Princeton proved its point the hard way today. The Ivy League Tigers, who terminated college football's oldest rivalry because they felt they no longer were competitive with Rutgers, definitely were not competitive in this last game of the 111-year-old rivalry.
Scoring on their first three possessions, the unbeaten Scarlet Knights built a 21-0 lead in the first quarter and rolled to a 44-13 victory. For Rutgers, it was both the highest point total and widest margin of success in a series that finished with Princeton holding a 53-17-1 edge.
The principal suspense for the 26,219 who overflowed 23,000-seat Rutgers Stadium lay in whether the students, as per tradition, could demolish the goal posts before the game ended. Altough the south posts fell with 5:30 remaining, only 45 seconds were left when the crowd overpowered 15 club-swinging security guards to down the north posts.
The Princeton benches and the first-down chains were also targets of sourvenir hunters, who fought over chunks of goal posts long after the players had reached the showers.
These teams, which inaugurated college football in 1869, have been bitter foes through the years, with Princeton's Steve Fletcher uttering in 1976 those words that have helped inspire the Scarlet to win every game since: "I'm Princeton, he's Rutgers and some day he'll working for me."
If that was not the brightest remark ever uttered by a son of Old Nassau, today's game produced a play that was not very bright, either. Two Ed McMichaels touchdown passes, one following a blocked punt, had given Rutgers a 14-0 lead. Then Princeton finally held the scarlet -- literally.
Defensive holding by Princetgon on a missed field goal attempt enabled McMichaels to throw yet another scoring pass in the first period and the senior quarterback made it four touchdown passes, on only six completions, for for a 31-7 halftime lead.
Afterward, Rutgers reiterated its desire to continue the series, despite its big-time aspirations, so nobly instigated by alumnus David (Sonny) Werblin, Class of '31.
"This has been a very good series, a very competitive series," said Rutgers Coach Frank Burns. "I'm not happy that the series has ended.Maybe we are taking different roads, but I don't think at this moment there's all that (much) difference in our programs."
"The Ivy League championship means more to us than the Rutgers game," said Princeton Coach Frank Navarro. "We haven't beaten Brown for the past seven years and I think the major reason is we always play them after the Rutgers game."
So Rutgers looks ahead to Alabama, and Princeton to Maine, as the varied joints along U.S. Rte. 1 clean up the debris from their final "Beat Princeton" and "Beat Rutgers" beer blasts.