Harvard can win share of Ivy with win over arch-rival Yale
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) For the 29th time in the storied history of The Game, at least a share of the Ivy League title will be on the line Saturday when Harvard meets Yale.
But this time, only the Crimson (8-1, 5-1 Ivy) have a shot at the crown. Yale (6-3, 3-3) will be hoping to spoil its archrival's season.
Harvard comes into New Haven in a three-way tie with Dartmouth and Penn for the Ivy League lead. A Crimson victory would give the program at least a share of the title for the third straight season, something it has never done.
A win combined with a Dartmouth loss to Princeton and a Penn loss to Cornell would give Harvard the outright title.
''If we were 0-9 this would be an important game,'' said Harvard coach Tim Murphy. ''But we have a chance to beat Yale and at the same time win our third straight Ivy League championship. We have a couple of fifth-year seniors who can win their fourth championship. As coaches, we take incentive and motivation wherever we can get it.''
Yale still boasts a winning record against Harvard (65-58-6), but the Crimson note they are 34-24-1 since the formation of the Ivy League in 1956 and have won eight straight games against Yale. A ninth win would make the streak the longest in the history of the series, beating Yale's run from 1880 to 1889.
Yale quarterback Morgan Roberts said he and the other seniors don't want to leave the school having never beaten Harvard.
''At the end of the day, just getting a win for this team, this group of seniors, for coach Reno, and for everyone who worked so hard, it would be a great celebration and a great sendoff for everyone involved in the program,'' he said.
Here are some other things to watch for as Yale hosts Harvard:
Harvard quarterback Scott Hosch has thrown for 2,507 yards this season and needs just 149 against Yale to break the school's record for passing yardage in a season set by Neil Rose in 2003.
Hosch might want to throw away from wherever Yale cornerback Spencer Rymiszewski is playing. The junior leads the league with 11 pass breakups. He also has three interceptions. Rymiszewski came back this season after suffering a spinal cord injury a year ago against Penn and being told he likely would never be able to play again.
Harvard had its 22-game winning streak snapped last week with a loss to Penn in Cambridge. It was the team's first defeat since Oct. 26, 2013. Murphy said the team was in a bit of a shock after the loss, but has had a good week of practice and has no excuse for not playing at a high level against Yale. Harvard has won 13 straight road games.
Yale coach Tony Reno served as an assistant at Harvard under Murphy before being hired at Yale in 2012. Murphy says it's a bit tougher when you are coaching against someone who ''knows our system inside out, has our playbooks, has all of our code.'' Reno hasn't been able to take advantage of that yet, and comes into the game 0-3 against his former boss.
HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE?
Yale and Harvard are currently 30-30-3 in games played at the Yale Bowl. Harvard holds a 26-25-2 advantage at Harvard Stadium.