November 19, 2004

Late TD Gives Harvard 25-21 Win in JV Game

Nov. 19, 2004

Cambridge, MA - A Harvard touchdown with 52 seconds left provided the decisive score as the Crimson won The JV Game 25-21 Friday afternoon. The loss overshadowed a strong showing by the Eli offense, which included three different players scoring touchdowns.

The Bulldogs struck first, driving 43 yards for a TD after the Bulldog defense had stopped Harvard at its own 20. TB Tyler Wells accounted for all of that yardage with four runs, including a 16-yarder for a touchdown.

Haravard responded with a touchdown of its own on a 19-yard pass from QB Liam O'Hagan to WR Ryan Darnell, but Yale's Matt Jacques blocked the extra point attempt. The Bulldogs quickly added to their lead when DB Andrew Liyana returned the kickoff 21 yards to the Eli 26 and QB Matt Polhemus found WR D.J. Shooter behind the Harvard secondary on the very next play. Shooter took off for a 74-yard touchdown, and K Alan Kimball extended Yale's lead to 14-6 with the extra point near the end of the eventful first quarter.

Harvard again closed the gap early in the second quarter on a nine-yard touchdown run by RB Charles Baakel, but DB John Coombs broke up the attempted two-point conversion and Yale maintained its lead. Coombs' brother Matt then intercepted a Crimson pass at the Eli 40 to deny Harvard's next drive, leaving the score 14-12 Yale at halftime.

Matt Coombs grabbed another turnover, this one a fumble by QB Chris Pizzotti at the Yale 37, on the first drive of the second half. But Yale's fake punt attempt at its own 46 was stopped short of a first down, and Harvard drove in for the lead on a controversial play. On fourth-and-goal from the Yale 3, Baakel picked up what appeared to be a fumble and advanced it into the end zone. That would have been illegal, but the play was ruled a lateral and despite missing on the two-point attempt the Crimson had its first lead, 18-14.

Yale erased that lead quickly. Liyana's 28-yard return started the drive, and after a short run by Wells Polhemus connected with WR Mike Duvall deep down the middle and the receiver took off for a 51-yard touchdown. Kimball's extra point gave Yale a 21-18 lead.

The Bulldog defense stopped Harvard at the Yale 39 and then the Yale 30 as the fourth quarter wore on, but the Crimson finally broke through on the final drive. QB Mike Jones had three key third-down conversions, two passing and one running, to get the ball to the Yale five with 1:26 to play. Two Jones runs later, the last a two-yarder, gave Harvard the lead. Yale drove to its own 47 before turning the ball over on downs, enabling Harvard to run out the clock.

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report by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity Department