PRINCETON, N.J.—With Princeton quarterback Tommy Wornham injured during last week’s game against Brown, the Tigers knew they would need to get creative on offense. But they probably did not expect that their offense wrinkles would be so successful.
“We prepared for a lot of [trick plays], but we didn’t prepare for enough of them,” Harvard coach Tim Murphy said. “They did a great job scheming up some plays. My hat [goes] off to them.”
On the first drive of the game, Princeton worked the ball down to the 22-yard line and then turned over the quarterbacking duties to an unlikely candidate. Senior signal-caller Andrew Dixon took the snap, rolled to his right, and then threw the ball back across the field to tight end Harry Flaherty in what amounted to a long lateral. The 250-pound senior received the pass and looked to the endzone, where he found a wide-open Andrew Kerr, who caught the pass to give the Tigers an early 7-0 lead.
Princeton delved into its bag of tricks once again in the third quarter. Trailing 28-14 midway through the frame, the Tigers drove down to the 33-yard line and lined up with three linemen on the line of scrimmage, three players wide on each side of the field, and the running back beside quarterback.
Freshman quarterback Conner Kelley took the snap in the shotgun and faked a pass to the right, holding the ball behind his back in his left hand. Senior running back Jordan Culbreath took the ball and ran to the left sideline. As the Crimson defense ran forward to stop the run, Tigers wide receiver Trey Peacock released down the left sideline. Culbreath lobbed a pass over the defense to the senior, who caught it in stride and waltzed into the endzone.
“I’ve seen [those plays before],” Murphy said, “just not in about 10 years.”
JUS DOING HIS THING
Over his last three games, sophomore tight end Kyle Juszczyk has increased his production from one catch against Lafayette to three against Cornell and then five against Lehigh.
This wave of success continued against Princeton, as the sophomore racked up a team-high six catches for 81 yards, including two touchdowns.
“He’s extremely versatile,” Murphy said. “He reminds me of [Indianapolis Colts tight end] Dallas Clark.”
The first touchdown grab came on the opening drive of the second half. On his first pass of the season, senior quarterback Collier Winters threw a screen to Juszczyk just outside the left hash mark. The sophomore took off towards the left pylon and dove across the goal line for a 26-yard touchdown.
With less than two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Winters and Juszczyk hooked up again. In the red zone, Winters faked a handoff and rolled to his right, hitting the tight end in stride. Juszczyk did the rest, lowering his shoulder and barreling into the endzone for an eight-yard score.
“He can do a lot of different things,” Murphy said. “He’s a very good blocker, he’s obviously an excellent receiver, and he’s one of those guys that you have to account for.”
GIVE AND TAKE
Late in the first half, a touchback gave Harvard possession at the 20-yard line with a 21-14 lead. On the first play of the drive, a pass attempt by senior quarterback Andrew Hatch was batted into the air by Tigers defensive end Matt Landry. With the ball descending, Princeton linebacker Jason Ray dove and caught it, but the referee ruled the ball had hit the ground.
Though sore over the call, the Tigers picked off the very next pass on the ensuing play. Again, Landry got his hand on a ball at the line, deflecting it to linebacker Andrew Starks at the 27-yard line.
Down a score with 1:39 remaining in the half, Princeton was looking to tie the game, but on the first play of the drive, Dixon threw a pass down the left sideline that sophomore linebacker Alexander Norman snagged with one hand.
“To tell you the truth I was a little out of position at first,” Norman said. “I was scrambling back, and I saw the ball up there. I just had to make the grab.”
—Staff writer Timothy J. Walsh can be reached at email@example.com.
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