BOSTON — Yale and Harvard will take to the gridiron this afternoon for the 125th time, and nothing short of the Ivy League championship hangs in the balance. A Crimson win gives Harvard the title, while a Yale victory not only spoils the day for Harvard but also puts the Bulldogs in position for a share of the title if Columbia upsets Brown.
Jorge Castillo, the football writer for the News, will update this space with dispatches from the tailgate and from Harvard Stadium throughout the day.
3:05 p.m. | The Game has come to an end. Harvard steamrolled the Elis, holding the Yale offense scoreless en route to a 10-0 victory and at least a share of the Ivy League title.
In the 125th edition of The Game, the Bulldogs could not muster any offense whatsoever. On a freezing afternoon at Harvard Stadium, quarterback Brook Hart ’11 completed only four passes, and Yale was held to only 90 yards of total offense and five first downs.
Running back Gino Gordon led Harvard (9-1, 6-1 Ivy) with 168 yards on 39 carries, including a four-yard touchdown in the first quarter. Patrick Long added a 23-yard field goal for the Cantabs in the fourth quarter to seal the victory over archrival Yale (6-4, 4-3).
With the win, Harvard clinches at least a share of the Ivy League title. Brown will win a share of the championship, too, if they hold their 41-10 third quarter lead against Columbia.—Yale Daily News
3:00 p.m. | What are you thinking?! With under two minutes remaining and the ball on the 2-yard line after a Crimson defensive pass interference call. Instead of giving it off to one of the best running backs in Ivy League history, coach Siedlecki tried his luck with two consecutive passes to avoid losing valuable time — and it came back to haunt him. As Hart dropped back to pass, he was hit and fumbled the ball. The Crimson recovered the ball and have no milked the clock off.
Understandably, McLeod left the field for the final time in his career in anger. The decision not to go to him with the game on the line will be one that will be questioned for a long time — and deservedly so.
The Crimson will take at least a share of the Ivy League title, pending the outcome of the Brown-Columbia contest. With a 41-10 lead in the third quarter, it looks like Brown will also claim a piece of the crown.
This is not the way that the Bulldogs wanted to go out, especially with one of the winningest classes in Yale football history. —Jorge Castillo
2:46 p.m. | Gio Christodoulou likes the spotlight. Last season, the returner scored Yale’s only points with an 87-yard punt return. This time around with about 3 minutes left, he returned a punt inside the Harvard 5-yard line. —Jorge Castillo
2:40 p.m. | Time is becoming a factor as the fourth quarter rolls on. With just under seven minutes to go, the Crimson converted a close first down deep in their on territory on the Harvard 10-yard line. Harvard will look to continue to milk the clock as it goes under six minutes. —Jorge Castillo
2:20 p.m. | The Yale defense did what it has done all season — bend but not break. The Crimson looked poised to score when the offense lined up on first and goal from the three-yard line but a stuffed run and an intentional grounding penalty on Pizzotti made it 3rd and 17. Harvard was able to put a field goal on the board, but it could have been worse for the Elis.
This Yale defense has been superb yet again, allowing just 10 points thus far even though the Cantabs have gained over 300 yards of offense. —Jorge Castillo
2:17 p.m. | The freezing temperatures are no deterrent to a dozen or so students in Saybrook College, who just now removed their shirts — and more — for the traditional Saybrook Strip. After about a minute of dancing, they quickly put their clothes back on. —Yale Daily News
2:10 p.m. | Besides the Pizzotti fumble, the third quarter hasn’t brought much action to say the least. The Crimson are driving inside the Yale 20-yard line in front of a packed, but slowly diminishing, frigid crowd here at Harvard Stadium. —Jorge Castillo
1:55 p.m. | Another Harvard turnover, this time a fumble by quarter Chris Pizzotti has given Yale the ball on the 41-yard line. One needs to believe that the frigid conditions are affecting players and their ability to hold onto the ball, or perhaps it’s just the pressure getting to the teams. Usually players like Pizzotti, McLeod, and Matt Luft simply don’t make these mistakes. —Jorge Castillo
1:38 p.m. | With intermission winding down, the jumbotron revealed that Ted Kennedy is in attendance. Good to see the senator is out and about after his recent health problems. —Jorge Castillo
1:15 p.m. | At the half, Harvard leads Yale, 7-0, with Gino Gordon’s 4-yard touchdown run in the first quarter accounting for the game’s only scoring. The YPMB has now taken the field to perform their annual halftime show. This year’s plot centers around Harvard being an evil Communist empire. —Yale Daily News
1:07 p.m. | Looks like neither team wants to win this game. After completing a long pass into Yale territory, the Crimson turned it over on a fumble. The ball was stripped by cornerback Adam Money and recovered by strong safety Larry Abare.
