The Yale Bulldogs host the Harvard Crimson on Saturday in the 137th playing of The Game. Kickoff is slated for noon and The Game will air on ESPNU.
Harvard enters the contest with a record of 7-2 following narrow losses to Princeton and Dartmouth. Had the Harvard-Princeton game been officiated correctly, Harvard would be 8-1 and playing for the Ivy League title this weekend. The Crimson possess the most talented roster in the conference and will be playing with a chip on their shoulder to avenge the wild overtime loss to the Bulldogs in 2019.
Harvard has started three different quarterbacks over the course of the season. Junior Luke Emge (6’2”, 205 lbs.) is the most likely candidate to start in this contest having started the last two games versus Columbia and Penn. Emge has completed 58.7% of his passes for 456 yards, 3 touchdowns and 1 interception in the four games that he has played. In last week’s Harvard-Penn contest, Emge was held to a 46.4% completion rate with 164 yards and no touchdowns. Emge could be on a short leash with Coach Murphy, so the Bulldogs will also have to prepare for the possibility of facing senior Jake Smith (6’0”, 181 lbs.) or sophomore Charlie Dean (6’1”, 210 lbs.). The Crimson’s rushing attack is the strength of their offense led by junior Aaron Shampklin (5’10”, 195 lbs.) and sophomore Aidan Borguet (5’10”, 211 lbs.). Shampklin averages 5.7 yards per carry while Borguet averages 5.3 yards per carry. Harvard’s running backs are very fast, can break tackles with ease and possess great vision. The Crimson’s offensive line has been outstanding in run blocking and above average in pass protection. Senior Spencer Rolland (6’6”, 285 lbs.) is the leader of the offensive line and was named to Phil Steele’s pre-season All-Ivy team. Junior WR Kym Wimberly (6’0”, 201 lbs.) is Harvard’s top pass-catching weapon with 31 receptions for 372 yards and 3 touchdowns. Senior WR BJ Watson (5’10”, 187 lbs.) is one of the most elusive receivers in the Ivy League and Harvard loves to get him the ball in space. Freshman WR Kaedyn Odermann (6’3”, 211 lbs.) has established himself as the future centerpiece of Harvard’s aerial attack with the size and speed to create difficult matchups for defenders. Sophomore TE Haven Montefalco (6’4”, 231 lbs.) is a solid all-around tight end with balanced skills in blocking and pass catching. The Yale defense will have their hands full this weekend trying to limit the rushing attack and forcing Harvard to rely on their passing game. Edge containment and angle tackling must improve drastically from last week to secure a victory.
Four-year starter and 1st Team All-Ivy linebacker Jordan Hill (6’1”, 240 lbs.) is the heart of a physical defensive unit for Harvard. Hill has dominated in his senior campaign with 62 tackles, 5 tackles for loss and a sack. Senior linebackers Jack McGowan (6’1”, 216 lbs.) and Andrew Irwin (6’1”, 223 lbs.) have combined for another 85 tackles as opposing offenses key on Hill. Junior safety James Herring (6’0”, 187 lbs.) leads the Crimson in total tackles with 63 and has also hauled in 2 interceptions. Junior defensive lineman Chris Smith (6’2”, 293 lbs.) has been the most productive member of a very strong defensive front with 34 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks and 2 forced fumbles. The Crimson have been adept at rushing the passer with junior Jacob Sykes (6’3”, 277 lbs.) recording 7 sacks, sophomore Nate Leskovec (6’3”, 251 lbs.) recording 5.5 sacks, and freshman Thor Griffith (6’2”, 303 lbs.) recording 4 sacks. In total, Harvard has sacked opposing quarterbacks 37 times this season. While Princeton relied on heavy blitzing to pressure Grooms, Harvard is able to generate similar pressure with just their four down linemen in a base defense. Opponents have found greater success throwing the ball versus running the ball averaging 222.6 passing yards per game and only 59.8 rushing yards per game. Our offense will face their toughest test of the season in attempting to establish the run game this week (with or without Dudek) as it would be disastrous to become one-dimensional.
Junior kicker Jonah Lipel has made 76.5% of his field goals attempts this season with a long of 42 yards. Junior punter Jon Sot averages 39.6 yards per punt and has punted the ball over 50 yards on 8 occasions. Junior WR Demarkes Stradford (5’10”, 179 lbs.) is a dangerous kick returner averaging 28.1 yards per return and returned one kick for an 89-yard touchdown.
Might as well give the game to Harvard.? No way Yale can compete against the likes of them.!!
November 18, 2021 — 6:04 PM
Bulldog Fan says:
I give up! What’s the spread? Although the unknown factor is that The Game is being presented by UBS! What may that mean? Does this turn anybody else off but me?
November 18, 2021 — 6:50 PM
As long as we don’t have the game being played at the “Viagra Yale Bowl” I can live with it.
November 18, 2021 — 8:21 PM
Go Boy yo yo -young Bulldogs.!!!
November 18, 2021 — 8:38 PM
David Parrella says:
Such. A Strong Harvard team, but…It’s the Ivy League
How did Columbia beat a much better Dartmouth team 19-0?
Things like that can happen.
November 19, 2021 — 6:51 AM
Agree. Harvard is strong but they lost to Dartmouth by pretty much same score as Yale game vs Dartmouth. I think Saturday is a toss up
November 19, 2021 — 9:50 AM
remember it well says:
A large supportive crowd of Yale fans can sometimes help invigorate the Bulldogs in a close game, As of this morning it looks like the Bowl will have a lot of empty seats which pretty much exemplifies the steady decline in The Game attendance.
