Technically, Harvard football won last Saturday’s contest against Princeton.
More accurately, however, the Crimson survived.
Bedeviled by injuries, facing cold and slippery conditions, Harvard took a 14-0 lead in the second quarter only to let the Tigers stage a second-half comeback and tie the score at 17-all. Overtime followed.
Momentum, home-field advantage, and a crowd of nearly 10,000 boosted Princeton. But junior linebacker Luke Hutton and senior quarterback Joe Viviano boosted the Crimson, making a key third-down tackle and scrambling for a key third-down gain, respectively.
The victory was neither dominant nor pretty. But as much as any win in 2016, this one was gritty.
Four weeks remain. Penn and Harvard are tied for first. And still, the Crimson plays for the Ancient Eight crown.
At 5’7”, sophomore wide receiver Adam Scott is the shortest player on Harvard’s roster by nearly two inches. Against Princeton, however, he played like the largest.
A string of injuries had kept Scott out of the first five games of the season. Even as a freshman, though, the wideout had routinely won end-of-practice sprints against the rest of the offense.
Little surprise, then, that coaches rehearsed a number of plays for Scott in the week before the Tigers matchup. It was high time to release the Crimson’s secret weapon—a 5’7” speedster that no one had previously scouted.
So much for that secrecy. Scott totaled 108 yards on 11 touches, including eight grabs. His first catch came on Harvard’s first down. Running a short route by the left hash marks, he juked a defender out of his socks and zoomed 34 yards to the Princeton 17-yard line.
Five minutes into the second quarter, he gave the Crimson a 14-0 lead when he caught a ball and tiptoed down the sideline for a 24-yard score.
“That kid, he had a tough road getting here,” Viviano said. “A lot of injuries. I knew that as soon as he got his opportunity to play healthy on the field, he was going to light it up.”
Scott’s breakout fit into a larger narrative about Harvard injuries. A wave of starters has missed game action. In last weekend’s loss to Holy Cross, the Crimson was sitting not only Viviano but also starting junior running back Semar Smith and sophomore leading receiver Justice Shelton-Mosley.
Takeaways from Harvard Football's Spring GameWhile admitted students were exploring the campus for Visitas, this past weekend also served as a fall preview for the Harvard football team. On Saturday night, the Crimson took the field at Harvard Stadium in organized fashion for the first time since November to play its annual Spring Game.
Football Looks for Third Straight TitleWhen the Harvard football team takes to the gridiron this Saturday, it will have been 301 days since the squad closed out its perfect 2014 season. And yet, nearly a year later, the scene in the University of Rhode Island’s Meade Stadium will look remarkably familiar.
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