At Ithaca High School in Michigan, Smith won three state titles and set school rushing records with 1,772 yards and 34 scores. He also starred as a basketball point guard.
Against the Bears, Smith displayed a soft teach and hit targets in the hands. He finished five-of-seven for 72 yards.
“The bottom line is that Jake had performed the best as quarterback in practice over the last two weeks,” Murphy said. “If you look at how relatively sluggish we’ve been, by high Harvard standards, over the past three or four games, we felt like we needed a jolt.”
Five minutes into the second quarter, however, Murphy had seen enough. He inserted fifth-year senior Joe Viviano, the expected starter. In the season opener, Viviano had missed deep balls and taken five sacks. Something must have snapped, because at Harvard Stadium, he was a man possessed.
Viviano took over on the Crimson’s two-yard line. Immediately, he zipped an 11-yard pass to senior tight end Jake Barann. Then came darts to junior wide receivers Henry Taylor (31 yards, down the sideline) and Adam Scott (27 yards, across the field).
All told, the drive spanned 98 yards and four minutes. Viviano finished the afternoon with a red-hot line, completing 11 of 13 throws for 150 yards.
“It was just my gut decision that, based upon the first couple series, Joe would give us the best opportunity to maximize our chance of winning this game,” Murphy said. “It’s hard to quantify, but [the competition] has made him a better quarterback.”
BOOKER CHECKED IN
Junior running back Charlie Booker III was so good Saturday that his lone mistake occurred because no one could tackle him.
Four minutes before halftime, Booker rumbled into a scrum of defenders. The Bears wrapped him up but couldn’t topple him. After several seconds of grappling, senior defensive end Richard Jarvis ripped out the ball.
On the afternoon, Booker carried the ball 13 times for 77 yards and two touchdowns. Last week, he scorched the Rams for 139 yards on 13 rushes.
“I’m just reading everything, doing what I feel like I’m supposed to do,” Booker said. “It’s mainly my teammates carrying me through there.”
Capable backups wait in the wings. Against Brown, freshman running back Aaron Shampklin scored his second career touchdown. Meanwhile, junior rusher Noah Reimers averaged 6.4 yards per carry in mop-up duty.
Absent from this list is senior Semar Smith, who is out for the season after a practice injury. He was slated for foot surgery last week.
—Staff writer Sam Danello can be reached at email@example.com.