BOSTON—In the city where H.L. Mencken got handcuffed for selling a magazine and a ship captain landed in jail for “lewd” behavior because he kissed his wife upon return from sea, Yale undergraduates evaded arrest and inspired their football team by publicly disrobing in a chilly Harvard Stadium.
The naked bootleg in the stands relied on no misdirection. Elis simply stripped out of their traditional blue and white and stood in the more natural tones of a fleshy pinkish peach. With no Watch and Ward agents about, Harvard University police asked the dozen or so fans to cover up. But they refused to be banned in Boston as they stood on the concrete wall separating the gridiron from the grandstand. After minutes of negotiation, exasperated cops made their way into the stands to restore order—and clothing.
“We didn’t arrest anyone,” a Harvard University policeman informed Breitbart Sports. “We told them to put their clothes back on.”
They did, but by then it was too late for Harvard. The sight of brave undergraduates braving the elements by baring all and stubbornly defying the armed agents of stuffy Boston Brahmins motivated the visitors, losers of their last nine in the rivalry game dating back more than 140 years, to dare to win.
After the first 25 minutes of play that saw neither team enter the red zone, the Crimson and Bulldogs traded touchdowns. They did so again in the third quarter. Then came unabashed and unashamed nakedness.
The full-frontal assault on 60,000 eyeballs in a sold-out Harvard Stadium jinxed a 4th quarter Harvard field goal attempt from 35 yards and inspired a Yale touchdown that itself inspired bad behavior from the Harvard side of the stadium. Reed Klubnik caught a Kurt Rawlings ball that he stretched over the plane before a Harvard player batted it out of his grasp. The referee threw his hands up. So did the Crimson fans, who shouted “bull$#!+,” pelted the turf with $4 water bottles, and chanted “safety school.”
Imaginative play calling from the visitors’ sidelines added to Yale spectators making spectators of the Harvard players in leaving little to the imagination in befuddling the home-team favorites. A gutsy fourth-down play with less than a minute left in the first half saw a QB keeper up the middle turn into a jump-shot pass to a tight end that brought the ball to the three and a new set of downs that led to a Yale touchdown to tie it at seven. The underdogs continued the momentum to start the second half by recovering an onside kick that ultimately resulted in another touchdown.
With Harvard unable to convert a last-minute drive into points, the Yale side of a sold-out Harvard stadium poured onto the field leaving behind Yale hats, blue “Y” sweaters, and human debris injured from the leap from the high concrete walls onto the artificial turf. The 3-7 Bulldogs spoiled Harvard’s 7-3 season and denied them a share of the Ivy League title that Princeton ended up capturing outright because of their win over Dartmouth.
The injured rowdies, coming from the the area where a future New York Times editor and the 51st president proudly stood buck naked minutes before, emitted olfactory evidence of the strong liquids that fueled the nudity and the awkward leaps onto the field. Though Yalies occasionally indulge the tradition by undressing to their underwear with an uninhibited student or two embracing the full monty, Saturday’s exhibition appeared especially enthusiastic relative to recent years. At least two fans proudly exhibited full-frontal nudity to Harvard’s side to rebut Yale’s boasts of ranking as one of the most well-endowed universities. Students kept their clothes on last year at the Yale Bowl. Two years ago, one fan stood in the buff for an extended period without interference by security. But on Saturday nudity proved, as it so often does, contagious.
In its naked rebellion against the Puritans who founded the host city and the vanquished school, Yale’s sophomoric sophomores catalyzed a 21-14 triumph that denied Harvard its tenth rivalry victory in a row and restored pride to a battered program that once ruled the Crimson and college football.