NOTEBOOK: Harvard Saves Its Best For Last, Again
PROVIDENCE, R.I.—A Brown touchdown with minutes remaining in the third quarter left the Harvard football team entrenched in its second straight battle heading into the fourth quarter.
Last week, the Crimson was down six. This week, it held a seven-point advantage with 15 minutes remaining in the contest.
Despite differing circumstances, Harvard’s offensive performance in the final quarter was the same both times: 21 game-clinching points.
“We have the ability to run it and throw it and wear down the defense as the game goes on,” senior center Jack Holuba said.
The Crimson started off the fourth quarter with a six-yard scamper by senior quarterback Colton Chapple to take a two-touchdown lead. After Brown responded with seven points of its own, senior Treavor Scales broke a 41-yard run to regain the 14-point advantage.
A methodical Harvard drive following a Brown punt ended with another Scales touchdown that put the game away.
Scales finished the fourth quarter with 71 yards in the frame while Chapple threw for over 100 yards and had only one incompletion over the final fifteen minutes of action.
Everything seemed to click down the stretch. With the comfort of a lead, Crimson coach Tim Murphy was able to employ a balanced offense that proved unstoppable.
Chapple and Scales’ impressive synchronization late in the game was encapsulated by a third-quarter option call in the red zone.
The play is typically tricky to pull off with every defender crammed in a tight space in front of their goal line, but the two seniors ran it to near perfection. Chapple slid left and drew to defenders before pitching the ball to Scales, who found a hole just large enough to get into the end zone.
SAY IT AIN’T SEITU
Don’t ever call sophomore Seitu Smith II just a slot receiver or returner again. Without returning a punt for more than a couple yards, Smith played a major role in the Crimson’s offensive performance, and not just with his breakaway speed.
On Harvard’s first third-down attempt, a third-and-eight at its own 29, Chapple connected with Smith for a 15-yard gain. That completion was an early indicator of Smith’s growing role in the Crimson attack.
“We have to keep broadening his role,” Murphy said. “Besides being a talented, fast kid, he’s so competitive. He’s a very tough, physical kid—he’s not your average slot receiver.”
Smith cemented himself as one of Chapple’s leading targets a period later as Harvard started its drive on the Brown 30 following a turnover and penalty. Chapple dropped back and waited for Smith to gain a step on preseason All-American cornerback AJ Cruz. When Smith gained no more than a few inches of separation, Chapple tossed the ball beyond the front pylon, where his wideout snatched it from the air for a touchdown.