Angry in Piscataway
Your New Jersey tax dollars at work
Game of the Day (Day 68)
October 29, 1967
Columbia 24 Rutgers 13
I saw this letter this morning from a concerned Rutgers alum who's angry that the school once known for its connections to Ivies like Columbia and Princeton is now spending a huge amount to compete in big-time football and women's basketball.
Indeed, Columbia and Rutgers once had a grand football rivalry until the late 70's when the Scarlet Knights decided to go "big time." For the record, it took more than 25 years for Rutgers to get there, but get there they did and I think it's been a very good thing for New York-area sports fans who have been deprived of a personal connection to top-ranked college football for so long.
Rutgers' slow climb to upper echelon football made most of the last games against Columbia one-sided affairs, (the last meeting was in 1978 at Giants Stadium where the Lions fell by a 69-0 score, convincing then-Head Coach Bill Campbell to quit coaching, though he did spend one more year at the helm in Morningside Heights). But most of the games in the 1960's were pretty exciting. One of Columbia's best wins came in 1967, with junior QB sensation Marty Domres leading the way at Baker Field.
In what was to be legendary Coach Buff Donelli's last season, the Lions opened 1967 with an encouraging 17-14 win over Colgate. But then three mostly lopsided losses to Princeton, Harvard, and Yale followed. Domres was stellar in those losses, and he came into the Rutgers game with the best completion percentage in the nation at .606. But the Scarlet Knights were still favored by two scores.
Domres went deep early, hitting receiver Don Brophy on the first play from scrimmage for a 66-yard bomb to the Rutgers 10. Jim O'Connor took it in from the two three plays later for the 7-0 lead. The Domres led the team on an 11-play 83-yard drive before taking it in himself from the five, (Domres was also a fine runner), to make it 14-0 at the end of the first quarter.
Domres struck again after Rutgers had narrowed it to 14-7. He found captain Don Hubert for an 11-yard TD pass to make it 21-7 at the half.
Domres only attempted two passes in the second half, as he showcased his running skills along with the regular Lion ball carriers. Columbia finished the game with 244 yards rushing.
Another hero of the game was sophomore defensive back Jeff Blake who had two interceptions, both in the fourth quarter and both inside the Columbia 10-yard line to snuff out Rutgers' drives.
Columbia would not win again that season, but there was little doubt about how good Domres was after that day. He would eventually play several seasons in the NFL, and is now in the brokerage business in the Baltimore area.
The Columbia-Rutgers rivalry, the second oldest in college football, (the two teams first played in 1870), has been moribund for 30 years now.