In Friday night’s contest against Holy Cross—the last team to beat the Crimson—Harvard did far more than just avenge that early-season loss from a year ago.
The Crimson unequivocally, unceremoniously, ripped apart the Crusaders in the most emphatic first-half performance in the program’s history.
Forty-nine points in 30 minutes isn’t supposed to happen. The math is dizzying. Over a point a minute. On pace for nearly 100.
But in that first half, before the starters were pulled, nothing—not a little (or a lot of) rain, not a Holy Cross defense that seemed to be constantly backpedaling—could slow down the Crimson. Playing the Death Star to Holy Cross’ Alderaan, Harvard found the end zone in all of its first-half drives. Holy Cross, meanwhile, managed only a field goal.
Romps don’t get much bigger than the one at Harvard Stadium on Friday. It was Reagan vs. Mondale, Kevin McAllister vs. Joe Pesci, Burr vs. Hamilton—a duel turned public execution.
And that final scene from Scarface? Yeah, that was the whole first half.
Indeed, the Crimson starters dominated those opening two quarters. Senior quarterback Colton Chapple, who was pulled after the half, threw for 260 yards on just 13 completions and was one passing touchdown away from tying the single-game program record. And at times, it took three or four Crusaders to bring down senior running back Treavor Scales. With giant humans hanging on his limbs, Scales looked like he was merely wading through mud. Those defenders were an inconvenience more than an impediment.
Naturally, the scoring slowed with the Crimson replacements in, and the Harvard attack tallied only three points in the second half. But that didn’t matter in the slightest. In the Crimson’s 52-3 win, the game was over well before halftime.
Sure, Harvard was favored coming into Friday night’s contest against Holy Cross. After all, the Crimson was undefeated, and the Crusaders had yet to win a game.
But it was supposed to be sort of close, right? In its last two games, Holy Cross had let leads slip away in the fourth quarter.
Heading into Friday’s contest, it seemed like this was a Crusaders team which, battling injury, was on the verge of that first ‘W’.
“Regardless of their record, you know, you see it on paper, but [when] you really look into it with the stats…how they lost those two games,” Scales said before Friday’s contest, “you know that you’re expecting a tough team.”
Against the Crimson, Holy Cross was the furthest thing from tough, and Crusaders coach Tom Gilmore knew it.
“52-3 is a hard pill to swallow, and especially when you watch your team make multiple mistakes and just make it easy on then,” Gilmore said. “Dropped passes, fumbled snaps, things like that.”
Yes, the underdog story went all wrong on Friday. As it turned out, the glass slipper was a horrific fit.