No eleven ever won a harder fought or better deserved victory than did Harvard at Springfield Saturday. The victory is not the result of one year's training alone; it is the consummation of the work begun here years ago. It has been a long, hard and often a discouraging lesson, this learning of the game of football. Three times of late years we have thought that we had it mastered, and each time Yale has sent us back to Cambridge to study it some more. But we have stuck to the task with a dogged perseverance, and the 15,000 people who saw Harvard defeat Yale at Hampden Park Saturday, must admit that we have now learned the game thoroughly. Harvard met the strongest team Yale ever put in the field, and fairly outplayed it. It was a hard fought game from beginning to end. Nothing more admirable has ever been seen on the football field, than the desperate rally of the Yale team after the tide had turned against them. They earned their single touch-down if ever a team did; they simply pushed the ball straight up the field. It was desperate work, but it could not defeat Harvard. Captain Cumnock's men were somewhat careless after they had scored their second touchdown, and this is one reason why Yale succeeded in scoring; for after that Yale touchdown they settled down to steady work again, and all of Yale's efforts were in vain after that.
Harvard's Work in the First Half.The game was really won in the first half. The magnificent work of Harvard's lighter rush line, with the wind against them, holding the Yale giants at bay for three-quarters of an hour, will never be forgotten by football enthusiasts. It was not done by brilliant work; it was simply hard, steady, honest football playing that balked every bull rush of the Yale center, broke up the Yale interference, and prevented the wearers of the blue from gaining by their favorite round the end play. Another feature of this first half must not be forgotten, and that is the kicking of B. Trafford with the wind against him. Time and time again when Yale had worked the ball down the field, he relieved the Harvard goal from danger by his long, low punts against the wind. Harvard was necessarily on the defensive all through this half, and Yale's aggressive play made the greater impression upon the spectators. It was not until the half had ended, and people began to discuss the conditions of the game so far, as well as the general play, that the real character of the work done by Harvard began to be realized. Then the confidence of Harvard men increased rapidly, and when the team came smiling upon the field at the beginning of the second half, there was not a supporter of the crimson who was not ready to prophesy victory.
Harvard's Aggressive Play.How well the confidence was justified was soon shown. Harvard played aggressively from the start. The ball soon went into Yale's territory, and there it stayed until Harvard had scored enough to win the game. Whatever of brilliancy Harvard's play had lacked during the first half, it gained during the early part of this second half. The wind had died away completely so that the advantage which Yale had had when playing at the west end of the field was lost to Harvard. But this did not matter; Harvard was not to be denied. The whole team went at Yale in the whirlwind style that has been characteristic of Harvard's play all the fall, and when Yale woke up, about an half-hour later, the score was 12-0 against them. The way the rush-line shoved Yale's heavy forwards about, and the manner in which the backs streaked through the Yale line and around the end, called forth continuous cheering from the Harvard side of the field.
The Individual Play.The individual work of every man on the team was strong. At right end Hallowell and Hartwell, Yale's oldest and most experienced player, were opposite each other. Hartwell did some fine tackling, and followed up the ball well, but Hallowell was his equal at every point, and in blocking off was far superior. His work and Newell's were largely responsible for Lee's magnificent run around the end.
Newell's play was perfect. He was altogether too much for Wallis his opponent, who could not keep him from tackling a single rusher who came anywhere near him. He did about the best tackling in the line.
At right guard P. Trafford and Heffelfinger were pitted against each other. Heffelfinger played a brilliant game at times, and in the last half fell through on Dean once or twice. But Cranston at centre had no trouble with Lewis. He got through and fell on the ball in fine form. He was inclined to interfere with the ball occasionally, but otherwise his game was perfect. Finlay and S. Morison stood each other off about evenly for the first part of the game, but towards the last half Finlay began to push Morrison around. He did some of the best tackling in the line. In fact the whole centre held like a wall, except at the time when Yale's bull rushes won her a touch-down.
Upton was bothered a little by his lame ankle, but it did not prevent his tackling well, and following Rhodes so closely on a rush that the Yale captain could never gain with the ball. Upton made one noteworthy run which was not allowed. Rhodes who played opposite him tackled finely, and his defensive work was steady and sure. Alward also played a steady and plucky game when he was put on. Cumnock had Crosby to take care of, and he did it finely, with the exception of one long run made around his end in the first part of the game. Cumnock followed the ball well all through the game, and was always on hand.
Dean's playing at quarter left nothing to be desired. He ran the game finely, and his own individual body work was superb. His breaking through the line was constant and to his play, unaided almost, Harvard owed one of her touch-downs.
Corbett and Lake both did well; but Corbett held the ball better and played the steadier game. Lake made some of his irresistible ball rushes, and his tackling was magnificient. Corbett was unfortunate in having some of his rushes not counted, but on the whole he gained the most ground for Harvard.
Lee, who took Lake's place, made his one magnificent run, and made some shorter rushes. He tackled surely, and his general play was perfect.
B. Trafford played a beautiful game. He out-kicked Morison against the wind, and showed fine head-work all through. He rushed the ball well, also.
Of the Yale backs, McClung played for and away the best game. His weak point was at taking kicks, but he made up for it by the best rushes on the field. He was also the surest tackle back of the line on his side. Williams made one or two good runs, but his work was not remarkable. Barbour's passing at quarter-back was good, but his work suffered greatly by comparison with Dean's. Morison and Bliss, who took Williams' place, made some good gains. Morison through the center, and Bliss through the ends of the line.