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Today in MSU History: Miss. A&M's First Game vs Ole Miss

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10/28/1901- Protests and public trash-talking highlight the first football game between Mississippi A&M and Ole Miss, played on a Monday afternoon on the infield of a Starkville racetrack.

In 1895, cadet W.M. Matthews from Harrisburg, Texas organized the first football team at Mississippi A&M and selected the team colors - Maroon and White.  Football was still unpopular in the South, and during the first 2 years of A&M football, only six games were played - all shutout losses. Effort was put forth during both years to set a match with the University of Mississippi, but dates could not be agreed upon. In 1897, a yellow fever outbreak caused the football seasons to be cancelled, and A&M declined to field a team from 1898-1900.

In 1901, president Jack Hardy and professor I.D. Sessums campaigned for the rebirth of football at Mississippi A&M. L.B. Harvey, a halfback from Georgetown University, was brought in to serve as player-coach, and a date was finally scheduled with the University.

On Monday, October 28, 1901, the two teams met on the infield of a racetrack at the Starkville Fairgrounds.  The field was 110 yards long, teams were allotted 3 attempts to reach the 5 yards required for a first down, and touchdowns were worth 5 points.

Fountain Coke of Columbus and W.S. Davis, a student at A&M, refereed the game.

A&M's team was young and inexperienced, as Mississippi A&M hadn't fielded a team in the prior 3 years, and no Mississippi high school adopted the sport until 1905. The University, however, was in its eighth season and sported an 18-14 overall record, including 1-1 in 1901.

The kickoff was set for 3:30, but the long-awaited match was delayed further as the University objected to the eligibility of A&M's Billy Green, who played for the University the year before.

"After we agreed to take Green out they kicked against [F.D.] Harris saying he was from Chattanooga and was being paid to play, and a number of other things - all of which are false." -A&M College Reflector

After a 40 minute delay during the protests, Harris was approved and Mississippi A&M kicked off at 4:10pm.

The University fumbled during their first possession and A&M recovered the ball. After several good gains, the Reveille states that L.B. Harvey "bucked center for four yards... and [scored] the first touchdown." That was not just the first touchdown of the game, but the first touchdown in Mississippi A&M football history.

After the extra point, A&M led 6-0.

Back then, the rules stated that the scoring team received the kickoff - a "make it, take it" sort of format. A&M's second drive began 5 yards into University terrirtory, and runs by Pearson, Wilson, and Mahoney put A&M at the University's 20 yardline. L.B. Harvey raced down the right sideline before fumbling at the 2, but Pearson recovered and crossed the goal line for A&M's second TD. The extra point was no good and A&M led 11-0.

Later in the first half, the Aggies forced another fumble from the University and Harvey scored his second touchdown on a 30yard run. Mississippi A&M led 17-0.

After halftime, darkness fell and caused the game to be stopped only 6 minutes into the second half.  The Mississippi A&M Aggies had drawn first blood in what would be a long and heated rivalry, eventually referred to as "The Battle of the Golden Egg."

A&M's College Reflector recapped the game:

"The University boys... played the dirtiest game of ball that we have seen. They would do anything to put our men out so long as the referee was not looking."

And the University of Mississippi Magazine responded:

"To one who has never indulged in any exercise more violent than... the milking of the patient cow, football seems a brutal sport. Or bucolic friend of the Agricultural College should confine himself to mumble-peg and townball."

How else did you think this rivalry would start, but with protests and feuds?

Mississippi State and Ole Miss. Hating each other since 1901.