CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) — Kurt Rawlings threw for two touchdowns and ran for 74 yards to lead Yale to a 21-14 victory over Harvard in the 133rd edition of The Game on Saturday, snapping a nine-year losing streak in the rivalry and depriving the Crimson of a fourth straight Ivy League title.
“There’s been a long streak. We don’t like to talk about it,” Rawlings said. “But it’s over. Now it’s our streak.”
The Bulldogs (3-7, 3-4 Ivy) had little to play for except a chance to spoil Harvard’s season, and that’s exactly what they did.
After opening the second half with an onside kick and scoring to take its first lead, Yale went ahead for good with 4:14 left on a 3-yard touchdown pass from Rawlings to Reed Klubnik, who had the ball knocked out of his hands just after he reached across the goal line.
Harvard coaches protested along the sideline. There is no replay in the Ivy League.
The Crimson (7-3, 5-2) had two possessions in the final minutes, but couldn’t score.
After one kneel-down, Yale students poured out of the stands to celebrate with the team at midfield. Harvard players walked glumly back to their field house after blowing the chance to become the first class ever to win four straight conference championships.
“Something we haven’t experienced in a long time is you can put it all out there, you can work as hard as you can, you can believe. And when you do that you still risk getting your heart broken,” Harvard coach Tim Murphy said. “That’s certainly what happened today.”
And Yale’s seniors know they won’t be leaving behind a losing streak.
“I was overjoyed, obviously,” linebacker Darius Manora said, adding with a smile: “As an alum, I’m excited for the future.”
On a sunny day that was warm enough to encourage some Yale students to dance naked on the concrete walls of the century-old stadium (and then get kicked out), the schools renewed one of the oldest rivalries in sports.
It took some time for them to get their bearings.
After playing 24 scoreless minutes, punting a combined 11 times to start the game, Harvard picked up 28 yards on a pass from Joe Viviano to Adam Scott before Charlie Booker bounced around the right end for a 27-yard touchdown. Yale took advantage of a fourth-down jump pass to move the ball 16 yards to the Harvard 3 and tied it just before the half.
To start the second, Yale pulled off an onside kick that led to a 28-yard pass to Klubnik that gave the Bulldogs a 14-7 lead.
“That proved to be the pivotal play in the game,” Murphy said.
Harvard tied it, picking up 34 yards to the Yale 2 on a fourth-and-3. Three plays later, Viviano found Ryan Halvorson in the end zone to make it 14-all.
Yale: Bulldogs football has had little to celebrate for a decade. But coach Tony Reno improves to 1-4 against Harvard, and that will keep the people in New Haven happy for another offseason.
Harvard: The Crimson could have clinched a share of the conference title either last week, against Penn, or in the finale. Instead, they end with two straight losses.
(Copyright (c) 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)