Princeton vs Harvard: A Stolen Game

The outcome of the Princeton vs Harvard game will go down in history as a mistake.


Todd Neville

Princeton and Harvard go head to head.

The Princeton football team is a very storied organization.

On Saturday, October 23rd, Harvard and Princeton played a football game. Both teams were undefeated, and the winner was most likely going to be the ivy league champion. The game was very important and brought excitement to fans of ivy league football. Freshman Tight End Tyler Neville even went as far to say, “It was the game of the year”. With all the excitement around the game, it certainly did not disappoint.

The game was back and forth through the first three quarters. Harvard was losing by seven in the fourth quarter when quarterback Jake Smith and Tyler Neville took them down the field to score. With the game all knotted up at the end of regulation, the game was sent into overtime. With just 3 points being scored through the first two overtimes for each team, the game entered the “two-point conversion” overtime. This meant that each team got a chance to score from the three-yard line.

On the first attempt, Harvard stopped Princeton from scoring. That meant that it was Harvard’s chance to try and win the game. They completed a pass into the end zone to score, and the game was over. The whole team stormed the field in celebration. The referees then ushered the players off the field and back to their sideline.

The play was then under review by the referees. After about five minutes of waiting, they announced that the Princeton head coach had called a timeout before the ball was snapped to start the play. In the NCAA, a timeout must be recognized by an official before the play and the official needs to blow the whistle to signal a stoppage of play. It is not a reviewable event and has never in the history of football been a reviewable event.

The coach signaling for a timeout does not stop the play, so even if they could review that the call still should have stood as a touchdown.

The game went on for a little longer before Princeton won the game. Harvard players and fans were outraged about the outcome of the game, mostly because it had been ripped away from them by an incorrect call that is against the rules to make.

Harvard and Princeton have been playing each other yearly since 1877
About an hour after the game, the ivy league released a statement on all their social platforms admitting that the officials made an error, and that Harvard should have won the game. With that, they still said that the win stands for Princeton, and they can not go back and change the outcome of the game. The referees are now under investigation for their error, and the ivy league will update fans and players through their social platforms.

When I asked Neville about his thoughts about the error, he said, “It doesn’t feel good when the game is taken out of your hands and controlled by the officials like that. I fee like we should have won the game.” The Ivy League is held to a high standard due to their tradition of excellence, it is everyone’s hope that something like this won’t happen again.