In October 1873 Yale, Columbia, Princeton, and Rutgers met in New York to come up with a unified set of rules. Before this meeting each school had its own set of rules and the games were played following the home team's. The rules they established closely resembled soccer. Although Harvard was invited to the meeting they did not attend, preferring the game more closely resembling rugby.
Eventually, the other colleges began playing the rugby style game and new rules were adopted in November 1876. After several tweaks over the years, lowering the number of players to 11, establishing a line of scrimmage, creating yards and downs, and introducing passing, the game became what we Texans watch with so much enthusiasm.
Champions of West Texas: John Tarleton College football team 1905