The 1899 ASU...er, Tempe Normal School Football Team (Photo: ASU)
In continuing our series of 100 Sun Devil Loves in 100 Days as we countdown to the 2012 kickoff, we go back...waaaay back, for item No. 93: winning the first battle against U of A.
Back in the halcyon days of 1899, Tempe Normal School revived the football program after fielding no varsity team the previous year.
Fred Irish returned as head coach, after being at the helm of Tempe Normal's first ever football team two years prior in 1897. The Normals, as they were called then, were led by the offensive talents of quarterback Clyde Stewart and halfback Worthy Bellamy. In that first ever game, they faced the Phoenix Indians. Sadly, the Normals lost that game, 38-20.
Shaking off that winless record and a year without a varsity team, the 1899 team looked to bring gridiron pride to Tempe. Led by captain and left halfback Walter Shute, fullback Jack Stelsreide and quarterback Bill Woolf, the Normals exacted revenge on the Phoenix Indians by winning the season opener 6-0, and followed that with another 6-0 win over Phoenix High School. Yes, high school.
That set up the season's defining game, and the beginning of one of the fiercest rivalries in collegiate sports.
The team traveled down to face Arizona at the Carillo Fields in Tucson for a Thanksgiving Day battle on November 30th. With 300 fans in attendance, the Normals overpowered Arizona, winning 11-2. That win gave Tempe Normal the Arizona Territorial Football League Championship, and as a result, they took home the first Territorial Cup.
While the Wildcats may win the occasional Duel in the Desert, they can never take away win No. 1.
See the previous entries on our countdown here.