November 19, 2021 — 10:53 AM
As I told Harvard football pundit J. Benning Peers – “we don’t stand a chance”.
November 19, 2021 — 12:06 PM
H favored by 6.5
O/U – 48.5
November 19, 2021 — 2:38 PM
old blue says:
Gentlemen; mr. Pmk attendance at a seance must have also provided our blue as the victor come this Saturday.
November 19, 2021 — 4:17 PM
Boy Yale basketball took it on the chin against Vermont. A well played game buy both teams. If Yale only had a big man or two to play in the lane this would be a great team. As of now no help coming next year also. Good luck
November 19, 2021 — 7:34 PM
Turnovers, especially in your own territory are killers.
November 20, 2021 — 12:41 PM
voy vey says:
Grooms’ accuracy and decision-making very substandard, again (UConn, Princeton). Bad day for that to be the case.
November 20, 2021 — 12:42 PM
20-17 Yale cannot give up a score before halftime like last week
November 20, 2021 — 1:31 PM
voy vey says:
“Technical difficulties” – d@#m Vicki Chun….
November 20, 2021 — 1:57 PM
November 20, 2021 — 2:47 PM
I have a bad feeling. Yale just gave up 25 yards of field position. It’s on the defense now.
November 20, 2021 — 2:18 PM
Yale is their own worst enemy. Although I thought the roughing call was borderline, it would be nice if the defensive back, just once, turn and look for the ball.
November 20, 2021 — 2:24 PM
That’s twice Yale has responded when Harvard went up by 10. Have to admire that.
November 20, 2021 — 2:32 PM
Is Jack Ford a moron? It was fourth down. Clock stops on change of possession whether pass or run
November 20, 2021 — 3:35 PM
As good as the win was 2 years ago, that’s how bad this loss is.
Yale’s tendency, no matter how good the defense plays overall, is to always give up the big play when the opposing team has a chance to win or tie in the last minute or two..
November 20, 2021 — 3:44 PM
Naw…that was for Ivy Title. Bad loss and way too many breakdowns in secondary but win in 19 easily outweighs this loss.
November 20, 2021 — 3:50 PM
voy vey says:
Playing to not lose, is playing to lose.
Play to gain yards, not to just run the clock.
November 20, 2021 — 3:53 PM
You can’t fix stupid, what was Reno thinking.? !! Or this case not.!! Yale should not have lost this GAME.
November 20, 2021 — 3:55 PM
What a dumb ass, Reno is. You had the game.!!!
November 20, 2021 — 4:01 PM
Old Blue says:
Gentlemen;; Suffice to say after ten years coach Reno is still a D student.
November 20, 2021 — 4:19 PM
remember it well says:
Accolades to the Yale players who fought hard and almost pulled victory from the jaws of defeat. It’s a pity the coaching staff didn’t know how to keep the offensive drive alive in the waning 2 plus minutes.
November 20, 2021 — 5:25 PM
Might have fought hard but some awfully bad execution. Grooms threw 3 terrible interceptions – the first 2 in particular were just bad decisions and directly led to 10 points.
Blocked punt was awful. Yale needs a new kicker and punter. Kid can’t even reach goal line on kick off.
Need new db coach. Way too many missed assignments all year.
November 20, 2021 — 7:42 PM
Sorry but what play calls are people complaint about on the last drive?
Clearly you run to burn their timeouts on first and second.
On third you run to burn time.
On fourth you either punt or run a play. I had no problem with pass because unlike Jack Ford I have an IQ north of 100 so know the clock stops on change of possession so on 4th and 7 like the pass to try to get first.
Thought play calling was fine.
D secondary was horrible on last drive. No way can you let a team drive 67 yards in 35 seconds with no timeouts
Oh and Grooms can’t throw 2 picks and can’t have punt blocked.
November 20, 2021 — 5:57 PM
Clock management was atrocious ..!! Period
November 20, 2021 — 6:23 PM
To coach Reno this Harvard game is on you period. The kids on both sides of the ball played there hearts out in this game.They played good enough to win today but came up a little short i wonder why. You pooch kicked what were you thinking 4or 5 minutes left in the game. Nothing came out of that thank god. The way the defense was playing kick it deep they could of made a big play an scored a touchdown game over. Using all of your time outs with 45 seconds was an embarrassment to you the coaches and the players after they played so hard. I hope you tell the kids this game is on me period. RITE AID MAN
November 20, 2021 — 5:57 PM
Texan Eli says:
As disappointing as this season was only two plays separated Yale from sharing the Ivy title with the Tigers. I refer to the targeting call at Hanover that kept Dartmouth in that game and the blocked punt that Harvard ran back for a TD.
Next year should be a banner year for the Bulldogs. The bulk of the offense returns and half a dozen key players on defense.
November 20, 2021 — 6:14 PM
Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda. Lost to the top 3 teams in the league.
November 20, 2021 — 6:38 PM
How was clock management atrocious?
The time outs were used when clocked was stopped. Need to get the stop…give up td no way coming back so might as well get d set.
And stop with the pooch kick complaint. Yale’s kicker can’t reach the end zone – hence pooch kicks. He should recruit a better kicker and punter. He is subpar.
November 20, 2021 — 7:08 PM
And I like Grooms but ain’t winning with 3 bad interceptions. All three thrown up for grabs. Directly led to 10 points.
November 20, 2021 — 7:10 PM