Crimson staff writer
Crimson staff writer Griffin Wong can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Wong_THC.
The Harvard football team’s Ivy League title hopes were squashed by its arch rival Saturday as the Crimson fell to Yale, 19-14, in the 138th rendition of The Game.
Saturday will mark the 138th gridiron meeting between Harvard and Yale — a rivalry whose results have been worthy of two of the most storied programs in football.
The Crimson had the ball back, with what appeared to be one final chance to stun the raucous crowd that had turned up to New Haven, Connecticut, and secure head coach Tim Murphy his 20th victory over Yale.
Peaking at the Right Time, Harvard Football Thrashes Penn, 37-14, to Keep Ivy League Title Hopes Alive
Harvard football (6-2, 4-2) needed everything to go right on Saturday to stay in contention for an Ivy League title. Defeating Penn (6-2, 4-2) was a must. It also had to root for its biggest rival, Yale (6-2, 5-1), to come up with an upset against Princeton (7-1, 5-1). In Philadelphia, the Crimson took care of business, thrashing the Quakers through the air and on the ground en route to a 37-14 victory. And thanks to the Bulldogs’ 24-20 victory over the Tigers in New Haven, Conn., an improbable scenario in which four teams could share the conference championship inched closer to reality. The win also clinched the team's first undefeated road record since 2015.
In just over a week, Cambridge will light up with the energy of thousands of fans as the 138th Playing of The Game comes to Harvard Stadium. But despite students preparing to host their Yale counterparts and the campus starting to get ready for the festivities, the Harvard football team (5-3, 3-2) is focused on another mission: keeping its slim Ivy League championship hopes alive on a Saturday trip to the City of Brotherly Love. In its first trip to Philadelphia since 2018, the Crimson will face off against a much-improved Penn squad (7-1, 4-1), needing two wins and two Princeton losses to share a conference championship with the Tigers. Harvard and the Quakers will kick off at 1 p.m. at Franklin Field.
In ‘Game of Inches,’ Harvard Football Drops 21-20 Contest to Columbia; All But Mathematically Eliminated From Ivy League Contention
According to Harvard head coach Tim Murphy, football is a "game of inches". During Saturday’s game between Harvard (5-3, 3-2) and Columbia (4-4, 1-4), the Crimson needed just a few more inches. After opting to kick a 42-yard field goal down by one on fourth and one with just over a minute remaining, Murphy’s faith in his senior kicker, Jonah Lipel, was not rewarded. Instead, a Lions defender got a fingertip on the football, which veered left and clanked off the left upright, shattering the hopes of Harvard’s players and the hearts of the fans who had gathered on a balmy fall afternoon to watch the team play. The 21-20 victory was Columbia’s first at Harvard Stadium since a 28-24 win on Sept. 16, 1995.
After last week’s 37-10 loss to Princeton dropped Harvard (5-2, 3-1) into third in the Ivy League standings, the Crimson needed a win to keep its hopes for an Ivy League championship alive. Harvard likely has to win each of its last four games in order to have a real chance at claiming the conference title, and the Tigers must lose once. During Saturday’s 28-13 victory over Dartmouth (2-5, 1-3), the Crimson offense was rarely pretty, but it scrapped its way to a needed win.
Preview: After Consequential Defeat, Harvard Football Hopes for Redemption With Road Clash at Dartmouth
Coming off its most lopsided defeat in more than five years, it is crunch time for Harvard football (4-2, 2-1). Sitting in third alongside Yale in the Ivy League standings, the Crimson likely must win each of its last four games to have a chance to win its ninth conference title this century. Harvard’s gauntlet starts this Saturday, when it will travel to Hanover, N.H., for a 1:30 p.m. clash against Dartmouth (2-4, 1-2).
For Harvard football (4-2, 2-1), Friday night’s clash against No. 23 Princeton (6-0, 3-0) marked an opportunity to exact revenge after a heartbreaking, controversial defeat to the Tigers 363 days prior. However, Princeton flipped the script completely on Friday, scoring 23 unanswered points after halftime as the Tigers claimed pole position in the Ivy League title chase with a 37-10 victory. The 27-point margin of defeat was Harvard’s largest since a 52-17 loss to Princeton on Oct. 20, 2017.