Tailback Gives Harvard Momentum

Gordon School
Richard F. Taylor

Junior running back Gino Gordon sparked Harvard’s fourth-quarter comeback with a crucial 19-yard fourth-down run. Gordon’s ability to gain yards after contact made the Crimson the league’s top rush offense.

NEW HAVEN, Conn.—There had been a few flashes of hope, but for the majority of the game, Harvard had been unable to finish. In one play, all of that changed.

On fourth and four midway through the fourth quarter, the Crimson, down 10-0 and back at its own 30, decided to go for it. After wasting its first two downs on incomplete passes and with the third good for only six yards, Harvard turned to junior tailback Gino Gordon—the team’s leading rusher for the past two seasons.

As he ran into a sea of Bulldogs, the Crimson’s hopes for a comeback seemed to be over.

But Gordon had other ideas, running to the left side of the field and using a spin move to break a tackle.

Suddenly the field was wide open, and Gordon kept running up the left sideline, making it to Harvard’s 49 before Geoff Dunham tripped him out of bounds.


“All of a sudden, we had new life,” Harvard coach Tim Murphy said.

Two plays later, senior Matt Luft was in the endzone to make the score 10-7.

From then on, the Crimson had its way offensively with the Bulldogs, looking again like the Ivy power it has been for the last three seasons.

“[Gordon’s run] was a turning point in the game,” Yale coach Tom Williams said. “If we make that play, we feel like we could win the football game.”


At the end of the fourth quarter, Harvard’s defense had finally figured out Yale sophomore tailback Alex Thomas, as sophomore Sumner Webster and senior Ryan Barnes had thwarted his past two attempts. Yale was stuck at fourth and 22 on its own 25-yard line.

But waiting in the wings was Bulldog punter Tom Mante, the league’s leader who had averaged 51.3 yards per punt that day. With a long boot off Mante’s foot, Yale could push the Crimson far enough back that, with 2:25 left in the game, it would be difficult to make a winning drive.

Instead, the ball went to Bulldog safety John Powers.

“We thought that if we had executed that play and got the necessary yardage, the game was over,” Williams said.

The freshman found a pocket of space on the left side of the field, where he attacked the unsuspecting Crimson behind a wall of Bulldog blockers.


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