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<h5>Mark Dodici / The Daily Princetonian</h5>
Mark Dodici / The Daily Princetonian

In Photos: Princeton wins controversial, five-overtime battle of the unbeatens against Harvard

Princeton fans came out in droves for the Homecoming game, with more than 800 students in the stands and total attendance of over 10,000.

Mark Dodici / The Daily Princetonian


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It was a largely defensive battle between the two top-ranked rushing defenses in the FCS. Here, senior linebacker Tavaris Noel (58) chases down Harvard running back Aaron Shampklin (20) in the offensive backfield. 

Mark Dodici / The Daily Princetonian

 

Senior running back Collin Eaddy tries to find an outside lane against the stifling Harvard defense. Both offenses were held largely in check in the first half, which ended at a touchdown-free 6–6.  

Mark Dodici / The Daily Princetonian


Senior quarterback Cole Smith struggled in the air against the Crimson defense — he threw four interceptions on the day, having only thrown two in the first five games of the season. The Princeton offense as a whole was unable to score a touchdown all game — a stark contrast to the shootout against Brown in the week prior where Smith and Eaddy each found the end zone four times.

Mark Dodici / The Daily Princetonian

 

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Without offensive scoring, special teams play was key. In the third quarter, sophomore linebacker Liam Johnson (10) blocked a Harvard punt deep in their own half. Senior wide receiver Cash Goodhart (82) scrambled to recover the ball in the endzone for the only Tiger touchdown of the game and a 13–6 lead.

Mark Dodici / The Daily Princetonian


There were only 13 minutes left to play when Harvard running back Aaron Shampklin finally broke through the Tiger defense for the only offensive touchdown of the game. Princeton defenders chased after him towards the visitors' sideline on the play-action run (left), but he rounded the corner and scored untouched, celebrating with a salute in front of the home endzone crowd (right). The extra point tied the game at 13.

Mark Dodici / The Daily Princetonian


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After drilling two in the first half, first-year kicker Jeffrey Sexton missed a field goal with just over 3 minutes to play in regulation. It would've given the Tigers a 16–13 lead.

Mark Dodici / The Daily Princetonian


The Princeton defense conceded a touchdown early in the fourth quarter, but proceeded to shut down the Crimson for the last 13 minutes to close out regulation.

Mark Dodici / The Daily Princetonian


Princeton began with possession in overtime following the coin toss at midfield, pictured here. The Tigers and Crimson would go on to trade field goals in the first overtime period, and the game continued. 

Mark Dodici / The Daily Princetonian


On the Crimson’s double OT drive, senior defensive back Trevor Forbes came down with a huge interception.

Mark Dodici / The Daily Princetonian


Forbes rings the turnover bell after his huge interception in the second overtime. Princeton would need just three points to win following the pick, but Harvard blocked a Jeffrey Sexton field goal attempt to keep the game alive.

Mark Dodici / The Daily Princetonian


The Crimson thought they had won after appearing to convert in the third overtime. After a review (that shouldn't have happened), the referees determined that Princeton Head Coach Bob Surace '90 had called a timeout before the play. 

Mark Dodici / The Daily Princetonian


Just minutes after his double OT interception seemed to set Princeton on its way to victory, Forbes watches Harvard storm his home turf after their apparent win.

Mark Dodici / The Daily Princetonian


Not so fast: Surace runs onto the field in protest, having tried to call a timeout before the snap, as Harvard players celebrate around him. After review, Surace's argument was upheld — Harvard would need to take another shot at the end zone to actually get the win. 

Mark Dodici / The Daily Princetonian


A fateful flag sits in the endzone after Harvard's second apparent successful conversion in the third overtime — this time, offensive pass interference brought it back and forced them to make a third try. Princeton stopped it.

Mark Dodici / The Daily Princetonian


After two plays that nearly ended the game in three overtimes, the Princeton offense was on something like it's ninth life. After the defense came up with a huge stop to start off the fourth overtime, though, they failed to secure the game-winning score as a trick play fell flat with an incomplete pass.

Mark Dodici / The Daily Princetonian


The home crowd did not thin over the course of five overtimes, taking in the ups and downs of the rollercoaster affair and responding with even more energy after each play.

Mark Dodici / The Daily Princetonian


Finally, on the opening play of the fifth round of overtime, those fans were rewarded for their patience. Senior wide receiver Jacob Birmelin (3) rose above a Harvard defender in the back corner of the endzone, bringing down a Cole Smith pass for the first valid two-point conversion of the game to give Princeton an 18–16 lead. Tigers on the field and in the stands erupted as the Crimson looked on in disbelief. Princeton was one defensive stop from victory.

Mark Dodici / The Daily Princetonian



Senior defensive back Sultan Shabazz celebrates after the game-ending stop. Princeton football alumni were already on the field to congratulate the current crew.

Mark Dodici / The Daily Princetonian


Princeton fans and players celebrate at midfield as hopes of an undefeated season, an Ivy League championship, and a bonfire live on.

Mark Dodici / The Daily Princetonian

Mark Dodici is a Multimedia Liaison at the ‘Prince’ who has contributed to the news, sports, photo, video, and podcast sections. He can be reached at mdodici@princeton.edu. 

For more on Princeton’s victory against Harvard, read our full story here.