Story and photo courtesy of Harvard Athletics
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – After exploding out of the gates the last two weekends, the Bucknell Bison were able to keep No. 21/22 Harvard football in check for the first 20 minutes of the game; however, the Crimson eventually found its rhythm and cruised to its 14th straight win, 35-7, at Harvard Stadium Saturday evening.
The Bison, who came into the game with one of the nation's top run defenses, held Harvard to just seven points and forced a turnover in the first 20 minutes of the game, but the Crimson eventually scored on its final three possessions of the first half and its first of the second half to put the game out of reach and improve to 5-0 in 2012.
Harvard's Colton Chapple finished the game 11-of-18 for 189 yards and two touchdowns, and he also carried the ball eight times for 120 yards and two scores to lead the team in rushing. Kyle Juszczyk had two grabs for 79 yards and a touchdown, and Cameron Brate added five catches for 57 yards and a score.
Defensively, it was an entire team effort as the Crimson as the unit finished with 12 tackles for loss by 10 different players for a total of 52 yards. Josh Hodges led the way with 3.5 tackles for loss and a sack, while Nnamdi Obukwelu had a team-high seven tackles and two quarterback hurries.
While the offense struggled to get going, the Crimson's defense carried the team in the early going, forcing turnovers on back-to-back possessions.
After Bucknell took over deep in Crimson territory following a Chapple interception, Chris Splinter intercepted a Brandon Wesley pass in the end zone to keep the Bison off the scoreboard.
After a Harvard punt, Matt Martindale leveled Wesley in the backfield to force a fumble that was recoverd by Wilson at the Bucknell 27 to give the Crimson back the ball.
Harvard was finally able to take advantage of a Bison turnover as Chapple carried the ball three times to account for all the yardage, culminating the drive with a six-yard option keeper into the end zone with 4:01 left in the first to get Harvard on the board.
Bucknell briefly stymied the offensive attack, but the Crimson found the end zone again on its second possession of the second quarter to open up the floodgates. Chapple was again the catalyst, carrying the ball for 17 yards and throwing it for 54, including a 14-yard touchdown strike to Brate at the 7:07 mark.
After forcing a punt, Andrew Fisher took a reverse 52 yards untouched into the end zone on the Crimson's first play to extend Harvard's lead to 21.
Harvard hit pay dirt again on its next offensive series as Kyle Juszczyk plowed through the Bucknell defense, shedding four Bison tacklers, to score from 59 yards out to cap a four-play, 81-yard drive.
In the second half, Bucknell held the ball for the first 8:57 of the third, but it didn't slow the Harvard offense. Despite sitting for nearly 40 minutes of real time, Chapple moved the ball 80 yards down the field in just four plays, capping it with a 59-yard scamper for his second rushing score.
While the outcome was never in jeopardy, the Bison did ruin the shutout with 59 seconds remaining as Jeremiah Young plunged in from one yard out to deny Harvard its first shutout since 2008.
The Crimson heads to New Jersey next week for a showdown with Princeton at 1 p.m.