Princeton already led 17-3 when wide receiver Jesper Horsted sucked any remaining life out of Harvard Stadium.
Three minutes before halftime, the junior grabbed the ball in front of senior cornerback Tobe Ezeokoli. On the last series, Ezeokoli had left the field with a lower-body ailment. Now, Horsted added insult to literal injury. He stopped, twirled, and sprinted 66 yards to the end zone.
“I knew there were guys on the inside, so I gave the little spin move a try,” Horsted said. “[The cornerback] happened to be aiming for the inside shoulder.”
That score summarized the evening, as the Tigers (5-1, 2-1 Ivy) left the Crimson clutching at air in a 52-17 drubbing. Horsted posted a career-high 246 receiving yards on 13 catches, senior quarterback Chad Kanoff went 31-of-35, and Princeton reached 50 points for the third-straight game.
The outcome resembled few others during the tenure of Harvard coach Tim Murphy—or anyone else, for that matter. The last time that the Crimson gave up 50 points, the year was 1989, and Murphy was a first-year coach at Cincinnati. Opponents have eclipsed 52 points only twice in 144 years.
The blowout likely bars Harvard from winning a league title. As of Friday, the Crimson (3-3, 1-2) sat in sixth place, ahead of only Penn and Brown.
“Stating the obvious, we got our butts kicked by a really outstanding Princeton team,” Murphy said. “There was really no facet of our team today, starting with the head coach, that did well.”
Beneath the electric lights of Harvard Stadium, Kanoff started hot and never cooled. He shelled the hosts for a career-high 421 yards, including 323 in the first half. The veteran even punted for the Tigers, although the team needed his services only twice.
The most impressive statistic was the 21 straight completions that Kanoff reeled off to begin the game. That start buried the Crimson, turning an expected slugfest into a rout.
A pass finally hit the turf at the start of the third quarter. Kanoff recovered on the next play by scrambling for a first down. He finished with an 89-percent completion rate, the second-highest in school history.
“The coaches are calling plays,” Kanoff said. “They’re calling plays that everyone was open on, obviously.”
After Horsted’s 66-yard touchdown, Princeton led 24-3. Harvard fired back with a quick response after a remarkable catch by junior tight end Dan Werner, who bobbled a 44-yard pass and landed at the two. Junior running back Charlie Booker scored soon after.
The Tigers squashed any momentum with a terrifying efficiency. The offense needed 57 seconds to move 80 yards. Kanoff completed four passes for 56 yards, and junior running back Charlie Volker punched in a 14-yard score.
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