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Your independent source for Harvard news since 1898

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Stadium Stories

September-October 2003

November 1903: Dartmouth scores the first Stadium touchdown. Note unfinished stands.

Harvard University Sports Information

INAUSPICIOUS START

November 14, 1903. In the first game played in the newly completed Stadium, Dartmouth—winless in its 18 previous meetings with Harvard—upsets a lethargic Crimson eleven, 11-0. "It was an uninteresting game," reports the Harvard Bulletin. "The University team had the ball but a few minutes. Several of the Harvard players were not in first-class shape as they had recently recovered from tonsillitis." The Bulletin states only that "a very large crowd was present." Yale comes to the Stadium a week later and scores a 16-0 victory. The crowd is estimated at 40,000.

 

SIGNS OF IMPROVEMENT

October 1, 1904. Harvard begins a 7-2-1 season with its first Stadium victory, a 24-0 defeat of Williams. President Theodore Roosevelt, class of 1880, wires congratulations. The team wins six straight before losing to Pennsylvania at the Stadium.

 

1912: Ice hockey, on a winter day.
Harvard University Sports Information

1903-1906. Harvard hockey teams compete in the Stadium and enjoy a three-year unbeaten streak.

 

1906: Agamemnon in the Stadium
Harvard University Sports Information

June 16 and 19, 1906. The classics department presents the Agamemnon of Aeschylus, with chariots, live horses, and a specially built temple at the bowl end of the Stadium. Future Stadium productions will include Schiller's Maid of Orleans (1909); the Iphigenia and Trojan Women of Euripides, and Wagner's Siegfried (1915); and The Bacchae of Euripides (1982).

THE SKY'S THE LIMIT

September 28, 1906. Harvard slips past Williams, 7-0, in the first game played under rules that permit forward passing. "The forward pass was a failure," reports the Bulletin.

 

May 29, 1909. IC4A track championships are held in the Stadium; Harvard wins a national title for the last time.

 

October 6, 1909. Undergraduates march to the Stadium by torchlight to hail Harvard's newly inaugurated president, A. Lawrence Lowell. A blazing set piece in the open end spells out Lowell, Harvard.

 

Brickley demonstrates the drop kick (top) and boots one in a game.

Harvard University Sports Information (top) and Harvard University Archives

EDUCATED TOE

November 22, 1913. With a 15-5 defeat of Yale, Harvard completes a second consecutive unbeaten, untied season under coach Percy Haughton '99. All-America fullback Charlie Brickley '15 monopolizes the scoring against Yale, drop-kicking four field goals and nailing another on a placement kick.

TAKE NO PRISONERS

November 20, 1915. Harvard gives Yale its worst beating in 44 years of football: 41-0. Captain Eddie Mahan '16, a halfback, scores four touchdowns and kicks five points-after.

 

ROSE BOWL BOUND

November 22, 1919. Harvard passes set up a field goal and produce a touchdown in a hard-fought 10-3 victory over Yale. The Blue scores late in the game on Jim Braden's record 53-yard drop-kick, and then drives to Harvard's one-foot line—where a missed signal gives the Crimson the ball as time expires. With a 9-0-1 season, Harvard earns its first and only trip to the Rose Bowl. There, on New Year's Day 1920, coach Bob Fisher's team edges Oregon, 7-6. (The trophy appears here.)

 

1921: Gourdin's record leap
Boston University Special Collections

July 23, 1921. The Harvard-Yale-Oxford-Cambridge track meet is revived after a wartime hiatus. Edward O. Gourdin '21 wins the 100-yard dash and sets a world broad-jump record of 25 feet, 3 inches.

 

1921: Marshal Foch reviews ROTC.
Courtesy of Warren M. Little

November 14, 1921. Marshal Ferdinand Foch, arriving from France for a special honorary-degree presentation, reviews Harvard's ROTC unit at the Stadium.

May 22, 1925. A capacity crowd fills the Stadium for an exhibition mile by the "Flying Finn," Paavo Nurmi. Admission is free. Battling gusty winds, Nurmi runs the mile in 4:15.2.

