Football Blowout Fueled by D-Line, Record Punt Return

Smith Stars
Freshman quarterback Jake Smith (10), pictured in previous action, completed 16 passes for 214 yards against Georgetown.

At halftime of Harvard’s faceoff with Georgetown, the scoreboards ringing the second deck of seats at RFK Stadium displayed a tally of 31-2. The Crimson (2-1, 1-0 Ivy) showed the Hoyas (1-3) no mercy through 30 minutes of play, and the blowout continued until the final whistle. After a Week 1 loss to Rhode Island, Harvard proved its penchant for winning on the road and beating non-conference opponents had not just disappeared with the new season.

Fans began to filter out of their seats as soon as it was apparent that Georgetown would not make things interesting down the stretch. All told, the Crimson prevailed, 41-2.

“Made a ton of plays,” Harvard coach Tim Murphy said. “Really did a great job of forcing turnovers. We did some great things in the kicking game.”

STONE WALL

Hoyas quarterback Clay Norris had a rough afternoon under center, only completing 13 of 29 passes, tossing one interception, and being sacked four times. At times, the junior looked incapable of creating offense, as Georgetown only put up 201 total yards.

The Crimson’s defensive line was the main culprit in Norris’ struggles—the quarterback faced pressure on seemingly every play, and he fumbled twice on sacks.

The two defensive standouts on Harvard’s line were senior Stone Hart and junior DJ Bailey. The duo each forced Norris to fumble, and Bailey sacked Norris twice for a total loss of 19 yards.

Early in the first quarter, the Hoyas threatened to score. Norris had driven his offense to the Crimson’s 24, and on first-and-10, he took the snap and dropped back. Hart blasted around the right side, quickly flattening Norris. At a crucial moment in which Georgetown could have ignited its offense, junior defensive tackle Richie Ryan scooped up Norris’ fumble to flip the field.

Bailey’s forced fumble came at a less crucial time—by that point in the second quarter, Harvard had already built a 21-0 lead.

“Yeah, they’re pretty good,” Hoyas coach Rob Sgarlata said. “They’re tough because if you put your guys in a one-on-one matchup with them, you struggle sometimes.”

This season, Hart has eight tackles, including 1.5 sacks. Bailey has matched his teammate’s tackle mark while pacing the squad in sacks with four.

JAKE AND JOE SHOW

For a second straight week, neither of Murphy’s pair of field generals took a big leap forward. Freshman Jake Smith and fifth-year senior Joe Viviano continued their auditions for a possible starting job, and though neither stood out above the other, Smith started each of the last contests and has garnered the majority of the playing time.

Against Georgetown, Viviano was introduced later and played less overall than in the Brown game. The Berwyn, Pa., native entered for the last drive of the second quarter and also picked up some garbage-time snaps in the fourth.

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