To many, it was a game to remember for years to come. John Geagea (MBA ’21) reports.
While the 136th edition of The Game did not bring the outcome we were hoping for, it did bring excitement and drama that will be the talk of years to come. The second-oldest rivalry in college football had everything: a late-game comeback, multiple overtimes, an Ivy League title on the line, and bragging rights for students and alumni for the next 364 days.
The betting spread coming in had Yale favored by 7.5 points. A final score line of 50-43 does not do justice to the fight Harvard put up. The Crimson set out a formidable lead, fueled largely by Aidan Borguet’s career rushing night. The Bulldogs struggled to slow him down on his way to an 11 carry, 269 yard, 4 TD game. It took a spirited comeback from Yale to overcome a deficit that reached 17 points as late as the fourth quarter to force overtime. Harvard’s last-ditch effort came up short on a fourth down that would have extended their drive for a chance to tie the game back up in the second overtime.
A word on the protests that interrupted the game at halftime. The game was mentioned on many media front pages due to the large group of students from both schools that took the field at halftime to protest climate change, among other social issues. The delay extended to roughly an hour before the field could be cleared to resume play. The protests highlighted a couple of interesting developments. For one, the Yale Bowl doesn’t have lights. If the game had extended any further, there would have been a real player safety risk and the play would likely have been suspended to account for that risk. Second, the role of fan activism was thrust into a spotlight that has mostly focused on athlete activism in recent times (think Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling, and LeBron James’ documentary Shut Up and Dribble). The universities expressed support for the students’ right to freedom of expression, but they expressed regret that it interfered with the athletes’ ability to continue their game. Will other schools see similar protests? Are there ways for fans to express their views effectively without interrupting a game/event?
Last, but certainly not least: tailgating. Fifteen years ago, the Harbus described the Harvard-Yale tailgate experience as a surprisingly “resounding success” despite Harvard not having a “glorious history of tailgating.” Fifteen years later and those words ring as true as ever. This year’s RCs came ready, with buses leaving campus around 7 or 8 a.m. to start a full day of eating and drinking in New Haven. Some featured highlights: Section J snagging a large order of Chick-Fil-A, Section E doing their best imitation of the Bills Mafia (Google it), and of course the weather holding up for a fun afternoon of enjoying each other’s company. Next year’s edition of The Game will be back on home soil. HBS students will be ready.
John Geagea (MBA ’21) graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2014. Prior to HBS, he worked in energy and consulting in Houston.