PRINCETON, N.J. (AP) — Jacob Birmelin made a catch in the corner of the end zone in a fifth overtime and Princeton defeated Harvard 18-16 on Saturday, sending a homecoming crowd of some 10,000 streaming onto the field.
Trevor Forbes broke up Harvard's last-chance pass in front of the goal line, avoiding a sixth overtime and Princeton (6-0, 3-0 Ivy League), ranked 17th in the FCS coaches poll, won a monster of a game filled with defensive gems and wild twists.
Jake Smith, who came in when starter Charles Dean was injured early in the game, threw two apparent game-winning passes in the third overtime for Harvard (5-1, 2-1) and ranked No. 16, only to have both wiped out.
First, Smith's 3-yard dart to Kim Wimberly over the middle was nullified when the officials realized they missed Princeton coach Bob Surace's call for a timeout before the snap. This angered Crimson coach Tim Murphy who spiked his ballcap onto the field after a lengthy argument.
Still, Smith threw another apparent winner to B.J. Watson only to have that one wiped out by an offensive pass interference call. The third try, from the 18, was deflected by Princeton's Jeremiah Tyler.
Regulation ended in a 13-13 tie. Princeton scored first in overtime when freshman Jeffrey Sexton kicked a 37-yard field goal after missing two in a row earlier in the game. He had previously been a perfect eight-for-eight.
Princeton's Cole Smith threw four interceptions during the game and Harvard's Jake Smith threw two.
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