Harvard opens its 138th season Saturday afternoon against in-state rival Holy Cross in a 1 p.m. Homecoming kickoff at Fitton Field in Worcester, Mass.
The Crimson will once again have a tough test to start its season as Holy Cross will be playing its third-straight home game of the season on Fitton Field's grass surface.
The game can be heard on the radio (WBNW 1120 AM, WPLM 1390 and WESO 790) with Bernie Corbett and Mike Giardi '94 on the call.
The game can also be heard live on the radio and over the internet on AM 1120 (Boston), 1390 (Plymouth), 970 (Sturbridge), as well as WHRB-FM 95.3 (Cambridge) with students Scott Reed and Charlie Hobbs.
Harvard is an impressive 112-23-2 in season-openers (.827). The Crimson has won its opening game in eight of the last 10 years and is 11-6 on Opening Day under current head coach Tim Murphy.
Saturday's game will be the 65th meeting between Harvard and Holy Cross in a series that dates to 1904. Harvard, which enjoyed 36 consecutive home games in the series from 1904 to 1980, holds a 39-23-2 series lead.
Harvard has won seven of the last nine meetings and 11 of the last 14 although Holy Cross has taken each of the past two games at home. Holy Cross has not lost to the Crimson at Fitton Field since 2005.
Harvard holds a slim 7-6 edge in games played at Fitton Field.
Last Year's Meeting
Andrew Hatch threw for three touchdowns and Harvard won its 10th-straight home opener, 34-6 over Holy Cross.
Hatch '11-12 was 20-for-25 passing for 276 yards and started early as he threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to Marco Iannuzzi '11 in the second quarter before hooking up with Chris Lorditch on an 8-yard score in the third.
Hatch and Lorditch then got together one more time to cap the Crimson scoring and go up 34-0 on a 43-yard touchdown with 7:13 left in the game.
Harvard kept control of possession, while the Crusaders could not, converting 7 of 12 first downs compared to 5 of 13, and keeping the ball seven minutes longer.
Blaise Deal led all defenders with 11 tackles while adding an interception.
Harvard's Last Time Out
Harvard is playing its season opener.
Holy Cross' Last Time Out
Senior quarterback Ryan Taggart accounted for 237 yards of total offense and three touchdowns, to lead the Holy Cross football team to a 37-7 victory over Colgate at Fitton Field. Taggart hit on 13 of 16 passes for 223 yards and two scores, while rushing for 14 yards and a touchdown on three carries.
Harvard Coach Tim Murphy
In his 18th season as Harvard's head coach, Tim Murphy enters Saturday's game with a 111-58 record with the Crimson and a 143-103-1 overall head coaching record, which includes five years at Cincinnati and two years at Maine. Murphy is one of just five coaches to win 100 games since the formation of the Ivy League in 1954. Murphy has led Harvard to five Ivy League championships (1997, 2001, 2004, 2007, 2008). He is 12-4 all-time against Holy Cross.
Holy Cross Coach Tom Gilmore
Tom Gilmore is in his eighth season at Holy Cross sideline, and he enters the game against Harvard with a 45-33 record with the Crusaders. Gilmore, who played at Penn as an undergraduate, was the 1985 Ivy League player of the year. He is 2-5 against Harvard as a head coach.
The Crimson has finished with at least seven wins in each of the last 10 years, becoming the only program in Ivy League history to have such a stretch of success. Four years ago, Harvard became the first Ivy team to post a string of even seven such seasons together.
The current stretch is the Crimson's best 10-year run since a 28-year streak of seven-plus win seasons came to an end in 1911. The program has won 78 games over the past 10 seasons with just 21 losses.
With 111 career victories on the Harvard sideline, head coach Tim Murphy ranks second on the Crimson's all-time wins chart. Murphy is six wins away from Joe Restic's school record 117 wins (from 1971-93).
Ivy Era Coaches
Since the formal naming of the Ivy League in 1956, just five coaches have reached the 100-win plateau with two of them being Harvard men.
Carm Cozza, Yale: 179
Al Bangnoli, Penn: 131
Bob Blackman, Dartmouth 127
Joe Restic, Harvard: 118
Tim Murphy, Harvard: 111
Better Than Average
In 2010, Harvard clinched its 111th season at .500 or better in the program's 137-year history. It marked the Crimson's 12th straight year at .500 or better.
Over the past 13 years, Harvard has won five Ivy League championships (four outright) and had two undefeated seasons while posting the Football Championship Subdivision's second-highest winning percentage.
In its last 45 Ivy League games, just two teams have managed 400-yards of total offense against Harvard.
Since 2007, Harvard is 8-0 following a loss. The Crimson has not lost consecutive games since weeks nine and 10 of the 2006 season.
Running To Par
Since 2000, Harvard is 35-8 when a player rushes for 100 yards.
The Crimson is 49-2 when leading at halftime since the start of the 2003 season. Harvard last surrendered a halftime lead against Lehigh on Oct. 16, 2010 (led 17-0, lost 21-19).