College Football

Yale beats Harvard 24-3 in 'The Game'


Yale beats Harvard 24-3 in 'The Game'

NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- Yale ended a lot of droughts by beating archrival Harvard on Saturday.

The Bulldogs used a stifling defense to win 24-3, securing the program's first outright Ivy League championship since 1980.

It was the first time Yale (9-1, 6-1 Ivy) had beaten Harvard (5-5, 3-4) at the Yale Bowl since 1999. It also was the first time the Bulldogs won two straight in the series since winning three in a row from 1998-2000.

"Our goal at the beginning of the year was I.T.O., Ivy takeover, and we did it," coach Tony Reno said. "I'm very proud of this group for what they've done and how they accomplished it and the precedent they set."

Kurt Rawlings threw for 177 yards and a touchdown and Melvin Rouse and Zane Dudek combined for 106 yards rushing and a score.

But it was the Yale defense that dominated.

The Bulldogs held Harvard scoreless after a 29-yard field goal on the Crimson's opening possession and kept their offense to just 164 total yards. Yale sacked freshman Jake Smith six times and forced four turnovers.

"This one was won in the trenches," Harvard coach Tim Murphy said. "They've got a big strong front seven and they've got big strong secondary guys and they just play right in your grill."

Rawlings and receiver J.P. Shohfi got Yale on the board in the second quarter, connecting on a 46-yard pass, followed three plays later by a 9-yarder into the left corner of the end zone.

Yale quickly built on that lead when Harvard's Smith made a bad decision on an option, fumbling a late pitch. Linebacker Malcolm Dixon picked up the ball and ran 19 yards for a touchdown.

"I saw him pitch it so I ran toward the running back," Dixon said. "I saw him slip. I saw the end zone. I saw the ball, put two and two together and that was it."

Another errant pitch by Smith on the next Harvard possession set up a 25-yard field goal on the last play of the first half, giving the Bulldogs a 17-3 lead.

Dudek's 2-yard TD run in the fourth quarter capped an eight-play 81-yard drive that put the game out of reach.

Yale players rushed the field after the final whistle, when they were surrounded by thousands of fans who streamed from the stands.

"It was a surreal moment," Yale captain Spencer Rymiszewski said. "To just go out like this. It's a pitch-perfect ending."


Yale: The Bulldogs already had clinched a share of their 15th Ivy League title with a win over Princeton last week. This is the team's seventh outright title.

Harvard: Harvard had won 14 of the previous 16 meetings. This was the second straight game the Crimson has failed to score a touchdown, the first time that has happened since 1986.


Yale came into the game fourth in the FCS in sacks and has averaged 3.6 per game this year. Their six on the Saturday give the Bulldogs 36 for the season after making just 16 a year ago.


Dudek's 64 yards rushing were well below his season average of 119 per game. The freshman finishes the year with 1,133 yards on just 159 carries, an average of more than 7 yards per run.


Harvard receiver Justice Shelton-Mosley caught seven passes for 77 yards. But three of those catches and four of his 10 touches came on the Crimson's opening drive.

"He's our best player, he's our best athlete," Murphy said. "It's just been really tough getting the ball to him.


The Ivy League does not participate in the FCS playoffs, so the season is over for both teams.


Keith Jackson, legendary voice of college football, dies at 89


Keith Jackson, legendary voice of college football, dies at 89

Legendary ABC Sports broadcaster Keith Jackson, the voice of college football for decades, has died. He was 89.

Jackson died surrounded by his family, NBC Sports' Todd Harris tweeted Saturday morning.

A fixture on ABC's college football broadcasts for more than a half-century, Jackson was known for punctuating calls with his signature, "Whoa, Nellie!" or homespun phrasing such as linemen being "big uglies in the trenches."

"For generations of fans, Keith Jackson was college football," Robert Iger, Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, ESPN's corporate parent, said in a statement. "When you heard his voice, you knew it was a big game. Keith was a true gentleman and memorable presence. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Turi Ann, and his family."

He coined the phrase "Granddaddy of Them All" for the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., and worked 15 of them, including his final game before his retirement in 2006 when Texas beat USC for the national championship. The Rose Bowl TV and radio booths were renamed "The Keith Jackson Broadcast Center" in 2005.

Named National Sportscaster of the Year five times, Jackson also worked NFL games and was the original play-by-play voice of "Monday Night Football." He and Celtics legend Bill Russell called NBA games on ABC for four years.

He also worked 10 Olympics, World Series, auto racing and traveled to 31 countries for ABC's "Wide World of Sports."
Jackson was born on Oct. 18, 1928, in Georgia near the Alabama state line. He spent four years in the Marine Corps before attending Washington State and graduating with a broadcast journalism degree. He worked at the ABC affiliate in Seattle, KOMO, for 10 years, including conducting the first live sports broadcast from the Soviet Union to the United States in 1958.

He became sports director of ABC Radio West in 1964 and became part of the network's college football announcing crew when ABC acquired the rights in 1966.

An Associated Press report included in this story.


Walk-off: Alabama beats Georgia in OT for national title


Walk-off: Alabama beats Georgia in OT for national title

ATLANTA -- To add another championship to the greatest dynasty college football has ever seen, Alabama turned to its quarterback of the future, and Tua Tagovailoa proved that his time is now.

