Harvard to Battle Yale in the 132nd playing of The Game.
You have felt it – a palpable tension mounting in the yard, at the river and even in the quad! As the crimson of the foliage continues to fade it only blooms with a fury among the jubilant throng. And the reason for these festival rites? The 132nd playing of The Game draws near. The battle set for 2:30 post meridian Saturday, November 21st is to take place at the historic and slightly inconvenient Yale Bowl in New Haven, Connecticut.
The Harvard Crimson has had a winning season going 8-1 and 5-1 in the Ivy League. Yale this year has gone 6-3 and 3-3 Ivy. Currently – but not for long – Harvard lags in the series record 58-65-8. However, since official Ivy League play has began in 1956, Harvard holds the advantage of 34-24-1. We must not forget that Harvard dominated in the first ever playing of The Game, and will (I predict) do so in the last. The score of last year’s exciting game held at home was 31-24 and made the program record of an 8-game winning streak in the series. This is matched to previous series record of 8 straight victories of Yale winning 1880-1889. A nine game winning streak will be a series record and just one more way we prove we are far superior to the Bulldogs.
Furthermore, Harvard is in the running for a share of the Ivy League title. Currently competing for that honor are Dartmouth and Penn who also hold a 5-1 Ivy record. This weekend, a Crimson victory will secure at least a share of the title. If Dartmouth loses to Princeton (cross your fingers!) and Penn loses to Cornell (pray to your spirit animal!), then we will have this title all to our well-deserving selves. Triumph on the final day of the season also means the Crimson will have won the all-Ivy three consecutive years in a row – the first time every in history!
These records on the line mean even more to the seniors who will be playing in their last Harvard-Yale game. For many, this will be the end of their football careers and they would love nothing more than to finish with a victory over our ancient rival. Captain Matt Koran ’16, on his final season said, “It has been really special. My motto is been to take advantage of every single opportunity I have. I’m not going to play football after this year and I knew that going into it. So just giving it everything that I have and laying it all on the line every single opportunity that I got.” Earning his election as captain he also stated that he is consistently “trying to make sure that I get the same out of the rest of my team so just having fun out there, playing football, enjoying it, trying to make big plays and win games while we’re doing that.”
Starting quarterback Scott Hosch ’16 echoes that sentiment knowing that “Just being senior season, having a role, and being a leader on the team” is very special. These players certainly have been leaders on the team this season more than ever. Tight end Ben Braunecker looks back on it seriously: “As a senior it’s different just because it’s the season of the lasts which makes everything more real.” Braunecker makes sure to keep in mind those who won’t be playing this year. “Naturally as football players we do that because we’re always one play away from never playing again. So it’s important to cherish every single day. But as seniors there are a lot of guys who had season ending injuries earlier in the year that had they been sophomore or a junior they’d be able to come back and play more football but because we’re seniors this is it.”
Sobering words, indeed, but accurate. As countless movies, books and TV shows have reiterated (hello Friday Night Lights), playing in these games and on a team like ours is a truly transformative experience not to be dismissed. Four years at Harvard flies by, seniors and alumni will attest, so it is best to cherish it now.
With this in mind, the Crimson head to New Haven confident and eager. Koran knows that the team is “Absolutely gonna beat Yale! Especially with Yale, especially with this game there is a lot on the line. We’re fighting for a championship and we can make history by winning this game.“ The Crimson needs no more than that to leave it all on the field. According to Hosch, “I think we always have motivation to play Yale, playing the big game – so much tradition. And the University is really really depending on us. So yeah there is the record on the line but we’re just focusing on winning the game.”
Therefore, as we flock to that God-forsaken place this weekend we fly the flag high and know that fair Harvard will hold sway! Remember: Illegitimum non carborundum.
Caroline Cronin ’19 (firstname.lastname@example.org) grudgingly admits that some delusional Yalies might call it Yale-Harvard.