NOTEBOOK: Football Overpowers Bucknell in All-Around Effort
With 1:41 to go in the second quarter of the Harvard football team’s game against Bucknell Saturday, senior Kyle Juszczyk caught a pass at the Bison 30-yard line as the defense closed in.
Bucknell’s Jordan Dudas, Ryan Morgan, and Jaylen Amaker swarmed the tight end and did their best to halt him in his tracks. But one by one, each defender’s effort proved futile, as Juszczyk shed Dudas and then pinballed off Morgan and Amaker before emerging out of the attempted gang tackle with his legs still churning. He reached the 20, where he stiff-armed the Bison’s Derrick Palmer to the ground with ease, steamrolling into the end zone for a 59-yard score while leaving the four Bucknell defenders on the ground behind him.
"As a little kid, I was told it will hurt less if you hit them before they hit you, so I just tried to stick by that," Juszczyk said with a smile.
"When the coaches watch film, we always kid Kyle that he’s like a comet—there’s always debris in his path," Crimson coach Tim Murphy added.
Just like Juszczyk, the rest of the Harvard offense could often not be stopped in Saturday’s 35-7 win. The victory extended the Crimson’s winning streak to 14 games dating back to last year—the longest streak in Division I—and Harvard’s 205 points through five games is the most of any Crimson football team since 1892.
Juszczyk finished with two catches for 79 yards on the day, giving him over 1,200 yards in his career—good for a spot on Harvard’s all-time top 10 list.
His dynamic fellow tight end, junior Cameron Brate, registered five catches for 57 yards and a touchdown. The score came with 7:07 left in the first half, when senior quarterback Colton Chapple found Brate on a low slant over the middle for a 14-yard score.
"[Juszczyk is] going to get [an NFL] look," Bucknell coach Joe Susan said. "And the other tight end [Brate]—those body types are so hard to find."
Chapple threw for 189 yards and the two scores before being pulled with a big lead in the third quarter for the third straight game. But the quarterback did most of his damage on the ground, running for a career-high 120 yards and two touchdowns.
"I feel like [my scrambling] helps our offense get into more of a rhythm," Chapple said. "If they see plays break down, and I’m able to get some positive yards out of it...that gives us some momentum, gives us shorter third downs, and keeps the chains moving."
Late in the first quarter, Chapple’s legs orchestrated a drive by themselves. Starting at the Bucknell 27 after a fumble recovery by safety Jaron Wilson, Chapple rushed for three yards on first down. Following an incompletion, the quarterback found himself with a wide-open left side of the field on third and seven and took advantage, scrambling for 18 more. He capped the drive by running the option with senior halfback Treavor Scales, keeping it himself and scoring a six-yard touchdown untouched to put Harvard up, 7-0.
"He’s so athletic and so poised in the pocket," Susan said. "He has that clock in his head that you need, and when it breaks down, he’s a threat to make plays with his feet."
Chapple also scored Harvard’s final touchdown of the game when off play-action, he found a hole in the defense and sprinted 59 yards down the right sideline for the score. It was Harvard’s third straight touchdown of 55 yards or more, following freshman Andrew Fischer’s 58-yard double reverse and Juszczyk’s 59-yard reception.
"There seems to be a running joke on the team that everyone’s shocked at how athletic I look out there," Chapple said.