Harvard Beats Yale 31-24 In 'The Game'

Harvard wide receiver Andrew Fischer (1) runs into the end zone for a late fourth quarter touchdown against Yale. (Stephan Savoia/AP)
Harvard wide receiver Andrew Fischer (1) runs into the end zone for a late fourth quarter touchdown against Yale. (Stephan Savoia/AP)

Conner Hempel threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to Andrew Fischer with 55 seconds to play and Harvard beat Yale 31-24 to capture the Ivy League title outright after blowing a 17-point, fourth-quarter lead on Saturday.

Harvard won for the eighth straight year over their longtime rivals, the first time either school has won eight consecutive games in the series since the 1880s.

But it ended with a wild final quarter.

Paul Stanton Jr. also had a 1-yard TD run for the Crimson (10-0, 7-0 Ivy), who finished off their 17th undefeated season with their 14th consecutive victory.

Tyler Varga rushed for two TDs and caught another for Yale (8-2, 5-2), which was seeking a share of the Ivy crown. It would have been the 14th in school history.

Connor Sheehan returned an interception 90 yards for a TD, Hempel threw a 40-yard scoring pass as Harvard opened a 24-7 lead late in the third. Yale came back with three fourth-quarter scores, tying it on Kyle Cazzetta's 33-yard field goal with just under 4 minutes to play.

The Crimson then marched 78 yards for the game-winning score, capped by Hempel's toss to Fischer in the right corner of the end zone.

Yale moved into Harvard territory before Scott Peters picked off a pass at the 15 to seal it.

After Sheehan pulled the ball away from receiver Robert Clemens in front of Yale's sideline and raced down for the score with 6 seconds to play in the third, the Bulldogs answered with a quick scoring drive, capped by Varga's second scoring run of the game. The Bulldogs scored again on their next possession when Morgan Roberts hit Varga with a 7-yard TD pass, slicing it to 24-21 with 8:21 to play.

Harvard won eight consecutive matchups with Yale from 1880-89 (the schools didn't play every year back then).

Hempel had hit Fischer with the 40-yard toss late in the third quarter. Fischer, looking back into the sun near the 5-yard line, reached over a Yale defensive back to make the grab before stumbling into the end zone to make it 17-7.

Trailing 7-3, Harvard took the second half kickoff and marched 58 yards, taking the lead on Stanton Jr.'s 1-yard scoring run.

On a cold and windy day in the nation's oldest stadium - Harvard Stadium, which was built in 1903 - the Crimson went to the locker room behind after a half that was highlighted by a couple of their missed opportunities.

There was added pregame buzz to college football's oldest rivalry with ESPN's College GameDay visiting for the first time.


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