Tag Archive: Harvard-Yale 2009

  1. FOOTBALL | Harvard edges past Yale, 14–10


    R.J. Rico blogged live from the Yale Bowl during the 126th Harvard-Yale football game.

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  2. Meet Handsome Dan

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    He’s been called “a terrible morning person” and dislikes flash photography. He raises thousands of dollars for charity and sets our hearts ablaze with Yale pride. He is, of course, Handsome Dan, and the campus’ biggest nonhuman celebrity crush has had a busy week.

    For Dan XVII, whose given name is Sherman, the week preceding The Game is booked full of photoshoots and pep rallies to dinners and baths.

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    His owner, Chris Getman ’64, said that on game day, the bulldog, who “likes his bed,” will be up bright and early for once. He’ll wake up at 6 a.m. — an hour earlier than usual — to get to the tailgate by 10.

    “He’ll be all set and ready to go, particularly because we have an antique car that we use to take him to games,” Getman said. “When he sees that thing coming out of the garage, he gets excited.”

    After arriving to the assigned gate at the Yale Bowl (portal 27), Sherman and his owner will spend most of their time at Getman’s 60-person tailgate, Getman said. Though Getman will bring along biscuits for Sherman, the much-loved mascot won’t get too many treats; Bulldogs have delicate stomachs, Getman said. At the football game against the University of Pennsylvania on Oct. 24, Getman said, Sherman ate something off the ground that made him sick.

    But despite the lack of biscuits, Sherman will bask in attention at the tailgate.

    “He doesn’t mind crowds at all,” said Getman. “He likes the attention, and he’s learned to pose for pictures.”

    Sherman also enjoys attention from his younger fans, including Getman’s grandchildren, Henry, 10, and Evie Pearson, 8 — or rather, “eight and a half,” as Evie was sure to specify.

    “Sometimes he’s running really fast, and then right after it he gets tired,” Henry said. “Then my dog will just jump over him, and he’s like ‘what?’” 

    Henry said he and his sister will be hanging out with their canine friend at the tailgate.

    “He plays soccer,” Henry said. “I’ll roll a ball, and he’ll stop it with his nose and pass it back to me with his nose.”

    In order to be at his photogenic best at The Game, Sherman will go with his “brother” Edward — a Scottish terrier — to a beauty parlor for a bath Thursday, Getman said. And if the weather gets chilly, he will don a sweater with a “Y” on it, which he wore to last year’s game at Harvard, which was an unusually cold 29 degrees.

    As of Wednesday, Getman said, Sherman was hoping to make it to the Thursday’s pep rally. And though past Dans have participated in the Yale Precision Marching Band’s halftime performance, drum major Kate Kraft ’10 said they have no plans to incorporate Sherman into the show.

    Instead, Sherman will walk the field at each quarter of the game with the lucky winners of an auction to be held Friday, Getman said. The Yale Athletics Department will receive the proceeds from the auction, which will be held Friday at the annual Yale Athletics-sponsored Blue Leadership Ball, which also features an awards ceremony. Last year, Getman said, this auction item brought in $2,000.

    Sherman will also attend the World Fellows dinner Friday, Getman said.

    Amid his other obligations, Sherman made time Tuesday morning for the News’ Harvard-Yale cover shoot. At 8:30 a.m., Sherman was chauffeured from Getman’s office to the Yale Bowl. For two hours, he posed like a pro with four members of the Yale football team and head coach Tom Williams. But the bulldog did express a dislike of cameras, charging at the News photographer when he got too close.

    Throughout his photoshoot, Sherman kept his energy up with dog treats, and he noshed on ice cubes from a blue bowl printed with a cartoon image of Handsome Dan.

    Saturday will mark Sherman’s third time attending The Game; he became the mascot in 2006.

    For more Harvard-Yale coverage, visit yaledailynews.com/thegame.

  3. Some teams miss out on Game

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    It’s simply called The Game for a reason. It’s the most important athletic event of the year for many Yalies, even in years when the Ivy League title is not on the line for the Bulldogs.

    But what most Yalies might not know, or tend to forget, is that there are many other games that take place on the same day. The Game falls at the beginning of the winter sports season, a time when many teams are just beginning regular season play.

    This year, there are six other Yale sporting events taking place Saturday — a swim meet, a diving competition, a fencing tournament, men’s and women’s ice hockey games and a men’s basketball contest. Swimming, diving, fencing and men’s hockey are all on the road Saturday, while the members of the women’s hockey and men’s basketball teams play at home Saturday evening, and cannot attend The Game because of game day preparation.

