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Minnesota Football: #TBT 1915 Gopher - Wisconsin Grand Stand Collapse!

One hundred years ago Bernie Bierman played his last game and scored 2 touchdowns in a 20-3 victory over Wisconsin.

Captain Biernie Bierman's last game as a player 100 years ago.
Captain Biernie Bierman's last game as a player 100 years ago.

The game was played in the mud, and possibly the most interesting thing that happened was in the stands. I'll let Gopher rooter Richard Wiggins tell the story of the stands collapsing during the second quarter.

"We were sitting on the north side of the field, because we didn't decide to go to Madison until the last moment and were compelled to buy seats in the Badger section. We were quite a little distance from the point where the first break came. We saw the seats and the people quietly toppling over, heard a scream or so, but saw that many persons were so breathless with amazement they could not even cry out. Then slowly the break began to spread. More seats went down and more people slid into the heap. The break began to grow until it crashed. About 15 feet from where we sat the crumbling stopped,and we were on the edge of the vortex, so to speak. We kept our seats during the remainder of the game."

The game was stopped momentarily. From what I can find no one was killed, which seems fairly surprising. The Minneapolis Tribune blamed over crowding, approximately 15,000 people were in stands built for no more than 10,000, and the shoddy construction of the Camp Randall bleachers. The game had to be stopped again in the third quarter, when the spectators who had lost their seats, came onto the field attempting to get a better view of the game.

The second photo from the top is titled "Minnesota Snake Dance" (Ok?)

The bottom photos caption reads "Wisconsin Clowns Between Halves". (Sounds about right.)

The two Gopher stars of the game, Bernie Bierman and Albert Baston would go on to be more famous later in life. Bierman's accomplishment as one of Minnesota's most successful coaches doesn't need to be gone over again. Bert Baston on the other hand is one of the lesser known Gopher greats. He was an All-American, a College Football Hall of Famer and a veteran of both World Wars. Impressively, Bert in WWI was shot through the leg leaving a hole big enough "to stick a broom handle through".

Bert Baston was an All-American in 1915.

In unrelated news: 100 years ago Nebraska and Iowa played in the final game of the season. Iowa pounded sand and lost 52-7. I realize in 2015 there are some bowl game implications that would indicate the Gophers would want Iowa to win this coming Friday, but personally I am hoping for a repeat of history from a century ago.