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Harvard Football to Host Brown for 2023 Ivy Season Opener

Junior quarterback Charles Deprima searches for an open player at Harvard's game against St. Thomas last Saturday. Deprima is now the first Harvard quarterback to with an 100-yard rushing game since 2012.
Junior quarterback Charles Deprima searches for an open player at Harvard's game against St. Thomas last Saturday. Deprima is now the first Harvard quarterback to with an 100-yard rushing game since 2012. By Nicholas T. Jacobsson
By Jack Canavan and Nadia A. Fairfax, Crimson Staff Writers

The (1-0) Harvard football team opened its season with a bang this past Saturday, defeating the (1-2) St. Thomas Tommies 45-13 at home. The game earned Harvard a spot in the FCS Top 25 rankings, claiming the 25th spot. This week, the Crimson prepare to face off Brown (1-0) at Harvard Stadium on Friday night.

Last week, Harvard continued its home opener winning streak, winning their twelfth Harvard Stadium opener in a row. Five different players scored touchdowns for the Crimson, including one from junior quarterback Charles DePrima, who started his first career game on Saturday. DePrima had a 69-yard touchdown rush, the longest from a Harvard quarterback since 2009.

“That’s something we don’t really exactly think about going into games,” said DePrima about continuing the Crimson’s 12-game home opener streak. “Just like you approach every game in a season, it’s just about that particular week. We don’t really think about any streak going in. But obviously looking back on it, it was nice, we’re always looking to win.”

Looking forward to the week ahead, Harvard will play its first Ivy League game against the Brown Bears, who won their season opener 29-25 against Bryant University. The Crimson has dominated Brown recently, defeating them 11 consecutive times.

“Game plans change week to week no matter who we’re playing,” said DePrima about the team’s specific game plan against Brown. “We got something different this week than we had against St. Thomas, and it’s different than we’ll have against Holy Cross the week after going forward. In particular, we’re going to have to just be better in some areas than we were last week. The game plan feels good, even though it’s a short week we’ve been getting some good practices in, so just feel pretty good about it.”

The Harvard football offensive players settle up against St. Thomas' defensive linemen at the Crimson's season opener last Saturday in Harvard Stadium. The Crimson took down the Tommies 45-13.
The Harvard football offensive players settle up against St. Thomas' defensive linemen at the Crimson's season opener last Saturday in Harvard Stadium. The Crimson took down the Tommies 45-13. By Nicholas T. Jacobsson

The Crimson offense has an advantage heading into Friday with its history of success against the Bears. Still, the team is still remaining focused on continuing to improve going into the game.

“Just maybe continuing to start off strong,” said DePrima about what the team wants to work on going into the game. “We didn’t have a problem with that last week, but we just want to keep that train moving no matter what. Getting the air attack, just passing the ball a little better would be good. Just keeping the energy up into the next week is all we’re really worried about.”

Harvard’s defense will face reigning Ivy League Player of the Year Jake Willcox, who torched the Bryant Bulldogs for 355 passing yards and 3 touchdowns in a 29-25 win for Brown. Adjusting to this pass-heavy offense will be a change of pace for the Crimson, who faced the running-focused Tommies in their 45-13 open day win.

“This offense is going to be much different than last week,” said sophomore Safety Bartrum about preparing for Brown’s offense. “They throw it 40, 50 times a game, so just locking in on our keys in the pass game, still in the run game too, but it starts up front. If we stone them in the line it will be good. The [defensive backs] will do their thing, and the [linebackers] will do their thing. ”

“Their quarterback, I think he’s a senior, number three, he’s been in the system for a while,” said Bartrum about the Brown offensive players that Harvard is looking out for. “He had a great game last week, we know that, and they got some weapons outside. Good running backs. They got weapons, so we’re ready for that and have been preparing for that.”

In the midst of preparing for the kickoff of Ivy League play, the Crimson were ranked No. 25 in the FCS coaches poll, their highest ranking since the 2021 season.

“It was great,” said Bartrum about Harvard being ranked number 25 on the FCS poll. “That’s what you want to do as a defense, as a whole, as a team. That’s our goal every week, is to just be the best defense in the league and in college football. So yeah, it felt great.”

The Crimson hope to continue their explosive start on Friday night against the Brown Bears. Harvard faces Brown at 7:00 pm EST at Harvard Stadium. The game can be streamed on ESPN+.

— Staff writer Nadia Fairfax can be reached at nadia.fairfax@thecrimson.com.

— Staff writer Jack Canavan can be reached at jack.canavan@thecrimson.com.

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