Harvard vs. Yale
Harvard has won nine-straight games against Yale (Elan Kawesch).
The Harvard football team looks to clinch a share of its fourth-consecutive Ivy League title for the first time in program history, as the Crimson hosts Yale in the 133rd playing of The Game. The Crimson heads into the weekend 7-2 overall and is tied with Penn and Princeton with a 5-1 conference mark, while the Bulldogs stand 2-7 and 2-4.
A Crimson victory combined with a Dartmouth win over Princeton and a Cornell victory over Penn would give Harvard a full share of the crown.
Saturday's game will be the 133rd addition of The Game, with the first meeting having occurred in 1875 (4-0 Harvard win). The Crimson has topped Yale for a program-record nine-straight times, which is the all-time series record for most-consecutive wins overall. All-time, Yale leads the series 65-59-6, but the Crimson has the advantage since Ivy League play began in 1956, 35-24-1.
In the 27-14 setback at Penn Nov. 11, Joe Viviano went 23-of-39 for 216 yards and one touchdown, while Justice Shelton-Mosley amassed 115 all-purpose yards on 64 punt return yards and 51 receiving yards. The Crimson tied the game, 14-14, with 3:23 remaining in the fourth on a 26-yard touchdown by Joseph Foster and ensuing two-point conversion reception by Viviano, but Penn scored twice in the final minutes to give the Crimson its first conference loss of the year.
Viviano is completing 61.6 percent of his passes (157-of-255) and has 1,832 yards through the air. He has thrown 14 TDs, while rushing for five more. Semar Smith (57.9 yards per contests) is the team's leading rusher and has scored seven touchdowns on the ground, while Justice Shelton-Mosley and Anthony Firkser are averaging 74.0 and 72.8 receiving yards per game, respectively.
Yale is coming off a 31-3 defeat at home to Princeton Nov. 12. QB Kurt Rawlings finished 18-of-37 for 164 yards, but the Bulldogs mustered only 200 yards of total offense. Defensive back Foyesade Oluokun led the way for the Yale defense with 14 tackles in the contest.
Going For Four
Harvard has won at least a share of the last three Ivy League titles and is seeking to become the first team to capture four consecutive Ancient Eight titles since Penn (1982-86). Last year's title for Harvard marked the first time the Crimson had won three straight crowns.
The other schools to win three straight: Yale (1967-69), Dartmouth (1969-73), Yale (1979-81) and Penn (1982-86).
History At The Top
With a Harvard win against Yale, head coach Tim Murphy would tie Yale's Carm Cozza (1965-96) for the most Ivy League titles for a head coach.
Most Ivy League Titles By Coach:
10 - Carm Cozza (Yale, 1965-96)
9 - Tim Murphy (Harvard, 1994-present)
9 - Al Bagnoli (Penn/Columbia, 1992-present)
Harvard's class of 2017 owns a 35-4 record (.897) during their four years in Cambridge, giving the group the third-highest winning percentage for a Harvard class in the Ivy League era (since 1956). The Crimson classes of 2015 and 2016 each finished 36-4 (.900).
This year's class can tie the classes of 2015 and 2016 with the most wins in the Ivy era with a victory over Yale.
Winningest Classes in Ivy History
1. Harvard Class of 2015 - 36-4, 25-3 Ivy
2. Harvard Class of 2016 - 36-4, 24-4 Ivy
3. Harvard Class of 2017 - 35-4, 24-3 Ivy
4. Penn Class of 2004 - 35-4, 26-2 Ivy
Ancient Eight Road Victories
Harvard had rattled off 13-straight Ivy League road wins, a program and conference record, until falling at Penn, 27-14, Nov. 11.
13 – Harvard (2013-16)
12 - Harvard (1974-77)
12 – Penn (2002-05)
12 – Penn (2008-11)
Harvard head coach Tim Murphy stands at 17-5 (.773) in The Game. Murphy has passed Yale's Carm Cozza (1965-96) with the most wins by a head coach in The Game. Cozza was 16-15-1 against Harvard.
