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Entries in Tim Murphy (2)


Gameday Gallery: Late Harvard Rally Stuns Upstart Yale

Harvard Stuns Yale

One Great Season

NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- Yale came out in attack mode and stayed in control for three-plus quarters on a delightful November afternoon, but arch-rival Harvard used some late-game heroics to squash any hopes of an Ivy League upset and claimed a thrilling 14-10 win Saturday.

GAMEDAY GALLERY: Harvard Stuns Yale, 14-10

The host team raced to an early 10-0 lead that stood up until midway through the final quarter, but the Crimson got a pair of touchdown passes from quarterback Collier Winters to silence the crowd at Yale Bowl and escape with its third straight win in the rivalry, which is the oldest-continuing and third-most-played in all of college football. Saturday's meeting was the 126th all-time between the teams.

Yale coach Tom Williams could get the Bill Belichick treatment on sports talk radio this week, as his call for a fake punt on 4th-and-long in his own territory late in the game failed and gave Harvard excellent field position, setting up the winners' go-ahead touchdown with 92 seconds left. Yale's final desperation drive ended with Harvard's John Takamura intercepted Yale quarterback Patrick Witt with less than a minute remaining.


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The visiting players gave coach Tim Murphy the Gatorade bath as the final seconds ticked down. The Crimson finish with a 7-3 mark overall and 6-1 in the Ivy League. Harvard lost to Penn last week, and the Quakers clinched the conference crown with an easy defeat of Cornell Saturday to complete a perfect 7-0 mark in league play.

Yale, despite hearty cheering from the fan (pictured, above) who told me to "go ahead and take (his) fucking picture, asshole," closes its season at 4-6 and 2-5.


Murphy's Law: Contend For Ivy Crown Every Year

One Great Season

Tim Murphy

NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- Brian Kelly is no doubt deserving of all the hype he's been getting as one of college football's top coaches, but does the name Tim Murphy ring a bell?

Those familiar might remember Murphy as the guy who turned Cincinnati's program around with a steady, five-year plan that culminated with an 8-3 record in 1993, his last in Clifton, and almost steered the Bearcats to their first bowl berth in decades.

Before Murphy entered the picture in 1989, the Bearcats faced a 4th and Remarkable, and by the time his work was done, he'd done far more than just keep the drive alive.

"We are proud of the fact that we took one of the worst programs in the country with several major NCAA sanctions compromising the rebuilding process and brought the ship in on time and under budget," Murphy told OGS in an e-mail interview this week.

And as one of the sport's greatest rivalries nears its 126th renewal of what they simply call The Game -- no, it's not Ohio State-Michigan -- Murphy, who has been the coach at Harvard since leaving Cincinnati, said the order in Cambridge was as tall in 1994 as it was at UC five years earlier.


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"Re-building the program at Harvard was very similar in that we had to change the culture, dramatically improve our recruiting, player development, strength and conditioning as well as improve our facilities," said Murphy, whose Crimson visit the Yale Bulldogs for a noon kickoff on Saturday.

Changing the culture is something I witnessed with my own eyes while covering Murphy's Bearcats for a couple of seasons when I was a student at UC. I had a Sunday morning interview scheduled at his office, just hours after he and his Bearcats returned from Morgantown, W. Va., where the Mountaineers handed Cincinnati yet another loss. But the coach was in a positive mood because UC did what coaches tell their players to do in pregame locker room speeches. They did their jobs, they carried out their assignments, they played hard and they didn't make mistakes. The score was close, but when you're not necessarily contending for AP votes, and the scheme of things is indeed grand, you measure your progress by games like the one those Bearcats played at West Virginia. It was a victory everywhere outside of the standings in the newspaper.

And while you might hear the "changing the culture" cliche frequently in sports, its repetition makes it no less necessary. Murphy has created and maintained an environment that, after Saturday's game, will have produced 10 straight seasons of finishing in the top three of the Ivy League, including four conference championships in that stretch. A win at Penn last week would have given the Crimson their third straight Ivy crown.

"We are proud of the fact that every player we have recruited has graduated and played on a championship team, including several NFL players," Murphy said.

Murphy is 10-5 against Yale in the oldest-continuing and third-most-played rivalry in college football. The teams first met in 1875, and Yale this Saturday will try to win in front of its home fans for the first time in a decade.

"To the players, and especially the seniors, (the Harvard-Yale game) is the most important and memorable day in their life to this point," Murphy said. "To the students, alumni and fans it is the big event of the year in terms of the great sense of community and tradition that it brings to their respective schools. And in my opinion it embodies all that is good about college athletics."

So yeah, odd as it sounds, Harvard has been the bully of the Ivy League since Murphy's arrival, and while his loyalty is obvious, he still remembers his UC days with fondness, even if no one gives him credit for laying the foundation for his successors.

"I take no responsibility for UC being where it is today; that is for others to determine," Murphy said. "I love watching UC on TV the few chances I get. The university, the physical plant and facilities and the success of UC football are impressive and something for anyone connected with UC to take great pride in."