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Replay

100 years ago, the Globe had the Harvard-Yale game well-covered

The Globe's front page on Nov. 21, 1920, with extensive coverage of the Harvard-Yale game.
The Globe's front page on Nov. 21, 1920, with extensive coverage of the Harvard-Yale game.Globe archives (CUSTOM_CREDIT)

Editor’s note: The Globe is reaching into its archives to bring you “Replay,” articles from the past that highlight something interesting, timely, or revealing. The Page One story on the Harvard-Yale football game 100 years ago excerpted below originally ran nearly 5,000 words. It appeared on Sunday, Nov. 21, 1920, under the headline “Buell and Capt Horween kick Harvard to victory over desperate Yale, 9 to 0.” It was one of nine stories on the game in the Globe that day.

NEW HAVEN, Nov 20 — Harvard’s brilliant and versatile football eleven won today’s great battle in the Bowl by three dropkicks that gave the Crimson nine points.

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Twice Buell, the dashing little quarterback of the Cambridge eleven, sent the ball sailing over the crossbar, and once Capt Arnold Horween, who was playing his last game for the Crimson, made a long dropkick from the 40-yard chalkmark.

Yale’s team of giants, who looked bigger than any players I have ever seen on any one Blue eleven, fought desperately for two long hours, and so fiercely did they play from beginning to end of the thrilling contest, that Bob Fisher’s great eleven was never able to carry the ball across the Eli goal line.

In spite of the inspiring defense that Yale developed when her goal line was threatened, the players in the blue jerseys were never able, during the whole battle, to get anywhere near the Crimson goal line.

Harvard entered the game without a star, but came out of the battle with many. Harvard had been taught how to win this great game of football. Yale’s team seemed to have little conception of how to beat Harvard, but every one of the boys in Blue knew how to fight, and keep fighting for the New Haven university.

Seventy-five thousand persons looked down from the great elliptical arena on a game in which one thrill followed another from beginning to end. In that great gathering were many who expected to see Harvard romp away from the Blue in a one-sided contest that would end in overwhelming defeat for Yale.

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Instead of being a walkover for the Crimson, it was one of the most bitterly contested football games that has ever been fought by these two rivals.

Although Harvard went to the front with three points early in the battle, the fight waged so bitterly that the first half ended with the score still 3 to 0.

Then in the third period a brilliant march by Harvard, ending in Horween’s drop kick, added three points to the Crimson score. But the game continued to be intensely exciting, because in these days of long forward passes a single successful one might send the Blue into the lead at any minute.

In the fourth period Harvard made the victory sure by carrying the ball in a long series of plays nearly to Yale’s goal line. Then when the Blue line stiffened Buell kicked another goal — the score was 9 — Harvard had won.

This is an image of page 18 of the Boston Globe on Nov. 21, 1920, with coverage of the Harvard-Yale football game.
This is an image of page 18 of the Boston Globe on Nov. 21, 1920, with coverage of the Harvard-Yale football game. Globe archives


Those who love the Blue must have been proud of their players down on that slippery sod, even though in the end Yale was beaten. For never did any team of Elis fight so courageously, and battle with so little equipment, as this Yale eleven that went down to defeat today.

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Yale had absolutely no offense, what little attack Capt Callahan’s team attempted being a hopeless effort to batter through the Crimson line, which was almost unbreakable, except on rare occasions. And so the Blue simply hammered away at a stonewall and got nowhere.



Harvard had built out of fairly good material, by most efficient coaching, a team that showed great versatility of attack, superb defensive strength and just missed being one of Harvard’s greatest elevens. It lacked just that little punch that sweeps over the last few yards and carries the eleven over the goal line for touchdowns.

Right here again, however, the same knowledge of football that has been conspicuous at Cambridge for many years showed again, for Bob Fisher had rounded his eleven so that it was prepared to meet just the emergency that arose today.

When Harvard found that Yale was so strong down on its goal line that a touchdown seemed out of the question, then the Crimson showed its all-around preparedness just as it used to when Charlie Brickley was the great point scorer for the Crimson and drop kicking brought victory.

Buell and Capt Horween were the Brickleys of this team.

Harvard played radical football today, going a long way in advance of the old orthodox Cambridge game. A few years ago anyone who had suggested at Cambridge that forward passing down in your own half of the field was a sound and logical method of attack would have been told that he was not wanted on Soldiers Field.

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Not so today, when Coach Bob Fisher threw into the discard some of the old Crimson conservatism and, with his head strategist, Dick Wigglesworth, worked out something for those who wear the Crimson to think over. Coach Fisher, however, never lost sight for a second of the fundamental theory of Harvard’s system of attack and based his whole offense on deception.