The duo of Justice Shelton-Mosley and Anthony Firkser has combined for 1,173 yards on 89 catches this season, each averaging over 75 yards per game. Both surpassed 100 yards receiving in the opening contest against URI, and Firkser neared the 150 mark against Georgetown. The tight end has seven touchdowns to his credit through nine games.
Firkser has moved up to 12th in program history with 97 career receptions and 1,512 receiving yards. Firkser's 1,512 receiving yards is the eighth most in school history. Shelton-Mosley stands 17th with 86 career receptions for 1,107 yards.
Harvard Among Nation's Best
Freshman placekicker Jake McIntyre ranks fifth in the nation in field-goal percentage, having converted eight of nine attempts this year. Defensive back Tanner Lee stands 19th with 0.4 interceptions per contest, and quarterback Joe Viviano is 23rd in total offense (264.0).
QB Moving Up
Joe Viviano has amassed 2,112 yards of total offense this fall, good for 11th-most in program history. His 1,832 passing yards is also good enough for 13th-best in school history.
The Crimson ranks ninth and 21st in the FCS in rushing and scoring defense, respectively. The Crimson has allowed 92.0 yards rushing and 21.0 points per game. Harvard also ranks 15th in red-zone defense (.727). The Crimson allowed only 21 rushing yards at Penn Nov. 11.
Better Than Average
Harvard has clinched its 119th season at .500 or better in the program's 143-year history. It also marks the Crimson's 19th-straight year at .500 or better.
Harvard is 38-11 in its last 49 road games (.776). The Crimson is 30-6 (.833) in its last 3 Ivy League road games.
Harvard Owns New England
Since 1994, the Crimson owns a record of 118-44 (.728) in games played in New England. Since the 2001 campaign, Harvard stands at 93-17 (.845), and the team is 39-4 since the start of 2012 (.907) in contests held in the region.
Harvard has scored points in an Ivy League and school-record 187-consecutive games. The Crimson has not been shut out since a 24-0 loss to Columbia in the 1998 season opener.
Brown held the previous Ivy record (162 games), which was stopped on Oct. 13, 2012 (19-0 loss at Princeton).
Down The Stretch Into November
Since 2007, the Crimson owns a 27-5 mark (.844) in contests played during the month of November.
The loss at Holy Cross Oct. 15 snapped a 16-consecutive road win streak, an Ivy League and program record (breaking the Crimson record set from 1974-77). The streak was the longest in the FCS. Dartmouth owns the next-longest road win streak in the Ivies, rattling off 14 in-a-row from 1995-97.
The Crimson is converting 45.0 percent (68-of-151) of its third-down opportunities, a number that is 18th in the FCS.
Harvard Coach Tim Murphy
In his 23rd season as Harvard's all-time winningest head coach, Tim Murphy enters this week's game with a 163-65 record with the Crimson and a 195-110-1 overall head coaching record, which includes five years at Cincinnati and two years at Maine. Since the formation of the Ivy League in 1956, only one Ivy coach has compiled more wins than Murphy's 163 and he is just one of five coaches to win 100-plus games. Murphy also owns 115 Ivy League wins, second most all-time. Murphy has led Harvard to nine Ivy League championships (1997, 2001, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2015). He is 17-5 vs. Yale.
Yale Coach Tony Reno
In his fifth season as head coach for Yale, Tony Reno owns a 23-26 overall record and is 14-20 in Ivy League contests. A former assistant coach with the Crimson from 2009-11, Reno is a 1997 graduate of Worcester State and is 0-4 against Harvard.
Offense Clicking Under Murphy
With its 51-point performance vs. Rhode Island Sept. 16, Harvard improved to 38-1 (.974) under head coach Tim Murphy (since 1994) when scoring 40 or more points. The lone loss was at home against Princeton, 51-48, in triple overtime Oct. 26, 2013.
Since 2007, Harvard is 14-0 following a loss. The Crimson has not lost consecutive games since weeks nine and 10 of the 2006 season.