As Harvard and Yale get set to play the 132nd edition of The Game this weekend in New Haven (2:30 PM, NBCSN), it’s worth racking our memories for the last time that the Bulldogs (6-3, 3-3 Ivy) have defeated the Crimson (8-1, 5-1).
After all, Yale come oh-so-close in last year’s matchup, but ultimately dropped its record-tying eighth straight game to Harvard, 31-24, on a 35-yard touchdown pass from senior Connor Hempel to junior Andrew Fischer late in the fourth quarter.
Perhaps it fared better the year prior? Unfortunately, the Crimson won that one, too. And the one before that. If Yale falls to Harvard again on Saturday, the Crimson will have maintained the longest winning streak by either side in the history of The Game.
In fact, tracing your fingers through the history books to find the last time Yale won brings you to the year 2006, a different world in which Justin Verlander was a rookie and the Edmonton Oilers made the Stanley Cup Final.
On November 18 of that fateful year, Yale (8-2, 6-1) snapped a five-game losing streak to Harvard (7-3, 4-3) with a dominating 34-13 victory at Harvard Stadium. Sophomore running back Mike McLeod ran for three touchdowns and 87 yards on 34 carries. Meanwhile, the Crimson’s starting quarterback, junior Liam O’Hagan, was pulled early in the second half after completing just seven of 15 passes for 53 yards and an interception.
With the win, the Bulldogs clinched a share of the Ivy League title, tying Princeton atop the standings. The 2006 title is the last one Yale has captured to date.
This weekend, Harvard takes the field in position to clinch at least a share of the 2015 Ivy title, even after last weekend’s 35-25 upset loss to Penn. The Crimson sits atop the standings with Penn and Dartmouth and has won or shared the Ivy championship for five of the eight seasons since 2006.
Since 1875, Yale leads the all-time series over Harvard, 65-58-8, but the Crimson’s most recent eight-game winning streak over its most storied rival still looms large.