Strong Defensive Effort Pushes Harvard Past Cornell, 24-7

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Led by a heroic defensive effort, Harvard football (4-0, 2-0) kept its win streak alive with a 24-7 win over Cornell Saturday afternoon at Harvard Stadium. The Crimson has won eight-straight contests dating back to last season, the second-longest active streak in the nation. Harvard is also just one of five unbeaten teams remaining in the FCS this fall.

The Harvard defense held Cornell (0-4, 0-2) to just 35 rushing yards on 34 attempts and 175 yards of total offense. It marked the first time the Crimson had held an opponent to under 200 yards of offense since Columbia Nov. 3, 2012 (149 yards).

Senior Zack Hodges etched his name in the Harvard record book, totaling 1.5 sacks to stand alone atop the Harvard record book with 22.0 career sacks. The Atlanta, Georgia native broke the mark with a seven-yard takedown of Cornell quarterback Jake Jatis in the first quarter.

Posting 24 points, Harvard tied the Ivy League record, scoring in 162 consecutive games. The Crimson was last shut out by Columbia (24-0) in 1998.  

After a scoreless half, the Crimson finally found the end zone with 10:28 to play in the third quarter as junior Scott Hosch connected with sophomore Anthony Firkser for a 24-yard completion down the left sideline. Facing a fourth-and-14, the junior from Sugar Hill, Georgia kept his composure in the pocket to find a wide-open Firkser on a wheel route. The TD completed a 10-play, 71-yard drive that took 4:32 off the clock.

Senior Andrew Flesher made the score 10-0 just over eight minutes later with a 23-yard field goal to cap a 74-yard drive. Hosch completed 3-of-4 passes during the possession, including a 35-yard toss to Firkser to cross into Cornell territory.

The Crimson added seven to its tally on the opening drive of the fourth quarter to lead the Big Red, 17-0, with 11:52 to play. Junior Paul Stanton Jr., rushed for his second TD of the season – 18th of his career – on a four-yard scamper. The Kenner, Louisiana product compiled 21 yards on the possession that started on the Harvard 40 after a 28-yard return by Seitu Smith II.

Cornell posted its lone score of the game with just over three minutes to play. Jatis found Collin Shaw for a 26-yard completion to pull within 10, 17-7.

The Crimson capped the game with another rushing touchdown, as Andrew Casten rolled in from three yards out. Dating back to last season, the Crimson has registered two rushing TDs in seven-straight games. It also marked the 18th-consecutive contest with at least one rushing score.

Despite three turnovers in the first quarter, the Crimson was able to escape the stanza knotted 0-0 with the Big Red. The Harvard defense did not allow a Cornell first down over the first 15 minutes, forcing four punts and stopping the Big Red once on fourth-and-one.

Harvard's defense continued its stellar play in the second quarter, allowing just two first downs. For the half, the Crimson sacked Jatis four times, totaling 25 yards lost, and held the Big Red to just 53 yards of offense. Harvard also failed to put points on the board, missing a 43-yard field goal just before the break. It marked the first time since Nov. 13, 2010 that Harvard had been held scoreless over a half.

The Crimson will be back at Harvard Stadium next Saturday to welcome Lafayette. The game is slated for a 1 p.m. start and will be broadcast on NESN, ESPN3 and the Ivy League Digital Network.