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NOTEBOOK: In Dramatic Fashion, Football Pulls Out Improbable Win Over Dartmouth

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With three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter Friday night, the devastation began to set in for the Harvard football team.

Dartmouth had thus far maintained the upper hand throughout the heavyweight clash between the two undefeated squads in Cambridge, and the visitors possessed the ball with a 13-7 lead.

What looked like such a promising Harvard season was rapidly sliding away.

But then the improbable happened. As Dartmouth running back Ryder Stone received the pitch from quarterback Dalyn Williams on the option, senior linebacker Jacob Lindsey swept around the edge and leveled the ball carrier. The pigskin popped free.

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“I just hit him as hard as I could,” Lindsey said. “I didn’t intentionally try to punch for it, but it was very fortunate to get it loose.”

Captain Matt Koran dove on the ball, and the Crimson sideline exploded. Suddenly—and shockingly—Harvard had life, thanks to the top-ranked defense in the FCS.

A tall task remained, however, with 2:54 on the clock and the ball on the Dartmouth 49-yard line. The prolific Crimson offense, which eclipsed 40 points in each of its first six games, had scored only once on Friday and struggled to move the ball at times.

A touchdown would save Harvard’s season. Anything less, in all likelihood, would doom it to a second-place finish in the Ivy League.

The Crimson ran 11 plays on the ensuing drive. Perhaps the most critical was an 18-yard strike from senior quarterback Scott Hosch to junior tight end Anthony Firkser to move the ball into the red zone.

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But the decisive moment came three plays later. As Hosch scrambled outside the pocket with just over 40 seconds remaining, freshman receiver Justice Shelton-Mosley found a bubble in the front of the end zone. Hosch hit the youngest member of the offense in the chest for a five-yard touchdown.

The extra point gave Harvard a 14-13 lead, its first of the evening. When sophomore defensive lineman Stone Hart deflected a potential game-winning, 46-yard Big Green field goal attempt with one second remaining, all the tension and emotion poured out for the Crimson. The team had truly snatched the unlikeliest of victories from the jaws of defeat.

“If we lost that game, our season was pretty much over—we knew that,” Koran said. “We gave it everything we had; we put our hearts on the line. We were blessed with a miracle tonight.”

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