Story and photo courtesy of Harvard Athletics
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – No. 23/24-ranked Harvard football held off a hard-charging Cornell Big Red before pulling away in the fourth quarter to win, 45-13, at Harvard Stadium Saturday afternoon.
Quarterback Colton Chapple orchestrated another stellar offensive performance, completing 24-of-36 passes for 362 yards and four scores. The senior also carried the ball nine times for 53 yards and one touchdown. Wide receiver Andrew Berg finished with a career-high 10 receptions for 132 yards and three scores to match the Harvard record for receiving touchdowns in a game, while Ricky Zorn also made five grabs for 100 yards and a touchdown.
Josh Boyd and Bobby Schneider anchored the defense with eight tackles apiece. Boyd added a forced fumble and fumble recovery, and Schneider contributed a sack.
For the second consecutive week, Harvard (4-0) stormed out of the gates, scoring three touchdowns on its first three possessions to take a commanding 21-0 lead with over 14 minutes remaining in the second quarter. Chapple connected with Berg for all three of their scores on those scores, reaching the end zone from 17-, nine- and 15-yards out.
Harvard looked like it would get into the end zone for the fourth straight series; however, the Big Red finally caught a break as a dropped pass and a missed field goal gave them the ball at their own 20. The stop marked the end of the Crimson's run of a touchdown on 10 straight first-half possessions.
It took quarterback Jeff Matthews just 6 plays to move the ball 80 yards, culminating the drive with a three-yard pitch-and-catch to Luke Tasker to get Cornell on the board.
The Big Red defense would shut down the Harvard offense for the rest of the half, and the offense would tack on a field goal to cut the halftime advantage to 11.
After the intermission, Harvard and Cornell traded field goals on the first two drives to keep the game close.
Following the Big Red field goal, it appeared as though the Big Red would have another chance to cut into the lead as the second play of the ensuing Crimson drive was intercepted by Brian Gee when Chapple's pass intended for Cameron Brate was popped into the air.
However, the Crimson defense stood tall yet again, yielding only 15 yards before Gee missed a 37-yard field goal wide right
Following the missed field goal, both teams traded punts before Harvard took over at its own 20. Chapple regained his first-quarter form, and completed all three of his passes. He connected with Brate for a 40-yard gain to get into Cornell territory. After a 10-yard holding penalty backed the Crimson up to Big Red 49, Chapple found Ricky Zorn for 25 yards to sit just outside the red zone. On the very next play, the pair reconnected as Zorn made a spectacular leaping catch to take the ball away from Cornell defensive back Kendall Brown for a 24-yard score.
The Crimson would pull away from there, scoring touchdowns on the next two series. Scales hit the end zone from six yards out to conclude a 6 play, 55-yard drive, and Chapple concluded the scoring with a four-yard scamper of his own to make it, 45-13, with just under five minutes remaining.
Harvard hosts Bucknell Oct. 15 at 3:30 p.m. to wrap up its three-game homestand.