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Ohio Wesleyan, Ohio State Football Teams To Celebrate 1890 Matchup

1890 Ohio Wesleyan University Football Team
One hundred eighteen years ago, the Battling Bishops of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Buckeyes of The Ohio State University met in their first football matchup on Ohio Wesleyan’s campus in Delaware, Ohio. During a commemorative event that alternated between sunshine and heavy rain, fans of the two teams met again on May 3, 2008, just east of Ohio Wesleyan’s Phillips Hall—the site of the original 1890 game—to   dedicate a historic marker and celebrate the teams’ respective legacies.

Presenters at the event included Archie Griffin, two-time Heisman Trophy winner and current president and CEO of The Ohio State University Alumni Association; Jim Tressel, head coach of the Buckeye football team; Gordon Gee, president of The Ohio State University; and Gene Smith, assistant vice president and director of athletics at Ohio State. Pep bands and cheerleaders from both universities were in attendance, as well as famed mascots Brutus and the Battling Bishop.

Ohio Wesleyan’s athletic director Roger Ingles served as emcee of the event. Rock Jones, Ohio Wesleyan’s newly appointed president, also spoke, as did David Robbins, Ohio Wesleyan’s interim president; Mike Hollway, Ohio Wesleyan football coach; and Dick Gordin, former Ohio Wesleyan coach, alumnus, and professor emeritus. Historians Brent Carson, president of the Delaware Historical Society and representative of the Delaware Bicentennial Commission, and Jack Park of WBNS Radio were on hand to describe the 1890 game as spectators would have seen it 118 years ago.

The site of the matchup was discovered last year in a letter from Ohio Wesleyan alumnus C. Rollins Jones, class of 1892, who played in the first game against Ohio State in 1890. Written in the 1940s and filed in the university’s archives, the letter described the site near the landmark sulphur spring and a small creek called Delaware Run. Ohio Wesleyan has faced Ohio State a total of 29 times—more than any other Ohio school in history—winning two and tying one of the battles. The Bishops lost the 1890 matchup to Ohio State by a score of 20-14.

Related Pages

Flashback to OWU Football in 1890

Where it all started: May 3, 1890

Photo gallery from the event.

Streaming video of the event is available on stream.owu.edu.

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