew up in a hurry.
By this point, the tide had turned on the Syracuse-Colgate series. The Orangemen were in full control, in particular Jim Brown. All Brown did was run for 196 yards, score six touchdowns and kick seven extra points for a grand total of 43 points... an NCAA record that stood for over 40 years. Syracuse won the game 61-7.
This time it was Syracuse's turn to be the National Champion and, just like when Colgate won their title, the Orangemen blanked their opponent. Of course, SU was a little more judicious with the scoring on the day, winning the game 71-0 in front of 31,000 fans. Syracuse had 607 yards of total offense, Colgate had 80. The Hoodoo was officially dead.