Territorial Cup

The Territorial Cup arrived at Arizona Stadium. The engraving reads “Arizona Normal Football League Championship 1899.” Photo taken: Friday November 28, 2014

The first football game between the University of Arizona and Arizona State — then the Normal School of Arizona in Tempe — took place Nov. 30, 1899. The visitors to Tucson from Tempe were treated well, and the Normals won 11-2.

From the Arizona Daily Star, Dec. 2, 1899 (the Star did not publish Dec. 1):

Eleven to Two.

The young ladies who came all the way from the University, carrying in their hands canes bearing large ribbons of sage green etc., and fully equipped to cheer the boys on to victory, have the consolation of knowing that the lads who appeared on the field known as Carrillo's Gardens, did well for foot ball players of limited experience. The chaps from the Normal were generally sized up the heaviest weights, and this fact considered with their record was sufficient to give them the advantage.

There were about 300 people within the enclosure and the air was full of dust and yells for two hours. There were times when it appeared to be necessary for all the reserves to be called to the field, but only one, a University man, was placed hors du combat. Two touch downs and a kick through the goal is placed to the credit of the Normals being 11 points. A safety, or two points, is the way the Universitys counted. After all was over the spectators and players walked through the dust ankle deep for two blocks.

During a stay of twelve hours the visitors were well treated by the Universitys. Quite a number of roosters came from Tempe.

A paragraph about the game also ran on the editorial page on the same date, perhaps attempting to soften the blow of the loss by saying that the University boys showed more "skill and science."

The foot ball contest between the Normal and University teams demonstrated that there are games more desirable for physical exercise than this rough and tumble game, in which the Normals won most points. The University boys shows the most skill and science, but they lacked the physical strength and endurance. The two teams placed in a balance the Normals would have weighed at least a third more than the Universitys. Weight tells in a foot ball contest.

And so begins a tradition.

Johanna Eubank is an online content producer for the Arizona Daily Star and tucson.com. Contact her at jeubank@tucson.com