Ugly But Safe; Football Edges Out Princeton

* Two safties prove vital in Crimson win

Last Saturday's 14-12 victory over Princeton was huge for league standings because Harvard remained undefeated. But it was more important because Harvard showed a mental toughness during the fourth quarter which enabled a team that has lost so many close games in the past to come from behind to win.

Harvard (5-1, 3-0 Ivy) scored the final six points in the mud of Harvard Stadium during a crucial three-minute stretch in the middle of the fourth period, and sophomore kicker Mike Giampaolo's career-long 43-yard field goal proved to be the game-winner.

"I think God just helped me and put it through," Giampaolo said. "When I saw it was a high snap, I held off a little bit and hoped [senior holder Jared Chupaila would] put it down in time for my leg to be there in the right position."

On the crucial kick, Chupaila showed why he has been the Crimson's leading receiver this year, using great hands to snag a tough chance.

"As he was coming off the field, I grabbed Jared and said, 'that was a huge placement,'" said Harvard Coach Tim Murphy. "It was a little bit of a high-and-off snap."


Harvard was in position to kick a winning field goal because of the tough play of the defense throughout the entire contest.

Sophomore linebacker Isaiah Kacyvenski recovered a fumbled snap with 7:08 to go in the game.

"I felt like the snap was a little late," said Princeton quarterback Harry Nakielny. "It hit me in the hands, I still should have got it. But it just wasn't with the timing I expected to get it."

If fate didn't have a role in that turn of events, consider that the previous field goal, a 21-yard boot set up by a 62-yard catch and run by senior Colby PRINCETON  12 HARVARD  14

Skelton, was tipped and still went through. Sophomore defensive tackle David Ferrara got a hand on the ball, but Giampaolo's kick skimmed barely over the crossbar.

"You could say that [we're a team of destiny]," Giampaolo said. "Someone was on our side up there."

Harvard might be a team of destiny, but it made its own destiny down the stretch.

"More than anything, our kids willed this win," Murphy said. "They were determined not to leave this field without a victory. I think the thing that made a difference was leadership and character."

"Having upperclassmen at key positions who have been through it, who really feel like they have ownership of the program, makes all the difference in the world. I think there was a confidence there that if we got this thing into the fourth quarter, we'd find a way to win it."

Harvard's defense made one last stand to secure the victory after Princeton took over with 1:44 to go in the game.

Princeton drove all the way down to the Harvard 49-yard line, but four straight incompletions gave the Crimson the hard-earned win.

"We basically saw our whole season coming down to that last two minutes, and that was the time to get it done," senior defensive tackle Chris Schaefer said. "Basically, your only focus point is to do whatever you can to get to the ball, to get to the quarterback, let it all hang out and just go for it."