    “It’s not that I don’t feel like I’m ‘missing out’; it’s just that after four years, you’re kind of used to it,” diver Drew Teer ’10 said. “The hardest part for me this year is not being able to support my friends on the team for their Senior Day.”

    While the swimming team heads to Boston University, the diving team will join the football team in taking on Harvard on Saturday, though the divers will be competing in Cambridge, Mass.

    For many athletes, missing The Game is just part of playing on a winter sports team. Men’s basketball guard Porter Braswell ’11 was able to make it to the 2007 edition, but he will not be able to attend this year: His team has walkthroughs all day before its 7 p.m. start against Quinnipiac.

    “You miss out [on] one of the best experiences of being a Yale student,” he said. “I mean as an athlete it’s tough because you miss out on a lot of fun things, and the Harvard-Yale game is one of the highlights of the year that you miss out on.”

    But men’s hockey forward Sean Backman ’10 said because he and his teammates have never attended a Game, they do not know what they’re missing.

    For most athletes, skipping The Game is secondary to their own competitions.

    “On one hand, it’s disappointing because of the history of The Game and the tradition that is involved with the game,” Backman said. “But we have to go out and compete in our own contest, which is my first priority.”

    For the football team, the Harvard-Yale game marks the end of the season, but all of the other teams in action this weekend will continue to train and compete through Thanksgiving break.

    The women’s basketball team will travel to New Mexico for a tournament, and other squads will play as many as three games during the week. Players pointed out that this provides an opportunity to focus solely on athletics, without the added pressure of classes. But the schedule means that many players will not get to travel home for Thanksgiving.

    “Most of the girls on the team won’t be able to go home because we’re on the ice everyday, but on Thanksgiving we have early morning practice so that everyone can have Thanksgiving dinner with their family who lives nearby,” women’s hockey goaltender Genny Ladiges ’12 said.

    But the beauty of The Game is that it continues to be played. Year after year, the Yale football squad takes on its rival from Cambridge, giving athletes who missed out on The Game as students the opportunity to take part in the storied rivalry as alumni.

    “Yes, I will come back to a Yale-Harvard game as an alum,” Backman said. “I will be truly excited about the experience so many of my classmates talk about.”

    For more Harvard-Yale coverage, visit yaledailynews.com/thegame.

  4. Freshmen get chance to shine

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    The night before the football season opener at Georgetown in September, each freshman on the travel team received a phone call in his hotel room.

    For wide receiver Chris Smith ’13, a New Haven Register reporter was supposedly on the line. For tailback Mordecai Cargill ’13, it was a Cleveland Sun writer.

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    Or so they were both led to believe.

    “They were asking me the most ridiculous questions and trying to make me say dumb stuff,” Smith said. “They were asking me if I think that I’m better than [fellow receiver and kick/punt returner Gio Christodoulou ’11].”

    But Cargill’s roommate that night had warned him about the call.

    “I just gave them the most crazy answers,” he said. “I said that I wasn’t a running back anymore and that I was now the backup kicker.”

    In recent years, it has become a tradition that upperclassmen prank call freshmen who have made the travel team, and that was exactly what happened to Cargill and Smith.

    While this tradition for freshmen has stayed strong, on the field one convention was broken on the football team this year.

    For years, under former head coach Jack Siedlecki, the football team’s freshmen — with the exceptions of star tailback Mike McLeod ’09 and linebacker Bobby Abare ’09 — had to wait at least a year before they could see significant playing time at the varsity level.

    But this changed once head coach Tom Williams took the reins this season.

    “I’m not sure what the norm was,” Williams said. “I just knew that we were going to play our best football players, and I told that to the team last year before the freshmen even came in.”

    During preseason camp, Williams held true to his word, adding multiple freshmen — including Cargill, Smith, fullback Jordan Capellino ’13, tight end Jordan Jefferson ’13, offensive lineman Jeff Marrs ’13, linebacker Allen Davis ’13 and defensive back Russell Perkins ’13 — to the travel squad for the season opener at Georgetown.

    Cargill and Smith each received playing time during Yale’s 31–10 win. Cargill had 11 carries for 36 yards, and Smith caught two passes for 29 yards.

    “Our special teams coach put me as the backup punt returner to [Christodoulou],” Smith said. “He went down [during] the game, and I knew they were going to put me in for him as returner. But I didn’t know that I was also his backup as wideout.”

