The Game: what-if’s and remember-when’s

The Bulldogs won’t be vying for an Ivy League title when they take the field for the season’s final football game on Saturday, Nov. 17, but then again, they won’t need motivation to play their best: It’s enough that they’ll be facing Harvard for the 129th version of what is known simply as “The Game.”

The annual rivalry will take place this year in Harvard Stadium; kickoff is at noon. Those who aren’t traveling to Boston can watch the game NBC Sports Network or listen to the action on WELI Radio (AM-960, and student radio station

Here are a few facts going into The Game:

Yale still leads the series overall, but …

The Bulldogs lead the Crimson 65-55-8 heading into the 129th meeting but Harvard has won 10 of the last 11. Yale is 28-25-5 at Cambridge, 30-29-3 at home, and 7-1-0 at neutral sites. There have been 55 shutouts since the first meeting in 1875, and the Elis are 28-20-7 in those contests. Yale is 11-14-1 against the Cantabs when The Game has league title implications.

If Yale wins …

The senior class will have a win over every Ivy school. The Elis will get their first win in the series since 2006. Harvard can’t finish first in the league, and Penn could have an outright title with a win over Cornell.

If Harvard wins …

It would be the Crimson’s sixth straight victory in the series. Harvard could share the league title if Cornell beats Penn. Yale would have its fewest Ivy wins since 2001 and fewest overall since 1997.

On this date, in a year ending in ‘2’…

Harvard has won three of the five games played on Nov. 17. Yale is 7-6 in years ending with the numeral two, but the Crimson has won the last three.

Notable Yale-Harvard games …

The Yale-Harvard series has seen its share of last-second wins, comebacks, outstanding performances, firsts, and freaky plays. Here are some of the most memorable meetings:

1881: Yale tries the first on-side kick ever in football during a scoreless tie.

1946: Elis overcome a 14-0 Harvard lead to win 27-14.

1952: Yale student manager Charlie Yeager catches an extra point pass in a 41-14 Eli win at Cambridge

1968: Quarterback Frank Champi completes a touchdown pass and a conversion play with no time left as Harvard gains a 29-29 draw at Cambridge and shares the Ivy crown with Yale

1972: Yale overcomes a 17-0 first half deficit to win 28-17

1974: Quarterback Milt Holt scored on a one-yard run with 0:15 left in a 21-16 victory that gave Harvard a share of the Ivy title with Yale.

1975: Mike Lynch’s 26-yard field goal with 0:33 left gave Crimson a 10-7 win and sole possession of the Ivy title.

1977: Mike Sullivan’s 65-yard touchdown run out of punt formation ignites Yale in a 24-7 win at the Bowl.

1995: Crimson Eion Hu scored from two yards out with :29 left in a 22-21 win

1999: Wide receiver Eric Johnson (21-244) scoops up a Joe Walland (42-67, 437) pass with :29 left to send Yale to a 24-21 win and an Ivy title

2005: Clifton Dawson ends the longest game in Ivy history in the third overtime with a two-yard run to give Harvard a 30-24 win at the Bowl.

It started here …

The Game is responsible for a number of original events: Yale performed the first on-side kick against Harvard in 1881; Harvard’s flying wedge was first seen in the 1892 contest; the first game in the Bowl was the 1914 meeting; the first crowd at an American sporting event over 80,000 was the 1920 game at the Bowl; and the first triple-overtime Ivy game happened in 2005 at Yale.

For more facts …

Including more statistics and information on this year’s Yale players, visit this Yale Athletics website.