Treavor Scales had a 66-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter (Gil Talbot).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The No. 24 Harvard football team scored three touchdowns in the fourth quarter to pull away from San Diego and earn a 28-13 win in the season opener at Harvard Stadium Saturday afternoon.
Treavor Scales scored two touchdowns and ran for a career-high 173 yards on 19 carries, including a game-best 66-yard dash late in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach. Colton Chapple completed 16-of-29 pass attempts for 209 yards and two touchdowns in the air, while Kyle Juszczyk paced the Crimson with five catches for 54 yards and a touchdown reception.
The Crimson defense recorded seven sacks, including two each by Zach Hodges and John Lyon. Bobby Schneider and Joshua Boyd paced Harvard with 10 tackles apiece, helping the Crimson contain the Toreros to only two total yards rushing on 24 carries.
With Harvard (1-0) leading, 21-13, late in the fourth quarter, San Diego (1-2) attempted a pass on fourth down, but Hodges hurried quarterback Mason Mills, forcing an incompletion and a turnover on downs. On the first play on Harvard's ensuing possession, Scales took a handoff from Chapple and beat all defenders with his 66-yard rush for a score, as the Crimson put the game out of reach, 28-13.
Mills finished 38-of-63 for 354 yards, the most of any quarterback against the Crimson since 2003. Mills's favorite target of the day was Brandon White who caught 12 passes for 135 receiving yards.
The Toreros got on the scoreboard, 3-0, with a 20-yard kick by Ernie Collins after a long drive of more than nine minutes to open the contest. Mills completed 9-of-13 pass attempts on the opening drive, finding White for four of those receptions.
Keyed by an interception at the San Diego 49-yard line by left tackle Jack Dittmer late in the first quarter, the Crimson made its way into the end zone when Chapple tossed a 29-yard pass to a wide open Cameron Brate, who dashed down the left side unopposed for the score. David Mothander added the extra point, as Harvard went up, 7-3, at 14:30 of the second frame.
Despite the Toreros controlling the ball for more than 19 minutes in the opening half and Mills going 19-of-28 for 164 yards, Harvard took its 7-3 lead into the half. The Crimson made three sacks and Joshua Boyd recorded seven tackles to pace the Harvard defensive effort in the half.
On San Diego's first drive of the third quarter, Collins nailed a 48-yard field goal to bring the Toreros within one point, 7-6, at the 8:56 mark. On fourth and two on the Harvard 34, Mills found White for a three-yard pass, keeping the drive alive for San Diego, culminating in the long kick by Collins.
In the final minutes of the third, the Toreros advanced deep into Crimson territory, but Lyon made the Crimson's fifth sack of the afternoon, pulling Mills back to the Harvard 25. However on the next play, Mills scrambled to his right and found Logan Smith open in the back right corner of the end zone, giving San Diego a 13-7 lead following the extra point.
The ensuing kickoff to Harvard's Seitu Smith was returned for a touchdown, but the play was called back for holding on the Crimson, Harvard's eighth penalty of the day. The Crimson, though, responded by marching down the field, going 94 yards on nine plays in 3:07. The Toreros were whistled for three penalties on the drive, and Scales scampered for a 28-yard run from the 50 to the San Diego 22. On first and goal from the 8-yard line, Chapple connected with Juszczyk for a touchdown pass, as the Crimson reclaimed the lead, 14-13.
Harvard looked poised to extend its lead with 9:23 to play, but Chapple had a pass picked off by Joey York in the end zone, giving the ball back to San Diego.
After a key defensive stop, the Crimson gained possession following a San Diego punt to the Harvard 18. Chapple completed a 20-yard pass to Ricky Zorn to start the drive, and followed on the next play by connecting on a 23-yard pass play to Andrew Berg, moving the sticks to the San Diego 39. Chapple moved the ball further by rushing for 16 yards on second down, getting the Crimson into the red zone. Harvard continued its running attack, as Scales broke through for a 1-yard run with 5:37 to play, as Harvard went up, 21-13.