    Cargill has played in all nine games this season, leading the team with 236 rushing yards. Smith injured his hip against Penn on Oct. 24, but he caught 18 passes for 233 yards in six games.

    The two have each scored one touchdown — Yale’s two longest offensive touchdowns of the season.

    Against Dartmouth, Smith caught a short pass over the middle from quarterback Brook Hart ’11. Smith found open ground and ran untouched for the 73-yard touchdown.

    Cargill’s score came in a similar fashion. Two weeks ago against Brown, he caught a screen pass across the middle from quarterback Patrick Witt ’12 and ran the rest of the way for the 41-yard score.

    Although Cargill and Smith have found similar success on the field, their individual journeys to becoming Bulldogs were very different.

    When Williams took the coaching job last January, the previous administration had already made a list of target recruits. Smith was near the top of that list, and what Williams saw of him on film confirmed what others had said about the wideout from Midlothian, Va.

    “I thought he was like a smaller version of [New England Patriots wide receiver] Wes Welker when I watched him on tape,” Williams said. “The way his high school used him as a receiver in the slot, he was able to work against linebackers, get himself open, and he had enough quickness and maneuverability to take it to the house.”

    After speaking with Smith and his mother, Williams was impressed and extended an offer, which Smith accepted.

    But unlike Smith, Cargill was nowhere to be found on the recruiting list that greeted Williams last winter. Instead, Williams found Cargill on his own, making the tailback from Cleveland one of his first true recruits.

    “Mordecai was recommended to me by a friend of mine in the coaching profession — Ted Ginn Sr., who is Ted Ginn Jr.’s father and the head football coach at [Cargill’s high school],” Williams said. “He called me and said that he had a guy who he thought had fallen through the cracks. I had just gotten the job, so I told him that I thought we could maybe work something out.”

    Williams was impressed with what he saw on film and with Cargill’s academic transcript, and went on to offer Cargill one of the final places on the team.

    “He’s got a knack for the game, especially a knack for being a runner,” tailback Rodney Reynolds ’10 said of Cargill. “He’s one of those guys that’s going to be real good.”

    Although both freshmen found it difficult at first to adjust to the complexities of the college game, they said support from their upperclassmen teammates was important in learning the playbook and schemes. Smith said backup quarterback Rich Scudellari ’10 and wide receiver Reid Lathan ’10 were especially helpful with helping him learn the playbook.

    Although it is still relatively rare for freshmen to get playing time, Williams said some freshmen arrive ready because of the preparation they have had in high school.

    “I think nowadays training for football is a year-round proposition in high school, but it didn’t used to be that way,” Williams said. “A guy is more physically and mentally prepared to play in college than he used to be 10 or 15 years ago.”

    In all, about a dozen freshmen have been on the travel roster at some point during the season.

    Cargill, for one, added that he did not expect to get as much playing time as he has, but he does agree that it was his preparation over the summer and during his time at Glenville High School — an Ohio football powerhouse — that helped him to earn his spot on the roster.

    “Getting this much playing time was a pleasant surprise, but at the same time I’d been preparing for a while,” Cargill said.

    With the performances they have already had this season, it seems the days of prank phone calls are long gone for these two.

    For more Harvard-Yale coverage, visit yaledailynews.com/thegame.

  5. Keys to the Game

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    Get an early lead

    Last week, the Elis had another slow start against then last-place Princeton, trailing 21–3 early in the second half. Meanwhile, even though Harvard ended up losing what was basically an Ivy League title game to Penn, the contest was evenly played, evidenced by relatively balanced game statistics. Still, Harvard trailed 17–0 at half time and had to play catch-up the rest of the game, going to a passing game and abandoning the run as the Crimson tried to put points on the board as quickly as possible. As a result, the Crimson only ran for 115 yards compared to their season average of 180. Penn scored first on a 77-yard drive that included a 20-yard run and a 51-yard pass. This has proven to be the only winning formula against Harvard — get the lead early and force the Crimson to pass and play catch-up.

    Quarterback rhythm, stop run

    In lieu of trying to establish the running attack, which the Bulldogs have struggled to do throughout the season, Yale should pass early and frequently, with short, quick routes. If the offensive line can control the line of scrimmage and protect quarterback Patrick Witt ’12, then the Elis can also counter with opportune run plays and screen passes. Harvard’s opponents have outgained the Crimson in the air by close to 30 yards per game, while Harvard has outrushed opponents by more than a 2 to 1 margin (1615 to 658 yards). It will be critical for the Bulldogs to halt Harvard’s running game early and prevent the Crimson from establishing long drives. Ultimately, the Eli defense needs to step up and figure out a way to stop the strong Harvard rushing game — if the Bulldogs allow the Crimson to run as they have most of the season, it could be a long afternoon for Yale.

