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Football Blanks Princeton in Historic Win

Tigers Get Blanked For First Time At Home Since '73

By Matt Howitt, Special to the Crimson

PRINCETON, N.J.--Tim Murphy has been dreaming of a game like this one for nearly three years.

When he took the helm of Harvard football in December 1993, Murphy seemed like the person most qualified to return Harvard football to its former glory. Thirty-four months later, at the end of October 1996, with the reality of two or possibly three consecutive losing seasons on his hands, one wondered if the young football whiz kid recruited from Cincinnati could deliver.

The answer appears to be yes. Quite simply, the Harvard football team's 24-0 drubbing of Princeton (1-5, 0-3 Ivy) in Princeton, N.J. on Saturday is the kind of football game that Harvard (3-3, 1-2) and Murphy have been trying to serve up for three years.

It's hard to know where to begin because a win like this one has been unseen in these parts of Cambridge for a long, long time. Harvard hasn't even won consecutive games in the same season since 1991. (To top it off, the Tigers were last shutout at home by an Ivy League school in 1973...say it again...1973.)

The Harvard defense, perhaps the best in Division I-AA, was simply overpowering for 60 minutes. The Crimson shut down the Tiger running attack to the tune fo 54 yards and pressured Princeton quarterback Brett Budzinski from all angles.

Add to the defensive mix an offense that was stagnant in the first half but bursting with 17 points of Harvard  24 Princeton  0

life in the second, and you have the foodstuffs of a legendary victory.

"I feel like we had a total team effort today," Murphy said.

"This is the best feeling we have had this year by far," Harvard captain and offensive tackle Sean Riley said. "We needed this more than anything--especially the shutout. Our defense deserves it, they played a great game."

"We're on a roll now," said junior wide receiver Colby Skelton, who had four receptions for 65 yards. "We're turning the corner. We have four big Ivy League games left and we're looking forward to each one."

Harvard's control of the game was so absolute that the offense could have not shown up and the Crimson would have still garnered the victory. In the first half, sophomore cornerback Derek Yankoff and the defense fed Harvard all of the points that the Crimson would need to win.

Yankoff stepped in front of a Budzinksi pass at the Harvard 37-yard line, and then the circus act began. Yankoff ran from one sideline to the other, then back to the center of the field and then into the end zone. Sixty-three yards and 11 juked Princeton players later, Harvard had the six (Ryan Korinke's extra point made it seven) points the Crimson would need for the victory.

"I just ended up with the football. The return was fun not just because of the run, but it was fun just watching the whole defense get a block," Yankoff said.

Thanks to the defense (the Tigers went three and out on their first five drives of the game) and strong field position (Princeton did not start a drive outside of its own 30-yard line in the entire second half), the rest of the game seemed like a cakewalk.

Harvard's offense put it in high gear in the second half, and the demoralized Tigers seemed to crumble. Harvard struck three times in the final nine minutes of the fourth frame.

Freshman quarterback Rich Linden, who appears to have wrested the starting job from junior Jay Snowden, eluded a vicious Princeton pass rush, heaving a 16-yard strike to junior wide receiver Mark Drakos in the right half of the end zone for the first offensive score of the game.

Linden (12 completions in 17 attempts for 127 yards) twice made third down conversions on third-and-10 to save the drive, a 14-yard gain on a draw and a something-from-nothing 11-yard pick-up. Korinke connected on his 12th point after attempt for the season in as many tries.

Freshman linebacker Isaiah Kacyvenski returned Harvard's second pick-off of the game four yards on the next drive to the Princeton 39-yard line. Running backs Chris Menick and Eion Hu (another typical performance: 132 yards on 32 carries) and a spearing penalty brought Harvard to the 18.

Korinke put the drive's points on the board with a 35-yard field goal. Freshman running back Chris Menick (you should be noticing a pattern of freshmen here) scored Harvard's final touchdown with 32 seconds left to play.

"Our defense was kicking them off the field in three plays every time. We finally got some drives going in the second half," Riley said.

