1888 Yale Bulldogs Football Team
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1888 Yale Bulldogs Football Team
1888 Yale Bulldogs football
Consensus national champion
1888 record13-0
Head coachWalter Camp (1st season)
CaptainWilliam Herbert Corbin
Home stadiumYale Field
← 1887
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1888 Eastern college football independents records
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
Yale         13 0 0
Harvard         12 1 0
Princeton         11 1 0
Lehigh         10 2 0
Trinity (CT)         5 1 1
Lafayette         6 3 0
Cornell         4 2 0
Penn         9 7 0
Williams         4 4 0
Bucknell         2 3 0
Fordham         1 2 0
Massachusetts         2 4 0
Stevens         2 7 1
Wesleyan         2 7 0
Amherst         2 8 1
Worcester Tech         1 4 0
Rutgers         1 7 1
Penn State         0 2 1
Swarthmore         0 5 0

The 1888 Yale Bulldogs football team represented Yale University in the 1888 college football season. In its first season under head coach Walter Camp, the team compiled a 13-0 record, did not allow a single point, and outscored opponents by a total of 694 to 0.[1] The team has been retrospectively named as the national champion by the Billingsley Report, Helms Athletic Foundation, Houlgate System, National Championship Foundation, and Parke H. Davis.[2]

Yale's point total was the largest ever made by a Yale team. The team scored 126 touchdowns and kicked 69 goals from touchdown and eight goals from the field. Its scoring leaders included William Wurtenburg with 20 touchdowns, Lee McClung with 16, Charles O. Gill with 14, Frederic W. "Kid" Wallace with eight, William Herbert Corbin with six, and John A. Hartwell and Ashbel Barney Newell with five each.[3]

Head coach Walter Camp and five players (Corbin, Pudge Heffelfinger, McClung, Amos Alonzo Stagg, and George Washington Woodruff) have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.


September 29WesleyanW 76-0
October 6Rutgers
  • Yale Field
  • New Haven, CT
W 65-0
October 13at Penn
W 34-0
October 16at WesleyanMiddletown, CTW 46-0
October 19at AmherstAmherst, MAW 39-0
October 20at WilliamsWilliamstown, MAW 30-0
October 24vs. MITHartford, CTW 68-0
October 27Stevens
  • Yale Field
  • New Haven, CT
W 69-0
November 3Penn
  • Yale Field
  • New Haven, CT
W 54-0
November 6Crescent Athletic ClubW 28-0
November 10Amherst
  • Yale Field
  • New Haven, CT
W 70-0
November 17Wesleyan
  • Yale Field
  • New Haven, CT
W 105-0
November 24vs. PrincetonW 10-0


Game summaries

Wesleyan (first game)

On September 29, 1888, Yale opened its season with a 76-0 victory over Wesleyan on the Yale field in New Haven, Connecticut. The starters for Yale were William Herbert Corbin (centre and captain), Brooks (right guard), Pudge Heffelfinger (left guard), William Rhodes (right tackle), Charles O. Gill (left tackle), William Wurtenburg (quarterback), Samuel B. Morison (back), B. Morrison (back), Robinson (right end), Townsend (left end), and Herbert McBride (fullback).[4]


On October 6, 1888, Yale defeated Rutgers, 65-0, on Yale Field in New Haven. Due to rain, only 50 spectators attended the game. The game consisted of 35 minutes of playing time.[5] Team captain William Herbert Corbin had his knee "thrown out of joint" during the game.[6] Yale's starters were Robinson, William Rhodes, Bert Hanson, Corbin (centre), Pudge Heffelfinger, Charles O. Gill, Townsend, William Wurtenburg (quarterback), Samuel B. Morison (halfback), B. Morrison (halfback), Herbert McBride (fullback).[5]

Penn (first game)

On October 13, 1888, starting at 3:05 p.m., Yale defeated Penn, 34-0, before a crowd of less than 1,000 at the 37th and Spruce Street grounds in Philadelphia. Yale's starting lineup in the game consisted of Frederic W. "Kid" Wallace (rusher), Charles O. Gill (rusher), Pudge Heffelfinger (rusher), William Herbert Corbin (rusher), Gordon B. Pike (rusher), William Rhodes (rusher), Samuel B. Morison (rusher), Clifford B. Twombly (quarterback), Harmon S. Graves (halfback), William Wurtenburg (halfback), and Herbert McBride (fullback).

Wesleyan (second game)

On Tuesday, October 16, 1888, Yale played its second game against Wesleyan, prevailing by a 46-0 at Wesleyan's home field in Middletown, Connecticut. Yale's starting lineup was Frederic W. "Kid" Wallace (rusher), Bert Hanson (rusher), Pudge Heffelfinger (rusher), William Herbert Corbin (centre and captain), Gordon S. Pike (rusher), William Rhodes (rusher), McClintock (rusher), Clifford B. Twombly (quarterback), William Wurtenburg (halfback), Lee McClung (halfback), Herbert McBride (fullback).[7]

Amherst (first game)

On Friday, October 19, 1888, starting at 3:20 p.m., Yale defeated Amherst, 39-0, on Amherst's home grounds in Amherst, Massachusetts.[8]