The freshman quarterback, who had played mostly mop-up duty this season, came off the bench to spark a comeback and threw a 41-yard touchdown to DeVonta Smith that gave No. 4 Alabama a 26-23 overtime victory against No. 3 Georgia on Monday night for the College Football Playoff national championship.

Tagovailoa entered the game at halftime, replacing a struggling Jalen Hurts, and threw three touchdown passes to give the Crimson Tide its fifth national championship since 2009 under coach Nick Saban.

"He just stepped in and did his thing," Hurts said. "He's built for stuff like this. I'm so happy for him."

The Tide might have a quarterback controversy ahead of it but first Alabama will celebrate another national title.

For the third straight season, Alabama played in a classic CFP final. The Tide split two with Clemson, losing last season on touchdown with a second left.

What was Saban thinking as the winning pass soared this time?

"I could not believe it," he said. "There's lots of highs and lows. Last year we lost on the last play of the game and this year we won on the last play of the game. These kids really responded the right way. We said last year, `Don't waste the feeling.' They sure didn't, the way they played tonight."

Smith streaked into the end zone and moments later confetti rained and even Saban seemed almost giddy after watching maybe the most improbably victory of his unmatched career.

After Alabama kicker Andy Pappanastos missed a 36-yard field goal that would have won it for the Tide (13-1) in the final seconds of regulation , Georgia (13-2) took the lead with a 51-yard field goal from Rodrigo Blankenship in overtime.

Tagovailoa took a terrible sack on Alabama's first play of overtime, losing 16 yards. On the next play he found Smith, another freshman, and hit him in stride for the national championship.

Tagovailoa was brilliant at times, though he had a few freshman moments. He threw an interception when he tried to pass on a running play and all his receivers were blocking. He also darted away from the pass rushers and made some impeccable throws, showing the poise of a veteran. Facing fourth-and-goal from 7, down seven, the left-hander moved to his left and zipped a pass through traffic that hit Calvin Ridley in the numbers for the tying score with 3:49 left in the fourth quarter.

He finished 14 for 24 for 166 yards. The winning play was, basically, four receivers going deep.

"After the sack, we just got up and took it to the next play," Tagovailoa said. "I looked back out, and he was wide open. Smitty was wide open." Freshmen were everywhere for the Alabama offense: Najee Harris at running back, Henry Ruggs III at receiver, Alex Leatherwood at left tackle after All-American Jonah Williams was hurt. It's a testament to the relentless machine Saban has built.

But this game will be remembered most for his decision to change quarterbacks trailing 13-0.

"I just thought we had to throw the ball, and I felt he could do it better, and he did," Saban said. "He did a good job, made some plays in the passing game. Just a great win. I'm so happy for Alabama fans. Great for our players. Unbelievable."

Saban now has six major poll national championships, including one at LSU, matching the record set by the man who led Alabama's last dynasty, coach Paul Bear Bryant.

This was nothing like the others.

With President Trump in attendance, the all-Southeastern Conference matchup was all Georgia in the first half before Saban pulled Hurts and the five-star recruit from Hawaii entered. The president watched the second half from Air Force One.

"I don't know how Coach Saban found me all the way in Hawaii from Alabama," Tagovailoa said. "Thank God he found me and we're here right now."

The Tide trailed 20-7 in the third quarter after Georgia's freshman quarterback, Jake Fromm, hit Mecole Hardman for an 80-yard touchdown pass that had the Georgia fans feeling good about ending a national title drought that dates back to 1980.

Fromm threw for 232 yards for a while it looked as if he was going to be the freshman star for the game, the first to true freshman to lead his team to a national title season since Jamelle Holieway for Oklahoma in 1985.

"I mean, if you want to find out about Jake Fromm, go ask those guys on the other side of the ball, and they'll tell you because that's a really good defense he just went against," Smart said.

A little less than a year after the Atlanta Falcons blew a 25-point lead and lost in overtime to the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl, there was more pain for many of the local fans. Two years ago, Georgia brought in Saban's top lieutenant, Kirby Smart, to coach the Bulldogs and bring to his alma mater a dose of Alabama's Process.

Smart, who spent 11 seasons with Saban - eight as his defensive coordinator in Tuscaloosa - quickly built `Bama East. It was Georgia that won the SEC this season. Alabama had to slip into the playoff without even winning its own division.

With the title game being held 70 miles from Georgia's campus in Athens, Dawg fans packed Mercedes-Benz Stadium, but it turned out to be sweet home for Alabama and now Saban is 12-0 against his former assistants.

But not without angst.

Alabama drove into the red zone in the final minute and Saban started playing for a field goal that would end the game and win it for the Tide. A nervous quiet gripped the crowd of 77,430 as `Bama burned the clock. With the ball centered in the middle of the field, Pappanastos lined up for a kick to win the national championship. The snap and hold looked fine, but the kicked missed badly to the left.

For the second straight week, Georgia was going to overtime. The Bulldogs beat Oklahoma in a wild Rose Bowl in double overtime to get here, and after Jonathan Ledbetter and Davin Bellamy sacked Tagovailoa for a big loss on the first play, Alabama was in trouble - second-and-26.

Not for long. Tagovailoa looked off the safety and threw the biggest touchdown pass in the history of Alabama football.