The year is 1968, and Morgan State and Grambling are about to play one of the most anticipated football games in Yankee Stadium’s history. This game will have Black College Football national championship implications with Morgan State winning a low-scoring clash 9-7. Future Raiders great, Raymond Chester scored the only touchdown and blocked a punt while the Bears stuffed Grambling on a last-minute goal line stand.
This was the peak of Morgan State football and even though the program has fallen on hard times in the Charm City, there is a chance for them to relive that 60s moment of glory. Last week, Morgan State announced three future games, a paycheck game against fellow Mid-Atlantic HBCU, Lincoln University, and a home-and-home series with Colgate in 2024 and 2025. These may seem like small moves, but the Bears revitalized an old rivalry and may have created a new one.
Although Morgan State has not played a game at Yankee Stadium since Ronald Reagan’s first term, in 1983, the Bronx ballpark is intertwined in the Bears’ history. Morgan State played at old Yankee Stadium eleven times, with all the meetings coming against the Grambling Tigers. The 1971 game was even televised by ABC according to Morgan State’s record book. In 2012, the Bears were set to make their triumphant return to the Bronx against Hampton until Hurricane Sandy had other ideas.
Colgate is arguably one of the best opponents to revitalize this tradition, with the exception of Howard. Colgate is only a few hours away from The Big Apple and has a rich football tradition. They also have some history playing in the Bronx, playing 10 games at old Yankee Stadium and winning four.
While detractors may reason that Colgate already plays in the Bronx biannually when they travel to Patriot League foe, Fordham, a trip to Yankee Stadium is significantly different than a trip to Coffey Field. Aside from last year’s EBW Classic at Polar Park, Colgate has hardly had an opportunity to play in a special bowl-like trip like this.
Furthermore, two of the most tradition-rich programs in the FCS would collide on an iconic stage. Morgan State was long one of Black College Football’s bluebloods with four former players residing in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, such as Leroy Kelly and Roosevelt Brown, and seven Black College Football championships to their name.
Colgate was once a blueblood at the dawn of the Jazz Age with Andy Kerr leading college football’s most outstanding teams in the 1920s and 1930s, with his most famed one being the fabled, “Undefeated, Untied, Unscored Upon, and Uninvited” Colgate team of 1932. Any college football purist would salivate at this game being played at a site renowned for big college football games.
On the surface, the game seems like a tough sell for both programs, but it offers them a return to yesteryear and a chance to energize their fanbase with a fun trip. A game like this would give young fans of both schools a taste of what these schools used to mean to college football.