It's been more than 140 years since Harvard and Yale first battled on the gridiron. The Harvard and Yale football rivalry, known as "The Game," is the second-oldest continuing rivalry in college football. The Crimson and Bulldogs are the two winningest teams in the FCS, have 26 national championships, two Heisman winners, and 32 Ivy League crowns.
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When Harvard and Yale met in 2022, it marked The Game's 138th all-time meeting. Yale defeated Harvard 19-14. The Bulldogs hold a 69-61-8 head-to-head edge in the all-time series.
However, there's more to this rivalry than wins and losses, with immense history throughout the series. Here are just a few notable historical figures that have attended The Game:
- 1914: US. Presidents Teddy Roosevelt and William Howard Taft were among a crowd that saw Harvard win 36-0
- 1932: All-time baseball great Babe Ruth and Crimson fan watch Yale defeat Harvard 13-0
- 1935: U.S. President Gerald Ford was an assistant coach for Yale, who won 14-7.
- 1955: U.S. President John F. Kennedy (then a senator) looked on, watching his brother Ted Kennedy play and score a touchdown for the Crimson. Yale won 21-7.
Here are six moments chronicling Harvard and Yale's decorated pasts.
1875 — The first game
The first Harvard-Yale football game was held in New Haven, Connecticut in 1875. A mixture of a rugby and a soccer style game was played by the schools, with 15 athletes on each team. Harvard won the inaugural meeting 4-0.
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1968 — "Harvard beats Yale 29-29"
Yale entered The Game on a 16-game win streak. After leading 22-0 at one point in 1968, the Bulldogs led Harvard 29-13 with two minutes remaining. However, two Harvard touchdowns and two Harvard two-point conversions in the final 42 seconds left the game tied.
After the game, the Harvard school newspaper, The Crimson, declared a Harvard victory with the headline "Harvard beats Yale 29-29". The remarkable comeback has gone down as one of the best in history.
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2004 — Prank doesn't stop Fitzmagic
Pranks are huge in the Harvard-Yale rivalry and the biggest prank may have come in 2004. Yale students Michael Kai and David Aulicino posed with others as the Harvard Pep Squad, passing out red and white construction paper to Harvard fans under the impression they would spell "Go Harvard" when raised into the air. However, Kai and Aulicino handed out the paper to spell out "We Suck" in the Harvard crowd. The prank was successful and drew national attention, getting featured on Jimmy Kimmel Live, MSNBC, and more.
Unfortunately for the Yale fans, the prank would be the bright spot of their day. On the field, Harvard, led by QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, won 35-3. Fitzpatrick threw four touchdowns in the victory and the Crimson finished undefeated for the third time in the storied program's history.
2005 — Triple OT
2005 saw the first triple-overtime game in Ivy League history in the historic rivalry. After Yale led 21-3 in the third quarter, Harvard rallied to force overtime with scores that included a fourth quarter interception returned for a touchdown. The teams went scoreless in the first two overtimes before RB Clifton Dawson ran in for the game-winning touchdown.
In total, The Game lasted almost four hours. If the contest had extended any longer, the Crimson and Bulldogs ran the risk of playing in the dark as the Yale Bowl had no lights.
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2014 — College GameDay at The Game
In 2014, College GameDay came to Boston for The Game. It was the first appearance for College GameDay at both Harvard and The Game, marking the second time GameDay covered an Ivy League Game. For those wondering, Lee Corso picked Yale and donned the Bulldog headgear.
The Game's on-field action did not disappoint. Harvard led 24-7 entering the fourth quarter before Yale stormed back to score 17 unanswered points, tying the game 24-24 with 3:44 remaining. The Crimson responded with an eight-play, 78-yard drive that resulted in QB Conner Hempel finding WR Andrew Fischer for a 35-yard touchdown with 55 seconds to go. A last-ditch effort from the Bulldogs ended with an interception, landing Harvard its eighth straight win.
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2018 — Fenway Park
For the first time since 1894, The Game was held at a neutral site, Fenway Park. The home of the Boston Red Sox hosted the 50th anniversary of the 1968 tie. The Game was a home run; it saw the highest combined scoring output in the history of The Game. A late Harvard run helped the Crimson pull away for a 45-27.
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