Winters Shines in Final Start Against Yale

Harvard quarterback scores three touchdowns in season finale

Winters Special
Robert L. Ruffins

Senior quarterback Collier Winters shined in his final career collegiate start, throwing for two touchdowns and running for a third. The Crimson beat Yale for the fifth straight meeting and 10th time in 11 tries.

In the 128th edition of The Game on Saturday, senior quarterback Collier Winters led the Crimson to all sorts of history.

During the annual matchup between Harvard and Yale, Winters completed 27-of-42 passes to give him a 68.6 completion percentage for the year, setting the record for the highest single-season pass completion rate in Crimson history.

Harvard’s records don’t end with the individual accolades. With a decisive 45-7 victory at the Yale Bowl, Harvard has won 10 of its last 11 games—including the last five—against the Bulldogs. The Crimson matched its longest-ever winning streak in the series, and the victory allowed Harvard seniors to go undefeated at The Game in their careers.

Winters’ success over the weekend was no accident—he had been training and working towards improving his accuracy leading up to the season.

“One of my goals as far as throwing the ball was to have a high completion percentage,” Winters said. “I worked on it all spring and summer, just trying to come into the season making really good decisions and being accurate with my throws.”

Some of the quarterback’s regular targets were confident that he would be able to realize this objective in his final season for the Crimson.

“It was something that [Winters] had mentioned early in preseason, during the first time we met as a team to set out some of our goals,” junior tight end Kyle Juszczyk said. “He mentioned that he had a very high goal for what his completion percentage would be, [and] we all felt that he would be able to meet that.”

Early in the season, Winters battled injury that kept him on the sidelines for four games.

But since coming back, he has reasserted himself as one of the best passers in the league. On Saturday, he threw for 355 yards and two touchdowns and ran for a third.

The quarterback fumbled at the Yale five-yard line on Harvard’s first drive, but it was the only major blunder in an otherwise seamless performance.

“Going into the game, my goal was the same as it is every week: take care of the ball and make good decisions,” Winters said. “Outside of the fumble I had in the first quarter, we were able to do that as an offense.”

The Bulldogs scored first, but the Crimson was resilient. Winters responded to the early touchdown by leading the offense on a 73-yard drive to tie the score at seven.

The Crimson never relented after that first score, putting up another 38 unanswered point en route to the 45-7 win.

Juszczyk, who has played with Winters in his three years as starting quarterback, was excited by the passer’s strong finish to the season.

“I think Collier had a phenomenal weekend,” Juszczyk said. “It was great to see him go out that way, and it is really nice to have such an accurate quarterback on our team.”

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