Sunday, October 2, 2011

Crimson Capture Victory in Easton, Defeat Leopards 31-3

It was about as flashy as the beige Honda our broadcast team drove to the game. The longest pass thrown by either quarterback was thrown by Harvard starter Colton Chapple--for 21 yards. Excepting a late-fourth quarter break by Harvard freshman Zach Boden, the longest rush for either side went for 11. The Crimson and the Leopards combined for a staggering 167 penalty yards on 24 infractions (including a false start called against the Leopards "offensive line").

In fact, when all was said and done, there wasn't a lot on the stat sheet to separate Harvard from Lafayette--well, except, of course, the fact that the Crimson had scored 31 points to the Leopards' 3. Lafayette netted about 70 more yards through the air than did the Crimson (230 to Harvard's 165); Harvard, about 70 more on the ground (111 to 42). Return numbers and turnover totals were similar; even the number of first downs was the same (16 apiece).

The difference, however, was in Harvard's ability to full take advantage of short-field opportunities when they presented themselves. For most of the game, both teams repeatedly stalled when facing protracted drives starting deep within opposing territory. By comparison, both of Harvard's first two touchdowns came on drives when the Crimson started off with the ball inside of Leopards territory; once after a great return (on a "re-punt", no less) by freshman Seitu Smith, and another after a fumble was forced by Crimson linebacker Grant Sickle.

Throughout the day, the Harvard defense continued to assert itself, particularly in the backfield and along the line of scrimmage. The Crimson sliced through Lafayette's offensive line, sacking the Lafayette signalcaller five times in addition to stripping Leopards QB Andrew Shoop and forcing a turnover in the second frame. The line, meanwhile, for Harvard was virtually impenetrable, holding a normally-limited Lafayette ground game to a truly lethargic 42 total yards.

Although Harvard second-string QB Colton Chapple only saw action during the first half due to a tight back, he was impressively consistent: 14 for 18 for 121 yards and a touchdown. While third-string sophomore Michael Pruneau (4-6, 44 yards, TD), who saw his first collegiate action on Saturday, was not stellar in replacement--his first two drives included two fumbles, one of which was recovered by the Leopards--he managed the offense sufficiently to protect Harvard's lead and secure the victory. TE Kyle Juszczyk was the favorite target for Crimson QB's on the day, catching four passes for 58 yards. WR Alex Sarkisian and TE Cameron Brate each had a TD.

This Saturday, Harvard resumes its Ivy League play in Ithaca, New York against the Cornell Big Red (2-1, 0-1 Ivy).

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