By Graham Walter
Harvard’s late rise in the Game this year reminded many of the late comeback made 50 years ago in 1968 to tie the score. The historical significance of that game is one many at Harvard take for granted, but it was no doubt the main event going on for all of Cambridge back in the day. Between Vietnam, the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy, and the unrest from Yale admitting their first class of women, the nationally ranked Yale team and the undefeated Harvard had plenty of distractions outside the field.
The Game took place at Fenway Park with the team sharing a sideline up against the Green Monster. This was the first time The Game was held off campus since 1894 in Hampden Park. At Fenway, the Harvard student section was stuck beyond the Pesky Pole, all out in right field. As the clock hit zero, it was at that section where the Crimson celebrated after its highest scoring game in the Game’s 143 year history.
Tom Stewart, starting quarterback for Harvard, threw for 312 yards and three touchdowns. The Crimson also ran an additional 266 yards. Before this year, Yale had beaten Harvard in back to back games, so the upperclassman on the team wanted this win for payback.
Both students and players were initially upset about the game taking place off-campus. In the weeks leading up to the game, players feared that there would not be support, and the seniors especially wanted to play at their own Stadium. The game was sold out, and plenty of students took buses over to the game. When the players got to walk around Fenway Park, however, it was an exciting experience that they could rally behind.
The game was close until the final quarter. Tony Reno, the Yale head coach, expressed his thoughts on the game, saying that the Bulldogs just “weren’t able to continue to match points.” Harvard scored 17 points in the fourth, even after Stewart came out of the game with a right hip injury. Jake Smith came in the next play and handed it off to Devin Darrington to score a 16-yard touchdown on the next play.
Darrington ran for 91 yards and two touchdowns. He would have had another, but he was penalized for wagging his finger at the Yale defenders after a 27-yard score in the fourth, causing the touchdown to be voided and giving the Crimson a 15 yard penalty. Tyler Adams ran for 125 yards including a 62-yard touchdown in the second quarter that started shifting the momentum in Harvard’s favor.
Harvard’s defense showed up to play. Yale was down 21-14 midway through the game when O’Connor, Yale’s quarterback, passed the ball to Klubnik for a long gain. He was taken down at the 2-yard line. On second down, Harvard tackled Dudek in the backfield and brought Yale back to the 8-yard line. The next pay, O’Connor passed to Dudek for a gain of 5 where he was immediately brought down by Harvard. Targeting was called on Harvard, however, and Ogsbury was ejected from the game. The two teams, sharing the same sideline, began to shout at each other until the coaches intervened.
Early in the fourth, the band played Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” and from that point on, Harvard took it away. This game concluded the season for both Harvard and Yale. Harvard finishes the season 6–4 and 3rd in the Ivy League.
Graham Walter ’21 ([email protected]) is grateful for his remaining years at Harvard and the chance to see the game return to his home stadium.