Courtesy: Yale Sports Publicity
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Yale wide receiver Chris Williams-Lopez provided a glimpse of why he will be a headache for opposing Ivy League secondaries for the next two years.
Williams, a sophomore from Duluth, Georgia, caught 13 passes for 169 yards and a touchdown against the nation’s third-ranked defense. But his career day was not enough, as Yale fell to Harvard 38-19 in front of 52,126 at the Yale Bowl in the 132nd edition of The Game.
Yale remains in the lead in the series, holding a 65-59-8 edge.
“We had a lot of opportunities on third down, but we didn’t get it done…,” said Tony Reno, Yale’s Head Coach. “This team really excelled this year with the personnel that we had. This senior class came together and said hey we’re not going to let injuries get in our way. They taught Yale football how to play through adversity.”
Saturday’s game marked the first time a game was played under the lights in the 101-year history of the Yale Bowl.
Yale wasted no time finding the end zone against its historic rival. Morgan Roberts connected with Williams-Lopez on the game’s first play from scrimmage for a 25-yard gain. The two would connect again to polish off a 10-play, 75-yard drive. Williams-Lopez hauled in a 28-yard touchdown pass, the first of his career, from Roberts early in the first to put Yale ahead 7-0.
Harvard came up with a pair of unanswered touchdowns to go up 14-7, but the Bulldogs stayed within striking distance. A strong Yale defense came up with several key third-down stops. Linebacker Darius Manora halted a run attempt short of a first late in the opening quarter. Jason Alessi broke up a pass attempt and Spencer Rymiszewski intercepted a pass midway through the second.
Harvard increased its lead to 21-7 with a 13-yard touchdown pass late in the second. The Bulldogs quickly marched down the field. A 16-yard strike from Roberts to Robert Clemons brought Yale inside the Harvard 10-yard line, but the Bulldogs came away without a score.
The Yale offense couldn’t get into a groove against the Crimson and Harvard scored 31 unanswered points during one stretch. With the win, Harvard (9-1, 6-1 Ivy) clinched a share of the Ivy League title along with Dartmouth and Penn.
Yale cut into the deficit early in the fourth, as Roberts capped a 12-play, 82-yard drive with a 2-yard touchdown run. Yale scored the game’s final touchdown later in the quarter. Roberts connected with tight end Stephen Buric for an 8-yard score.
Roberts finished completing 38-of-65 passes for 410 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. His 38 completions and 65 attempts were both single-game highs for the senior. Roberts finishes his career as Yale’s all-time leader in total offense and career passing yards.
“I don’t worry about the statistical stuff, but coach Reno gave me an awesome opportunity to come here and play and be successful,” Roberts said. “I just want to thank the coaching staff for giving me the chance to come here and play.”
Robert Clemons added seven receptions for 86 yards. Senior captain Cole Champion led the defense with 12 tackles.
The Bulldogs (6-4, 3-4 Ivy) won two of their final three and finish in fourth place in the Ivy League.
“A lot of things happened that we couldn’t control this season,” Champion said. “I’m incredibly proud of the way this team reacted to all the adversity we faced this year.”