In one of the greatest moments for Yale athletics in the last decade, the Bulldogs finally defeated Harvard, 34-13, after five consecutive losses, en route to their fourteenth Ivy League Championship and the first since 1999.
The sold out Harvard Stadium saw a Yale defense that never allowed the Cantabs to get into any sort of offensive rhythm and an offense that repeatedly took advantage of the fine defensive play. The Elis limited All-time Ivy rushing leader Clifton Dawson to just 60 yards on the afternoon, after having granted Dawson twice that much in each of the previous three Harvard-Yale showdowns.
Mike McLeod ’09 ran for three touchdowns for a total of 19 rushing (20 overall) touchdowns this season, breaking the school record for most rushing touchdowns in a season. His 1,364 yards this year leaves him just short of the all-time single season rushing record at Yale set by Rich Diana in 1981.
But this game was much more about school unity and team effort than individual records. The Bulldogs set the tone early, with the offense marching down the field for a touchdown midway through the first quarter and the defense not even allowing a Crimson first-down until there were less than three minutes left in the first stanza. The Elis dominated the second quarter, putting up three scores – including two Alan Kimball ’08 field goals – to enter the locker room up 20-7.
A scoreless third quarter would have put a lot of teams at ease, but after Yale’s fourth quarter meltdown last week against Princeton, the Bulldogs were determined to finish the game strong. Another McLeod touchdown, followed by Steve Santoro ’09’s 38-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown, sealed the victory for the Elis.
The 21-point win was Yale’s largest margin of victory over Harvard in 25 years. Combined with Princeton’s win over Dartmouth, it gives Yale a share of the 2006 Ivy League title.
“It doesn’t get any better than this,” captain Chandler Henley ’07 said. “Last game, beat Harvard, win the Ivy League championship. I’m proud of this team.”