The oldest rivalry in college football dates to 1875, when Harvard and Yale played a bruising game that resembled rugby more than modern football. Back then, fans journeyed by train, horseback, and foot from around New England to view the rough-and-tumble spectacle. Old sepia photographs show Harvard Stadium filled to overflowing, with now-unlikely scores of 0-0.

The 1968 game may have been the most memorable of 126 contests. That was when Harvard scored 16 points in the final 42 seconds to tie, generating the famous headline, “Harvard beats Yale, 29-29.” In this year’s game, held at the Yale Bowl, Harvard again rallied late, this time to win. Still, scores aside, this is more than a football game. At stake are bragging rights for graduates and students who compete with glee clubs, marching bands, and tailgate spreads, ribbing their rivals to gain the upper hand, keeping their jocular rivalry vibrant.

The Game: Harvard-Yale 2009

Photos by Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer

  • Harvard students are giddy with anticipation while walking outside the Yale Bowl before “The Game.” Harvard won, 14-10.

    Harvard students are giddy with anticipation while walking outside the Yale Bowl before “The Game.” Harvard won, 14-10.

  • In the locker room, Yale football players psych themselves up before taking the field.

    In the locker room, Yale football players psych themselves up before taking the field.

  • Crimson quarterback Collier Winters 11 gets set to pass. Winters completed 10 of 26 passes for 211 yards and had 11 carries for 51 yards. He was named the Ivy League Player of the Week for his performance.

    Crimson quarterback Collier Winters '11 gets set to pass. Winters completed 10 of 26 passes for 211 yards and had 11 carries for 51 yards. He was named the Ivy League Player of the Week for his performance.

  • Yale students prove that real men arent afraid to wear pink.

    Yale students prove that real men aren't afraid to wear pink.

  • After catching a pass, Yale running back John Sheffield is upended by Crimson defensive back Brian Owusu 13.

    After catching a pass, Yale running back John Sheffield is upended by Crimson defensive back Brian Owusu '13.

  • Handsome Dan XVII, the Yale bulldog, wears his sideline pass as he basks in the sun on an unseasonably warm day.

    Handsome Dan XVII, the Yale bulldog, wears his sideline pass as he basks in the sun on an unseasonably warm day.

  • Yale student Brendan Fitzpatrick (right) looks apprehensive as he and Yale bandleader Kate Kraft stand watch on the sidelines during the second half. Harvard staged an improbable fourth-quarter comeback.

    Yale student Brendan Fitzpatrick (right) looks apprehensive as he and Yale bandleader Kate Kraft stand watch on the sidelines during the second half. Harvard staged an improbable fourth-quarter comeback.

  • Crimson wide receiver Chris Lorditch 11 snares the winning touchdown pass over Yales Adam Money with just a minute and a half to go in the game.

    Crimson wide receiver Chris Lorditch '11 snares the winning touchdown pass over Yale's Adam Money with just a minute and a half to go in the game.

  • Crimson linebacker Conor Murphy 10 receives a well-deserved hug from wide receiver Adam Chrissis 12 at games end. Murphy is holding the ball he recovered from a Yale fumble as the clock winds down.

    Crimson linebacker Conor Murphy '10 receives a well-deserved hug from wide receiver Adam Chrissis '12 at game's end. Murphy is holding the ball he recovered from a Yale fumble as the clock winds down.

  • Harvard fullback Kyle Juszczyk 13 rejoices while coach Tim Murphy lets out a shout from an ice-cold Gatorade shower at games end. Harvard overcame a 10-0 deficit with two fourth-quarter touchdowns to earn the victory.

    Harvard fullback Kyle Juszczyk '13 rejoices while coach Tim Murphy lets out a shout from an ice-cold Gatorade shower at game's end. Harvard overcame a 10-0 deficit with two fourth-quarter touchdowns to earn the victory.