Harvard vs. Penn
Harvard's senior class will be honored prior to the game against the Quakers (Gil Talbot).
Harvard football returns home to face Penn in a crucial Ivy League matchup Saturday at noon. The game will be shown live nationally on the NBC Sports Network with Randy Moss and Ross Tucker having the call.
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Saturday's game will be the 84th meeting between Harvard and Penn in a rivalry that dates back to 1881.
In Harvard's 34-0 win at Columbia Nov. 9, quarterback Conner Hempel (Union, Ky.) completed 19 passes for 185 yards and ran for two touchdowns. Running back Paul Stanton, Jr., (Kenner, La.) rushed three times for 78 yards, including a game-high 54 yard run, and a touchdown. Ricky Zorn (Dallas, Texas) led all receivers with six catches and 56 yards.
The Crimson jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter and did not look back, as Harvard earned its first shutout of the season. Columbia managed only 216 yards of offense, including 49 rushing yards on 26 attempts. Matt Koran (Joliet, Ill.) and Eric Medes (Mt. Laurel, N.J.) paced the Crimson with seven tackles, while Dayne Davis (Cresson, Texas) added an interception and Brent Spisak (Charlotte, N.C.) had a fumble recovery.
Penn led Princeton, 16-0, and 23-17 at the half, but could not hold down the Tigers, falling, 38-26, in Philadelphia Nov. 9. Quarterback Billy Ragone went 10-of-31 for 168 yards through the air, while running backs Kyle Wilcox (15 carries, 89 yards) and Spencer Kulcsar (14 carries, 83 yards) enjoyed strong games on the ground. Sam Chwarzysnki returned an interception 61 yards for a touchdown, and Dan Wilk and Mike Laning each led the Quakers with 10 tackles apiece.
Thank You, Seniors
Saturday's game will mark the final home game for 36 seniors on the Harvard football team. During their time in Cambridge, the class has posted an overall record of 31-7 and an Ivy League mark of 21-5.
Harvard's 34-0 win over Columbia marked the Crimson's first shutout since topping the Lions, 69-0, at Harvard Stadium in 2012. During head coach Tim Murphy's tenure in Cambridge, Harvard has held opponents scoreless 10 times, including four times against Columbia and two times against Dartmouth.
Oct. 26, 1996 vs. Princeton W, 24-0
Nov. 1, 1997 at Dartmouth W, 24-0
Nov. 15, 1997 vs. Penn W, 33-0
Nov. 4, 2000 vs. Columbia W, 34-0
Oct. 11, 2003 at Cornell W, 27-0
Sept. 18, 2004 vs. Holy Cross W, 35-0
Nov. 6, 2004 vs. Columbia W, 38-0
Oct. 28, 2006 at Dartmouth W, 28-0
Nov. 3, 2012 vs. Columbia W, 69-0
Nov. 9, 2013 at Columbia W, 34-0
Crimson NCAA leaders
D.J. Monroe (Columbia, S.C.) stands first in passes defended per game (1.9). Zach Hodges (Atlanta, Ga.) is 11th in forced fumbles (0.38 per game) and 15th in fumbles recovered (0.38 per game).
With his 5.5 sacks this fall, defensive end Zach Hodges now has 17.5 in his career (3.0 as freshman, 9.0 as sophomore). He now ranks sixth in program history with 17.5 sacks, only 0.5 behind Don Peterson '89 for fifth. Chris Smith '98 holds the Harvard record with 20.5.
Hodges Up for Buck Buchanan
Defensive end Zach Hodges was recently added to the Buck Buchanan Award Watch list, given to the nation's premiere defensive standout.
Hodges leads Harvard with 10.5 tackles for a loss and 5.5 sacks this season. He has also forced three fumbles, recovered three fumbles, recorded six quarterback hurries and made an interception.
Give 29 the Ball
Running back Paul Stanton, Jr., has rushed for 11 touchdowns, including two each in the wins over Brown Sept. 28, Holy Cross Oct. 5 and Lafayette Oct. 19. Stanton also had two scores in the triple overtime loss to Princeton Oct. 26. Stanton's 11 touchdowns are tied for second in the Ivy League. He is tied with Eion Hu '97 (1994) and Clifton Dawson '07 (2005) for sixth most touchdowns in a single-season in school history.
Harvard has won two games this season on plays in the final minute of action. Paul Stanton, Jr., scored on a 17-yard rush in triple overtime at Holy Cross (W, 41-35), and Andrew Flesher drilled a 23-yard field goal with 48 ticks left on the clock against Dartmouth (W, 24-21).
On Nov. 10 of last year, the Quakers emerged with a 30-21 win at Franklin Field, clinching a share of the Ivy League crown for Penn. Billy Ragone threw for two touchdowns for the Quakers, while Harvard QB Colton Chapple went 17-of-27 for 174 yards and a score. Penn finished with 12 tackles for a loss and six sacks against the Crimson.
Ivy Title Hunt
With two conference games remaining, Harvard sits in second place at 4-1 in Ivy play, trailing only Princeton (5-0). Penn (3-2) is tied with Dartmouth and Yale for third place, followed by Brown (2-3) in sixth and Cornell and Columbia in seventh at 0-5. Two wins by the Crimson in its last two games, combined with a loss by Princeton either week would clinch at least a share of the conference crown for Harvard.