UPDATED 11/21/10, 11:34 p.m.
There may not have been an Ivy title on the line, but for the seniors of the Harvard football team (7-3, 5-2 Ivy), there was still a lot at stake.
In front of a sold-out crowd at Harvard Stadium, the Crimson seniors completed their four-year sweep of archrival Yale (7-3, 5-2) on Saturday afternoon, coming from behind to top the Bulldogs, 28-21, in the 127th playing of The Game.
“It means everything,” captain Collin Zych said. “It’s a great thing, and the Harvard-Yale game’s a great rivalry. To come out on top in such an emotional, physical game four years in a row is a great accomplishment.”
But Yale looked to be the dominant team in the first half, limiting Harvard’s offensive output to just 71 yards in the opening two quarters.
Bulldog quarterback Patrick Witt picked apart the secondary early and converted a key fourth-and-inches play on his second drive with a quarterback sneak.
Yale junior Alex Thomas then ran the ball in from two yards out to make the score 7-0 with just under six minutes to play in the first.
But the Crimson found a bit of an offensive groove late in the first quarter.
Junior quarterback Collier Winters threw a lateral to classmate Adam Chrissis, who pitched the ball back to Winters on a flea-flicker.
The quarterback followed up with a perfect pass to senior Marco Iannuzzi, who pulled in the catch despite being surrounded by three Yale defenders and brought the ball up to the five-yard line.
“Well, you know, me and Collier, we’ve been playing catch for quite a few years now,” said Iannuzzi, who was making his first appearance since the Lafayette game in early October. “When I saw the open space and I knew I had the trail on me, I just sort of thought the way that Collier would be thinking: throw it to the open space. I made that move, and he read it just the same. So I really felt that we were on the same page there, and it was a perfect ball.”
Four plays later, senior Gino Gordon was in the endzone to knot the score at seven.
The Crimson seemed to seize momentum 10 minutes into the second quarter, when the Bulldogs chose to go for another fourth-and-one conversion.
Witt handed the ball off to Yale back Mordecai Cargill, who was stuffed at the line of scrimmage and pushed back for a loss, turning the ball over on downs.
But a monster sack of Winters on third down brought out the Harvard punt team and gave the Bulldogs the ball at midfield.