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Harvard 14, Yale 10

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff  November 21, 2009 11:47 AM

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A pair of fourth-quarter touchdown passes by Harvard quarterback Collier Winters allowed the Crimson to rally for a 14-10 victory over Yale Saturday at the Yale Bowl.

Winters hit Matt Luft for a 41-yard strike with 6:46 left in the game, then connected with Chris Lorditch on a 32-yard play with 1:32 left.

"We got outplayed and outcoached in the first half, no question about it, they did a great job," said Harvard coach Tim Murphy. "We made some adjustments at halftime, did a little bit of a character check, and obviously just very, very proud of our kids. The resilience they showed ... in the end it's all about never give up and that's the type of kid we recruit."

Yale coach Tom Williams decided to try a reverse from punt formation on fourth-and-22 with 2:30 remaining, but John Powers was stopped short of the first down, setting up Harvard's game-winning drive. Winters moved Harvard 42 yards in three plays.

On the next Yale possession, Harvard's John Takamura intercepted Yale's Patrick Witt with 51 seconds to play to seal the victory.

Yale dominated for three quarters, taking a 10-0 lead in the first quarter on a 26-yard field goal by Alex Barnes and a 3-yard touchdown run by Rodney Reynolds.

But Harvard came back in the fourth, aided by a key fourth-down run by Gino Gordon that kept the drive that led to Luft's touchdown alive. Gordon scrambled on fourth-and-4 for 19 yards that brought Harvard to the Yale 49. Winters then hit Adam Chirssis for 10 yards before connecting with Luft on the touchdown pass.

Yale's Alex Thomas carried 26 times for 124 yards.

Winters was 19-for-26 for 211 yards. Gordon carried 14 times for 86 yards for Harvard, which finished the season 7-3. It was the third straight victory for Harvard over Yale, although Yale leads the all-time series 62-53-8. It was the 126th time the two rivals have played.

Yale is 4-6.

The game matched the Ivy League's top scoring offense -- Harvard averaged 26.4 points per game -- against its second-best scoring defense. Yale entered the game allowing 16.9 points per game.

Recap of key plays

4th Qtr :51 Harvard 14-10 Yale's Patrick Witt is intercepted by John Takamura at the Harvard 40 and Harvard can run out most of the clock.

4th Qtr 1:32 Harvard 14-10 Chris Lorditch catches a 32-yard strike for a touchdown and Harvard takes its first lead of the game. The first PAT attempt is botched, but an offside penalty gives Harvard another shot and this one's is good.

The drive is only 3 plays, covering 42 yards and 52 seconds.

4th Qtr 2:25 Yale 10-7 Yale fakes the punt, but John Powers can't get the distance and Harvard takes over at the Yale 40.

4th Qtr Yale 10-7 Yale's Alex Thomas is stopped for no gain and Yale is forced to punt from its own 25.

4th Qtr 3:14 Yale 10-7 Harvard uses its final timeout to prep for a huge third-and-22 play after sacking Yale QB Patrick Witt.

4th Qtr 6:46 Yale 10-7 Harvard's Collier Winters finally hooks up on a long pass and hits Matt Luft for a 41-yard touchdown strike over the middle as Harvard makes things interesting. Luft had a step on the defense and caught the ball a few yards from the end zone.

The drive was 6 plays and 76 yards.

4th Qtr 7:42 Yale 10-0 Harvard's Gino Gordon picks up a crucial first down on fourth-and-4. Harvard's at its own 44.

4th Qtr 8:36 Yale 10-0 Harvard will start at its own 24 after Yale forced to punt, but time's starting to grow short. If Harvard is going to make a move, it has to come soon.

4th Qtr 11:17 Yale 10-0 Harvard QB Collier Winters can't connect on third-and-14 from the 16, and Harvard punts. Yale takes over on its own 46.

4th Qtr 12:40 Yale 10-0Yale's Alex Barnes is wide right on a 27-yard field goal attempt and Harvard takes over on the 20 yard line.

4th Qtr 14:56 Yale 10-0 Rodney Reynolds gets the yard - the officials had to measure - and Yale's drive continues.

