New Crimson Duo Anchors WR Core

Dynamic Duo Paces Crimson Aerial Attack

As the Crimson took the field on Friday night for Harvard’s second annual night game, little did the team or its fans realize how tense the atmosphere of the stadium would be until the final seconds of the game.

With high expectations for both sides of the field, the Crimson would need strong performances from its young receiving corps to claim victory. Sophomore wide receivers Marco Iannuzzi and Chris Lorditch turned in those performances, racing down the field to catch 20 of quarterback Chris Pizzotti’s 30 completions on the way to Harvard’s 25-24 victory over Holy Cross.

Without former wideout Corey Mazza ’08 and with the injury to a prime receiving threat in junior Mike Cook, the expected main focus of the Harvard offense and Pizzotti’s passes was junior wideout Matt Luft. However, Iannuzzi and Lorditch showed the Crusader defense that ignoring them would prove costly.

The sophomores quickly got over any first game jitters that they may have had, as they established themselves as forces on the field. Playing a huge role in the Crimson scoring, they proved themselves as invaluable targets for Pizzotti and significant threats to the upcoming Ivy League secondaries.

“Anytime you’re a quarterback and you have confidence in your receivers and you know they’re going to be in the right spot all the time, it’s huge for the offense,” Pizzotti said. “Especially guys like Chris Lorditch, making his first start, his first significant playing time in a varsity game, and we’ll go through the film tomorrow, but I’m pretty sure he was in the same spot almost every time on offense, the same with actually go out there and make it under these circumstances gives me even more confidence.”

Both receivers played huge roles throughout the game, with Lorditch averaging almost 10 yards per catch and Iannuzzi with a formidable 15.8 yards per grab. But these guys were not just good for long passes; Pizzotti hit them time after time for short-yardage passes that would either be good for first downs or turn into huge momentum plays for the Crimson.

Although the first three quarters proved to be less than fruitful for the offense, which had to settle for just two field goals, Harvard demonstrated why it is the reigning Ivy League champion in the fourth quarter, scoring 19 points in the final period en route to its comeback victory. Iannuzzi and Lorditch showed what they were made of, as each played a major part of several significant drives down the field.

With 13:43 remaining in the game, Pizzotti hit Iannuzzi with a 68-yard touchdown pass, the longest pass of the night for Pizzotti—and ostensibly the momentum-changer that sparked the Crimson comeback—earning Iannuzzi a spot on the weekly Ivy League Honor Roll. Lorditch also warranted some serious consideration for that honor, as he grabbed four receptions to move the ball from Harvard into Holy Cross territory, ultimately resulting in Pizzotti’s game-winning touchdown run.

Relative inexperience may have made Crimson coach Tim Murphy hesitate a bit when going to his young wideouts for big plays.

But there was no doubt left in his mind after witnessing the fine showing the two sophomores posted, confirming his suspicions that Iannuzzi and Lorditch could be very prominent players as league play begins Saturday.

“To see those guys be able to play poised, mature football at a high level really adds a lot to the expectations and the capabilities of our offense,” Murphy said. “We’re confident in them, they’re confident in themselves, and therefore we can just go out and run our offense.”

Harvard and the rest of the Ivy League waits in anticipation to see what kind of potent offense Crimson football will be able to run in the future with the presence of these two talented wide receivers on its roster.