Scoring 21 points in the second half, the football team came from behind to defeat Yale, 28-21, at the Stadium on Saturday.
Yale dominated the first half, holding Harvard to 15 yards rushing, and led 14-7 at the break. But an 86-yard runback of the second-half kickoff by senior Marco Iannuzzi tied the score and changed the complexion of the game.
Iannuzzi had been out of action since breaking a clavicle in the season’s third game.
Strong defensive play, led by linebacker Nick Hasselberg ’11, tackle Josué Ortiz ’12, and end Ryan Burkhead ’11, held Yale to a single touchdown in the second half. Hasselberg was credited with 20 tackles, tying a Harvard single-game record. Eli quarterback Patrick Witt was sacked six times by Harvard defenders.
Ortiz blocked a Yale punt in the third period and recovered the ball at Yale’s 23-yard line, setting up Harvard’s go-ahead touchdown.
Yale’s defense limited senior Gino Gordon, Harvard’s top running back, to 36 yards rushing, but Gordon scored two Harvard touchdowns on short-yardage rushes.
Harvard’s sole first-half touchdown came on a one-yard pitchout from quarterback Collier Winters ’12 to Gordon. The score was set up by a trick play that had Winters lateraling to receiver Adam Chrissis ’12, Chrissis tossing the ball back to Winters, and Winters throwing a 46-yard pass to Iannuzzi, who was forced out of bounds at Yale’s five-yard line.
Gordon scored his second touchdown on a two-yard off-tackle run following Ortiz’s blocked punt. The fourth and last Crimson score came on a 12-yard pass from Winters to receiver Alex Sarkisian ’12 midway through the final period.
With just over three minutes left in the game, Yale capitalized on a Harvard fumble inside the Crimson 20-yard line to score its only touchdown of the half. Junior running back Alex Thomas carried on all three Yale touchdowns.
Winters completed 13 of 16 pass attempts for 124 yards and his fifth passing touchdown of the season. He missed the team’s first five games because of a hip injury sustained in preseason practice.
Gordon left the game after a helmet-to-helmet collision with Yale linebacker Jesse Reising in the fourth period. Reising was taken off on a stretcher, but postgame reports on both players were positive.
Harvard (5-2 Ivy League, 7-3 overall) has won nine of the last ten meetings with Yale (5-2, 7-3 overall), and now has a four-game winning streak against the Eli. Since the start of round-robin Ivy League play in 1956, Harvard leads the series with Yale, 30-24-1.
This year’s seniors are the first in Harvard annals to have gone undefeated against Yale, Princeton, and Dartmouth over a four-year stretch.
Harvard finished in a three-way tie with Yale and Brown (5-2, 6-4) for second place in the Ivy standings.
In other games: Penn (7-0, 9-1) won its second consecutive outright Ivy title with a 31-7 victory over Cornell (1-6, 2-8). Brown defeated Columbia (2-5, 4-6), 38-16. Dartmouth (3-4, 6-4) shut out Princeton (0-7, 1-9), 31-0.
The score by quarters:
Yale 7 7 0 7 — 21
Harvard 7 0 14 7 — 28
The season’s record:
Harvard 34, Holy Cross 6
Brown 29, Harvard 14
Harvard 35, Lafayette 10
Harvard 31, Cornell 17
Lehigh 21, Harvard 19
Harvard 45, Princeton 28
Harvard 30, Dartmouth 14
Harvard 23, Columbia 7
Penn 34, Harvard 14
Harvard 28, Yale 21