Andrew Berg caught three touchdown passes to tie the Harvard single-game record (Photo courtesy: Gil Talbot).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – No. 23/24-ranked Harvard football held off a hard-charging Cornell Big Red before pulling away in the fourth quarter to win, 45-13, at Harvard Stadium Saturday afternoon.
Quarterback Colton Chapple orchestrated another stellar offensive performance, completing 24-of-36 passes for 362 yards and four scores. The senior also carried the ball nine times for 53 yards and one touchdown. Wide receiver Andrew Berg finished with a career-high 10 receptions for 132 yards and three scores to match the Harvard record for receiving touchdowns in a game, while Ricky Zorn also made five grabs for 100 yards and a touchdown.
Josh Boyd and Bobby Schneider anchored the defense with eight tackles apiece. Boyd added a forced fumble and fumble recovery, and Schneider contributed a sack.
For the second consecutive week, Harvard (4-0) stormed out of the gates, scoring three touchdowns on its first three possessions to take a commanding 21-0 lead with over 14 minutes remaining in the second quarter. Chapple connected with Berg for all three of their scores on those scores, reaching the end zone from 17, nine and 15 yards out.
Harvard looked like it would get into the end zone for the fourth straight series; however, the Big Red finally caught a break as a dropped pass and a missed field goal gave them the ball at their own 20. The stop marked the end of the Crimson's run of a touchdown on 10 straight first-half possessions.
It took quarterback Jeff Matthews just 6 plays to move the ball 80 yards, culminating the drive with a three-yard pitch-and-catch to Luke Tasker to get Cornell on the board.
The Big Red defense would shut down the Harvard offense for the rest of the half, and the offense would tack on a field goal to cut the halftime advantage to 11.
After the intermission, Harvard and Cornell traded field goals on the first two drives to keep the game close.
Following the Big Red field goal, it appeared as though Cornell would have another chance to cut into the lead as the second play of the ensuing Crimson drive was intercepted by Brian Gee when Chapple's pass intended for Cameron Brate was popped into the air.
However, the Crimson defense stood tall yet again, yielding only 15 yards before the 37 yard field goal attempt missed wide right
Both teams traded punts on the two possessions after that before Harvard took over at its own 20. Chapple regained his first-quarter form, and completed all three of his passes. He connected with Brate for a 40 yard gain to get into Cornell territory. After a 10 yard holding penalty backed the Crimson up to Big Red 49, Chapple found Ricky Zorn for 25 yards to sit just outside the red zone. On the very next play, the pair reconnected as Zorn made a spectacular leaping catch to take the ball away from defensive back Kendall Brown for a 24-yard score.
The Crimson would pull away from there, scoring touchdowns on the next two series. Scales hit the end zone from six yards out to conclude a 6 play, 55 yard drive, and Chapple concluded the scoring with a four-yard scamper of his own to make it, 45-13, with just under five minutes remaining.
Harvard hosts Bucknell Oct. 15 at 3:30 p.m. to wrap up its three-game homestand.
- Harvard has now won 13 straight games, all by double figures.
- Harvard has won 10 straight games at Harvard Stadium. The last loss came in 2010 against Lehigh, 21-19.
- Zorn and Berg are the first two receivers to have 100+ receiving yards in a game since Chris Lorditch and Kyle Juszcyk accomplished the feat Nov. 5, 2011 at Columbia.
- Josh Boyd forced 2 fumbles in his last four plays, dating back to the Holy Cross game when he forced a fumble before exiting the game with an injury.
- Colton Chapple finished the first quarter 9/9 for 100 yards and two touchdowns.
- Andrew Berg caught five of those passes for 51 yards and both touchdowns.
- Chapple completed his first 12 passes of the game with three going for touchdowns, which finished four shy of the Harvard consecutive completions record set in 1994 Vin Ferrara '96.
- In the last two first halves, Harvard has outscored it's opposition by a 60-13 margin
- Andrew Berg tied the single-game record for touchdown receptions in a game with 3. He now shares the record with Pat McInally '75, Bob McDermott '76 and Kelly Wildman '06.
- Prior to the missed field goal, Harvard scored touchdowns on 10 straight first half possessions, including nine offensive drives.
- Cornell's touchdown with 7:59 remaining in the second quarter snapped an 84:52 streak without an opponent scoring a touchdown. The last time an opposition found the end zone was Brown with 1:51 remaining in the fourth quarter.
- Chapple completed 15-of-21 passes for 165 yards and three touchdowns. In the last two first halves, he has completed 28-of-39 passes for 425 yards and seven passing touchdowns and one rushing touchdown
- Treavor Scales carried the ball four times for 52 yards on Harvard's opening series of the second half.
- With Chapple's rushing touchdown, he has now accounted for 10 touchdowns in the last two contests, eight passing and two rushing.
- Chris Splinter and Jaron Wilson both recorded their first interceptions of the season.