The 25th-ranked Crimson carries a 14-game home win streak into Saturday's tilt against Lafayette (Gil Talbot).
After winning back-to-back road games, No. 25/arv Harvard returns home to open a three-game homestand, as the Crimson welcomes Lafayette to Cambridge for the final non-conference contest of the year. Harvard sits at 4-0 overall and is 2-0 in the Ivy League, while the Leopards enter the weekend with a 1-4 mark overall, while owning a 1-0 record in the Patriot League.
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Saturday's game will be the 17th meeting between Harvard and Lafayette in a rivalry that dates back to 1966. The Crimson won the last two meetings in 2010 and 2011 and leads, 13-3-0, all-time. Harvard boasts a 7-2 mark against the Leopards at Harvard Stadium.
In Harvard's 34-24 triumph at Cornell Saturday, Michael Pruneau (Plano, Texas) made his first start and threw for 340 yards and two touchdowns. He connected on 23-of-29 passing plays, with Ricky Zorn (Dallas, Texas) leading the Crimson with seven receptions. Brothers Nnamdi Obukwelu (Brockton, Mass.) and Obum Obukwelu (Brockton, Mass.) both recorded two sacks, as the Crimson defense recorded eight tackles for a loss in the victory.
The Leopards fell to 0-2 against Ivy League teams this year, as Princeton held off Lafayette, 42-26, Saturday. Lafayette also lost to Penn, 27-21, back on Sept. 21. Running back Ross Scheuerman ran for 155 yards and three scores on 22 carries, while wide receiver Mark Ross caught six passes for 112 yards in the loss to Princeton.
Crimson NCAA leaders
Through four games, placekicker David Mothander (San Luis Capistrano, Calif.) is tied for first in the nation in field-goal percentage (1.000), while quarterback Conner Hempel (Union, Ky.) stands third in passing efficiency (174.8), sixth in completion percentage (.679) and eighth in passing yards per completion (14.6). Defensively, Zach Hodges (Atlanta, Ga.) is fourth in fumbles recovered (1.0 per game), while Nnamdi Obukwelu stands seventh in sacks per game (1.0).
As a team, Harvard ranks second nationally in completion percentage (.717), rushing defense (79.8), third in sacks (4.25), third in turnover margin (1.8) and third in team passing efficiency (174.86).
With its 4-0 start, Harvard enters the FCS Coaches poll with a No. 25 ranking this week. The Crimson is also receiving 93 votes in the Sports Network poll.
For the second straight season, Harvard is off to a 4-0 start. The Crimson began 2012 with a 5-0 mark.
In 2011, Harvard went 4-of-4 in the red zone and held Lafayette to only a field goal all day, as the Crimson earned a 31-3 win at Lafayette. Harvard scored its touchdowns on runs by Treavor Scales (4 yds) and Zach Boden (43 yds), while Colton Chapple (4 yds to Alex Sarkisian) and Michael Pruneau (2 yds to Cameron Brate) added touchdown passes.
Dominance At The Stadium
The Crimson has won 14 straight home games. Harvard's last loss at home came against Lehigh, 21-19, on Oct. 16, 2010. Harvard has also claimed 10 consecutive wins against Ivy opponents at home since falling to Penn, 17-7, on Nov. 14, 2009.
Harvard owns the second longest home win streak in the FCS (Sam Houston State - 19) and is tied for third overall with South Carolina in Division 1.
Current Longest Home Win Streak
1. Sam Houston State - 19 games
2. Michigan - 18 games
3. Harvard - 14 games
3. South Carolina - 14 games
Harvard on National TV
The Crimson will have four of its contests broadcast live on national television this season, three on the NBC Sports Network and one on Fox College Sports. Harvard's TV games include: Brown Sept. 28 at 7:30 p.m., Princeton Oct. 26 at 1 p.m., Penn Nov. 16 at noon and at Yale for the 130th Playing of The Game Nov. 23 at noon.
Sat., Sept. 21 Lehigh at Princeton
Sat., Sept. 28 Brown at Harvard
Sat., Oct. 12 Lehigh at Columbia
Sat., Nov. 9 Cornell at Dartmouth
Sat., Nov. 16 Penn at Harvard
Sat., Nov. 23 Harvard at Yale
2013 Ivy League Football Fox College Sports Schedule:
Sat., Sept. 28 Holy Cross at Dartmouth
Sat., Oct. 12 Yale at Dartmouth
Sat., Oct. 19 Princeton at Brown
Sat., Oct. 26 Princeton at Harvard
Sat., Nov. 2 Penn at Brown
Sat., Nov. 16 Columbia at Cornell
Sat., Nov. 23 Brown at Columbia
Harvard has won 25 of its last 32 non-league games dating back to 2003 (.781). The Crimson was 3-0 against non-Ivy foes last year, defeating San Diego, 28-13, Holy Cross, 52-3, and Bucknell, 35-7. Harvard stands 2-0 against non-conference teams this year, having downed San Diego, 42-20, and Holy Cross, 41-35, in triple overtime.
Kick Is Good
David Mothander has made all four field goal attempts and is 20-of-20 on PAT chances this season, good for 32 points.
Mothander has made his last 36 kicks, including six field goals and 30 PATs, since missing a PAT in Harvard's win over Columbia last November 3.
Harvard is 23-9 in its last 32 road games (.719). The Crimson is 16-5 in its last 21 Ivy League road games (.762). In 2012, Harvard posted a 2-2 mark away from Cambridge. This season, Harvard stands 3-0 away from home and has two road contests remaining.
