HANOVER, N.H.—There would be no hangover in Hanover for the Harvard football team.
Following last week’s stunning collapse at Princeton, the Crimson (6-1, 3-1 Ivy) rebounded on Saturday at Memorial Field by topping Dartmouth, 31-14. With three weeks to go, the win, combined with the Tigers’ loss to Cornell, puts the Crimson back in control of its own destiny for at least a shared championship.
“I thought our kids showed great character, great resolve,” Harvard coach Tim Murphy said. “Last week, no matter what you say, was a great dent to our psyche and morale.”
Just as it did against Princeton, the Crimson went into the half with a three-score lead before surrendering two Big Green (4-3, 2-2) third-quarter touchdowns to let the home team back in the game.
But this time, there would be no comeback, as the Crimson secondary, despite allowing another 300-yard passer, was able to hang on and help Harvard pull out a win.
Four seconds into the fourth quarter, senior running back Treavor Scales scored his third rushing touchdown of the game, capping a six-play, 55-yard drive.
The senior had touchdown runs of three and two yards in the second quarter while senior quarterback Colton Chapple scampered for a 16-yard touchdown in the first to give the Crimson a 21-0 lead at the break.
On the evening, Scales and Chapple led a Harvard rushing attack that collected 200 yards on the ground, while the Crimson—first in the FCS in run defense—limited Dartmouth to 19 yards rushing.
“Stopping the run is one of the things we focus on each week,” senior defensive end John Lyon said. “It’s something we expect ourselves to really do well.”
The Big Green, looking to gain any advantage it could get, started the game with an onside kick—which it recovered—but the offense quickly went three-and-out. Upon taking over, Chapple led the Crimson on a seven-play, 93-yard drive, completing passes of over 20 yards to senior Kyle Juszczyk, junior Cam Brate, and junior Andrew Berg before taking it in himself off play action.
Early in the second quarter, Dartmouth quarterback Alex Park was picked off by senior linebacker Alexander Norman, who had a costly dropped interception last week against the Tigers. This time, Norman hung on and returned the ball to the Big Green six, and two plays later, Chapple ran the option and pitched to Scales, who rushed it in on the left side.
On the next Harvard possession, Big Green linebacker Garrett Wymore was called for roughing the passer on a third and 14 from the Dartmouth 41, giving new life to the Harvard drive. Scales later capped the 13-play, 70-yard series with another score to put the Crimson up 21.
“We played a heck of a team out there,” said Scales, who finished with 89 yards on the day. “I was just proud of my fellas for really rising up to the occassion.”
But in the third quarter, Dartmouth got back in the game. With 10:08 to go in the quarter, Park hit wideout Michael Reilly—who finished with a career-high 12 catches for 165 yards—for a 22-yard score.
On the first play of Harvard’s next possession, Scales fumbled at his own 25, setting up the Big Green with great field position.