Oct. 20, 2001
Cambridge, Mass. - Add another notch to the curse of Harvard Stadium. The building that has been so unkind to the Princeton football team did it again.
Harvard dealt Princeton an excruciating 28-26 loss Saturday afternoon, running its winning streak over the Tigers to six straight, the longest in a series that dates to 1877.
The victory kept Harvard unbeaten at 5-0, 3-0 in the Ivy League, while Princeton slipped to 1-4 overall and 1-2 in the league. Princeton's last three games in Harvard Stadium have seen the Crimson win by two points on a late field goal that grazed the crossbar in 1997, a touchdown on the final play of the game in 1999 and now this.
Princeton had a chance to win the game in the final seven seconds, but Taylor Northrop's 49-yard field goal attempt sailed just wide left. "It felt good when I hit it," Northrop said. "I thought it was good. When I looked up, I was stunned."
Harvard took the lead 21-20 on a three-yard Neil Rose touchdown run with 5:06 to go in the third quarter, but that would be the Harvard quarterback's final play of the day after he suffered a shoulder injury. Freshman Ryan Fitzpatrick took over and completed 5 of 6 passes for 61 yards in his first collegiate action.
He also led the Crimson on an 80-yard, 10 play drive that ended with a 13-yard pass to Carl Morris and made it 28-20 with 13:33 remaining. Of Harvard's four touchdown drives, three were for 80 yards and the other was for 60.
Princeton answered the Harvard touchdown with a six-play, 65-yard drive that ended on a 27-yard Cameron Atkinson touchdown run. The two-point coversion attempt, which would have tied the game, was no good when Harvard's Willie Alford knocked away a pass from David Splithoff to Mike Chiusano.
Princeton then held Harvard twice, and the Tigers final chance started at their 12 with 2:57 to go. Splithoff then completed five straight passes to drive Princeton to Harvard's 32, calling timeout with seven seconds remaining.
Harvard called two timeouts to freeze Northrop, who had already kicked field goals of 42 and 43 yards, and the potential game-winning attempt then went wide to the left.
Harvard led 14-3 in the second quarter before Chris Roser-Jones intercepted a pass and returned it 40 yards to the Crimson 15.Splithoff then threw a nine-yard touchdown pass to Mike Chiusano to make it 14-10. Atkinson's first touchdown came after a Paul Simbi interception on the next possession. Splithoff threw a 49-yard pass to Chisom Opara, and Atkinson put the Tigers up 17-14 on a seven-yard run. Northrop's second field goal made it 20-14 at intermission.
Splithoff completed 18 of 27 passes for 219 yards. Opara caught six for 111 in his first action since a neck sprain against Colgate two weeks earlier.
Brandon Mueller made 10 unassisted tackles to lead the Tigers.