Harvard Coach Tim Murphy
In his 20th season as Harvard's all-time winningest head coach, Tim Murphy enters Saturday's game with a 132-61 record with the Crimson and a 164-106-1 overall head coaching record, which includes five years at Cincinnati and two years at Maine. Since the formation of the Ivy League in 1956, only two Ivy coaches have compiled more wins than Murphy's 132 and he is just one of five coaches to win 100-plus games. Murphy has led Harvard to six Ivy League championships (1997, 2001, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2011). Murphy serves as president for the American Football Coaches Association this season. He is 10-2 all-time against Lafayette.
Ivy Era Coaches
Since the formation of the Ivy League in 1956, just seven coaches have reached the 100-win plateau, with two of them being Harvard men.
Carm Cozza Yale 179
Al Bagnoli Penn 144
Edward Robinson Brown 140*
Tim Murphy Harvard 132
Bob Blackman, Dartmouth & Cornell 127
George Woodruff Penn 124*
Tuss McLaughry Brown & Dartmouth 120
Joe Restic Harvard 117
Lou Little Columbia 110
*-pre Ivy League formation
Lafayette Head Coach Frank Tavani
Frank Tavani is in his 14th season as Lafayette's head coach, and he brings a 72-79 record with the Leopards into the game. Tavani is 1-10 against Harvard, with the victory coming in 2009, 35-18, at Harvard Stadium.
In the second quarter of Harvard's 34-24 win at Cornell Oct. 12, Brian Owusu (Oxnard, Calif.) blocked a field-goal attempt of 26 yards. It was the first time Harvard blocked the field goal since former standout and current member of the Cleveland Browns, Desmond Bryant, rejected a field goal at Princeton in 2006.
Better Than Average
In 2012, Harvard clinched its 113th season at .500 or better in the program's 139th-year history. It marked the Crimson's 14th-straight year at .500 or better.
Best In The FCS
Harvard has had considerable success over the past 12 seasons, ranking No. 1 among the Football Championships Subdivision's top 10 in winning percentage.
1. Harvard 99 24 .805
2. Montana 134 35 .793
3. North Dakota State 88 29 .752
4. Dayton 90 33 .732
5. Appalachian State 118 45 .724
6. San Diego 96 40 .706
7. Penn 85 38 .691
8. Northern Iowa 107 48 .690
9. Georgia Southern 103 54 .656
10. Grambling 94 53 .639
Pick It Up
In Harvard's opener at San Diego, defensive end Zach Hodges (Atlanta, Ga.) had two fumble returns, including one for a 53-yard touchdown. Hodges became the first Harvard to return a fumble for a touchdown since Peter Ajayi did it against Columbia in 2008.
Hodges added another fumble recovery at Holy Cross Oct. 5 and now has four takeaways on the season. Hodges ranks fourth in the nation with 0.75 fumble recoveries per contest.
Red Zone? No Problem
Harvard was 4-for-4 in the red zone against San Diego in the opener Sept. 21. The Crimson was also perfect inside the 20-yard line at Holy Cross Oct. 5, scoring a TD on each of those possessions.
The Crimson went 5-of-7 in the red zone against Brown Sept. 28 and 4-of-5 inside the 20 at Cornell Oct. 12. Harvard is now 18-of-21 on the season with 14 touchdowns and four field goals.
One of the Longest Ever...
Harvard's triple-overtime victory at Holy Cross Oct. 5 (41-35) tied for the longest game in the history of Crimson football. In 2005, Harvard defeated Yale, 30-24, in three overtimes.
We're Going to Overtime
Harvard boasts the best overtime record among Ivy League schools at 5-1. Here is a look at each team's record in overtime:
Columbia.......................................... 3-3 (.500)
Cornell............................................... 5-5 (.500)|
Dartmouth...................................... 4-6 (.400)
Harvard............................................. 5-1 (.833)
Penn.................................................... 6-6 (.500)
Princeton......................................... 8-7 (.533)
Yale...................................................... 5-3 (.625)
TOTAL......................................... 35-36 (.489)
Harvard's All-Time Overtime Games
S21, 1996 at Columbia............. L, 13-20
O17, 1998 vs. Holy Cross....... W, 20-14
O25, 2003 vs. Princeton......... W, 43-40
S24, 2005 vs. Brown.... W, 38-35 (2ot)
N19, 2005 at Yale......... W, 30-24 (3ot)
O5, 2013 at Holy Cross W, 41-35 (3ot)
Harvard Among Ivy Leaders
Conner Hempel is second in the Ancient Eight with 267.7 yards passing per game, and placekicker David Mothander has the league lead in scoring for kickers (8.0 points per game).
Nnamdi Obukwelu is averaging 1.0 sacks per game and is tied for the conference lead, while Zach Hodges paces the Ancient Eight with 1.62 tackles for a loss per game 0.75 fumbles recovered per contest.
As a team, Harvard paces the Ancient Eight in rushing defense (79.8), passing efficiency (174.9), interceptions (six) and sacks (4.25).
Where We Are Now
Saturday's game will be Harvard's 1,266th varsity football game. The Crimson has an all-time record of 833-383-50 (.678).
Harvard has reached the 30-point plateau in 14 of its last 17 road games and has scored at least 40 in five of its last 10.
Harvard has reached double figures in scoring in 65-straight games and 102 of its last 103 contests. The last team to hold Harvard to single digits was Penn (9) in 2002.