Perhaps the straw that broke the Tigers' back wasn't on a scoring drive and didn't come in the fourth quarter. Harvard had possession first in the third quarter, and although the drive ended on a fruitless Korinke field goal attempt, the Crimson offense had delivered a suitable prologue to the three fourth-quarter scores.

"I think the one in the second half where we got down to the 10, didn't score but took a lot of time off the clock, really hurt them," Riley said.

Both teams had trouble on offense in the first half. Linden endured five sacks. Harvard turned the ball over twice, although Princeton couldn't even come close to capitalizing. Neither team could move the ball on the other.

"In the first half, we tried to spread them out and throw the ball and I think they did a pretty good job keeping us off balance with the blitzes," Murphy said. "In the second half, as well as our defense was playing, we just decided to pound it and our kids responded on both sides of the ball.

HARVARD, 24-0 at Palmer StadiumHarvard  0  7  0  17  --  24Princeton  0  0  0  0  --  

life in the second, and you have the foodstuffs of a legendary victory.

"I feel like we had a total team effort today," Murphy said.

"This is the best feeling we have had this year by far," Harvard captain and offensive tackle Sean Riley said. "We needed this more than anything--especially the shutout. Our defense deserves it, they played a great game."

"We're on a roll now," said junior wide receiver Colby Skelton, who had four receptions for 65 yards. "We're turning the corner. We have four big Ivy League games left and we're looking forward to each one."

Harvard's control of the game was so absolute that the offense could have not shown up and the Crimson would have still garnered the victory. In the first half, sophomore cornerback Derek Yankoff and the defense fed Harvard all of the points that the Crimson would need to win.

Yankoff stepped in front of a Budzinksi pass at the Harvard 37-yard line, and then the circus act began. Yankoff ran from one sideline to the other, then back to the center of the field and then into the end zone. Sixty-three yards and 11 juked Princeton players later, Harvard had the six (Ryan Korinke's extra point made it seven) points the Crimson would need for the victory.

"I just ended up with the football. The return was fun not just because of the run, but it was fun just watching the whole defense get a block," Yankoff said.

Thanks to the defense (the Tigers went three and out on their first five drives of the game) and strong field position (Princeton did not start a drive outside of its own 30-yard line in the entire second half), the rest of the game seemed like a cakewalk.

Harvard's offense put it in high gear in the second half, and the demoralized Tigers seemed to crumble. Harvard struck three times in the final nine minutes of the fourth frame.

Freshman quarterback Rich Linden, who appears to have wrested the starting job from junior Jay Snowden, eluded a vicious Princeton pass rush, heaving a 16-yard strike to junior wide receiver Mark Drakos in the right half of the end zone for the first offensive score of the game.

Linden (12 completions in 17 attempts for 127 yards) twice made third down conversions on third-and-10 to save the drive, a 14-yard gain on a draw and a something-from-nothing 11-yard pick-up. Korinke connected on his 12th point after attempt for the season in as many tries.

Freshman linebacker Isaiah Kacyvenski returned Harvard's second pick-off of the game four yards on the next drive to the Princeton 39-yard line. Running backs Chris Menick and Eion Hu (another typical performance: 132 yards on 32 carries) and a spearing penalty brought Harvard to the 18.

Korinke put the drive's points on the board with a 35-yard field goal. Freshman running back Chris Menick (you should be noticing a pattern of freshmen here) scored Harvard's final touchdown with 32 seconds left to play.

"Our defense was kicking them off the field in three plays every time. We finally got some drives going in the second half," Riley said.

Perhaps the straw that broke the Tigers' back wasn't on a scoring drive and didn't come in the fourth quarter. Harvard had possession first in the third quarter, and although the drive ended on a fruitless Korinke field goal attempt, the Crimson offense had delivered a suitable prologue to the three fourth-quarter scores.

"I think the one in the second half where we got down to the 10, didn't score but took a lot of time off the clock, really hurt them," Riley said.

