As the NFL celebrates its 100th season this year, college football is also enjoying a special milestone in 2019.
Wednesday is the 150th anniversary of the first college football game ever played. The matchup took place in New Brunswick and featured the College of New Jersey (now Princeton) and Rutgers, with the latter winning by a score of 6-4.
The NFL celebrated college football and its important role in the sport’s past, present and future during Monday night’s game between the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium. As part of the festivities, former Giants Shaun O’Hara (Rutgers alum) and Keith Elias (Princeton) served as the game’s honorary captains for the coin toss.
The Giants’ current roster is well represented in the top 10 of the Associated Press rankings. The Giants have players from LSU (Russell Shepard), Alabama (Dalvin Tomlinson), Clemson (Dexter Lawrence and Wayne Gallman), Penn State (Saquon Barkley and Grant Haley), Georgia (Alec Ogletree, Lorenzo Carter and DeAndre Baker), Oklahoma (Sterling Shepard) and Florida (Jon Halapio) currently on the team.
College football is celebrating its 150th season in 2019
Earlier this season, we caught up with several members of the 2019 New York Giants to discuss some of their favorite memories from their college football days.
QB Daniel Jones, Duke
“Looking back on my college experience, being a part of the Duke-Carolina rivalry and going 3-0 in my time there, I’d say. So I think those memories, each of those games are games I’ll always remember, look back fondly. But just to be a part of those rivalries in college athletics, and for Duke it was against Carolina, I think is what makes a lot of those games special and I'll definitely remember those.”
RB Saquon Barkley, Penn State
“I had two that stick out to me. One is my first college touchdown, I’ll never forget that against Buffalo, on a rainy day at Biers Stadium. I visualized myself in high school when I was committed to Penn State of making plays and scoring touchdowns, and for that to actually happen was amazing. But the one that sticks out to me the most when I played at Penn State is my junior year against Michigan, white out, 110,000 people, I scored on the first possession of the game. I’ve never heard a stadium get that loud. You really could feel the field shaking, the energy was super high and we kind of just built off of that and were able to beat a top-20 team in Michigan that year.”
QB Eli Manning, Ole Miss
“I think my favorite college moment was my senior year, playing in the Cotton Bowl, a historic bowl game there in Dallas and just winning that game and getting to celebrate with my teammates. And especially, there was I think 22 of us that signed together as freshmen, a bunch of us redshirted and there was 14 left that played in that game as seniors. All of us spent five years together, just that closeness that we had, that bond, and to kind of go out our senior year and to play in a major bowl game, to win that bowl game together was special for me. It meant something. And to be on the field together and hold that trophy and get to celebrate in the locker room and afterwards just knowing that was going to be our last football game together - some of them, their last football game they ever played in - but to have that moment was really special for me.”
DT Dalvin Tomlinson, Alabama
“Oh, that’s a tough one. My favorite would have to be…I could say the national championships. But I would probably have to go with my freshman year when I redshirted in the national championship versus Notre Dame just because of being in a stadium that big in Miami. And the atmosphere, the energy you felt just winning, and it was crazy. Probably beating Clemson in Arizona, those two are probably tied right now because that game was super hard fought.”
C Jon Halapio, Florida
“So in my senior year, 2013, we’re playing Tennessee. I got my eye poked, my right eye poked in the first quarter, so my eye puffed up. I had to leave for a couple plays, get it stitched up and I came back in. We won and the rest of the game I couldn’t see out of one eye. That game will forever stick out in my mind.”
LT Nate Solder, Colorado
“My favorite college football moment was we beat the University of Oklahoma at Boulder and no one thought we could do it. Actually the stands emptied out and everyone was sitting at home and it’s a pretty close campus, so everyone was coming and flooding in as they saw that we could possibly win the game. So, by the end of the game, the whole stadium was packed. People were going nuts and then they rushed the field. I think Oklahoma was a top five at the time, like number three or something in the nation, and we beat them unranked. That was definitely my number one college moment.”
LB Oshane Ximines, Old Dominion
“My favorite experience in college, hands down, is when we upset Virginia Tech at Old Dominion last year. They were the No. 13 team in the nation, we were 0-3, mid-major school so nobody expected us to win. So, just to give that win to our fans and to my teammates and my coaches, the smile on everybody's face after that win is going to be unforgettable. I look forward to many wins in a Giants’ uniform, but that’s one I’m always going to keep in the back of my mind.”
LG Will Hernandez, UTEP
“My most memorable, favorite moment of college football would be my junior year of college football, we played against UTSA, University of Texas-San Antonio, and we went into five overtimes. Unfortunately, that year we hadn’t been doing too well up until that game and we had come from four straight losses and that was the fifth game. We went into five overtimes and all I remember was a bunch of guys that were just tired of losing and were eager to win a game — so eager that it took five overtimes. We won the game in overtime, in the fifth overtime, and I just remember after that game, after all the hooping and hollering and everybody being happy and yelling and celebrating, my body felt the most tired it had ever felt. But also at the same time, the best that it ever felt after a game, after laying everything on the line. That was definitely my favorite college football moment.”
WR Golden Tate, Notre Dame
“I’ve had a bunch of great college moments, but I’d say my favorite is when I caught a deep ball in the corner of our end zone and got my feet in and tried to dive onto the Michigan State band. It didn’t work so well, but that was pretty fun and since then, every time we play Michigan State it’s replayed, so I’m kind of in the history books for that. So that’s one of my favorite moments, but I’ve had a ton.”