This Saturday, in a pivotal clash between Harvard and Dartmouth, a press box window wasn’t the only thing that shattered. So did the Big Green’s comeback bid.
The window fell victim late in the first half, when referees awarded the Crimson the ball after a disputed punt-return fumble. That decision caused a member of the Dartmouth coaching staff to smash a hole in the glass sheet.
That punch foreshadowed greater frustration for the Big Green. Down 14-0 in the second quarter, Harvard rallied for 25 consecutive points and repelled a late comeback effort. Dartmouth (5-2, 2-2 Ivy) gained more yards, but timely defensive plays fueled the Crimson (4-3, 2-2), which escaped with a 25-22 win.
The outcome wasn’t certain until the final minute. Already, the Big Green had won four games on overtime scores or fourth-quarter comebacks. Trailing by three with 1:36 left, Dartmouth seemed ready to pull the trick once more.
But the secondary nixed the come-from-behind attempt. Big Green quarterback Jack Heneghan threw a pass into tight coverage, senior cornerback Raishuan McGhee deflected the ball, and senior safety Tanner Lee dove with outstretched hands to clinch the game.
“Last week was really difficult,” captain Luke Hutton said. “This week, practicing was really difficult. When things go the wrong way, it’s about making a decision. You can either fold or bounce back. Down 14-0 after getting embarrassed last week—to respond the way we responded, it’s all about heart.”
The victory gave the Crimson 14 straight over Dartmouth. Many of these wins have gone down to the wire. Counting 2017, four of the last five victories have come by three points or fewer.
Besides Lee’s final interception, the Crimson caused key turnovers on three consecutive drives. The first came late in the third quarter, with Harvard trailing by two. After a three-and-out, Big Green punter Davis Brief readied for a kick, but senior safety Tim Haehl exploded around the edge for the block.
This play set up a short field for freshman quarterback Jake Smith. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Smith hit junior wideout Henry Taylor in the end zone. The Crimson led for the first time all day, 18-14.
On Dartmouth’s next possession, Heneghan looked for a receiver along the left sideline in Harvard territory. Freshman defensive back Isaiah Wingfield dove in front of his man and snagged his first career interception.
The ensuing drive went nowhere, but the Crimson defense forced one more turnover. On fourth-and-inches at the Dartmouth 29, coach Buddy Teevens made the gutsy decision to bring out his offense. Lee and junior defensive lineman Scott Garrison combined to stonewall Heneghan. That play accounted for one of Lee’s team-high 10 tackles.
Again facing a short field, the Harvard offense took advantage. On second-and-goal at the Big Green 11, Smith scrambled left, reversed right, and finally spotted freshman running back Aaron Shampklin in the end zone. Harvard 25, Dartmouth 14.
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