Dartmouth smashed the Crimson, 34 to 7, despite the brilliant tackling of Ticknor, yet victories over Florida and Holy Cross followed. The Michigan game was disappointing, 14-12 for the Wolverines, but the Crimson played a fine game, and it was disappointing only in that Harvard should come so close and not win.
Against Yale, the line, which had improved in the Florida game, was superb. The Elis' great Albie Booth was playing in his first Harvard game, but he never got going. Ticknor again stood out as a linebacker, despite an injured arm, and was instrumental in the 10-6 victory. He was named to the All-American team that year, as he was in 1930 also, and Coach Arnold Horween said that "Ben Ticknor is the greatest center I have ever seen play football."
Early in March, the varsity mile relay team, which included future captain Vernon Munroe '31, beat the world record for the event by three-fifths of a second. Then, as the year ended, Edward H. McGrath '31 was elected baseball captain after a 14-4 victory over Yale, and Malcolm T. Hill '31 was named tennis captain after an undefeated season.
There were 100,000 lining the banks of the Thames that spring when Yale won its third straight varsity crew race from Harvard, this time by five and half lengths. The Crimson boat had been shaken up several times during the season but still was no match for "the polished, oily-smooth combination that was Yale."
Football in the fall of 1930 was characterized by close defeats: notable were a 6-0 loss to Army, a 6-3 defeat by Michigan, a 13-13 tie with underrated William and Mary, and a 7-2 loss to Dartmouth. Harvard's only score against the Indians came when Harding blocked a punt and recovered it outside the enemy end zone.
The Yale game, however, relieved a lot of the sting from the close defeats. Suddenly, everything seemed to go as it should, and as the New York Times said, "on the rapier thrusts of Barry Wood's forward passes Harvard marched to victory." Both touchdowns in the 13-0 win were scored by Huguley on passes from Wood. Notable, too, was Captain Ticknor's performance: observers say he played the best game of his career in the Yale Bowl that afternoon and was instrumental in stopping the Elis' Booth for the second straight year.
The Class held its final elections that winter, naming Harding, Ticknor, and Munroe as Marshals. C. Douglas Dillon was elected Treasurer, and varsity hockey center John B. Garrison was named Secretary.
The hockey games with Yale in 1931 attracted particular interest, since the winner would get the unofficial title of best in North America. The Crimson had lost only once, after the exam period layoff, and had beaten both McGill and Toronto. Ellis led the team from the goal, while Garrison and Samuel L. Batchelder '31 were on the starting team all season.
But whether from overconfidence or from an inability to cope with a tough Yale defense, the Crimson surprised everyone by losing both games to the Elis, scoring only once in each contest.
The spring of 1931 marked a return to cordial athletic relations with Princeton in everything but football. It was an auspicious new beginning, for in the first major contest with Nassau, the Crimson crew swept to an impressive four-length victory. New London that June saw the first win over Yale since 1927 and one of the most gruelling four-mile races ever rowed.
The undefeated Crimson, with Captain John W. Hallowell '31 at 2 and Albert N. Webster '31 at 4, jumped to an early lead and didn't relinquish it. But the Elis were never more than a length behind the whole way and with half a mile to go drew up to three-quarters of a length with a killing effort. Then they faded: the varsity's final margin was two and a half lengths.
The cheers of the 80,000 spectators died quickly when it became apparent that both crews were totally spent. The Times said with awe: "In a way, this was the most remarkable tribute that two racing eights from Yale and Harvard have ever had. It was a tribute of respect for the stubborn, blind courage that had given Harvard the strength to fight off as gallant a challenge any losing crew has ever made in this race."
Suddenly it was all over. The four years of Cambridge, with Greta Garbo and Douglas Fairbanks playing at the University Theatre, dinners at the Georgian, Mallory straws and raccoon coats at the Coop, and Old Golds without "a cough in a carload," this was all finished.
When '31 left to face the Depression on more serious terms, President Lowell sent the Class off with a plea for wisdom and a sense of personal responsibility. But it was a Baccalaureate sermon, and 1931 was probably more intent on other things.