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The Infamous Fifth Yard Victory
October 31, 2012
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Cornell Football takes on visiting Dartmouth this Saturday on the 62nd anniversary of the fifth down game.

This Saturday, Cornell football will host Dartmouth with a 12:30pm kickoff.  Both teams are 4-3 on the season and 2-2 in the ivy league, putting each a game out of first.  The first matchup ever between Cornell and Dartmouth was in 1900 which resulted in a 23-6 Cornell victory.  The game in 1940, however, is far more interesting.  

Cornell entered the 1940 game with an 18 game winning streak spanning 2 seasons.  The game was scoreless entering the fourth quarter; but a Dartmouth field goal in the middle of the final quarter broke the tie and gave them a 3-0 lead.  Cornell later got the ball down to the Dartmouth 6 with under a minute left.  The first down yielded a rushing gain of 3 yards, and they picked up 2 more on the second down putting them on the 1 yard line.  The third down was another attempted rush that only moved the ball a few inches.  Cornell was going for the touchdown on fourth and 1, but a delay of game penalty moved them back to the 5.  They still decided to go for it, but a pass toward the endzone was knocked down.  The referees gave the ball back to Cornell, and on what was the fifth down, quarterback Pop Scholl connected with William Murphy for the touchdown and the 7-3 victory making Cornell 8-0 on the season. 

After reviewing game film, officials discovered their mistake.  There was no precedent for any sort of event like this, however Cornell players, the Coach, the athletic director, and the University President who ironically was a Dartmouth alumnus, agreed, in a huge triumph of sportsmanship, to heroically telegram Dartmouth and offer to forfeit the game.  Dartmouth accepted and the game is now recorded as a 3-0 Dartmouth win.  It is the only time in history that a football game was decided off the field.  

The supremely moral Big Red are looking for a real victory this upcoming Sunday when they take on Dartmouth on the 62nd anniversary of the historic event.  They are only a game out of first with 3 contests remaining.  The Big Red are coming off a 37-35 win over Princeton in which 2 players were honored for their performance.  Junior quarterback Jeff Matthews was named Ivy League Offensive Player of the week after 4 touchdowns and over 500 yards and Freshman running back Luke Hagy was given his second ivy rookie of the week nod after a 95 yard effort and 1 touchdown.  Once again, you can catch that game this Saturday at Schoellkopf at 12:30.


Originally Aired: Wednesday, October 31, 2012. This is a part of the 93-Second Sports Shot series. 93-Second Sports Shots air weekday evenings at 6pm.
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