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Four Second-Quarter Touchdowns Spark Football to 41-23 Win Over Brown

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Paul Stanton led the Crimson offense Saturday with two rushing touchdowns against the Bears (Gil Talbot).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. –
Four unanswered touchdowns in the second quarter by the Harvard football team proved to be the difference as the Crimson downed Brown, 41-23, in front of 17,256 fans Saturday at Harvard Stadium. Saturday's contest marks the eighth night game in the history of Harvard Stadium.

Junior Conner Hempel finished the game 16-of-22 for 296 yards and a touchdown, and he also carried the ball 11 times for 22 yards and a score. Sophomore Paul Stanton, Jr. lead the team on the ground with 16 rushes for 91 yards and two touchdowns, while junior Andrew Casten added eight rushes for 45 yards. Ricky Zorn led all receivers in the game with 112 yards on four catches, highlighted by a 63-yard score.

Defensively, it was an entire team effort for the Crimson as seven different players accounted for the team's eight tackles for loss. Junior Zach Hodges led the way with three tackles for loss, a sack and an interception on the night, while sophomore Eric Medes had a team-high eight and a half tackles. Senior Jaron Wilson grabbed an interception for a touchdown while senior Nnamdi Obukwelu recovered junior Norman Hayes' forced fumble to help Harvard stay undefeated in night games at the Stadium. The win also marks Harvard's 13th straight home-opening victory under Tim Murphy, the Thomas Stephenson Family Head Coach for Harvard Football.

Brown posted the first two scores to take an early 13-0 lead. The Bears drove 78 yards on 13 plays in their second series of the game, capped by a 10-yard run from John Spooney to go ahead, 6-0. The Bears recovered the ensuing onside kick on their 49-yard line to lead to their second touchdown of the night. Pat Donnelly found Brian Strachan deep in the corner of the end zone on a 22-yard throw to push the score to 13-0.

The Crimson offense answered with a precision 10-play, 72-yard drive over the next 4:30.  Hempel's one-yard rush pulled Harvard within six, 13-7, in the second stanza.  Obukwelu then recovered Hayes' forced fumble to stop a Brown drive. The Crimson wasted no time finding the endzone again, driving 27 yards on two plays, as another one-yard rush – this time by Paul Stanton – put the Crimson ahead, 14-13, with 6:52 to play before intermission.

The Harvard defense stepped up again two minutes later when Wilson picked off a pass by Donnelly and returned it 51 yards for the Crimson's third score of the night.

The Crimson made it four unanswered scores on a 15-yard scramble by Stanton to complete a five-play, 63-yard drive, to take a 28-13 lead into the locker room.

Senior David Mothander added three points for the Crimson with a 36-yard field goal to open up the second half.

After each team punted, Brown used eight plays to move the ball down the field 80-yards and cut Harvard's lead to 11, 31-20, as Spooney marched in for a 34-yard score.

The hosts stretched their lead back to three scores just 1:57 later, needing just four plays to find the endzone for the fifth time on the evening. Facing a third and eight from his own 37 yard line, Hempel aired out a ball down the left sideline that hit Zorn in stride, and the senior turned on the afterburners to out-race a pair of Brown defensive backs for the score.

A strong defensive stand by Harvard allowed just three Brown points after a first and goal on the two-yard line to bring the score to 38-23.

Mothander's second 36-yard field goal of the night secured the 41-23 victory.

Donnelly connected on 21-of-33 for 169 yards and  a touchdown, while Spooney had 17 rushes for 110 yards and two scores for the Bears.

For its next game, the Crimson will head back on the road to visit Holy Cross Saturday, Oct. 5 at 1 p.m.