Football 2022: Harvard 28-Dartmouth 13
A needed restorative is marred by an injury.
Last Saturday in Hanover, New Hampshire, the Harvard football team achieved what classics concentrators might characterize as a Pyrrhic victory. In the 28-13 win over Dartmouth, senior Kym Wimberly, the Ivy League’s leading receiver, was carried off the field near the end of the first half, apparently unable to put weight on his left leg. If Wimberly, who scored Harvard’s first two touchdowns, is unavailable for the season’s final three games, including for the finale against Yale, the Crimson’s offense will be severely, perhaps mortally, crippled.
The injury marred a solid performance that brought the Crimson’s record to 5-2 overall and 3-1 in the Ivy League, one game behind first-place Princeton; Dartmouth dropped to 2-5 overall and 1-3 in conference play. The victory, during which Harvard never trailed, was highlighted by yet another magnificent day by senior Aidan Borguet. Harvard’s All-Ivy running back rambled for 179 yards on 26 carries and scored two touchdowns in the second half when the Crimson put the game away.
“This was a tough, gritty, grind-it-out type of game,” said Tim Murphy, the Stephenson Family coach for Harvard football. His team broke a three-game losing streak against the Big Green, which is coached by Murphy’s lifelong friend Buddy Teevens. “Nothing ever comes easy for us up here at Dartmouth. We also recognize that, as well as we played, we’re banged up at some key positions, and our kids really battled. It’s a testament to our leadership and the type of the kids we have.”
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On this day, the leadership included a new quarterback: senior Luke Emge. The erstwhile starter, senior Charlie Dean, reportedly was injured in practice on Friday. Cool Hand Luke, who made his bones last season (particularly in leading the Crimson to victory in The Game), may not have Dean’s arm but he is a very solid decision-maker. Halfway through the first quarter, on Harvard’s second drive of the day, he exhibited his ability to find the open receiver, first hooking up with Wimberly for a 22-yard completion. Then, from the Dartmouth 34, he dropped back and fired to Wimberly again. No Big Green defender was within the boundaries of Grafton County as Wimberly caught the ball and ran into the end zone. Senior Jonah Lipel booted the extra point. Harvard 7, Dartmouth 0.
Teevens employs a two-quarterback system, with Derek Cadwallader primarily a passer and Nick Howard the running specialist. Late in the first quarter and early in the second, the tandem worked brilliantly. Cadwallader hit wideout Jamal Cooney for 44 yards. Then, nearing the goal, Howard scampered for 13 yards to the one. On the next play he powered in for a touchdown. Ryan Bloch added the conversion. Harvard 7, Dartmouth 7.
The Crimson quickly regained the lead. On the first play of the ensuing drive, Emge connected with sophomore wideout Ledger Hatch, who came back on the ball to make a 41-yard reception. Eventually Harvard reached the 11, where it faced a fourth-and-one. Eschewing the field goal, Murphy chose to go for the first down. Borguet made it easily, gaining three yards. On the next play, Emge and Wimberly worked a sweet end-around. Using a block by junior tight end Tyler Neville, Wimberly cut inside and dashed into the end zone. Lipel kicked. Harvard 14, Dartmouth 7.
The Big Green riposted. On third and 12, Cadwallader and Howard alternated in directing a 75-yard drive that resulted in a four-yard touchdown run by Zack Bair. Then came a big play. On Bloch’s extra-point try, Crimson senior defensive lineman and captain Truman Jones got penetration, stuck up a meaty paw—and blocked the kick. Harvard 14, Dartmouth 13. “After the first extra point, I was able to get a feel for the offensive line and how they were blocking,” said the 6’4” Jones. “I really trusted the coaching and fundamentals that we have. I was able to get in there and use my height to get my hand up. I was grateful that I was in that position.”
