Defensive back Mike Berezo set up 14 third-quarter points with an interception and a 50-yard punt return as he led Harvard's freshman football team to a 28-7 victory over Tufts in its opening game Monday.
With the score tied 7-7 midway through the third period, Berezo intercepted a Tufts pass and returned it to the Jumbo 35-yard line. Moments later, Crimson quarterback Tim Davenport found his tight end Jim Cannon open in the end zone for a 14-yard scoring pass, giving Harvard its first lead of the day.
After the Crimson defense had contained Tufts on the following series of downs, Berezo fielded a fourth-down Tufts punt on his 45 yard line and raced 50 yards to give the Crimson offense excellent field position.
Harvard wasted little time in scoring, as halfback Mark Bartlett tallied from five yards out.
For Bartlett, this was his second score of the day. He had tied the game for Harvard in the second period on a one-yard plunge, a touchdown which enabled the Crimson to even up a 7-0 Tufts lead. The Jumbos had jumped to the early advantage after recovering a Harvard fumble on the game's first play from scrimmage.
Following the Tufts score, however, the Harvard defense tightened, and shut out the Jumbos for the remainder of the contest.
Led by linebacker Chris Ecker, tackle Gordon Graham, and middle guard Lou Lauricella, it limited Tufts to 107 yards in total offense, and caused coach Chet O'Neil to remark that "this could be the best defensive team I've seen in my three years."
Harvard's offense, on the other hand, rolled up 229 total offensive yards, but three of the four Crimson scores were set up by the defense. The freshman defenders proved their strength on Monday, but O'Neil said "the offense is an unknown quantity."
John Sigillito was the leading Harvard rusher with 67 yards in six carries, while Larry Schember added 41 in eight attempts. Cannon, who scored an insurance touchdown in the final period on a 35-yard pass from Paul Halas, was the leading receiver with three receptions for 70 yards.
Despite the team's number of first-game mistakes, Coach O'Neil was generally pleased with his team's performance, and especially with "the overall defensive improvement in the second half."
The freshmen will now be idle for ten days before facing Boston College in its next encounter.