In 1869 there was a good road between Princeton and New Brunswick, just 20 miles to the north, and perhaps that explains it. In any case, one afternoon 25 Princeton students ran onto a field with a similar number of undergraduates from Rutgers, and then they all appeared to go berserk. What occurred that day had some of the elements of rugger, bearbaiting and Indian massacre—all over the possession of an improperly shaped ball. Improbable as it seemed, fall Saturday afternoons in the U.S. were done for. So was the era of good feeling between the schools.
To prove that nothing has really changed much, the referee last Saturday solemnly introduced George Peter Savidge, Rutgers' 205-pound center and captain, to George Paul Savidge, Princeton's 220-pound defensive right tackle and captain. Within minutes of the ceremony these fraternal twins were using their considerable talents to break each other in half. As usual, the brothers' battle ended in a rather bloody standoff, but Princeton's George Paul had the help of Charles Gogolak, a 155-pound place kicker who swipes at the ball sideways. The little monster kicked six field goals, including one that was recorded as 52 yards but carried nearly 70. George Peter had to swallow Rutgers' fourth straight loss, 32-6.
Ask anyone on either campus, and he will tell you he would not trade his Savidge for the other, even if the other side threw in a platoon of 200-pound sprinters. Rutgers followers, for instance, are quick to point out that last year the fullback diving straight over center averaged more than five yards a crack, an amazing statistic when you consider it means running smack-bang into the most populated area on the field. Princeton people simply remind you that their Savidge led his team to an Ivy League title. "Paul and Stas Maliszewski [the other Princeton tackle] are the best linemen in the East," Princeton Coach Dick Coleman says flatly. "Pete is as good as Alex Kroll [the Rutgers All-America center of four years ago]," says Rutgers Coach John Bateman. The fact is both Savidges have size, exceptional agility and a nice, wholesome killer instinct, and because of them New Jersey can boast of two of the better teams on the Eastern seaboard.
This week's high drama had its origin in May of 1943. Mrs. George Savidge, feeling the first pangs of labor, gently led Mr. Savidge to the car, climbed in behind the wheel and drove the 15 miles to the Mercer ( N.J.) Hospital where she gave birth to an 8�-pound rascal with bright-orange hair. Ten minutes later the runt of the litter appeared weighing 2� pounds less and sporting blondish wisps. It was shortly thereafter that Mrs. Savidge had to face up to an old promise made to Mr. Savidge's father when he urged that the name George be carried into the next generation. In a moment of madness his daughter-in-law promised that not only would there be a George in the family, all the boys would be named George. First there was George David, who later became an All-America lacrosse player at Amherst Then the twins, George Paul and George Peter, arrived. Four years later, George Mark, now a freshman quarterback at Amherst, joined the ranks. Presumably the elder Mr. Savidge is satisfied.
It was evident from the start that neither of the Savidges was going to become a Little Lord Fauntleroy. While Mrs. Savidge, herself a schoolteacher, made sure that the boys did not ignore their homework, George Savidge Sr., who manages a 430-acre tract of prime farmland, exposed his boys to the type of labor guaranteed to turn sturdy little boys into sturdy young men. Paul was just grade-school age when he was finally able to hurl a 60-pound bale of hay atop the wagon—seven stacks high. Peter, who stayed proportionally 2� pounds lighter and 10 minutes younger (and who has never been allowed to forget either fact by his brother), picked up the knack a little later but actually took to farm chores far more readily than Paul. (Mrs. Savidge recalls that the older boy usually was well camouflaged in a tree when the lawn needed mowing.) Rutgers Pete was methodical, Princeton Paul was spontaneous. What struck Paul as a particularly dashing cut of clothing had no interest for Pete. Paul nearly swamped the farm with wildlife: a couple of raccoons called Yogi and Herman, a succession of fawns who raced the twins downhill on their sleds and a crow named Percy who talks. Percy is still around. "You guys go away," is what he says.
At the Hun School—an expensive prep school where both boys had scholarships—the twins were co-captains of the football team. Both were far too strong for the rest of the players to handle in one-on-one drills, so they had to go at each other. "I never got out of it with less than a bloody nose," says Pete. Paul bled less but remembers the bruises.
The varsity confrontation of Paul and Pete first occurred last year, with Paul on defense, Pete on offense. Princeton won that game 10-7, but Rutgers fans are quick to point out that Pete gave Paul more than he got.
Two weekends ago the twins came home for what was expected to be a jolly reunion. Instead, it was a strangely quiet, even solemn occasion, which came as a shock to both mother and father. "Usually there is a great deal of carrying on," said a puzzled Mrs. Savidge. There is a family tradition, for instance, that, on excusing himself from the dinner table, one twin will slap a wrestling hold on his father. As soon as Mr. Savidge who looks as if he belongs in somebody's defensive line himself, breaks the hold, the other boy will quietly excuse himself and tie his father up all over again. This time Pete left quietly and undemonstratively. "I guess it would be a good thing if Rutgers could win one," said Mr. Savidge. "I think that's a rotten idea," said Paul. "Well, I hope it ends in a tie," said Mrs. Savidge. "I don't like that idea either," said Paul. He went off to attend Percy Crow, who said, "You guys go away."
Saturday, George Paul and the big Princeton line swarmed all over Rutgers' ballcarriers, and Paul gave Pete more then he got. But, said George Savidge Sr., "Don't worry about Pete. He knows how to lose."
—TOM C. BRODY