On the Crimson’s ensuing series, Harvard reached the Dartmouth 38. On first down, there was a new wrinkle: an attempt at a halfback pass by Wimberly. He was sacked for a six-yard loss; worse, he stayed down on the turf until he was assisted to the sideline, not to return. With 50 catches on the season, he is tied with Princeton’s Andrei Iosivas for the Ivy League lead in the category. Wimberly is the essence of tenacity, as he proved last November when he snagged the heavily contested winning touchdown pass from Emge against Yale. Let us fervently hope his Harvard career is not over.
The first half was closely played. The yardage totals were just about even: Harvard 201, Dartmouth 197. But in the second half the Crimson defense tightened and the offense chose ground-and-pound, mostly by Borguet but also by senior Sone Ntoh, who gained 42 tough yards on 13 carries. He also made a nice 24-yard pass reception. Ntoh’s stints helped wear down the Dartmouth interior; perhaps as important, they also gave Borguet welcome respite.
In the second half Borguet’s legs were fresh indeed. In a nine-play drive he rushed six times for 53 yards. The one time the Big Green might have logically assumed Borguet would run, on third and three from the Dartmouth 34, Emge instead tossed to Neville, who used his 6’4”, 235-pound frame to shield himself from the defender and pick up a 23-yard gain. Two plays later, from the 12, Borguet ran left and followed a block by senior tight end Haven Montefalco into the end zone. Lipel kicked the point. Harvard 21, Dartmouth 13.
Meantime the Crimson defense, in a team effort, was suffocating the Big Green offense. In the third period, Dartmouth gained but 10 yards. This kept the homecoming crowd quiet. (Said Harvard junior defensive lineman Thor Griffith, a native of the Granite State, “I know it was Dartmouth’s homecoming, and it was almost like a homecoming for me too.”)
Nevertheless, going into the final quarter the outcome was hardly assured, especially when a Big Green punt pinned Harvard at the Crimson 14. Borguet got Harvard out of the hole with a 27-yard jaunt up the left sideline. Later in the drive, on third and six from the Dartmouth 37, Emge toted it himself, running for 11 yards, the last few after putting his shoulder down and ramming a Dartmouth defender, a maneuver that won the hearty approbation of the Harvard sideline. Two plays later, Borguet did his best Barry Sanders imitation as he made one of the damnedest runs you ever will see: stopping, restarting, and pinballing off four Big Green tacklers before diving into the end zone at the right pylon. Lipel punctuated. Harvard 28, Dartmouth 13.
All that was left was for senior defensive back Victor Tademy to make an end-zone interception on the game’s last play.
In the second half the Crimson gained 251 yards and held the Big Green to 107; many came near the game’s end when Harvard was essentially exchanging yards for time. Borguet amassed 136 yards in 16 carries in the third and fourth quarters. For the game, Emge was a smart 11 of 17 passing for 195 yards. Though playing less than a half, Wimberly had a team-leading five catches.
This victory was a needed restorative after the bruising administered by Princeton the previous week. It also was yet another feather in Emge’s cap. Now we head to November, still in the race. If Wimberly cannot play, then Hatch and Neville must continue to raise their games, and promising sophomore wideout Kaedyn Odermann will have to come to the fore. And if all else fails—well, hand it to Borguet.
TIDBITS The series with Dartmouth now stands in favor of Harvard 72-48-5….This was the first Harvard-Dartmouth game since 2014 that was decided by more than seven points….Kym Wimberly’s first-quarter touchdown enabled the Crimson to stretch its streak of not being shut out to 235 games, an Ivy League record.
Princeton 35, Cornell 9
Brown 34, Penn 31
Yale 41, Columbia 16
Coming up: Next Saturday the Crimson returns to the Stadium to meet Ivy League rival Columbia. Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET. The game will be streamed on ESPN+, and broadcast on WRCA 1330 AM, 106.1 FM, 92.9 FM-HD2 and WHRB-FM 95.3. The Lions are 3-4 overall and 0-4 in Ivy play. In a series that began in 1877, Harvard leads 63-15-1, including a 49-17 Crimson victory last season in New York City.
The score by quarters