The Harvard football team endured injuries, trailed for a few moments, and battled all game long. But on a brisk Friday night, the contest eventually turned into a laugher.
Riding an assertive ground game and receiving big defensive plays when it mattered most, the Crimson topped visiting Holy Cross by a score of 41-18 at Harvard Stadium.
Senior running back Andrew Casten was supposed to be a backup. But on Friday night, the spotlight belonged all to him.
In his first three years on the team, Casten totaled 151 yards and a single touchdown. But on Friday night, the senior racked up 153 yards and found the end zone three times.
“To be honest, I really didn’t know what to expect,” Casten said. “I knew it was going to be a grind and knew we were going to come out and push. We’re going to get a win whatever we can do.”
Filling in for junior running back Paul Stanton, who was inactive due to an injury, Casten ensured that the starter’s presence was not missed. From busting it up the middle to skirting down the sideline, Casten took the pressure off the Harvard signal-callers by giving them a consistent option on the ground.
The senior found success starting with his first run. Taking the handoff on first and goal, Casten blew through the middle of the line and absorbed a hit to earn three yards for Harvard’s first touchdown of the year.
Casten’s final two scores came in the second half and demonstrated his versatility. The back extended Harvard’s lead with an 18-yard dash, nearly making it untouched into the end zone.
Four minutes later, Casten capped a 52-yard drive by bullying his way through a clump of bodies for a three-yard score.
The senior’s biggest run of the day came in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter. After shooting through a hole in the middle of the line, Casten made his way to the left sideline and dashed 52 yards before being dragged down.
Casten finished with 17 touches and a very efficient nine yards per carry.
“I was just really happy for Andrew today, because he took advantage of a situation,” Crimson coach Tim Murphy said. “We saddled him up, put the load on him, and he and the offensive line really responded.”
THE REAL DEFENSE STANDS UP
The Harvard sideline may have been sweating a little bit.
Men's Soccer Preps For Final Tune-UpWith just two weeks left in its season, the Harvard men’s soccer team will look to continue its recent strong play against the Holy Cross Crusaders on Wednesday.
Men's Soccer Outlasts Holy Cross, 1-0With both teams preparing to vie for their respective league championships, the Harvard and Holy Cross men’s soccer teams took a break from their conference schedules to do battle Wednesday night.
Harvard Starts Season in TD Garden
Women's Lacrosse Dominates Holy Cross in One-Sided MatchupThe Crimson (7-4, 3-1 Ivy) took a break from conference play with a mid-week match up against the Crusaders (5-10, 3-3 Patriot League) in Worcester. The first half was when Harvard solidified its offense, scoring 10 goals in the opening 30 minutes of play, while holding Holy Cross to only one scoring drive.
Stanton, Smith Not Playing Against Holy Cross
Second Half Surge Leads Football to Victory, 41-18