Harvard's Collin Zych upends Penn running back Matt Hamscher in Saturday's game at The Stadium (Photo: Gil Talbot).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - The University of Pennsylvania weathered torrential rains and blustery winds Saturday afternoon to defeat Harvard, 17-7, and clinch at least a share of the Ivy League championship at Harvard Stadium.
Penn (7-2, 6-0 Ivy), winners of seven straight games, needs to win next weekend at Cornell in order to clinch the title outright. If Penn stumbles and Harvard (6-3, 5-1 Ivy) defeats Yale, the Crimson can still share the title - which would be its third straight.
Penn made fewer mistakes in a game that saw seven combined fumbles and four turnovers, and the Quakers also came away with a handful of big plays. Perhaps none were bigger than stopping Harvard on a fourth-and-goal from the one yard line with 2:44 left in regulation. Harvard had the ball on the two yard line with two plays to cash in a score but the Quakers twice came up with stops including the fourth down play when Collier Winters was ruled to have not pushed the ball across the line before being knocked down.
Close goal line calls twice went the way of the victors. In the second quarter, Penn QB Kyle Olson was ruled to have crossed the goal line with the ball moments before having the ball knocked away with Harvard recovering the would-be fumble. Penn had to drive just 29 yards as a bad snap on a punt forced an eventual blocked kick that went out of bounds.
On its opening drive, Penn hit a big 51 yard wide receiver screen pass from Olson to Marcus Lawrence, who went untouched behind a wall of blockers for a 7-0 lead.
Later in the second quarter, Harvard came up a half yard short and had to punt but managed just a 27 yarder as the Crimson again could not flip the field with Penn taking over at its own 47 with 1:52 left. Penn benefitted from a pass interference call on an incomplete third-and-10 pass and Andrew Sampson converted a short 28-yarder with 31 seconds left in the half for a 17-0 lead.
Harvard answered loudly late in the third when Winters found a streaking Chris Lorditch down the middle for a 45 yard touchdown pass. The goal line stand would factor into the outcome however as Penn's defense didn't break.
The statistics were similar on both sides of the ball with Penn outgaining Harvard, 263-250. Harvard outgained Penn on the ground 115-82 but Penn QBs managed to complete 20 passes on 32 attempts while Winters, scrambling throughout the game, was forced to throw away many balls, eventually settling for a 10-for-23 mark for 135 yards.
Both teams registered seven tackles for a loss but Penn had four sacks and 11 QB hurries on the afternoon.
Jake Lewko had a game-high 15 tackles while Harvard's Collin Zych had 10 tackles, two for a loss, and two pass breakups.