4th Qtr 15:00 Yale 10-0Yale will have fourth-and-1 at the Harvard 25. Yale's Alex Thomas has 19 carries for 100 yards through three quarters, and the Yale fans can smell an upset at the Yale Bowl.

3rd Qtr 1:54Yale 10-0 Yale is using its own version of the Wildcat offense, with Rodney Reynolds taking direct snaps, and a conventional play with Alex Thomas running off tackle left has Yale with first-and-10 at the 48.

3rd Qtr 3:35 Yale 10-0 Harvard punts and Yale takes over at its own 39.

3rd Qtr 5:12 Yale 10-0 Yale is forced to punt, and Harvard begins at its own 36.

3rd Qtr 7:35 Yale 10-0 Harvard's Gino Gordon is stuffed on fourth-and-goal from the 1.

Harvard took the second-half kickoff and drove 79 yards, but failed to score. On third-and-goal, QB Collier Winters was stacked up and denied.

Halftime Yale 10-0 The key matchup in this game -- Harvard's Ivy League-leading offense (26.4 ppg) vs. Yale's second-ranked scoring defense (16.9) -- is being won by Yale.

Harvard QB Collier Winters has 108 yards passing, hitting 12 of 15 attempts, but the Harvard running game is being kept in check. Winters has 33 yards on 5 attemptsTreavor Scales has 6 carries for 24 yards and Gino Gordon has 3 for 23.

2nd Qtr :00 Yale 10-0 Yale's Tom Mante attempts a 62-yard field goal as time expires in the first half but comes up short. Momentum definitely on the Yale side.

2nd Qtr :12 Yale 10-0 Harvard forced to punt, and Yale is going to take a shot at scoring. Yale gets the ball at its own 34 .

2nd Qtr :54 Yale 10-0 This time on fourth-and-1, Yale fumbles and can't make the line after Yale's Shane Bannon recovers, so Harvard takes over at its own 28.

2nd Qtr 3:09 Yale 10-0 Yale converts on fourth-and-one to sustain a drive that began at its own 13. QB Patrick Witt kept the ball and ran right behind center, moving to the Yale 41.

2nd Qtr 6:39 Yale 10-0 Harvard's fake field goal play misfires as holder Matt Simpson's pass attempt is broken up by Yale's Larry Abare. Harvard had driven from its own 20 to Yale's 13 before being stopped on a third down run up the middle.

2nd Qtr 14:14 Yale 10-0 Harvard will have the ball at its own 20 after finally stopping Yale and forcing a punt.

1st Qtr Yale 10-0 00:27 Harvard QB Collier Winters' pass on fourth down is overthrown in the end zone and Yale takes over on downs.

1st Qtr Harvard's Gino Gordon dropped for a loss on the third down after catching a screen pass.

1st Qtr 1:17 Harvard has third-and-6 at the Yale 19. Harvard gained 46 yards on a pass from Collier Winters to Chris Lorditch.

1st Qtr 4:38 Can anything else go wrong for Harvard? Kick returner Marco Iannuzzi bobbled the kickoff and was brought down at the 4 after picking it up.

1st Qtr 4:43 Yale 10-0 Yale's Rodney Reynolds plunges in from the 3 on third-and-goal. Alex Thomas set up the touchdown with a 15-yard run from the 20 to the 5.

Yale's drive was 6 plays, 59 yards and used 2:27 on the clock.

1st Qtr 7:10: Harvard QB Collier Winters fumbled after taking off on a QB draw and Yale recovers at its own 41. After a successful opening drive and a quick gain on a pass from Yale QB Patrick Witt to Jordan Forney, the momentum appears to be on Yale's side.

1st Qtr 8:43 Yale 3-0 : Alex Barnes kicked a 26-yard field goal to put Yale on top after a lengthy game-opening drive that took more than 6 minutes off the clock.

Yale's drive was 13 plays and covered 61 yards. It was Barnes' fourth field goal of the season.

Coin flip: Harvard won the toss and deferred to the second half. Yale will receive.

Pregame: The 126th Yale-Harvard game is scheduled for a noon kickoff. The bands are wrapping up a pregame show and the coin flip is coming soon.

We'll have updates and postgame reaction throughout the afternoon.

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