Cornell’s Fifth Down

As Professor Jeffrey Hart documented in the Homecoming Issue of The Dartmouth Review, in 1940, a nationally ranked Cornell football squad eeked out a narrow victory over the Dartmouth Indians. Only one problem: the scored the winning touchdown on the final play of the game on an illegal “fifth down,” thanks to an error by the game’s referee. Upon watching video replay of the match, the referee acknowledged his error the next day, and Cornell quickly sent a telegram to Dartmouth’s president and athletic department, conceding the game. It was the first time a collegiate football game had ever been decided off the field.

I just found this video documentary about the game, produced by CBS and CSTV. A brief, but fascinating, glimpse at College athletic history.