Flesher’s 23-Yard Field Goal in Final Seconds Lifts Harvard to 24-21 Win Over Dartmouth

Andrew Flesher drilled a 23-yard field goal in the final minute in the victory over Dartmouth (Gil Talbot).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Andrew Flesher nailed a 23-yard field goal with 48 seconds remaining in the game to lift the Harvard football team past Dartmouth, 24-21 at Harvard Stadium on Saturday. With the win, Harvard improves 6-1 overall and 3-1 in Ivy League conference.

Flesher hit three of his four field-goal attempts, making kicks from 34, 32 and 23 yards out. Harvard quarterback Conner Hempel completed 18-of-27 passes for 135 yards and rushed 77 yards on 17 carries for a touchdown. Seitu Smith II caught seven passes for 35 yards, while Ricky Zorn had four catches for 40 yards and a touchdown. On the ground, Paul Stanton, Jr. ran 26 times for 146 yards. Defensively, Ryan Delisle and Joshua Boyd registered a sack apiece, and D.J. Monroe and Jaron Wilson had an interception.

Dartmouth's Dalyn Williams went 11-of-24 for 156 yards, with Bo Patterson (four receptions, 74 yards) being his favorite target. Michael Runger (14 tackles) and Mike Banaciski (10 tackles) paced the Big Green defense.

Hempel put the Crimson on the board midway through the opening frame when he broke through the Dartmouth defense to find the end zone. Hempel orchestrated a six-play drive good for 52 yards in 2:33.

On the ensuing possession, Dartmouth (3-4, 2-2 Ivy) quarterback, Williams took his first snap of the game on the Big Green's 24-yard line and tossed a passed down the field, but Monroe picked it off and returned it for nine yards. The Crimson extended its lead to 10 when Flesher, the reigning Ivy League Special Teams Player of the Week, hit a 34 yard field goal attempt after Stanton came up short on third and fifth.

With 17 seconds to go in the first quarter, Stanton got the ball, reversed in the backfield and exploded up the left sideline for a career best 63 yards to the Dartmouth 17. The Big Green defense limited the Crimson to a field goal. Flescher sent the ball 32 yards good for his second field goal of the game to give the Crimson a 13-0 lead with 12:48 remaining in the half.

Dartmouth responded with a five play, 65-yard drive. Williams completed three consecutive passes highlighted by a 41-yard bomb to Cole Marcoux to put the ball at Harvard's 10 for the first time. Williams handed the ball off to Dominick Pierre who ran the ball in for the score to close the gap, 13-7.

With less than four minutes to go in the half, Dartmouth took over at its own 35 yard line looking to close the deficit. The Harvard defense came up big on 2nd and 10 when Joshua Boyd sacked Williams to push the ball back six yards.  The Big Green was unable to convert on third and 16 and was forced to punt. Harvard led, 13-7, at intermission.

On the second Crimson possession of the second half, Bo Ellis bobbled a pass from Hempel behind the line of scrimmage and Dartmouth's Stephen Dazzo picked up the live ball. Ellis burst 33 yards up the right sideline to give the Big Green its first lead of the game.

Harvard responded just four minutes later when Hempel handed the ball off to Stanton who gave it to Zorn on a reverse. Zorn stepped back and launched a 32-yard pass, connected with Andrew Berg in the back of the end zone for a highlight reel score, 19-14. The Crimson successfully converted on a two-point attempt as Hempel lofted a pass to Tyler Hamblin in the left corner of the end zone.

On its next possession, Dartmouth drove down the field in 13 plays for 78 yards. On 4th and 5, Williams rushed five yards to keep the drive alive. Back to back penalties against Harvard put the Big Green in scoring position.  With 13 seconds to play, Kyle Bramble got the ball from Williams and headed into the end zone to knot the score at 21.

The Crimson defense did not let Dartmouth keep its next drive alive on 4th and 3 when Delisle brought Williams to the ground for a loss of 13 yards to leave the ball at midfield. Harvard used the field position to its advantage as the Crimson moved the ball into field goal range. Flesher nailed a 23 yard shot to lift Harvard to a three point lead with 48 seconds remaining.

On its final possession of the game, Dartmouth's Williams threw a pass down the field that was intercepted by Wilson to give Harvard the ball and secure the win. 

Harvard will head on the road for the first time in nearly a month, as the Crimson visits Columbia Saturday, Nov. 9 at 12:30 p.m.