Dartmouth beats Harvard with a miracle
By now, you probably know why I’m talking about Dartmouth-Harvard. With 6 seconds left, #13 Dartmouth’s perfect season seemed to be coming to an end. Harvard led 6-3 with the Big Green on the Crimson’s 43-yard line. Then, this happened.
Derek Kyler, the second-string junior quarterback who was thrust into action after a first-half injury to Jared Garbino, will live on forever in Dartmouth lore for this pass. Junior wideout Masaki Aerts (pronounced “Arts”) will also go down as a Big Green legend for catching his first-career touchdown on this play. On the flip side, the headline of the article on this game from the official Dartmouth Athletics website–The Aerts-ful Dodger: No. 14/15 Dartmouth Wins on Hail Mary—will live on the internet forever. Just be cool for once, Dartmouth.
Harvard head coach Tim Murphy told The Harvard Crimson that the team got their “guts ripped out.” Which is fair because Harvard really should not have lost this game. The Crimson defense played damn-near perfect as they held the highest scoring team in FCS to just three points, forced six punts, and snagged two interceptions. With 1:31 left in the game and Dartmouth on their own 12-yard line, the defensive line collapsed on Kyler and picked up what should have been the game-sealing fumble.
At this point, Harvard had a 99.9% chance of winning according to ESPN’s win probability tracker. Yet, the Crimson still managed to lose because of a few miscues. Two missed field goals by Jake McIntyre, RB Devin Darrington going out of bounds with 1:17 left to give Dartmouth enough time for the miracle, and DB Isaiah Wingfield tipping a hail mary pass straight up in the air will keep the team up at night for a while.
The Miracle at Cambridge (we need a better name) instantly becomes the defining image of this rivalry’s history after 123 meetings between the teams. Harvard crushed the Big Green for two solid decades, going 20-1 from 1997-2017 with 14 straight victories until Dartmouth finally won last year. Dartmouth had not won in Cambridge since 2003 before Saturday.
The recently ended dominance is reminiscent of how the Harvard-Dartmouth rivalry started. The Crimson won the first 18 games the two teams played from 1882-1903. Dartmouth didn’t score until the second century of this rivalry in 1901.
The Big Green (known as the Indians then) ended that streak by beating Harvard in the first-ever game played at Harvard Stadium in 1903. It is an embarrassing fact of the rivalry for Harvard that comes up every time the teams play in Cambridge. Now the highlight of the Miracle will also come up every time the teams play there.