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NEW HAVEN--It all starts with the rim--the big blue band just above ground where a stadium should be.
But you should know better. You know it's not a stadium, but a bowl. The Yale Bowl.
The blue band gets bigger, wider. The crowds larger, more rowdy.
You hear the Clam Digger Band playing "When The Saints Go Marching In." This can't be a football game...the cirucs must be in town.
But you should know better. This is the Harvard Yale football game. Even though Yale has already clinched a share of the Ivy League title, and Harvard is mathematically eliminated, this is still. The Game.
It starts, and you see Yale drive to the Harvard 25-yd.-line. You know the Elis are undefeated and should score easily.
But you should know better, this is The Game...anything goes...and Yale quarterback Darin Kehler's fourth-down pass is caught out of bounds.
Yale finishes the first quarter with another drive--75 yards, including two converted fourth downs--to the Harvard 5-yd.-line Elis kicker Ed Perks in nine of 13 this year on field goals, and this 23-yd. attempt should be a snap.
But you should know better. This is The Game, and Perks' attempt is wide to the left.
You see Yale's Rich Huff attempt to block Derek Lewis' punt in the second quarter. That's how Huff set up the winning touchdown in last week's Ivy-clinching victory over Princeton.
But you should know better. Huff misses the ball, and draws penalty for roughing the kicker.
The Elis are known for their tenacious defense. But you know better, and Harvard quarterback Tim Perry finds Jim Reidy in the flat for a pass and run, setting up Silas Myers' go-ahead 3-yd. touchdown run.
You know Harvard's defense has had trouble with the run all year. But you know better, for the Crimson pushes Yale back 20 yards to its 10-yd. line, giving the offense possession at the Yale 34. Four plays later, Myers takes a pass from Perry in the flat, for his second score of the game and a 14-0 lead.
You see Yale cut the deficit to 21-20 at the end of the third quarter. But you already know better. As Harvard drives early in the fourth quarter, you know Perry will find Collins with a 30-yd. pass and Bianchi with a 10-yd. pass to set up Art McMahon's 1-yd. scoring run. You already know Perry will score on a keeper later in the quarter.
As Harvard junior Alex Snyder said in the stands today, "Yale should have gone home for Thanksgiving early, instead of sticking around for this game."
You already knew better, and the Elis--undefeated or not--should have, too. This is The Game.
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