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Harvard 14, Yale 10

11.21.09

After three unproductive quarters at Yale Bowl, Harvard scored on two long passes to pull out an exciting 14-10 victory in the final minutes of The Game.

Mounting an unexpectedly strong rushing attack, Yale’s offense had built a 10-0 lead with a field goal and a touchdown on its first two possessions. The Blue controlled the flow of the game and held Harvard’s high-scoring offense in check until midway through the final period, when quarterback Collier Winters ’11 handed off to tailback Gino Gordon ’11 on a fourth-and-four at the Harvard 30-yard line. Yale cornerback Adam Money almost had him at the line of scrimmage, but Gordon spun away for a 19-yard gain. Two plays later, Winters threw a deep ball to senior wide receiver Matt Luft for a 41-yard touchdown. Senior Patrick Long’s extra-point kick cut the Yale lead to 10-7.

On Yale’s next series, a holding penalty and a quarterback sack by Harvard captain Carl Ehrlich ’10 and end John Lyon ’12 forced the Blue into a fourth-and-22 situation. From punt formation, Yale audaciously tried a trick play, with freshman defensive back  John Powers taking the ball on a reverse and sprinting for the left sideline behind three blockers. Harvard defenders Collin Zych ’11, Dan Minamide ’12, and Anthony Spadafino ’11 broke through the interference and stopped Powers seven yards short of the first-down marker.

From Yale’s 40-yard line, the Crimson offense needed only three plays to score again, as wide receiver Chris Lorditch raced to the goal line and hauled in a perfectly thrown pass from Winters. The play covered 32 yards and gave Harvard the lead with a minute and half left to play.

An interception by Crimson linebacker Jon Takamura ’10 spiked a last-ditch Yale drive in the game's final minute.

Gordon rushed for 85 yards on 14 attempts, for an average of 6.1 yards per carry. Winters completed 19 of 26 passes for 211 yards and the two Crimson touchdowns. Lorditch had six catches for 104 yards, while Luft had three for 55 yards.

Harvard has prevailed in eight of the last nine meetings with Yale, and has now won five straight at Yale Bowl. Harvard ends the 2009 season with a record of 6-1 in Ivy League play (7-3 overall). Yale, in its first season under new coach Tom Williams, finishes 2-5 Ivy and 4-6 overall.

 

The score by quarters:

Harvard      0    0    0   14  —    14
Yale            10    0    0    0   —    10

Attendance: 52,692

 

In other Ivy games: Pennsylvania (7-0, 8-2) won the league title outright with a 34-0 rout of last-place Cornell (1-6, 2-8). Harvard finishes as the runner-up to Penn in the Ivy standings.…Princeton (3-4, 4-6) defeated Dartmouth (2-5, 2-8), 23-11, while Columbia (3-4, 4-6) upset Brown (4-3, 6-4), 28-14.

 

THE SEASON'S RECORD

Holy Cross 27, Harvard 20
Harvard 24, Brown 21
Harvard 28, Lehigh 14
Harvard 28, Cornell 10
Lafayette 35, Harvard 18
Harvard 37, Princeton 3
Harvard 42, Dartmouth 21
Harvard 34, Columbia 14
Pennsylvania 17, Harvard 7
Harvard 14, Yale 10 

 

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