 

1925: Al "Truck" Miller wins the hundred.
From The H Book of Harvard Athletics

July 11, 1925. Al "Truck" Miller '27, a 215-pound dash man who also plays halfback on the football team, wins the hundred in the Harvard-Yale-Oxford-Cambridge meet, tying the Harvard record of :09.8.

"A SCORELESS VICTORY"

November 21, 1925. Stubborn defensive play holds a heavily favored Yale eleven to a 0-0 tie; time runs out with the visitors on Harvard's one-foot line, unable to agree about what play to run. The Harvard Crimson declares it "a scoreless victory."

 

April 15, 1926. Harvard's lacrosse team takes on an Oxford-Cambridge squad at the Stadium and prevails, 6-0.

SOPHOMORE HEROICS

October 17, 1929. Before 57,000 tense spectators, sophomore W. Barry Wood '32 enters the game at quarterback with Harvard trailing Army, 20-13, in the final period. Wood coolly throws a 40-yard scoring pass to reserve end Victor Harding '31, then dropkicks the extra point to gain a 20-20 tie. Wood will be the starting quarterback for the 22 games that remain in his college career, and will captain the team in his senior year.

 

1931: Star quarterback Barry Wood '32

Harvard University Sports Information


"LITTLE BOY BLUE"

November 21, 1931. For the first time since 1913, Harvard takes an undefeated record into the Yale game. In the final quarter, with the ball on the four-yard line, Albie Booth—Yale's answer to Barry Wood—kicks a field goal to edge out Wood's team, 3-0. The game draws a capacity crowd of 58,000.

OLD ELI'S HOPES WE ARE DASHING

November 20, 1937. On a cold, dark, and snowy day, Yale's Clint Frank makes 50 tackles and keeps the Blue fighting to the finish, but Harvard upends a previously unbeaten Eli eleven, 13-6, to gain its first Big Three title since 1915.

FRESHMAN HEROICS

October 31, 1942. Harvard earns its first victory of the season, overcoming Princeton, 19-14. With less than a minute to play, John Comeford '46, a freshman passing ace who is eligible under wartime rules, connects with third-string halfback Gordon Lyle '43 for a game-winning 61-yard touchdown.

 

July 24, 1943. Gunder Hägg runs a 4:05.3 Stadium mile, eclipsing the American record by 1.4 seconds, before 14,000 spectators. "The track was wonderful," says the touring Swedish miler. U.S. miler Gil Dodds, finishing second, sets a new American record.

 

ONE FOR THE BOOKS

October 30, 1948. Harvard pulls a reverse on a Holy Cross punt and halfback Hal Moffie '50 runs a record 89 yards for a score. Harvard wins, 20-13. Moffie's record still stands.

 

SMASH-MOUTH FOOTBALL

November 17, 1951. Hard-hitting fullback Tom Ossman '52 rushes for five touchdowns—another record that still stands—in a 34-21 defeat of Brown.

 

SEE DICK RUN

October 11, 1952. In a 42-0 whitewash of Washington University of St. Louis, halfback Dick Clasby '54 breaks loose for a 96-yard touchdown—the longest run from scrimmage in Harvard annals.

 

A 1950s cartoon with Lowenstein and Clasby. [view larger image]
From The H Book of Harvard Athletics

SEE CARROLL THROW

October 31, 1953. Diminutive quarterback Carroll Lowenstein '52, returning to action after military service during the Korean War, passes for a record five touchdowns as Harvard routs Davidson, 42-6. He also runs for the team's first score.

 

1954: Little in action (above, left), and lifted after the Yale Triumph
Courtesy of Warren M. Little

May 8, 1954. By winning the final event—the mile relay, with Warren Little '55 running the anchor leg—Harvard pulls out a surprise victory over undefeated Yale, 72-68.

1954: Cochran juggles the ball but scores.

Harvard University Sports Information

JUGGLING ACT

November 20, 1954. Harvard scores twice in the final period and overtakes Yale, 13-9. The winning touchdown comes on a 23-yard reverse pass from reserve halfback Frank White '55 to end Bob Cochran '55, who juggles the ball tantalizingly as he skitters down the sideline. The victory is Harvard's 500th since 1874

August 14, 1960. The newly assembled Boston Patriots play their first "home" exhibition game at the Stadium before 11,000 spectators . The Pats lose to the Dallas Texans, 24-14

 

UNBREAKABLE

October 20, 1964. Back John Dockery '66 picks off a Cornell pass in his own end zone and returns it 100 yards for a touchdown. Harvard wins, 16-0. Dockery's record may someday be tied, but can never be broken.

