The Book of Samuels
“This one’s over,” I heard a fan say as he ushered his family out through the gates of Princeton Stadium.
With 13:02 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Harvard football team had scored another touchdown, its fifth of the game, to take a healthy 34-10 lead over Princeton. It appeared almost a foregone conclusion that the heavily-favored Crimson would roll to yet another victory and extend the longest winning streak in the nation to 15.
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.