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FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK: Dawson Sets Another Record

ONE MORE TIME
Joseph L. Abel

Sophomore Clifton Dawson set the single-season Harvard rushing record in the win over Yale.

While the Harvard football team’s 35-3 win over Yale on Saturday ensured numerous team honors, including the Crimson’s first 10-win season since 1906, sophomore running back Clifton Dawson continued to pile on the individual accolades for his stellar year.

Dawson, who has already eclipsed the school mark for touchdowns in a season and scoring in a season, became Harvard’s single-season rushing king as well. The sophomore’s 120 yards against the Bulldogs brought his season total to 1,302—comfortably topping the 1,267 yards of Chris Menick ’00 in 1997.

“I believe I’m playing with the most talented back in all of I-AA,” said captain Ryan Fitzpatrick of Dawson. “All those people who are voting for the Payton Award should really take note of that.”

The Payton Award, which is presented annually to the best offensive player in Division I-AA, has never been given to a Crimson player.

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The 1,302 yards for Dawson marks the second straight season in which he has topped the 1,000–yard mark in rushing.

CARR BREAKDOWN

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As Dawson completed his season with yet another Harvard record, his counterpart, Yale back Robert Carr, watched his career come to a close with one of his worst performances of the season. After averaging over 125 yards per game all season, Carr managed only 56 yards on Saturday.

“Our defensive line just did an awesome job,” said senior defensive back Ricky Williamson of his team’s ability to contain Carr. “They were really pressuring their offensive line and when you beat up an offensive line it allows the linebackers and defensive backs to come in and make plays behind the line of scrimmage. And that’s what we did.”

Carr, who came into action against the Crimson as the second leading rusher in the Ivy League, had already solidified himself as one of the top backs in Bulldogs history. Over his four years in blue, he racked up 3,429 yards to become Yale’s all-time leading rusher.

HULA DANCING

Tight-lipped all season about his chances of going to the NFL, Fitzpatrick finally addressed the issue after Harvard’s thumping of Yale. Crimson coach Tim Murphy broke the silence by announcing that Fitzpatrick had been invited to play in the Hula Bowl—an all-star game held following the season where NFL prospects are brought together to show off their game to scouts.

“I’m going to play until they tell me to stop,” Fitzpatrick said. “I think I have a great opportunity at the Hula Bowl to show what I have against what they considered better competition.”

Fitzpatrick finished his collegiate career with a typically versatile performance. He threw for 124 yards and a touchdown, and added another 67 yards and a touchdown on the ground. He also led a Crimson offense that did not turn over the ball once.

Fitzpatrick will leave Harvard as the school’s second leading all-time passer behind only his predecessor, Neil Rose ’02-’03.

FOURTH AND THREE

Ricky Williamson’s 100 yard interception return for a touchdown was the fourth 100-plus yard interception return in Harvard history. The last came in 1969, when Neil Hurley ’70 returned a pick 100 yards for a score…Robert Carr’s 56 yards rushing was his second lowest total of the season. Cornell held him to only 41 yards on Sept. 25…While the Crimson also won 10 games in 1906, that team also had one loss, making this year’s team possibly the best Harvard squad since the Crimson went 12-0 in 1901, and certainly the best in the modern era.

—Staff writer David H. Stearns can be reached at stearns@fas.harvard.edu.

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