- Courtesy of Gil Talbot
With the Ivy League championship in hand, Harvard’s high-scoring football team topped off a 9-1 season by demolishing Yale, 45-7, at Yale Bowl on Saturday.
Harvard has now won five straight against Yale, and has been victorious in 10 of the teams’ last 11 meetings.
After a Yale scoring drive in the opening period, the Crimson defense kept the Blue in check for the rest of the game, breaking Yale drives with a forced fumble, a blocked field goal try, and three interceptions. The Eli offense made good on just four of 18 third-down conversion attempts.
Harvard mounted a 73-yard touchdown drive on its first possession after the Yale score, with senior quarterback Collier Winters diving into the end zone from four yards out.
After a fumble recovery by reserve defensive back Jaron Wilson ’14, the Crimson pulled ahead on the first play of the second period, as senior wide receiver Alex Sarkisian made an end-zone catch of a 20-yard pass from Winters.
Harvard’s next score came on a fake field goal from the Yale five-yard line. Holder Colton Chapple ’13 flipped the ball to kicker David Mothander ’14, who took it into the end zone untouched.
A real field goal by Mothander upped Harvard’s lead to 24-7 as time expired in the first half.
After a scoreless third period, Harvard exploded for three touchdowns in the final quarter. They came on an 11-yard run by freshman tailback Zach Boden, a 60-yard pass from Winters to tight end Kyle Jusczcyk ’13, and a 32-yard interception return by linebacker and captain Alex Gedeon ’12.
Tackle Jack Dittmer ’14 and defensive back Jaron Wilson had the game’s other interceptions. Linebacker Bobby Schneider ’13 led the defense with 10 tackles, while Gedeon and safety D.J. Monroe ’13 each had nine.
The 45-7 result was the most one-sided victory in the Harvard-Yale series since 1982, when Harvard won by the same score.
“It was one of those days when we just hit on all cylinders,” said coach Tim Murphy afterward. “It all came together. It was our day.”
Said Yale coach Tom Williams, “We got beaten by a better team—the best team in the league. Harvard was bigger, stronger, faster. They looked good on video, and they looked even better in person.”
In the final game of a stellar Harvard career, Winters completed 27 of 42 passes for 355 yards and two touchdowns. He was also the team’s leading rusher, picking up a net 62 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries.
Receivers Jusczcyk and Sarkisian each caught seven passes for a total of 204 yards.
Eli quarterback Patrick Witt, who had broken almost every major Yale passing record, completed 24 of 39 attempts for 226 yards and a touchdown, but was intercepted three times. (Witt had passed up a chance at the Rhodes Scholarship to play in The Game, the Boston Globe reported.)
The normally ebullient Yale Bowl crowd was quieted by the announcement at halftime that a serious accident had occurred in a nearby parking area. Three women had been injured, one fatally, when a U-Haul truck rented by a Yale fraternity and driven by an undergraduate plowed through a group of tailgaters before hitting two parked U-Hauls. All three trucks were loaded with beer kegs and other supplies. Harvard no longer allows rented trucks or kegs at Stadium parking lots. (The University later issued the following statement: “We are all saddened by the tragic death this morning before the Harvard-Yale football game. Our thoughts are with the victim and her family and friends. We also express our sympathy and concern for the two other people who were injured, one of whom is a staff member at Harvard’s Division of Continuing Education (DCE). Our DCE colleague was treated at and released from a hospital in New Haven earlier this afternoon. To protect her privacy, we are not releasing her name at this time.”)
Harvard (7-0 Ivy League, 9-1 overall) had clinched the 2011 Ivy League title a week earlier, when the Crimson defeated Pennsylvania, 37-20, and Brown lost to Dartmouth, 21-16. With two league losses apiece, both teams were eliminated from contention.
Yale (4-3, 5-5) has not defeated Harvard at Yale Bowl since 1999. Yale is still in front in the 128-game series, 65-54-8, but Harvard now leads, 31-24-1, in games played since the formalization of Ivy League play in 1956.
Harvard won the junior varsity game, played the day before The Game, 37-6.
The Crimson completed its championship season with a total of 374 points scored, breaking the modern Harvard record of 339, set in 2004.
In other Ivy games: Cornell (3-4, 5-5) upset Penn (4-3, 5-5), 48-38, while previously winless Columbia (1-6, 1-9) nipped Brown (4-3, 7-3) in double overtime, 35-28. Dartmouth (4-3, 5-5) defeated Princeton (1-6, 1-9), 24-17. With three league losses apiece, Brown, Penn, Yale, and Dartmouth finish in a second-place tie, ahead of Cornell, Princeton, and Columbia.
The Harvard-Yale score by quarters:
Harvard 7 17 0 21 — 45
Yale 7 0 0 0 — 7
The championship season:
Holy Cross 30, Harvard 22
Harvard 24, Brown 7
Harvard 31, Lafayette 3
Harvard 41, Cornell 31
Harvard 42, Bucknell 3
Harvard 56, Princeton 39
Harvard 41, Dartmouth 10
Harvard 35, Columbia 21
Harvard 37, Pennsylvania 20
Harvard 45, Yale 7