Main | Case vs. Reserve Thanksgiving Day football game - continued »

November 15, 2010

Case vs. WRU Thanksgiving Day football game

Thanksgiving Day and football: a tradition. No, not the Detroit Lions. Not the Dallas Cowboys. Forget the NFL! For many years in Cleveland the big game was the annual Case vs. Reserve game.

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The Case/Reserve Thanksgiving Day game was a long-standing tradition between Case Institute of Technology and Western Reserve University, with few gaps, stretching from 1894-1953. The game was held in the morning so that people could attend and still get home to enjoy their dinner. The big game was well-attended and was often held at League Park (early home of the Cleveland Indians) and sometimes at Cleveland Municipal Stadium (later home of the Indians and Browns). Other venues included Shaw Stadium as well as the home turf of Van Horn (Case) and Clarke Fields (WRU). Being neighboring schools, Case and Reserve were big rivals. And since they were primarily local schools before World War II, many Clevelanders had attended or had family members who attended Case or Reserve, generating additional interest in the game.

Reserve had the upper hand in the rivalry, winning 49, while Case won 20, and there were 5 ties. Though Case won early, winning 9 of the first 13 games, they went on a winless streak after their victory in 1927 -- not winning again until 1948!

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Player gains 5 yards for Case, 11/25/1948.

The last Thanksgiving Day game was held 11/26/1953 with Reserve winning 35-19 at Clarke Field. The Ohio governor attended the game with 7500 other fans, including the Case and Reserve presidents.


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Case President T. Keith Glennan and WRU President John S. Millis at the last Thanksgiving Day game in 1953.

The next year Case abolished football and did not have a team again until 1955. Case and Reserve resumed play but the game was no longer held on Thanksgiving Day. The 2 institutions merged in 1967 but continued separate football teams through the 1969 season.

Posted by hxy2 at November 15, 2010 04:15 PM

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