Murphy Sets Harvard Wins Mark; Crimson Cruises Past Columbia 35-21

Chris Lorditch hauls in a 41-yard touchdown pass during a 35-21 win at Columbia on Nov. 5, 2011 (Jon Luszcz) Buy Now
Chris Lorditch hauls in a 41-yard touchdown pass during a 35-21 win at Columbia on Nov. 5, 2011 (Jon Luszcz)

NEW YORK, N.Y.—Tim Murphy, the Thomas Stephenson Family head Coach for Harvard Football, became the school's all-time winningest football coach as his Crimson cruised past Columbia, 35-21, Saturday at Lawrence Wien Stadium. Murphy surpassed Joe Restic's mark of 117 career wins and heads into the Penn game with an all-time record of 118-58 in his 18th season with the program.

Harvard won its seventh-straight in moving to 7-1 overall and 5-0 in the Ivy League. Columbia remains winless at 0-8, 0-5 Ivy.

The win also marks Harvard's 11th-straight season compiling at least seven wins. The Crimson is the only team in the history of the Ivy League to have put together 11 straight seven-win seasons. 

Columbia scored on its first drive of the day, aided by a pass that hit the ground but was ruled complete on third-and-long. Spurred by that play and an interference call in the end zone and, after chewing up over eight minutes, Griffin Lowry broke a tackle and powered into the end zone for an early 7-0 lead at 6:53 of the first quarter.

On its first drive, Harvard answered with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Collier Winters to Kyle Juszczyk to cap a 76-yard drive made longer by four false start penalties, including three straight. 

Harvard had little trouble moving the ball in the first half but penalties and turnovers kept the game close.  The Crimson's second turnover of the opening half proved costly as Ross Morand stepped in front of a third-and-one pass on Columbia's 13 yard line and returned it for a touchdown and a 14-7 lead just over five minutes into the second quarter.

Harvard answered again however, driving the length of the field with Treavor Scales cruising into the end zone on a 5-yard run with five minutes left in the opening half as the teams went into the locker rooms tied at 14. 

After a sloppy first half, Harvard took its first lead midway through the third quarter and a trio of impressive scoring drives allowed the Crimson to take command of the game. Brian Owusu set the Crimson up as he read Columbia Sean Bracket and jumped a pass route, intercepting a ball at the Lions' 35 and returning it to the 24. Four plays later, Winters snuck in from one-yard out for a 21-14 lead at 8:34 of the third.

After forcing a Columbia punt, Harvard struck again quickly when Chris Lorditch hauled in a back-shoulder pass along Columbia's sideline, side-stepped two defenders and dove into the end zone for a 28-14 lead. The two Harvard touchdowns came just 2:34 apart from each other.  

Another special individual effort gave Harvard a 35-14 lead early in the fourth. Juszczyk pulled down a pass on an out-pattern on third-and-long, stiff-armed a Lions' defender, broke a tackle and dove into the end zone from 41 yards out. 

Columbia QB Sean Brackett kept the game within reach for the Lions, scrambling as he did all day, this time from 19 yards out to make it a 35-21 game with 9:31 left. The Crimson defense held strong down the stretch, sealing the 35-21 victory with a four-down stand with just under three minutes to play in the game.

Winters finished the game 20-of-30 for 323 yards and a trio of touchdowns, and added another one on the ground. Lorditch (four catches, 123 yards) and Juszczyk (seven catches, 118 yards) both topped the 100-receiving yards mark, while Juszczyk's pair of touchdown receptions moved him into a tie for the team lead with six on the season. Scales totaled 73 yards on the ground and notched his fifth rushing touchdown of the season in the win. 

Harvard returns home for its next game, where it will put its perfect Ivy record on the line against Penn Saturday in a noon matchup. Penn enters the game tied for second with Brown in the Ancient Eight standings.