Both teams had trouble on offense in the first half. Linden endured five sacks. Harvard turned the ball over twice, although Princeton couldn't even come close to capitalizing. Neither team could move the ball on the other.

"In the first half, we tried to spread them out and throw the ball and I think they did a pretty good job keeping us off balance with the blitzes," Murphy said. "In the second half, as well as our defense was playing, we just decided to pound it and our kids responded on both sides of the ball.

HARVARD, 24-0 at Palmer StadiumHarvard  0  7  0  17  --  24Princeton  0  0  0  0  --  

"I feel like we had a total team effort today," Murphy said.

"This is the best feeling we have had this year by far," Harvard captain and offensive tackle Sean Riley said. "We needed this more than anything--especially the shutout. Our defense deserves it, they played a great game."

"We're on a roll now," said junior wide receiver Colby Skelton, who had four receptions for 65 yards. "We're turning the corner. We have four big Ivy League games left and we're looking forward to each one."

Harvard's control of the game was so absolute that the offense could have not shown up and the Crimson would have still garnered the victory. In the first half, sophomore cornerback Derek Yankoff and the defense fed Harvard all of the points that the Crimson would need to win.

Yankoff stepped in front of a Budzinksi pass at the Harvard 37-yard line, and then the circus act began. Yankoff ran from one sideline to the other, then back to the center of the field and then into the end zone. Sixty-three yards and 11 juked Princeton players later, Harvard had the six (Ryan Korinke's extra point made it seven) points the Crimson would need for the victory.

"I just ended up with the football. The return was fun not just because of the run, but it was fun just watching the whole defense get a block," Yankoff said.

Thanks to the defense (the Tigers went three and out on their first five drives of the game) and strong field position (Princeton did not start a drive outside of its own 30-yard line in the entire second half), the rest of the game seemed like a cakewalk.

Harvard's offense put it in high gear in the second half, and the demoralized Tigers seemed to crumble. Harvard struck three times in the final nine minutes of the fourth frame.

Freshman quarterback Rich Linden, who appears to have wrested the starting job from junior Jay Snowden, eluded a vicious Princeton pass rush, heaving a 16-yard strike to junior wide receiver Mark Drakos in the right half of the end zone for the first offensive score of the game.

Linden (12 completions in 17 attempts for 127 yards) twice made third down conversions on third-and-10 to save the drive, a 14-yard gain on a draw and a something-from-nothing 11-yard pick-up. Korinke connected on his 12th point after attempt for the season in as many tries.

Freshman linebacker Isaiah Kacyvenski returned Harvard's second pick-off of the game four yards on the next drive to the Princeton 39-yard line. Running backs Chris Menick and Eion Hu (another typical performance: 132 yards on 32 carries) and a spearing penalty brought Harvard to the 18.

Korinke put the drive's points on the board with a 35-yard field goal. Freshman running back Chris Menick (you should be noticing a pattern of freshmen here) scored Harvard's final touchdown with 32 seconds left to play.

"Our defense was kicking them off the field in three plays every time. We finally got some drives going in the second half," Riley said.

Perhaps the straw that broke the Tigers' back wasn't on a scoring drive and didn't come in the fourth quarter. Harvard had possession first in the third quarter, and although the drive ended on a fruitless Korinke field goal attempt, the Crimson offense had delivered a suitable prologue to the three fourth-quarter scores.

"I think the one in the second half where we got down to the 10, didn't score but took a lot of time off the clock, really hurt them," Riley said.

Both teams had trouble on offense in the first half. Linden endured five sacks. Harvard turned the ball over twice, although Princeton couldn't even come close to capitalizing. Neither team could move the ball on the other.

"In the first half, we tried to spread them out and throw the ball and I think they did a pretty good job keeping us off balance with the blitzes," Murphy said. "In the second half, as well as our defense was playing, we just decided to pound it and our kids responded on both sides of the ball.

HARVARD, 24-0 at Palmer StadiumHarvard  0  7  0  17  --  24Princeton  0  0  0  0  --  

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