This past weekend was only the fifth time ever that an HBCU team has faced an Ivy League squad in football, with Howard University taking on Harvard University in a non-conference game, reports the Washington Post.

The Crimson defeated the Bison 41-25 in a hard-fought contest.

Kery Davis, Howard's Athletic Director said that the school is looking to play Ivy League schools in all sports.

“It is a conscious decision that we’ve made in all of our sports, not just football, to play games against members of the Ivy League,” Davis said. “Ivy League schools are traditionally really strong academically, and Howard’s a very strong academic school, and we wanted people to make that association and understand the importance of athletics as part of the overall institutional curriculum.

This is a strategy that we developed in concert with our president. It was a very conscious, strategic decision to play games against Ivy League schools,” she continued.

Harvard Athletic Director Erin McDermott said she wants to schedule opponents from “like-minded” institutions for their student-athletes and Howard exemplifies this ideal.

“That’s what we’re all about, teaching life lessons and not just becoming better athletes,” McDermott said. “This is a Truth and Service game, too. That kind of connects with us as well since with Harvard’s Veritas, we’re in search of truth, as part of the whole motto and belief system here. We also have that in common, which is kind of fun."

“Especially in the time that we’re in, I think the more we can show these examples of unity and how competition can bring people together, but no matter what the outcome is, we can all stand in similar principles and support each other —I think that is really impactful and powerful,” she continued.

After the score was tied at 17 going into halftime, the Crimson scored 24 straight points in the second half to pull ahead for good.

Away from the field of play, Harvard students were hosted by Howard students for classes, parties, and tailgating. Harvard had done the same for the HBCU when they hosted in 2019.

Howard Coach Larry Scott said despite the loss, he tried to convey to his team the significance of the game.

“Even guys that are part of the SEC, ACC, Power Fives and all those things, they don’t get these opportunities,” said Scott. “So to pause sometimes and take a moment to understand what’s really happening and see the bigger picture is a very, very critical piece. An important piece as we build men and as we build programs, and being able to seize and understand the opportunities and the moments that they’re granted and have the opportunity to do [so] is a critical part to it as well.”