    Everything else (turnovers, crowd, defense, attitude)

    This is The Game — Yale’s opportunity to finish the season on a high note. At this point, pride is the number one prize for the Bulldogs, who are tied for fourth place in the Ivy League. Turnovers, as always, could be critical in deciding the outcome Saturday. Last week, a blocked Harvard punt directly led to Penn’s second touchdown and a 14–0 lead for the Quakers. Similarly, the Elis committed four turnovers (including three interceptions) that spoiled an otherwise strong game by Witt last weekend against Princeton, inlcuding two early turnovers that helped to lift the Tigers to a 14–0 lead. The Yale defense has to make the big plays: stop third-down conversions, force turnovers, get some sacks and prevent high-yardage plays. Because this is The Game, there is more hype than for any contest this season. Winning would be a huge stepping-stone for next year for the Bulldogs and would give the team’s seniors a lasting memory from their college careers. Harvard is solidly favored, but in a rivalry game like this, anything can happen. The Bulldogs must take advantage of every opportunity to steal a victory from their biggest rival — and the overwhelming favorite.

    For more Harvard-Yale coverage, visit yaledailynews.com/thegame.

  6. A tough first season for Williams


    In his first public appearance as Yale’s head football coach, in January, Tom Williams said he had two goals for this season: winning the Ivy League championship and beating Harvard.

    Though the first of those goals is out of reach for the Bulldogs, who are tied for fourth in the Ivy League, Williams will get his first shot against the Crimson in the 126th edition of The Game on Saturday.

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    As Yale’s 33rd head coach, Williams — who replaced Jack Siedlecki when he stepped down after 12 seasons at the helm — came to New Haven last January after two years as an assistant for the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars. Williams began his coaching career in 1994 at Stanford, his alma mater, where he was a graduate assistant for legendary head coach Bill Walsh. From Stanford, Williams went on to be an assistant coach at Hawaii, Washington and San Jose State before joining the Jaguars.

    Williams’ fifth career move landed him in New Haven to lead the Bulldogs through their 2009 season. Wide receiver Gio Christodoulou ’11 noted that this shift has marked a change in Yale football.

    “He definitely brought a different mind-set, a mind-set of ‘We get what we earn,’ ” Christodoulou said. “Every day we practice, we practice hard.”

    Still, that mind-set apparently has not brought much success this season. The Bulldogs, 4-5 (2-5 in Ivy League play), are heavy underdogs against a Harvard team that just suffered its first Ivy League loss last week against first-place Penn. The Elis are in danger of finishing under .500 for the first time since 2005 and losing against the Crimson for the third consecutive season.

    Injuries to Christodoulou, who had to redshirt after suffering a season-ending turf toe injury in the second game of the season, and safety Larry Abare ’10, who will play for the first time this weekend since breaking his arm against Lehigh on Oct. 17, did not help matters for the rookie head coach. Both Christodoulou and Abare were key players returning for this season, and losing them forced Williams to rely more on inexperienced players.

    But Williams said that regardless of his team’s youth this season, it has been a smooth transition for the Bulldogs both on and off the field, and he credits that mostly to the players.

    “I think that’s due to the fact that our players are dedicated, and they’re competitive,” Williams said. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bad attitude, and as long as they continue to do those types of things and have that kind of attitude I think we’ll be fine. The experience will come.”

    Both players and coaches are confident in each other, and according to running back Rodney Reynolds ’10, Williams made an impact quickly with the members of the team and the football program as a whole.

    “He has brought a real sense of tradition and respect that we didn’t necessarily recognize before,” Reynolds said.

    The team knew things would be different under Williams, but a change came early, quarterback Brook Hart ’11 said of the immediate impact Williams had. Hart recalled one day last spring during a practice when the players were “brawling” during practice as they did often. And Williams took charge.

    “[Williams] jumped in and started grabbing people out,” Hart said. “It was kind of surprising how strong he was and that he jumped in there. That kind of laid down some ground rules about fighting after that. You know that sticks out and shows how he commands respect.”

    Williams’ faith in the future of Yale football has only grown stronger after spending a full season with the Bulldogs: With such a young group, he said the future is bright for the Elis.

    “I told [Director of Athletics] Tom Beckett a couple weeks ago that I’m more excited to be the head coach here now than when I first got the job,” Williams said.

