The Book of Samuels
Like the Harvard football team’s season, the 129th Game didn’t turn out as predicted.
The Crimson entered Saturday’s contest as the heavy favorite. After all, this Yale team had somehow lost to Columbia, the punching bag of the Ivy League, the Greek economy of the Ancient Eight. And the Lions had been slaughtered by Harvard, 69-0, in the largest blowout since the league’s formation over a half century ago.
Inherently, every season has a story arc. And the Harvard football team’s 2012 campaign is no exception.
The story began on Sept. 15 with Harvard’s 28-13 win over San Diego. It picked up steam as the Crimson took down opponent after opponent to extend its nation-best winning streak to 14 games. And then, the huge, unexpected twist came with the shocking 39-34 loss to Princeton. Now, with two weeks left in the season, we’re barreling towards that climactic finish.
HANOVER, N.H.—The situation looked bleak for the Harvard football team a week ago. After a stunning 39-34 loss at the hands of the Princeton Tigers, gone was that nation-best winning streak, gone were any “best Harvard team of the modern era” claims, and more shockingly, for the first time in two years, gone was the Crimson’s ability to control its own destiny in Ivy League play.
But after last week’s did-that-really-just-happen loss, relative order has been restored in the Ivy League.
For the past year and a half or so, no school has tormented Harvard sports quite like the Princeton Tigers.
Doug Davis hitting that are-you-kidding-me shot with 2.8 seconds left in the one-game playoff to end the Harvard men’s basketball team’s 2011 Tournament chances. That 70-62 victory to finish the team’s stretch in the top 25 last season.
In 2011, Colton Chapple and the Harvard football team cruised to an easy 42-3 victory over Bucknell. Before the teams’ rematch on Saturday, I was expecting a fairly similar story.
Yes, Bucknell had the third-best rush defense in the FCS. And sure, Harvard coach Tim Murphy had said earlier in the week that the Bison defense would be one of the best the Crimson faced all season.