Harvard clearly outplayed her opponent at every point; in team work, in punting and drop-kicking, and, in many cases, in individual playing. Yet Yale, by a combination of good luck, and questionable decisions of the officials of the game, not only defeated Harvard, but had some points to spare.
The game was remarkable for the number of casualities. Players on both sides were constantly disabled. Harvard had to go so far as to put substitutes of substitutes in some of the most important positions. C. Brewer, Wrightington and Hallowell for Harvard, and Murphy, Butterworth and Jerrems for Yale were the most unfortunate of the injured players.
The day was a perfect one for football. The field was in good condition and everything looked promising for a good game. The crowd was as large as last year and vastly more enthusiastic, and for once Harvard outdid Yale in cheering. The Yale side was strangely quiet, and only came to life when one of those streaks of luck appeared, and it was then only that it had any call to make itself heard.
The Harvard team with substitutes trotted into the enclosure, and headed by Captain Emmons went straight across the field to where the Yale players were practicing dropping on the ball. Here Captain Emmons halted his little band and proposed three cheers for Yale. The players cheered with a will and the Yale men replied. Harvard won the toss and chose the side, giving Yale the ball.
Within two minutes from the beginning of the game Yale had scored her first six points, but not by hard playing. On the first down with the ball on Harvard's 20 yard line, Stillman broke past Frank Shaw, blocked Wrightington's punt, and fell on the ball behind the line for the first touchdown.
Yale's second score was made after Thorne had failed to kick a goal from the field, and Harvard had the ball on her own 5 yard line. Hayes was signalled for a kick and responded by punting out of bounds with a loss of one yard. Thorne then went through for the other touchdown.
The only points Harvard made which were counted were won by hard work, and just after Yale had scored her first points, Fairchild made an excellent try for a goal from the field. The ball hit the cross-bar and Butterworth caught it, and was thrown back of the goal by Waters, thus making a safety. This did not count, as Referee Boviard had thought it best to blow his whistle just before Butterworth fell. Thorne punted to the 35 yard line and, as Captain Hinkey happened to be in the way of the ball, it went to Harvard on the 20 yard line. After a few ineffectual rushes Fairchild took the ball around Captain Hinkey's end for 18 yards, and Hayes carried it over the line. On the punt out, Wrenn failed to catch the ball, and so no goal was kicked.
Just as the whistle blew at the end of the game Fairchild kicked a beautiful goal from the field. This also the referee refused to count, as he claimed the ball was put in play after the whistle had sounded.
Harvard played a far stronger game than was expected. Besides the excellent team play and interference, the individual players made every effort count towards getting the ball to the goal. This was shown in the way the men tackled, throwing their man always in the right direction and in a manner to prevent his making any further gain. The backs when tackled showed the same efforts to make the small points count. Harvard outplayed Yale in rushing the ball and in defensive work.
In drop-kicking, Fairchild was plainly superior to the Yale backs. His first was a beautiful try for a goal from the field, the ball striking the cross-bar squarely; the second was blocked, but the third went over the cross-bar midway between the posts.
Special praise is due ex-Captain Waters for his all-round good work. Besides more than attending to his man while in the line, he rushed finely, and served by his words and action to inspire confidence in the whole team.
Wrenn at quarterback had entire control of the team and handled it with judgment. He did well in interfering and tackling, and by his quick work caused many of Yale's fumbles.
The unexpected strength of Harvard's centre was one of the surprises of the game. This was conceded the weakest point in the Harvard line, yet this was the place where Yale made the fewest gains.
Cabot at left end was a worthy successor to Captain Emmons. He outclassed young Hinkey, and tackled every man who came his way. His tackling was of the best order.
Hayes and Whittemore were good substitutes for Brewer and Wrightington. Hayes's punting was one of the best features of the game, although one of his attempts was a very costly failure. Whittemore ran hard and picked his holes well.