    Although Williams said he thinks there will be success for the Bulldogs in future seasons, there is no denying that the biggest game for him yet is Saturday.

    As much as the Bulldogs try to treat Harvard as just any other opponent they have faced this season, Williams admits that the Elis cannot help but treat their archrivals with more zeal.

    “You know you try to prepare for everybody the same,” Williams said. “But you end up spending some extra time on your rival because you want to do everything you can to put your players in a position to be successful on Saturday.”

    For more Harvard-Yale coverage, visit yaledailynews.com/thegame.

  7. Rivalry runs in the family

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    Sometimes football runs in the family — and sometimes rivalries do too. Three football players — captain Paul Rice ’10, quarterback Patrick Witt ’12 and offensive lineman Gabriel Fernandez ’12 — find their families divided every year at The Game.

    Witt’s brother, Jeff, was also a quarterback. But he represented the archrival Crimson.

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    “It will be weird when we play Harvard, but my brother had a good experience there,” Patrick Witt said. “[We were] a Harvard family, and [we’re] all Yale now.”

    Witt’s refusal to play for his brother’s alma mater was a decision of necessity, rather than preference.

    Of Witt’s top three choices in the Ivy League — Harvard, Yale and Princeton — only Yale accepts transfer students. This stipulation enabled Witt, a transfer from Nebraska, to narrow down his options quickly.

    Jeff Witt has looked past his college ties to celebrate his brother’s success and opportunities.

    “I’m very happy for him to be at Yale, actually,” said Witt, who graduated in May. “I was just happy to see him end up at an Ivy League school because I knew what the Ivy experience was like, and I was glad he would have the same opportunities.”

    Even with his newly-minted Harvard diploma and Crimson allegiance, Witt insists his support at The Game, which he plans to attend, belongs to his brother.

    “Blood is thicker than water,” Witt said. “And I certainly can’t support any notion of not supporting him.”

    According to Patrick Witt, his parents, who will also be in attendance, will support him as well. Witt said his mother will be wearing Yale Blue and a red scarf for his brother but will be cheering for the Bulldogs.

    Fernandez said that a battle between brothers would have been a welcome challenge.

    “I wish I could have played against my brother,” Fernandez said. “I always have [wanted to] and never got to.”

    Fernandez’s brother, Frank, an All-Ivy League selection in 2006, played center at Harvard and is currently playing football in Japan. Gabriel assured that his brother and his family will root for Yale.

    However, Fernandez said a win for Yale would be more than just a good way to set the tone for next season.

    “There would possibly be a little sibling bragging rights for a year,” Fernandez said.

    Like Witt and Fernandez, Rice, a linebacker, has a strong family connection to Harvard, where his father was a defensive back for the Crimson from 1974-’76.

    Also like Witt, Rice’s decision to come to Yale over Harvard was in some ways out of his own hands.

    “Yale was the first school out of anyone who contacted me,” Rice said. “Harvard didn’t recruit me as much as Yale.”

    Lou Rice understood the role of the recruitment process in dictating his son’s college decision. It was actually a current Harvard coach, Joel Lamb, who recruited Rice to Yale.

    “My first reaction was, ‘Why can’t Harvard coaches be this aggressive?’ I wished he were more interested in Harvard, but by the time the process ended, I was very impressed with what Yale had to offer,” he said. “Would I preferred that he had chosen Harvard? I suppose so, but by decision time I was pleased with the outcome.”

    Rice’s father, although a Crimson fan, will support his son in The Game as Jeff Witt and Frank Fernandez will support their brothers. Yet after Rice graduates, Rice insisted his father will return to his old allegiances.

    Despite school ties, Lou Rice said perhaps the most remarkable thing about The Game is the shared experience among the players, whether they bleed blue or red — and being able to share it with his son.

    “I don’t think I’ve ever seen him in his life as happy as he was his freshman year when they beat Harvard in Harvard Stadium to win the title,” Lou Rice said. “Having won two titles in my varsity career at Harvard I remember how great it was to beat Yale. I know exactly what he’s feeling; I’m just so happy he’s had the opportunity to play in three games so far. Just being in that game — he’ll have it the rest of his life.”

    For more Harvard-Yale coverage, visit yaledailynews.com/thegame.

  8. 126th edition of historic rivalry


    Times have certainly changed since the Yale and Harvard football teams first met in 1875, but one thing remains the same — the unmatchable spirit and rivalry of The Game.

    This Saturday, tens of thousands of people from the Eli and Crimson communities alike will line the Yale Bowl to take part in the 126th playing of one of college football’s oldest and most tradition-steeped rivalries.

