The reverend Harold Bend Sedgwick, a feisty Episcopal minister from Lincoln, Mass., attended his 48th Harvard-Yale game Saturday. For his undying loyalty, Sedgwick, 79, was given the honor of waving the Harvard flag, a tattered relic that has been held aloft at The Game since 1884, nine years after the series began. Since then, the flag has been handed down from friend to friend, to six Cantabrigians in all.
"When I received it last year, it was in such bad condition," says Sedgwick, Harvard class of '30. "One of the women in the altar guild, who insisted on lining the flag, said, 'It won't last another century.' And I said, 'Neither will I.' "
As one of the oldest and most storied rivalries in college football, Harvard vs. Yale will probably survive another 100 years or so. But however long it lasts, rarely will the rivalry see a game more significant than the one played before 66,548 at the Yale Bowl on Saturday, when for only the third time since the Ivy League was officially formed in 1956, The Game also decided The Title. It went to the Crimson, who beat the Bulldogs 14-10 to claim their eighth Ivy championship and stop Penn's string of five consecutive titles. Yale still leads the 104-year-old series, 56-40-8.
The Game this year was billed as a duel between two of the East's best quarterbacks, Yale's Kelly Ryan and Harvard's Tom (Yo-Yo) Yohe. Ryan, a 200-pound senior sociology major from Springfield, Ill., had turned down an athletic scholarship to the University of Miami, Quarterback U. As a Yale freshman, he led the Bullpups to an undefeated season and was touted as the second coming of Brian Dowling, the Elis' magical quarterback of the '60s. This season Ryan pulled out three straight come-from-behind wins, each with less than a minute to play, and moved ahead of John Rogan to become Yale's alltime leading passer. He finished his career with 4,309 yards through the air.
On the other hand, Yohe, a junior economics major from Crown Point, Ind., is the perfect quarterback for Harvard coach Joe Restic's multiflex offense. He can drop back, sprint out or run the option.
It was largely through the efforts of Ryan and Yohe that Yale and Harvard, both 3-7 in 1986, came a long way in '87. In New Haven the talk after '86 was that Eli coach Carm Cozza, 57, would retire. Harvard was picked by one publication to finish seventh in the league. Instead Cozza again became a hot coach, and the Crimson became a hot team.
Hot, that is, until Saturday, when a game-time temperature of 20° and winds that gusted to 38 mph made it feel like—10° on the field and dictated that both sides go with a conservative ground game. It wasn't until Harvard tailback Tony Hinz broke through the middle for a 57-yard touchdown—with 5:04 left in the first half—that the grinding deadlock was broken. Yale evened things up three minutes later when Ryan, operating from his own 37, threw 15 yards to tailback Mike Stewart, who caught the ball on the right sideline and outran the Crimson defenders for a touchdown. The Elis added a 44-yard Dave Derby field goal before halftime to lead 10-7.
Harvard struck back nine minutes into the third quarter, when Yohe hit Hinz with a 19-yard touchdown pass. Judging from that catch, plus his 161 yards rushing, Hinz was hardly bothered by the cold. Not that someone from Great Falls, Mont., would be. "My senior year in high school I had six games in the snow," he said. "I learned how to block out cold weather."
The blitzing Harvard defense, which had a school-record 40 sacks this year, forced the Elis to punt on each of their next four series. Then, with 2:23 left in the game, Ryan completed two straight passes, putting Yale at midfield. But on the next play Bulldog fullback Troy Jenkins went off right tackle for 10 yards before Crimson safety Tom Aubin rammed his helmet into the ball, causing it to squirt 10 feet into the air. Harvard cornerback Don Heberle recovered and The Game was over.
"It was everything I thought it would be," said Yohe afterward. "And more."
"The best," said Hinz.
In defeat Ryan proved to be a gentleman and a scholar. "I feel a little down," he said. "It was my last game and my only chance for an Ivy title. Actually right now it's important to look at my entire four years. Playing football at Yale was a gift, and I'll treasure it. Now that I'm officially an alum, I promise I'll be back every year."