PHILADELPHIA--The Harvard football team's offensive unit has had to fight disruptive circumstances all year long.
There's been the quarterback controversy, which haunted the Crimson in preseason and has absolutely spooked it throughout the campaign because of two midseason switches.
Then there's the injury situation, which has decimated the frontline--costing Captain Tom Callahan his season and preventing Coach Joe Restic from putting his starting front five on the field since the Columbia game.
But attributing the Crimson's lack of offensive punch to bad luck was a copout--until Saturday here at Franklin Field.
Trailing late in the fourth quarter, 24-20, and driving for what could have been the game-winning score, the Crimson ran into something that no offensive unit could manage to overcome...Mother Nature.
Harvard's final desperation drive got no farther than the Penn 19-yard line, when a torrential downpour descended on the playing field and rendered any passing attempts useless. QB Adam Lazarre-White was sacked on third and fourth downs to bring to an end the Crimson's Ivy League hopes.
"There's only one guy that can work miracles, and I'm not the guy," Restic said. "He's up there."
"On that whole drive, it rained really hard," Harvard tight end Andy Lombara said. "It helps the D, makes it tough to throw and maintain a grip on the ball."
Cornell's win over Columbia and Dartmouth's win over Brown left the two squads tied for the top spot in the Ivies with 5-1 league records. Now, not even a miracle could give the Crimson (5-4 overall, 3-3 Ivy) a share of the title.
While Harvard ended up all wet in the final minutes of the game, the Crimson lost its season during a 13-minute period in the second quarter. All three Harvard units--the special teams, the offense and the
Quakers, 24-20 in Philadelphia HARVARD 7-0-10-3--20 Penn 3-21-0-0--24
H--Gordian 40 interception return (S. Johnson kick), 0:16
P--Perry 22 FG, 10:21
P--Gordon 7 run (Perry kick), 2:19
P--McKinnon 5 run (Perry kick), 9:08
P--Hernandez fumble recovery in end zone (Perry kick), 13:59
H--Maher 13 run (S. Johnson kick), 5:03
H--S. Johnson 43 FG, 13:33
H--S. Johnson 28 FG, 8:34
Rushing: H--M. Johnson 12-45, Joyce 6-28, Smyers 8-27, Bell 4-15, Maher 2-6, Hirsch 2-5, Priore 13-(-5), Lazarre-White 4-(-11), Lewis 1-(-14); P--Hooper 12-84, Gordon 16-74, McKinnon 11-39, Rushing 6-17, Hull 2-(-2), Hensch 4-(-20).
Passing: H--Priore 10-8-1-77, Lazarre-White 0-0-0-0; P--Hull 3-1-1-14, McKinnon 6-2-0-60, Hensch 2-1-0-8.
Receiving: H--Joyce 2-32, Lombara 2-24, Hirsch 1-7, Mrowka 1-6, Bell 1-6, M. Johnson 1-2; P--Ali 4-82.
Field Goals Missed: none.