Football Falls to Yale in 133rd Playing of The Game, 21-14

Photo courtesy of Zack Williamson
Photo courtesy of Zack Williamson
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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – In front of a sellout crowd of 31,662 fans, Harvard football fell to Yale on Saturday afternoon at Harvard Stadium, 21-14. The loss snapped a streak of nine-straight wins over the Bulldogs, which was the most in the history of the series.

Harvard ended the season at 7-3 overall, including a 5-2 mark in Ivy League play. The Crimson finished third in the Ivy League standings, its 17th-straight season finishing in the top-three of the table. The class of 2016 finished with 35 victories, one shy of the most for a class in the Ivy League era.

Senior quarterback Joe Viviano led the Crimson offense with 242 yards of offense, with 181 coming through the air and 61 on the ground. Sophomore Charlie Booker added 54 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries, while classmate Adam Scott led the receiving corps with five catches for 55 yards.  

Defensively, senior Kolbi Brown recorded a game-high nine tackles while classmate Langston Ward picked up his third sack of the season. Harvard limited the Bulldogs (3-7, 3-4 Ivy League) to 147 yards through the air while forcing eight punts, but Yale controlled the clock and totaled 155 rushing yards.

The two teams traded possessions through the first quarter, with neither team able to reach the end zone. Ward sacked Yale quarterback Kurt Rawlings on the first play of the game, and the Crimson defense forced three Yale punts over the first 15 minutes. Harvard tallied 51 offensive yards for the frame, but could not move into scoring territory.  

In the second quarter, Harvard struck first with a 27-yard run from Booker. The 75-yard drive also featured a 28-yard pass from Viviano to Scott. Yale answered immediately, moving into the red zone two minutes later. The Bulldogs found a hole in the line on second and goal from the one to even the score at 7-7 heading into the break.

Early in the third quarter, Yale added another touchdown to the scoreboard to bring the score to 14-7. Viviano and the Harvard offense countered immediately, advancing 83 yards up the field to tie the game, 14-14. Viviano threw back-to-back 30-yard passes to bring the Crimson up into the redzone. Viviano first found senior Anthony Firkser for a 36-yard strike, then sophomore Justice Shelton-Mosley for a 34-yard catch. The touchdown came on 3rd-and-goal, where Viviano found senior Ryan Halvorson in the back of the end zone, marking Halvorson's first touchdown of the season.

A 14-play, 80-yard touchdown drive gave the Bulldogs their first lead of the game with 4:10 to play in the fourth quarter. Following a pair of punts, Harvard drove 30 yards to midfield, led by an 18-yard dash from Viviano, but the quarterback could not connect with Firkser on fourth and 11 at midfield, ending the game.