Princeton football prevailed 30-24 against Harvard in a back-and-forth battle at Princeton Stadium Oct. 26. The Tigers’ victory in this year’s homecoming game improves their record to 6-0 and extends their unbeaten streak to 16 games.
Princeton jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter off a touchdown to wide receiver Dylan Classi ’22 and a field goal set up by an interception by linebacker Jeremiah Tyler ’21. However, Harvard raced back with two touchdowns in the second quarter, including a 73-yard catch-and-run to close out the half.
Harvard’s defense caused difficulties for the Princeton running game throughout the day. Princeton ended with 103 yards off of 38 carries, buoyed by a 47-yard run from Colin Eaddy ’21 in the second half.
“We weren’t getting [rushing] yards,” said head coach Bob Surace ’90. “First down was going for two yards. There is something to continuing to run the ball that way because it does have an effect later in the game, but we just weren’t doing as well as we could.”
In the third quarter, Princeton advanced deep into Harvard territory after two tightly contested sideline catches, but ultimately turned the ball over after a failed fourth-down attempt. On the next play, linebacker Daniel Beard ’22 tipped and then intercepted a Harvard pass to give Princeton a fresh set of downs. Eaddy scored on the following play off a pass from quarterback Kevin Davidson ’20.
“[The defense] did an amazing job the entire night,” Davidson said. “When we had to come off, they were right there to pick us up. That’s the team aspect. All offseason we’re battling back-and-forth, but when it’s game time, we come together and work for each other.”
After trading another pair of touchdowns, Princeton led 23-21. Then, junior defensive back Matthew Winston ’21 intercepted a Harvard pass and returned it to the Crimson 18-yard line.
“We just kept fighting — that was the message through halftime, not only as a defense, but as a team,” said Winston, whose interception was the first in his Princeton career. “All we could do was play our brand of football, be disciplined, and just do whatever we can to stop their receivers.”
Three plays later, Davidson escaped a tackle and threw to Classi, who made a spectacular diving catch for the eventual game-winning touchdown, his second of the day.
“[Classi] is a competitor,” said Surace. “This guy wins. He comes up with some really key plays. I can’t wait to watch that on film.”
Harvard scored another field goal in the fourth quarter, but Princeton sealed the game by recovering the ensuing onside kick.
“We’ve played Harvard 10 times, and most of the games have been like this, just absolute battles,” said Surace, whose career record against the Crimson now stands at 5-5. “You tip your cap to the opponent because they’re giving it all, you’re giving it all, and that’s win or lose. As a competitor, this is what you’re living for.”
Princeton will try to extend its undefeated streak against Cornell on Friday, Nov. 1, in a game that will be broadcast nationally on ESPNU.