The very first university football game was played between Princeton and Rutgers on November 6th, 1869 at New Brunswick in New Jersey. There were different things between the game played that day and the games we watch today. In the early days of college football, the football was round and the field 120 yards long and 75 yards wide and each team had 25 players.
The popularity of college football was fairly low in the early days and there were only 6 teams by the time a rugby ball was adopted for playing with and the first officials of the game were used. In the following year a crossbar was added to the goalposts and these remain in use for college football games to this day. The college football field was also made smaller and the members of each team were reduced to 15.
In 1876 a crossbar was added to the goal posts at a height of 10 feet (in effect to the present day), and the field was reduced to nearly modern dimensions. At the same time the number of players on each side was lowered to 15.
It took until 1880 before more revisions were made to the rules and the teams were limited to 11 players. In 1882, the downs system was introduced in college football games although it began as a requirement for a team to make 5 yards in 3 downs which remained in effect until it was changed to 10 yards in 4 downs in 1912. The college football game now became much more popular and widespread with over 250 colleges playing by 1900.
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