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Skelton Sets Mark In First Quarter

By Bryan Lee, CRIMSON STAFF WRITER

In the darkness that surrounded Harvard's 24-20 loss to Bucknell Saturday, a moment in senior wide receiver Colby Skelton's record-setting career went over-looked.

The game marked two different achievements for Skelton.

He became Harvard's all-time leader in career receptions with 109, passing Pat McInally's '75 previous school record of 108. Skelton put his stamp on the record book at 5:37 in the first quarter when he caught a 51-yard pass from quarterback Rich Linden.

That official record simply adds to the numerous other personal records that Skelton has accumulated at Harvard. The senior wide-out also holds personal school highs for reception yards, punt returns and punt return yardage.

"The record's nice, but the most important thing is winning the game, and we didn't get that done," Skelton said. "That hurts, it hurts to lose, and we just have to regroup now and go after Cornell."

But Skelton can take more than a new record from this game. During the second quarter of last year's Yale game, Skelton tore an ACL and soon after underwent massive knee surgery. Questions quickly arose over Skelton's return come the 1997 season.

His five receptions and 106 yards on Saturday, however, announce to the Ivy League that he is completely back.

"I feel real good," Skelton said. "I rehabbed hard this summer and over the past year."

Through two games this season, he had caught only one pass though he had returned nine punts for 124 yards. Saturday, quarterback Rich Linden got Skelton the ball early for an eight-yard gain on Harvard's second offensive play.

But the crowning achievement was the 51-yard touchdown reception for Harvard's second score of the game. On third-and-13, Skelton was wide open running an in route to Linden's left. Running back Chris Menick sacrificed himself to pick up the blitz and Linden threw an accurate pass to Skelton just as he was leveled.

Skeleton broke a tackle, crossed the field and ran undisturbed into the end zone.

"We didn't come out looking to give him the ball early," said Harvard Coach Tim Murphy. "Colb and I talked about that yesterday, that it was going to happen.

"We did the same [play] in practice Friday, and we're fortunate that that's how it turned out in the game. He obviously made a lot of yards after the catch."

The next series, Skelton climbed to within one of McInally's mark on a 26-yard reception, and he tied it on a 12-yard slant with 10:29 left in the third quarter.

He might not be happy because Harvard didn't win, but on Saturday Skelton confirmed his place as Harvard's greatest wide receiver ever.

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