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Itís Gridiron Madness

November 6, 2002

Almanac Transcript

It's gridiron madness this week on the Oklahoma Audio Almanac.

Hello. I'm Steven Knoche Kite.

For the first few years of its existence, the game of football only slightly resembled the game as we know it today. Protective equipment was optional and almost never worn. The game was considered by some to be so deadly that a movement began in the early 1900s to ban the game entirely from the United States. Students in collegiate games were dying at an alarming rate from football-related injuries, an untold hundreds of injuries occurred every year.

Also different were the original football rules. Forward passes weren't a part of the game, and in some instances there were no boundary markers used. The ball was essentially in play regardless of where it happened to go. This free-play spirit allowed for a much different game than we are used to today, one with, of course, more running and also a rougher playing style.

It was in this week of 1904 that two early Oklahoma football teams met in Guthrie. It was a match-up between the Tigers of A&M College of Stillwater and the University of Oklahoma, and it proved to be an exciting contest. There weren't any radio play-by-play broadcasts at the game that year, but if there were, it might have gone something like this:

KB: Hello again everyone. There's no score here at Highland Park in Guthrie between Oklahoma University and the A&M College of Stillwater on this cold and blustery day. I'm Kelly Burley.
SK: And I'm Steven 'Okie' Knoche Kite and, Kelly, the Tigers are really struggling now.
KB: A&M now putting from inside their own one-yard line. Hereís the snap to Captain Callahan.
SK: He's got it.
KB: He kicked it straight up in the air.
SK: Oh, no.
KB: The wind is now carrying the ball behind Stillwater's end-zone.
SK: That was some gust of wind, Kelly.
KB: And now there's a mad scramble for the ball.
SK: The ball has rolled into Cottonwood Creek.
KB: Burleson and Baird for Stillwater, Cook, Long and Matthews for University of Oklahoma are now in Cottonwood Creek.
SK: They're swimming.
KB: Baird has the football. No, no, it's Cook with the elusive oval.
SK: That's one slippery ball.
KB: He's swimming now to the other goal line.
SK: I - I think it's the dog paddle.
KB: It's a touchdown for Oklahoma University! What a splash.
SK: He swam ten yards for the touchdown.

It was during the annual match-up between OU and OAMC occurring in this week of 1904, that for the first and only time in known football history, a player swam in for the touchdown. OU went on to win the match-up 75 to 0.

Iím Steven Knoche Kite.

The Oklahoma Audio Almanac is a joint production of the Oklahoma State University Library and Oklahoma's Public Radio.

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