By Richard Kent
Updated: November 22, 2004
CAMBRIDGE, Mass — Some call it Yale-Harvard.Others Harvard-Yale.But to all alumni, fans and even casual onlookers it is The Game. And does it ever have history behind it.
The Game has been played 121 times since the two rivals met on November 13,1875 in New Haven. Yale won that game played under rugby rules 4-0 and leads in the overall series 64-49,with 8 ties.
Perhaps none of the games has been more significant than a 1968 29-29 tie. Yale was undefeated and ranked in the Top 20. The Elis were led by Heisman candidate Brian Dowling and future Dallas Cowboy star Calvin Hill.
Harvard had a gritty running back by the name of Vic Gatto.The Blue held a 29-13 lead with 42 seconds left on the clock. Harvard scored 16 points, largely because of a disputed pass interference call on the Elis to force the tie.
There were no overtime rules at the time. One Boston paper had as a headline the very next day, Harvard Beats Yale, 29-29.
Harvard finished its fourth undefeated season in history Saturday by thumping Yale 35-3 before over 30,000 in Cambridge. They have now won four straight against Yale.
The Bulldogs lost despite playing behind Robert Carr, the leading rusher in Yale football history. Carr could very little against an extremely tough Harvard defense.
Few will ever forget the exploits of Levi Jackson ’50 for Yale. He didn’t have the natural ability of Hill, but made his mark on Yale for other reasons. As a frosh for the Elis, he was the first African-American to ever step on a football field for Yale.
As a senior, he was the first African-American to captain a Yale team. He ran for and caught another touchdown pass that year in a 29-6 Yale win in Cambridge.
Jackson was a New Haven native, having starred at nearby Hillhouse High School.After playing for Yale,he had an illustrious business career with Ford Motor Company.
The game has been played by ten future Rhodes Scholars, five for Yale and five for Harvard. The widest margin in the series was a 54-0 Yale win in 1957 in New Haven. The game has been viewed by 2,050,033 fans and many Presidents, including John F. Kennedy, Jr. a Harvard grad.
This Monday morning will undoubtedly be the most significant day for donations on the Harvard campus. It happens every Monday with the winning team in The Game.
Who says that football doesn’t matter in the Ivy League?