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The Football Game

On this date in 1894, the Fargo Agricultural College football team won the inter-collegiate state championship. It beat the Grand Forks University team by a score of 24 to 4. It was not a game that was won without a bit of controversy. The object of contention involved a disputed player on each team.

The Agricultural College boys would have preferred that the University College boys would have observed a league rule and not play their coach, Moloney. Under the rules, only undergraduates were allowed to play.

The Grand Forks boys on the other hand, under the leadership of Manager Bechdolt, protested one of the “farmers college” players – Professor Hinebaugh. The Grand Forks team considered him a “professional.” He far outranked the other players in size and knowledge of the game. The protest fell on deaf ears however, and the University team played the game under protest.

At the end of the first half, the “farmers” from Fargo outscored the Grand Forks team 16-0. In the damp and muddy field in Fargo, the boys from the university were able to score only four points in the second half. Meanwhile, the “farmers” put eight more points.

For the Fargo team, it was a good day. No injuries were reported that were serious enough to “lay anybody out.” Also, a crowd of interested spectators from both Fargo and Grand Forks took in the game. Because of this, the Agricultural College boys were able to sell enough tickets to nearly cover their expenses.

After losing the game, the University team along with their fans returned by train to Grand Forks.
The reporter for the Fargo Forum and Republican ended his account of the event by observing, “Under the circumstances, it will probably be some time before the two teams engage in another contest.”

126 years later, in 2020, UND will join NDSU in the Missouri Valley Football Conference. Game on.

Dakota Datebook by Dave Seifert


The Fargo Forum and Republican, Tuesday Evening, November 13, 1894. Pg. 4.

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