For the past two years, the only consistency the Harvard football team has maintained is its ability to let games slip out of its fingers.
And it happened again yesterday afternoon in front of a crowd of 30,898 at Harvard Stadium.
A combination of seven Crimson turnovers, a tough Eli defense and the spectacular play of Yale senior wide receiver Eric Johnson sealed the 34-24 win for Yale in the 117th playing of The Game.
Although junior quarterback Neil Rose, sophomore wideout Carl Morris and senior tailback Chuck Nwokocha set school records during the afternoon, Harvard was unable to capitalize on its offensive feats. Even a 94-yard kickoff return by Nwokocha at the start of the second quarter could not preclude Harvard's second-half woes.
Nwkocha's touchdown set a school record for the longest scoring play in the history of The Game.
"You've got to give credit to Yale," Harvard Coach Tim Murphy said. "They're a fast, athletic defense and they forced turnovers."
In the middle of the fourth quarter, with Harvard up 24-17, Yale stopped a Crimson drive deep in Harvard territory and regained possession of the ball on its own 47-yard line after a Harvard punt.
Yale senior running back Rashad Bartholomew, who had 123 yards and two touchdowns on 29 carries, gained four yards on first down, running behind the right side of the Eli line.