EASTON, Pa. – Harvard's defense dominated on Saturday as the Crimson took down Lafayette by a score of 31-3 in a non-conference game at Fisher Stadium.
With the win, Harvard (2-1, 1-0 Ivy) won against Lafayette (1-4, 0-1 Patriot) for the 10th time in the last 11 meetings as well as for a sixth-straight time in Easton, Pa. It marked the first time in 24 road games that Harvard has held an opponent without a touchdown; the Crimson did continue its offensive road mastery of foes however, scoring at least 30 points in a road game for the fourth time in its last six tries.
A stifling Harvard defense limited Lafayette to 42 rushing yards on 29 carries while four first half sacks set the tone. It was a team effort for the defense with Alex Gedeon and Grant Sickle leading the way with eight tackles and a forced fumble for each. Josue Ortiz had a sack, fumble recovery and two QB hurries while Dan Minamide had six solo tackles and an interception in the end zone for a second-consecutive game.
Harvard took a 17-3 lead into halftime but the game turned definitely for the Crimson midway through the third quarter. With Lafayette driving deep in Harvard territory, Lafayette's backup QB Ryan O'Neill threw a 6-yard touchdown pass that was called back by a holding penalty. Three plays later, O'Neill was pressured by Zach Hodges and threw an interception where only Minamide could make the play, giving Harvard the ball at its 20.
Harvard, with its own relief QB in Michael Pruneau in the game, went three plays and out but Jacob Dombrowksi ripped off a 54-yard punt that Lafayette's Darius Safford caught going back to his goal line. Already inside his 20, Safford turned up field but was jarred by Gedeon at the 18 yard line, fumbling the ball loose to Kyle Juszczyk. Several plays later, Pruneau found Cam Brate for a 3-yard TD pass for a 24-7 lead late in the quarter. It was the sophomore's QB's first career TD pass.
The final blow was dealt by freshman Zach Boden, who delighted the Crimson fans with a dazzling 43-yard TD run, spinning and breaking several tackles up field before using his finishing speed for his first career score.
Pruneau and Chapple combined to go 18 of 24 for 165 yards in an efficient outing while Juszczyk led the way with four receptions for 58 yards.
The Crimson scored first on a 26-yarder from David Mothander. Lafayette answered with one of its own before Harvard started to pull away.
Treavor Scales bullied his way in from 4 yards out to cap a six-play, 47-yard drive midway through the second quarter. The teams were even but a crucial turnover at the end of the first half put Harvard in position to do more damage.
Grant Sickle forced a fumble on a sack of QB Andrew Shoop and Ortiz recovered at Lafayette's 48 yard line with 1:47 left. The Crimson converted several third downs on the drive and Chapple found Alex Sarkisian in the end zone on a 3-yard TD pass despite Sarkisian being interfered with on the play. That made it 17-3 at the break with Chapple completing 14 of 18 passes for 121 yards.
Chapple's back tightened up at halftime after a hit late in the first half and he watched the start of the second half from the sideline as Pruneau took over with the Crimson leading by double digits.