 

ANOTHER ONE FOR THE BOOKS

October 14, 1967. Among many spectacular plays in a 49-13 romp over Columbia are a 91-yard interception runback by reserve safety Ken Thomas '70—so low on the depth chart that he isn't listed in the program—and a record 51-yard field goal by Tom Wynne '69. Wynne's three-pointer is still Harvard's longest.

 

HARVARD BEATS YALE, 29-29

November 23, 1968. In a showdown between unbeaten squads, Harvard trails Yale in the fourth period, 29-13, then scores 16 points in the last 42 seconds to secure an astounding 29-29 tie. Reserve quarterback Frank Champi '70, entering the game in the second half, plays a key role in the miracle finish.

April 14 and 18, 1969. Mass meetings, the first attended by almost 10,000 people, are convened at the Stadium to decide whether or not to extend a student strike called after the forcible eviction of protesters occupying University Hall.

 

DÉJÀ VU

November 23, 1974. Once again, Harvard topples an unbeaten Yale squad as time expires. With Yale ahead 16-14 and five minutes to play, senior quarterback Milt Holt leads his team 94 yards downfield, diving in for the winning touchdown with 19 seconds remaining. The 21-16 upset earns Harvard a share of the Ivy title.

 

1981: Firefighters douse press-box blaze.
Joseph Wrinn photograph

April 21, 1981. A six-alarm fire set by an 18-year-old arsonist consumes the Stadium press box.

 

1982: Stadium restoration underway
Harvard University Sports Information

September 18, 1982. After extensive renovations to the Stadium, Harvard begins its 107th football season on schedule. The $8-million restoration project, funded by the Harvard Campaign, provides new steel supports, new concrete seating, face-liftings for the walls and colonnade, and refurbished rest rooms and concession stands.

 

POOF

1982: The MIT balloon prank succeeds.
Bob Brooks photograph

November 20, 1982. The sudden mushrooming of a menacing black balloon on the field at halftime rocks the Stadium crowd; unfazed by this MIT prank, Harvard rocks Yale, 45-7. Never has a Crimson team scored so many points against the Eli.

May 11, 1983. Harvard downs Northwestern, 9-4, in the semifinals of the NCAA women's lacrosse tournament.

1984: Soccer's Olympic ceremonies.
Joe Pantages photograph

July 29-August 3, 1984. Soccer teams representing Cameroon, Canada, Chile, France, Iraq, Norway, and Qatar compete in Olympic Games quarter-finals at the Stadium.

1986: Fireworks at Harvard's 350th anniversary celebration
Photograph by Jim Harrison

September 10, 1986. The Stadium is the setting for a nocturnal extravaganza climaxing Harvard's 350th anniversary celebration. TV journalist Walter Cronkite narrates, the Harvard Band and the Boston Pops Orchestra play, standup comedians tell lame jokes, and fireworks light up the sky.

HARVARD BEATS YALE, SORT OF

June 22, 1991. Harvard hosts the first Japanese collegiate football game played in America. A Keio University squad guided by Harvard's coaches edges Yale-coached Waseda University, 21-19.

 

PAYBACK FOR THAT 1903 GAME

October 23, 1999. Harvard's offense goes wild against Dartmouth: eight school records are broken or tied in a 63-21 rout. Senior tailback Chris Menick scores four touchdowns and establishes a new Harvard record for career yardage.

 

2001: Quarterback Neil Rose '02 passes
Harvard University Sports Information

PRELUDE TO A PERFECT SEASON

November 10, 2001. Seeking Harvard's first undefeated, untied season in 88 years, the Crimson must get past unbeaten Penn, the defending Ivy champion. The Quakers take a quick 14-0 lead, but Harvard answers with four consecutive touchdowns en route to a 28-21 victory. Quarterback Neil Rose '02 and all-Ivy receiver Carl Morris '03 continue on their record-setting way, connecting on a stunning 62-yard pass play that yields the go-ahead touchdown.