On October 20, 1888, Yale defeated Williams, 30-0, on Williams' home field in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Yale's 30 points was the lowest score by a Yale team against any opponent other than a Harvard or Princeton team. Yale's starting lineup was Frederic W. "Kid" Wallace (rush line), Bert Hanson (rush line), Pudge Heffelfinger (rush line), William Herbert Corbin (rush line), Gordon Pike (centre), William Rhodes, Morrison, William Wurtenburg (quarterback), Harmon S. Graves (halfback), Herbert McBride (halfback), and William T. Bull (fullback).[9]


On October 27, 1888, Yale defeated Stevens, 69-0. The game was played in drizzling rain at Yale Field in New Haven. Yale scored 44 of its points in the last inning.[10]

Crescent Athletic Club

On Tuesday, November 6, 1888, in a game starting at 11:15 a.m., Yale defeated the Crescent Athletic Club, 28-0, before a crowd of nearly 1,6000 at Washington Park in Brooklyn. Yale's starting lineup was Frederic W. "Kid" Wallace (rusher), Charles O. Gill (rusher), Ashbel Barney Newell (rusher), William Herbert Corbin (rusher), Brewster (rusher), Pudge Heffelfinger (rusher), Amos Alonzo Stagg (rusher), William Wurtenburg (quarterback), Lee McClung (halfback), Perry W. Harvey (halfback), and Herbert McBride (fullback).[11]

Wesleyan (third game)

On November 17, 1888, Yale defeated Wesleyan, 105-0, at Yale Field in New Haven, Connecticut. Yale's tally of 105 points was its highest of the season and was the total of eight touchdowns (32 points), 11 goals (66 points), one goal from field (five points), and one safety (two points). Charles O. Gill was credited with the best play of the game, running three quarters of the field with Amos Alonzo Stagg acting "as a sort of bodyguard in the race for six points." Yale's starting lineup was Stagg (rusher), John A. Hartwell (rusher), George Washington Woodruff (rusher), Ashbel Barney Newell (center rush), Pudge Heffelfinger (rusher), Gill (rusher), Frederic W. "Kid" Wallace (rusher), William Wurtenburg (quarterback), Lee McClung (halfback), Herbert McBride (halfback), and William T. Bull (fullback).[12]


On November 24, 1888, Yale defeated Princeton, 10-0, at the Polo Grounds in Manhattan. Both teams were undefeated prior to the game which was billed as a contest for the intercollegiate football championship. The attendance was variously placed at 10,000 to 20,000 with The New York Times estimated the crowd at a little less than 15,000, evenly split between Princeton and Yale partisans. Yale's 10 points were scored on two goals kicked from the field by Yale's fullback William T. Bull. As the game ended, a "mob" of Yale supporters ran onto the field and carried the victorious players off on their shoulders. The starting lineup for Yale consisted of Frederic W. "Kid" Wallace (rusher), Charles O. Gill (rusher), George Washington Woodruff (centre rush), William Herbert Corbin (rusher), William Rhodes (rusher), Pudge Heffelfinger (rusher), and Amos Alonzo Stagg (rusher), William Wurtenburg (quarterback), Lee McClung (halfback), Harmon S. Graves (halfback), and Bull (fullback).[13][14]


The 1888 season was a transitional season where linemen were still generally referred to generically as "rushers" or the "rush line", but were at other times referred to by reference to specific positions in the line. Where available from game accounts, both designations are included below.


  1. ^ a b "1888 Yale Bulldogs Schedule and Results". SR/College Football. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved 2020.
  2. ^ National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) (2015). "National Poll Rankings" (PDF). NCAA Division I Football Records. NCAA. p. 107. Retrieved 2016.
  3. ^ "Intercollegiate Football". Wilkes-Barre Sunday Morning Leader. December 9, 1888. p. 6 – via Newspapers.com.
  4. ^ "Yale Victor at Football". The New York Times. September 30, 1888. p. 1 – via Newspapers.com.
  5. ^ a b "Yale Wins As Usual". The Boston Globe. October 7, 1888. p. 2 – via Newspapers.com.
  6. ^ "Yale Notes". New Haven Daily Morning Journal and Courier. October 8, 1888. p. 3 – via Newspapers.com.
  7. ^ "Midddletown: Yale-Wesleyan Practice Game". The Hartford Daily Courant. October 17, 1888. p. 6 – via Newspapers.com.
  8. ^ "Rah! Rah! Rah! Yale! Kickers from Elm City Find Worthy Opponents at Amherst". The Boston Daily Globe. October 20, 1888. p. 3 – via Newspapers.com.
  9. ^ "Yale, 30; Williams, 0: Elm City Kickers Play a Spiritless Game". The Boston Globe. October 21, 1888. p. 2 – via Newspapers.com.
  10. ^ "Yale, 69; Stevens, 0". The Boston Globe. September 28, 1888. p. 6 – via Newspapers.com.
  11. ^ "Election Day Sports: Paper Chases, Football Matches, Baseball and Athletics". The Brooklyn Citizen. November 7, 1888. p. 6 – via Newspapers.com.
  12. ^ "Yale's Noble Effort: Wesleyan Football Team Crushingly Defeated". New Haven Daily Morning Journal and Courier. November 19, 1888. p. 4 – via Newspapers.com.
  13. ^ "'Twas A Physical Cyclone: Yale Wins The Great Foot-Ball Match". The New York Times. November 25, 1888. p. 2 – via Newspapers.com.
  14. ^ "Rah! Rah! Rah! Yale! Let the Blue Ribbon Wave; Orange and Black and Sackcloth and Ashes". New York Tribune. November 25, 1888. p. 3 – via Newspapers.com.

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