Monday, November 8, 2010

Thoughts from the Booth: Crimson Take Care of Columbia, Set Up Showdown in Philly

The Harvard Crimson faced a tough test on Saturday, and not just due to the talent of the Columbia Lions: with two monster games looming against Penn and Yale, the danger was very real that Harvard would look past Columbia. This didn’t happen, however, due in large part to a Crimson defense that forced four Columbia turnovers. Harvard would defeat the Lions handily by the score of 23-7 after an initially slow start. Lion Sophomore quarterback Sean Brackett had a productive day through the air, throwing for 284 yards on 26-45 passing. The Crimson secondary wsa able to pick him off twice, though, with Alex Gedeon’s interception coming when the Lions were inside the Harvard ten yard line.

The Harvard offense looked relatively sluggish in victory, as it didn’t have quite the success, at least early on, that it has had in recent games. The Crimson were locked in a scoreless tie with Columbia until midway through the second quarter and seemed unable to find a rhythm until late in the first half. Once he got going, quarterback Collier Winters was effective through the air, throwing for 246 yards and completing 25 of his 38 passes. Gino Gordon had another 100 yard day but didn’t have the explosive ability that he’s had for much of the year, as his longest gain of the day was only 13 yards.

The Crimson offense still gained 412 total yards, however, and they did enough to ensure a Harvard victory. The win sets up a dramatic final two games, starting with a crucial matchup with the Penn Quakers this coming Saturday. Penn and Yale join Harvard at the top of the Ivy League, and the Crimson will get a shot at both in these final two weeks of the season. Looking towards this weekend, Harvard will have its hands full with a juggernaut Quaker team, fresh off of a 52-10 beat down of the Princeton Tigers. Penn coach Al Bagnoli has his team rolling, with their only loss this season coming against 9th-ranked Villanova. The Crimson will have to tighten things up to come out of Franklin Field with a victory. Freshman kicker David Mothander must have a better performance than his 1 for 3 showing against Columbia (and linebacker Alex Gedeon must have another good day punting the ball). Gino Gordon has to put this team on his back, and Collier Winters needs to show everyone why he was picked as the preseason Ivy Offensive Player of the Year. All of these things have to happen if Harvard is to knock off Penn and take a big step in the Ivy League standings.

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