But Yale didn’t take advantage of an opportunity yet again. A couple plays later tailback Mike McLeod, usually as reliable as they come, put the ball on the ground. Coach Siedlecki will have to get this Yale offense going at halftime. Turnovers and missed opportunities will ultimately doom the Elis. You have to think that the longer the vaunted Yale defense is on the field, the more likely this explosive Harvard offense will get things going and put points on the board. —Jorge Castillo
1:00 p.m. | The Elis returned the favor with a field goal miss of their own. Tom Mante, usually reliable, missed a chip shot from 24-yards out. The Bulldogs can’t let opportunities like these go to waste if they intend on coming out on top. —Jorge Castillo
12:30 p.m. | The Bulldogs got a break with a missed Crimson field goal and will start their second drive at about the 20-yard line.
Not all is about football right now, though. It looks like a Yale cheerleader fell and was carried off on a stretcher by the ambulance. You never want to see things like that happen. —Jorge Castillo
12:25 p.m. | Well what a start for the Crimson. After the Gordon touchdown, Harvard head coach Tim Murphy came with a surprise and called for an onside kick. The Bulldogs were caught off guard and the Crimson took possession at the Yale 45-yard line. It may be early, but this has the makings of a game similar to last season’s meeting — a dominant 37-6 Crimson victory. —Jorge Castillo
12:20 p.m. | After Harvard’s first drive stalled at the Yale 35-yard line, the Crimson’s Thomas Hall punted to Yale return man Gio Christodoulou, who called for the fair catch. His teammates weren’t too aware of it, however, and the ball deflected off a Yale player. The ball was then pounced down by the Crimson and three plays later, the Crimson put seven on the board with a three-yard Gino Gordon touchdown run.
This is exactly what the Bulldogs didn’t want to do — commit a turnover, give Harvard good field position, and keep the Crimson on the field longer. Yale will need to come from behind — something it hasn’t had to do in weeks.—Jorge Castillo
12:11 p.m. | It’s time. Gametime. After a tribute for Harvard’s seniors and a wonderfully sung National Anthem, the Crimson and Bulldogs are set to kickoff for the 125th time in the rivalry’s storied history. The Elis deferred the coin toss and will kickoff to the Crimson. The atmosphere is electric, this game promises to be exciting. —Jorge Castillo
11:55 a.m. | Well I just got back from the student tailgate. The food was good, people were drunk, and it was freezing — the makings of a solid tailgate. Wasn’t too fun looking for the tailgate for over a half hour, though — it was secluded in the tennis courts behind bushes and what not. —Jorge Castillo
10:47 a.m. | It’s almost time. With kickoff just approximately 90 minutes away, a few players from both sides are out on the field turf here at Harvard Stadium warming up for the 125th edition of The Game. Sitting up here in the relatively warm press box, it’s tough to imagine being out there in shorts like a few Yale players are. I guess adrenaline works wonders. —Jorge Castillo
10:30 a.m. | Harvard Stadium is empty, save for ushers manning each portal, but it will not stay this way for long. Kickoff is scheduled for 12:08 p.m., and already traffic is backed up along North Harvard Street. Outdoors, it is cold, to say the least; the current temperature, according to the National Weather Service, is 26 degrees, with a wind chill of 11 degrees. —Yale Daily News