Harvard beats Yale 45-27 as The Game sets scoring record
BOSTON (AP) — Tom Stewart threw for 312 yards and three touchdowns before being wheeled off on a stretcher in the fourth quarter, leading Harvard to a 45-27 victory over Yale on Saturday at Fenway Park in the highest-scoring matchup in the 143-year history of The Game.
The senior, playing his last game, scrambled for 1 yard before getting hit as he dropped into a slide on the temporary sod about where the Red Sox shortstop would stand. As doctors attended to him, players on both teams kneeled; Yale quarterback Griffin O’Connor made the sign of the cross.
The sold-out crowd acknowledged Stewart with applause when he was wheeled off.
Backup quarterback Jake Smith took over, handing off to Devin Darrington on the next play for a 16-yard touchdown that gave the Crimson (6-3, 4-3 Ivy League) a 45-27 lead.
Fifty years after The Tie that was celebrated with The Crimson student newspaper headline “Harvard Beats Yale 29-29,” the teams played at the home of the Red Sox to make a different kind of history. The 72 total points surpassed the 33-31 Yale victory in 1993; Harvard’s 578 yards of offense were its most ever in the rivalry between two of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious academic powerhouses.
Yale (5-5, 3-4) had beaten Harvard in back-to-back years, but the Crimson have now won 15 of the last 18 matchups.
Tyler Adams ran for 125 yards on just five carries for Harvard, including a 62-yard touchdown in the second quarter. Darrington ran for 91 yards and two scores and had another negated by a taunting penalty when he wagged his finger at a defender.
O’Connor completed 23 of 48 passes for 328 yards. JP Shohfi had seven catches for 127 yards, including a 48-yard touchdown reception. Reed Klubnik had five catches for 91 yards and set Yale’s single-season record with 1,143 receiving yards in his career.
With dozens of players from 1968 Harvard and Yale teams watching, the schools traded touchdowns through most of the first three quarters — tying it at 7-7, 14-14 and 21-21 — before Yale took its first lead of the game on a field goal early in the second half.
Stewart’s 15-yard pass to Jack Cook gave Harvard a 28-24 lead with 5 minutes left in the third, then another Yale field goal cut the deficit to one point.
In the fourth, Darrington went up the middle for a 27-yard score, but he wagged a finger as he outran a defender toward the goal line and was called for taunting. The touchdown negated, Harvard settled for a field goal.
On the Crimson’s next possession, Darrington again broke loose, gaining 27 yards to the 6. Two plays later, he took it in from the 4 to give Harvard a 37-27 lead.
Yale trailed 21-14 when O’Connor connected with Klubnik for a 48-yard gain to the 2. But Dudek was slammed down in the backfield for a loss of 6, and then a pass fell incomplete.
On third down, O’Connor found Dudek at the 3 and he was immediately hit by cornerback Wesley Ogsbury, whose head snapped back on contact. The officials threw a flag for targeting, the call was confirmed on replay and Ogsbury was ejected.
The teams — sharing the sideline because of the baseball stadium’s configuration — began shouting at each other until coaches stepped between them. With a new set of downs, O’Connor ran it in on second down to tie the score 21-21.
The band played “Sweet Caroline” early in the fourth quarter in keeping with Red Sox tradition at Fenway, which has hosted college football periodically since it opened in 1912. It was also the home of the American Football League’s Boston Patriots in the 1960s; it has recently hosted Boston College games against Notre Dame and UConn.
The field barely fit inside the ballpark, even with the bullpens removed. Both teams shared the sideline on the Green Monster side of the field; the scoreboard on the wall was repurposed, with the innings replaced by quarters.
Members of the grounds crew were patching divots in the turf during most breaks, and a chunk came up on Stewart’s slide.
The Ivy League season is over, and the schools do not play in the FCS postseason. The Fenway field will be scrubbed of the football markings for an Irish hurling tournament, the Fenway Hurling Classic.
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