Longtime, Rivals Clash Once More
Why is today's game at Princeton considered Harvard's biggest matchup of the season thus far? Let's start off with a short history lesson.
The Harvard-Princeton rivalry is one of the longest lasting in college football. The struggle for supremacy dates back to 1877 when Harvard. Princeton and Yale were the undisputed Big Three of collegiate football.
Most of the significant rule changes that brought football from what could be considered contact soccer to the sport we know today were originated by the Big Three.
There have been two major interruptions in the series since then, the first from 1896-1912 and the second from 1926-1934. Both were the result of ill feelings and tensions between the two schools, each claiming that the other was to blame.
The 1926 Crimson-Tigers football game caused near-riots on the streets of Cambridge, and the conflict was so intense that both schools suspended their matches in all sports for eight years. Harvard and Princeton have met every year since the series was revived in 1934, with the exception of the war years of 1943-1945.
Back to the Present
Last year the Tigers strutted into Harvard Stadium with a 5-0 record and left even cockier than they came, with a 21-10 win under their belts and a still-undefeated season. But today is another day.
The Crimson were led offensively last week by sophomore tailback Eion Hu and backup junior quarterback Steve Kezirian. In the 35-27 victory over Colgate, Hu carried 22 times for 126 yards and two touchdowns. Kezirian replaced injured junior Vin Ferrara, running for two touchdowns and a two-point conversion.
The Crimson are tied with the Tigers at 1-1 in the Ivy League but its 3-2 overall record falls short of Princeton's 4-1 mark. New Harvard coach Tim Murphy said the Crimson are now entering the tough part of their schedule.
"Princeton is a better balanced football team right now," said Murphy, who coached at Cincinnati last season. "They are where we want to be in a couple of years. We're playing with young kids, small kids. We want to maximize our offensive opportunities because we realize time of possession will be very important."
In fact, Princeton averages a seven-minute advantage in time of possession per game this season. The only team to do well offensively against Princeton this year was Cornell, which beat the Tigers 31-16 in the season opener.
Both Cornell and Penn remain unbeaten in the league and overall. Harvard is joined by Princeton, Dartmouth, and Yale with one league loss each. The Ivy League race will begin to take shape this week with Cornell hosting Dartmouth, also today, Columbia facing Yale, and Penn at Brown.
Princeton News and Notes: The Tigers have spread the wealth offensively this year--12 different receivers have at least one catch, and 10 players have at least one rushing attempt...
Punter-turned-starting quarter-back Harry Nakielny led the Tigers to a 27-20 win against Fordham last week in his first start of the season...
Princeton is 17-1 at home since the start of the 1991 season...
The Tigers have given up just one passing touchdown all year and have allowed only 110.4 passing yards per game...
Princeton is first in the Ivy League and 17th nationally in team rushing with an average of 223.8 yards per game...
The Tigers are 28-7 since the start of the 1991 season--a winning percentage of .800...
Eight different Tigers have intercepted one pass apiece: Mark Berkowitz, Dave Patterson, Ryan Moore, Jonathan Reid, Damani Leech, Rich Hill, Tom Ludwig and Tom McInerney.