Pictured: Treavor Scales had three rushing touchdowns to lead Harvard past Dartmouth, 31-14.
HANOVER, N.H. – Treavor Scales rushed for three touchdowns as 24th-ranked Harvard held off Dartmouth by a score of 31-14 Saturday night at Memorial Field.
With Princeton's 37-35 loss at Cornell, the preseason favorite Crimson jumped back to control its own destiny before kickoff and responded with a workman-like victory to spoil Dartmouth's Homecoming crowd of more than 10,000. Harvard improves to 6-1 overall and 3-1 in the league.
Moving away from its vaunted passing attack, Harvard scored four rushing touchdowns and improved to 10-0 following a loss since the 2007 season. The Crimson also notched its 10th 30-point game on the road over its past 12 outings despite a strong Dartmouth defense.
The win also marked Harvard's ninth-straight win over Dartmouth, its 15th in the last 16 meetings and its 10th straight at Memorial Field meaning that head coach Tim Murphy has never lost a road game to the Big Green.
An interesting game was signaled from the outset as Dartmouth recovered an onsides kick to start the game, although could not muster any offense. Colton Chapple started the scoring on Harvard's first drive, going untouched on a 16 yard QB keeper to cap a seven-play, 93-yard drive during which Harvard faced just one third down.
With 10 minutes to play in the second quarter, linebacker Alexander Norman leaped high to intercept an Alex Park pass at Dartmouth's 25 yard line. He returned it to the six and, two plays later, Scales scored untouched on an option run to the far side of the field for a 14-0 lead.
After getting another stop, Harvard marched 70 yards on 13 plays with Scales bullying his way into the end zone on a dive play from two yards out with 2:35 left in the half.
Dartmouth ran a crisp two-minute offense, moving 70 yards down to Harvard's 10. A fumbled pitch forced the Big Green back to Harvard's 20 however, and two incomplete passes forced a 37 yard field goal, while Riley Lyons pushed wide right.
Despite the lack of any big plays, Harvard took its 21-0 lead into halftime but Dartmouth quickly got back into the game early in the third quarter as the Big Green marched 66 yards, capped by a 22 yard touchdown pass from Park to Michael Reilly with 10:08 to play in the third.
Harvard then fumbled on its first play from scrimmage, giving Dartmouth the ball on its 22. Harvard's defense held stout however, stuffing Dominick Pierre on fourth and goal from the one as the Crimson clogged the middle of the line to preserve the two-touchdown lead.
After Harvard was forced to give up the ball, Dartmouth struck quickly on a great individual effort by Ryan McManus, who leaped to make a catch and breaking two tackles for a 68 yard touchdown with 4:56 to play.
After being plagued by poor field position all night, Harvard was finally able to flip the field thanks to a 60 yard punt from Jacob Dombrowski, who had a fine night in averaging 49.8 yards on five punts. The defense forced a punt and the Crimson offense responded again behind long runs from Scales and Chapple. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Scales scored Harvard's fourth rushing touchdown as he ran in from two yards to give the Crimson a 28-14 lead.
The teams traded possessions as time wound down with Dartmouth looking to backup QB Dalyn Williams after Park was knocked out of the game.
With just under nine minutes to play and the outcome still in doubt, Dartmouth was faced with a fourth down at midfield but Jack Dittmer burst up the middle and sacked Williams for a huge loss back to Dartmouth's 45. Harvard took advantage, driving to the eight yard line before David Mothander converted a 25 yarder with 6:06 left to make it a 31-14 game and effectively end it.
Harvard, which entered the game as the nation's top rush and pass sacking defense, did nothing to alter those figures as the Crimson sacked Dartmouth's QBs six times with John Lyon and Zach Hodges each logging two. Hodges also recorded a career-high five QB hurries. Harvard's imposing defensive front yielded just 19 rushing yards on 24 Dartmouth attempts.
Chapple threw for 170 yards on 17-of-31 passing but was methodical on the ground, escaping pressure and churning out 88 yards on 16 carries (5.5 ypc). Scales edged him out for top rushing marks with 91 yards on 21 carries and the three scores.
Sophomore linebacker Jacob Lindsey led the defense with 12 tackles (eight solo.)