The tie comes at a crucial moment for the Crimson, as the team is in the midst of a final ECAC stretch while striving to keep its national playoff hopes alive.
The Crimson’s win streak increased to four on Saturday with its 31-21 victory over Holy Cross. Visiting the Jesuit school in Worcester, Mass., Harvard picked up its first road win of the season.
Under the field’s Friday night lights, Harvard swamped Brown, holding the Bears to a single touchdown as they scored six of their own. Here’s what we took away from this weekend’s Crimson triumph.
This weekend, Harvard beat Yale for the first time since 2015. Rather than Harvard Stadium or the Yale Bowl, the 45-27 Crimson win in the 135th rendition of The Game was hosted by Fenway Park as Harvard Stadium was reported to be under construction. The move represented the first time in 106 years that the rivalry — the second oldest in college football — has been played somewhere other than the stadiums of the two hosts. The contest brought the largest attendance of any game this season to the sold out ballpark for a game with no Ivy League title ramifications, and a challenge simply for the pride of victory.
As boats rowed down the nearby Charles River during the annual Head of the Charles Regatta, so, too, did the hopes of an Ivy League championship float away for the Harvard football team on Saturday.
Harvard came out on top in a back and forth affair against Holy Cross on Friday evening. Highlights from the match included strong fourth quarter performance, special teams gaffes and a strong defense.
Over the weekend, Harvard made the long bus drive to Ithaca, N.Y., to square off against Cornell for the second consecutive year. And for the second consecutive year, the Crimson left the town with its second loss. And for the second consecutive year, Harvard’s two losses come in the first four weeks of play to both the Big Red and Rhode Island.
Over the duration of the current senior class’ time in Cambridge, the Crimson boasts an 8-3 record against non-league competition, and two of those losses have come at the hands of the Rams.
The matchup between Harvard and Brown is always an interesting one. The latter is convinced a rivalry exists and the former treats it like any other game. Last weekend, Harvard outshone the temporary lights at Brown Stadium, defeating the home team 31-17.
The offensive line paved the way for a punishing ground game and gave sophomore quarterback Jake Smith tons of time to go through his progressions in the pocket. The defensive line stunted much of the Toreros’ running progress and hurried quarterback Anthony Lawrence 14 times.
With just over a minute left in overtime and with Harvard up 86-85 against Cornell, what might’ve the biggest play of the night happened outside of Lavietes Pavilion. In fact, it happened all the way in New Haven.
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In some ways, righting the ship is exactly what coach Donato’s group did. In others, the team has yet to iron out certain aspects of its season.
With sophomore point guard Bryce Aiken still sidelined, a positive flow from the Harvard offense from both the inside and outside is certainly an encouraging sign for the Crimson.
In a season that’s seen plenty of notable individual performances from players such as Towns, Lewis, and a now injured Bryce Aiken, Saturday’s win for Harvard came from an all-around balanced effort.
For Harvard, the loss does not so much raise questions about Madsen’s performance in net, who stood tall (.928%) despite falling back to a .500 win percentage on the season. The team must instead confront a string of offensive issues that it began to fix over the weekend at Dartmouth.