Captain Bobby Schneider had successfully made a team-high 46 tackles without a problem. He wasn’t so lucky attempting to make his 47th and will miss the rest of the season with a broken arm as a result.
Diving to stop Princeton quarterback Quinn Epperly on the Tigers’ second-to-last play of what would be a stunning, 39-34 upset of the Harvard football team on Oct. 20, Schneider’s arm collided with Epperly’s knee. As Epperly continued moving, Schneider was left sprawled at the Harvard 40-yard line grabbing his elbow.
The middle linebacker quickly got up and attempted to run off the field so that the clock would not stop for his injury, but he did not make it to the sideline in time, incurring a 12-men-on-the-field penalty on the Crimson which gave the Tigers a no-risk opportunity. They took advantage by scoring the game-winning touchdown on a 39-yard pass.
Following the season-ending injury, Schneider had surgery on Wednesday morning, according to Boston.com. Now Harvard will have to recover from its first loss since September of 2011 without its only captain.
“You lost a great football player, but most importantly you lost a great leader,” senior Alexander Norman said. “His impact on the team can’t be measured.”
The 139th captain of Harvard football, Schneider was a key component defensively in the team’s first six games and helped Harvard limit opponents to 17.7 points per game, the third-best mark in the Ivy League. Through six games, the Crimson has allowed an FCS-leading 57.8 yards per game.
“Oh, Bobby is a warrior,” said senior center Jack Holuba before the start of the season. “He is the most technically sound football player I have ever seen in my entire life…. He’s always the guy where I know if I get a good play on him, I really did a good job and got myself in the right position.”
In addition to a team high in tackles, Schneider tallied 1.5 sacks and 5.5 tackles for loss this season. But for the Crimson’s remaining four games, Schneider will be confined to an off-the-field role.
“He’s still a leader, he is going to get our guys ready and prepared to play, and you’ve just got to move forward,” Norman said.
In addition to being named captain before the start of the season, Schneider gained more responsibiliy on the gridiron in 2012 following the graduation of captain Alex Gedeon ’12. Also a middle linebacker, Gedeon’s 92 tackles were a team-best a year ago. In 10 games in the 2011 season, Schneider had 40 tackles, less than he had tallied through six games before his season-ending injury Saturday.
According to Boston.com. a duo of players will share time at the middle linebacker position: sophomore Jake Lindsey and freshman Eric Medes.
Schneider’s loss is yet another in a growing list of injuries for the Crimson. Sophomores right tackle Will Whitman and wide receiver and kick returner Seitu Smith were both sidelined for the rest of the year as well.
Schneider’s broken arm marks the first season-ending injury to a key defensive player.
“We’ve just got to actually use his loss as more fuel to play well next week,” Norman said.
—Staff writer Jacob D. H. Feldman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
—Staff writer Robert S. Samuels can be reached at email@example.com.