Ortiz takes a knee -- with a proposal
NEW HAVEN - Lucky in football, lucky in love?
That was the case yesterday for Harvard senior defensive tackle Josue Ortiz, who proposed to his girlfriend, Kayci Baldwin, along the visitor’s sideline after the Crimson rolled to a 45-7 win at the Yale Bowl.
She said yes.
A 6-foot-4-inch, 260-pound force who has attracted the interest of NFL scouts, Ortiz found Baldwin on the field amid the Harvard celebration.
“She said, ‘What are you doing here? Why aren’t you with the team?’ And I got down on one knee, and she said yes,’’ said Ortiz, who received a hearty round of applause in the postgame news conference.
Ortiz, a native of Avon Park, Fla., and Baldwin, a sophomore from Middletown, N.J., have been dating for three years. With the aid of Baldwin’s mother, Kelly, he said he had been planning the proposal for about six weeks, and was only going to go through with it if Harvard won.
Ortiz said he got the idea from watching running back Ian Johnson propose marriage after Boise State’s victory over Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl.
Moment of silence
Players from both teams were unaware until after the game of the pregame accident that claimed the life of a 30-year-old Massachusetts woman, who was struck by a U-Haul truck carrying kegs of beer into the Lot D tailgating area.
The accident sent another woman to the hospital in serious condition, while another woman had minor cuts.
“We chose not to share it with our players [at halftime],’’ said Yale coach Tom Williams.
Yale athletic director Tom Beckett said that every coach was ready to answer any questions from their players after the game.
“Just awful,’’ said Harvard coach Tim Murphy.
A moment of silence was observed at halftime.
Witt has no regrets
Yale senior quarterback Patrick Witt passed up an opportunity at a Rhodes Scholarship, bypassing his scheduled interview yesterday in Georgia in favor of playing his final game against Harvard.
And with no regrets.
“It breaks my heart, the seniors on the team have been through a lot, and not to beat Harvard, it’s really frustrating,’’ said Witt, who threw a first-quarter touchdown pass, the 37th of his career (tied for second in Yale history with Jeff Mroz), but was intercepted three times.
“I’d like to think that my future is not entirely tied to a Rhodes Scholarship, and I had a commitment to [my teammates], guys I knew long before applying for the scholarship. And I wanted to honor that.’’
Witt, whose brother Jeff (Class of ’09) won his only career start at Harvard (against Brown), can apply again next year.
After making his decision after last Saturday’s 33-24 win over Princeton, Witt did not speak to the media all week, keeping the focus on his teammates, and The Game. Witt was minus his top deep threat, junior Chris Smith (21.5 yards per catch, six touchdowns), who was hobbled by an ankle injury.
Whitman iron man
Harvard freshman right tackle Will Whitman, part of a cohesive unit that came together under the direction of first-year line coach Joe Conlin, took every snap this season. A very impressive debut for the 6-6, 280-pounder from Lexington, Ky. “A lot of the credit for what [we] accomplished offensively goes to the line,’’ said senior receiver Alex Sarkisian . . . Junior linebacker Bobby Schneider paced the Crimson with 10 tackles, while sophomore defensive tackle Jack Dittmer and sophomore corner Jaron Wilson registered interceptions in addition to Alex Gedeon’s pick-6 . . . Crimson junior punter Jacob Dombrowski averaged 43.7 yards on six kicks.
Harvard radio color man Mike Giardi vividly recalled his last play in the Bowl, in Joe Restic’s finale on the sideline in 1993. “A sack, on the 40-yard line, and John Toomey and my brother Tommy were pulling me out of the pile because the crowd was storming the field [after Yale’s 33-31 victory],’’ remembered the former QB, who has worked the booth since 1995, and alongside Bernie Corbett since ’98. “There were three seconds left, and we just wanted to throw it for the end zone.’’ . . . Concord’s John Norton was in attendance for his 70th straight Harvard-Yale matchup, his first a trip to the Bowl in 1940 for a 28-0 Crimson victory. “I was 4, and I knew that it was a pretty special football game,’’ said Norton, who worked the press box for years as a statistician.
Matt Pepin of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Craig Larson can be reached at email@example.com.