    “It is ‘The Game,’ ” said Larned Professor Emeritus of History G. Gaddis Smith ’54 GRD ’61, who has attended most of the home contests since 1948. “When my memories begin here, the Bowl would always fill up, there was huge competition to get tickets … and alumni of all ages were very enthusiastic.”

    That enthusiasm began way back in 1875, when Yale promised Harvard $75 for playing in the first match in New Haven’s Hamilton Park and tickets sold for a mere 50 cents each. Harvard won, 4-0.

    The competition has taken off since that original meeting — drawing sell-out crowds, providing a stage for Harvard-Yale pranks and becoming the culminating point of both team’s Ivy League seasons.

    Other schools share similarly large rivalries, such as Oklahoma-Texas, Michigan-Ohio State, Army-Navy and Alabama-Auburn.

    But the Harvard-Yale rivalry is often placed right up there with these contests, as evidenced by Sports Illustrated On Campus in 2003 ranking it the sixth-best rivarly in college athletics.

    “I don’t think there are any that are any bigger than this one,” said Eli head coach Tom Williams, who will take part in his first of these contests on Saturday. “This has got to be one of the oldest rivalries in college football and certainly one of the biggest. I think the fact that its moniker is ‘The Game’ speaks for itself.”

    Quarterback Patrick Witt ’12, who previously played at Division 1 Nebraska, agreed that the Harvard-Yale game is somehow unique from other big football competitions.

    “Those may get more media,” Witt said of other rivalries. “But as far as tradition goes, I don’t think anything compares to the Harvard-Yale game.”

    And although more than a century has passed between Yale and Harvard’s first encounter and although other Division 1 college football rivalries have developed into highly commercialized events, the nature of The Game has remained much the same, according to Calvin Hill ’69.

    It’s that lasting spirit of tradition and rivalry that Hill, a former Yale and NFL running back, said truly characterizes the Harvard-Yale contest.

    “I think it has stayed true to what it is,” said Hill. “It’s defined in terms of an educational experience. It’s played by true student-athletes … You can’t say that about a lot of schools around the country. To the people who are part of both places, it is very meaningful.”

    The Game first came to Harvard Stadium in 1903, where the Bulldogs tallied a 16-0 victory. But the Crimson took their revenge in 1914, when they won the inaugural Yale Bowl competition 36-0. Attendance reached a new peak in 1920, when some 80,000 fans assembled at the Yale Bowl.

    Then the Ivy League was formed in 1945, in an effort to stop universities from only fostering professional athletes.

    But some — like Hill — still made it to the big leagues. Hill went on play for the Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins and Cleveland Browns after graduating from Yale. He spent one year in the World Football League and was named to the Associated Press All-Pro team as a rookie on the Cowboys in 1969.

    And Hill said those Harvard-Yale competitions still rank among his most significant football experiences.

    “As I look back on important games in my career, I played 12 years in the national football league and one year in the world football league,” he said. “And one of the most meaningful games I played in, or among the most meaningful games I played in, were those Harvard-Yale games.”

    As a college student, Hill played in one of the most famous Yale-Harvard clashes: the 29-29 tie of 1968.

    The contest took place at Harvard Stadium, and Yale was leading 29-13 with 42 seconds remaining — a perfect 9-0 record, 16-game winning streak and chance for the Ivy League title on the line. But the Crimson stunned the Elis by scoring 16 points in those last few seconds, and The Harvard Crimson’s headline announcing the results read “Harvard Beats Yale, 29-29.”

    The Harvard-Yale contests have sparked numerous pranks from each college.

    In 1955, Harvard unleashed three piglets onto the field while the Yale band was playing. The Elis still won, 21-7.

    The Bulldogs pulled their own stunt at Harvard Stadium in 2004, when Yale students dressed as the “Harvard Pep Squad” passed out placards to Crimson fans that would supposedly read “Go Harvard.” Harvard won the game, 35-3, but Eli fans got a laugh when the cards were raised and instead spelled out “We Suck.”

    The contest is about to enter the 126th year of play on Saturday, which, for Hill, is a true embodiment of the Yale spirit.

    “Yale is a place where you have lots of very bright people, and people who expect to be the leaders of tomorrow,” Hill said. “You defer to no one in terms of ability, whether it manifests itself in the classroom or on the athletic field. At Yale, you keep your class — you let your performance do the talking.”

    For more Harvard-Yale coverage, visit yaledailynews.com/thegame.