Paul Stanton and the Crimson earned a share of the Ivy League title with a 34-7 battering of Yale Saturday (Gil Talbot).
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – In the 130th playing of the The Game, the Harvard football team, with the help of sophomore Paul Stanton, Jr.'s four total touchdowns, outmuscled Yale, 34-7, to claim is seventh win in a row over its archrival Saturday at the Yale Bowl. The win, which extends the Crimson's longest win streak over the Bulldogs, is Harvard's 250th Ivy League win overall, making it the first team to reach the landmark victory total.
Following the conclusion of the Harvard-Yale showdown, Dartmouth shocked league-leading Princeton, 28-24, giving Harvard a share of the 2013 Ivy League title. It is Harvard's 15th Ancient Eight crown and seventh under head coach Tim Murphy. Harvard's 9-1 record marks the sixth time the Crimson has accumulated nine or more wins under coach Murphy.
The Crimson shook off any pregame jitters early and looked poised on a 72-yard touchdown drive to open the game. Conner Hempel extended the drive with first-down rushes on three occasions, and from 25 yards out, Stanton turned the corner on a left-side sweep and scampered, untouched, into the endzone for the game's first score at 8:32 of the first.
Yale looked to answer on its next possession, and managed to pick up a third and long with a pass across the middle of the field, but a swarm of Harvard tacklers forced the receiver Candler Rich to cough up the ball near midfield. The Crimson jumped at the opportunity to covert the turnover into points, and six plays later, it was Stanton breaking the plane once again, this time on a 21-yard screen pass.
Harvard's defense continued to smother Yale's attempts to move the ball, forcing the Bulldogs to punt for the second time in three drives. Hempel went back to work quickly, delivering a 36-yard strike to Cameron Brate on a well-designed play action pass, setting the Crimson up within the Yale 15 yard line. Hempel charged into the endzone on the following snap, but an illegal formation negated the score and pushed Harvard back five yards. The guests were un-phased by the setback and on the next play, Stanton took a screen pass from Hempel, broke a tackle and beat a Yale defender to the pylon from 18 yards out for his third score of the game.
Yale put together its best drive of the half on its second possession of the second quarter. Key third down pickups and a personal foul on the Crimson moved Yale into the redzone, but an inside handoff on third down was sniffed out and stuffed by Harvard, forcing Yale to attempt a field goal. Despite having the wind at his back, Yale kicker Kyle Cazzetta pushed the attempt wide right, keeping the Bulldogs without a point.
On its fourth drive of the game, the Crimson continued to impose its will up front, moving the chains with a variety of running and passing plays. Another long pass play to Brate, this time into double coverage along the left sideline, saw the Crimson pick up yet another third and long to extend the drive. It wasn't long before the ball wound up in Stanton's hands, as the sophomore tied the program Harvard-Yale record with his fourth touchdown of the day, this one a two-yard plunge on second down.
Harvard's first punt of the day gave Yale the ball with 10 seconds to play in the first half, and a long completion past the 50 yard line allowed the Bulldogs to take a shot at the endzone. Henry Furman lofted a wind-aided pass towards the goal line, but the Crimson defense smartly batted the ball down, keeping the shutout intact heading into halftime.
The Crimson got the ball to start the second half and once against marched methodically towards the Bulldogs' endzone. Faced with a fourth down and one from the Yale 20, Harvard kept its offense on the field and Hempel kept the ball on an option run, charging all the way down to the Yale six yard line. The Bulldogs dug in, however, and after Stanton was stopped short of his fifth score of the day on third down, David Mothander threaded home a field goal to push the Harvard lead to 31-0.
The hosts were finally able to put together a scoring drive midway through the third, taking 10 plays to go 74 yards and capping it with a three-yard rush by Deon Randall. The score reenergized the Bulldogs, and the Blue-and-White defense forced a quick three-and-out on Harvard's ensuing possession.
The fourth quarter began with the ball in Harvard's possession, but the Bulldog defense was stout once again, this time forcing a Stanton fumble near midfield. Yale's offense took over but did not have much luck either, advancing the ball just five yards on three plays. Facing a 24-point deficit, the hosts elected to go for it on fourth down, but Furman's passed over the middle sailed high and was easily picked off by Chris Splinter with 13:30 on the clock.
While the Crimson was not able to move the ball deep into Yale territory, it advanced far enough to attempt a lengthy field goal. Mothander, who entered the game a perfect five-for-five in field goals on the season, lined up a 48-yard attempt with a lessening breeze at his back. The hold was good and Mothander got the kick away, just clearing the cross bar to put Harvard up 34-7. The successful field goal marked the longest ever by a Harvard kicker in The Game.
Both teams traded possessions as the quarter's final minutes waned, but with three minutes left on the clock, the Crimson took to the victory formation after Stanton wrapped up his fourth 100-yard game, pushing his game-total to 118 on the final drive. The Crimson took two knees to see time expire with a 34-7 win.
The Game Notes:
The win is Harvard's seventh in a row over Yale, extending its longest win streak over its archrival (2007-present); the Crimson has won 12 of the last 13 meetings … Harvard's win gives the Crimson 250 Ivy League victories, the first team to reach the mark … The 27-point victory over Yale is the 10th-largest win for Harvard over its archrival … Today marked the 600th game ever played in the Yale Bowl … Paul Stanton, Jr.'s four touchdowns ties a Harvard record for scores in a game versus Yale; Eddie Mahan had four touchdowns against the Bulldogs in 1915 … Kicker David Mothander's 48-yard field goal in the fourth quarter was the longest by a Crimson kicker against Yale and the longest in his career in Cambridge; Mothander ends his career in sole possession of second place on the all-time Crimson scorers list, racking up 253 total points.