The Twelfth Man Incident – Princeton v. Dartmouth 1935

7th Mar 2020

During the 1935 Princeton-Dartmouth game with 52,000 fans braving a blinding snowstorm in Palmer Stadium. A fan ran from the field and played in Dartmouth’s line giving them a “twelfth man” on the field.

In the fourth quarter a George Larsen ran onto the field and yelled “Kill them Princeton bastards”. He was later quoted in the papers as saying that he rushed onto the field because, “Dartmouth was taking it on the chin and I always feel sorry for the underdog.”

Princeton had been marching downfield and was at the Dartmouth two-yard line. When the ball was snapped, he rushed into a gap and threw himself in front of the Princeton ball carrier, who was brought down short of the end zone. He was grabbed by police and escorted out of the stadium.

Dave Camerer, a Dartmouth player in the game recounts the incident in the 1939 Dartmouth v. Princeton program, “That little, mouse-haired man, with the grey windbreaker and Barbara Frietchie stare. He rushed in from some un-charted snowdrift, pushed me aside and took a four-point tackle stance. He beat the gun, beat the ball and beat the ‘could be’ ball toter full on the chest, shouting and muttering fragments of syllables. It was almost inspiring while it lasted. I remember how Weller and mates promptly seized the poor little devil by the scruff of the neck and attempted to boot him for a field goal until a cop rescued him and started him on his forced march to the exit gate.”

The picture associated with this post is from the Dartmouth v. Princeton 1939 program and is a photo montage of the incident. The circle in the middle shows the crazed fan being escorted off the field.

Excerpts taken from Football. The Ivy League Origins of an American Obsession by Mark F. Bernstein