Jon Takamura recorded six tackles, two sacks and an interception in Harvard's win. Photo courtesy of David Silvermany Photography.
NEW YORK – The Harvard football team
turned a 21-0 halftime lead into a 34-14 victory over Columbia
Saturday afternoon behind four touchdowns and two field goals. The
Crimson improves to 6-2 overall and 5-0 in Ivy League play, keeping
Harvard atop the league standings and in the Ancient Eight title
Sophomore Collier Winters and the Harvard offense amassed 365 total yards, including 214 in the air, while the Crimson defense held the Lions to -18 yards on the ground. Winters threw for 214 yards and one touchdown, while running eight times for 19 total yards. Junior Gino Gordon rushed 12 times for 63 yards and two touchdowns, one a six yard run to close out the first quarter and the second a three yard sprint in the third frame.
Freshman Kyle Juszczyk, who made his first start for the Crimson Saturday, had five catches for 41 yards, including a 12 yard TD in the first quarter. Rookie Treavor Scales rushed eight times for 36 yards and a touchdown. Senior Patrick Long was 4-for-4 on PATs and connected on 28 and 29 yard field goals.
Harvard put two quick scores on the board in the first quarter. The Crimson drove down the field 59 yards for a 1-yard TD run by Scales after just 3:43 of play. The Lions were unable to score on their first drive of the game and to make matters worse, but the Crimson in great field position after a Michael Williamson fumble on the punt. Senior Nick Hasselberg recovered for the Crimson on the 12 yard line. On the first play of the drive, Winters passed to Juszczyk for the score.
Harvard capitalized on another Columbia turnover when senior DB Ryan Barnes intercepted a Sean Brackett pass on Harvard’s own 13 yard line late in first. Winters took over at the Harvard 35 and five plays later, Gordon was in the end zone for the Crimson’s third touchdown of the first frame.
In the opening minutes of the second quarter, Columbia worked its way into the red zone, making it all the way down to the Harvard 4-yard line, but with 3rd-and-1, Jerry Bell was forced to throw the ball away and on 4th-and-1, Leon Ivery scrabbled to break through the Crimson line and fumbled the ball on 5 yard line. Junior Collin Zych recovered for the visiting team.
Harvard added to its lead when Long hit a 28 yard field goal as the clock expired in the first half, to give the Crimson a 24-0 lead as both teams headed to the locker room.
Columbia started the second half with the ball but was unable to score, 10 plays later, the Crimson had another score. Gordon had three runs for 17 yards during the drive, including a 3 yard sprint into the end zone. It was the only points put on the board in the third session.
In the fourth quarters, Senior Jon Takamura picked off a pass for the third time this season with 13:44 remaining in the game. Harvard again capitalized on the opportunity when Long put a 29 yarder between the uprights to finish off a drive that went seven plays for 24 yards and 4:19. Takamura led the Crimson with six tackles including two sacks for a loss of 26 yards.
The Lions prevented the shut out when Zack Kourouma rushed 1 yard into the end zone for the Lions’ score with 6:46 left to play in the fourth quarter. Columbia struck again with 1:15 left in the contest. Andrew Kennedy caught a 10 yard pass from Bell to close the gap.
Columbia used an on-side kick to get the ball back with just over a minute to play. The Crimson defense held the Lions without the score and won the ball back when Anthony Spadafino picked off Bell’s pass at the 2 yard line.
Harvard hosts Penn Saturday, Nov. 14 at Harvard Stadium in a pivitol Ivy League match-up. Kickoff is slated for noon.