Matt Koran and the Crimson close out the non-conference portion of its schedule Saturday (Gil Talbot).
After moving to 2-0 in the Ivy League by handling Cornell, 24-7, at Harvard Stadium last week, No. 24/25 Harvard remains at home to close out its non-conference schedule against Lafayete. The Crimson enters the action vs. the Leopards with an undefeated 4-0 overall record, while Lafayette carries a 3-3 record into Cambridge.
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Fans use #HarvardLafayette for the football game this week.
Saturday's game will be the 18th meeting between Harvard and Lafayette in a rivalry that dates back to 1966. The Crimson won the last three meetings in 2010, 2011 and 2013 and leads, 14-3-0, all-time. Harvard boasts an 8-2 mark against the Leopards at Harvard Stadium.
Harvard forced four turnovers and scored in each quarter en route to a 35-16 victory over Lafayette a year ago. Harvard's defense stifled the Leopards offense thanks in part to three interceptions, three sacks, and one fumble recovery. D.J. Monroe '14 and Joshua Boyd '13 led the way with seven tackles apiece. Monroe added an interception and pass breakup as Boyd notched a sack and tackle for loss. Chris Splinter '14 and Connor Sheehan each intercepted a pass and returned the ball 35 yards, complimenting sacks for Zack Hodges and Brent Spisak. In total, the Leopards gained just 85 yards on the ground while totaling 327 through the air.
Offensively, Michael Pruneau '14 finished the game 17-of-29 for 263 yards and three touchdowns highlighted by a 50-yard pass to Andrew Fischer to open the fourth quarter. Paul Stanton Jr., led the team on the ground with 21 carries for 113 yards and two touchdowns.
Last Time Out
Led by a heroic defensive effort, Harvard moved to 2-0 in league play with a 24-7 win over Cornell last weekend at Harvard Stadium. The Crimson defense held Cornell 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). Junior Paul Stanton Jr., gave the Crimson offense a jolt in the second half, rushing for 56 yards and a touchdown.
The Crimson leads the Ivy League in scoring defense, allowing just 10.5 points per game. Juniors Eric Medes and Matt Koran have been a force at linebacker, totaling 49 tackles, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. Senior Zack Hodges broke the Harvard record for career sacks, standing alone with 22.0 over four years.
Last week against the Hoyas, Lafayette senior tailback Ross Scheuerman ran for three touchdowns to lead the Leopards to a 24-21 home victory over Georgetown. The Leopards gave up 282 rushing yards, but the special teams unit stepped up, blocking a field goal and using a long punt return to knot the game heading into the half.
Lafayette averages 26.7 points per game behind Scheuerman, who averages 103.5 rushing yards per game, adding 39.8 yards receiving. The senior has registered six rushing scores and one receiving. Blake Searfoss and Drew Reed have both seen action at quarterback. Searfoss has completed 61 percent of his passes in six games, registering four touchdowns.
With his 2.0 sacks against Cornell last week, defensive end Zack Hodges now has 22.0 in his career (3.0 as freshman, 9.0 as sophomore, 6.5 as junior, 3.5 as senior), becoming the school's all-time career leader. Hodges surpassed Chris Smith '98 (20.5).
The all-time Ivy League sack leader is Penn's Michael Turner (1990-93), who finished his career with 31.0.
Defense Wins Games
Harvard ranks third in the country in scoring defense (10.5 points allowed per game), fifth in total defense (266.5 yards allowed per game) and is second in rushing defense (75.5 ypg).
Running The Ball
Harvard has scored at least one rushing touchdown in 18-straight games. The last time the Crimson was kept out of the end zone on the ground came in a 39-34 loss at Princeton Oct. 20, 2012.
The Crimson has also registered two or more rushing touchdowns in seven-straight games.
Don't Move The Chains
In Harvard's 24-7 win over Cornell, the Crimson allowed only seven first downs against the Big Red. Harvard paces the nation with only 66 first downs allowed this fall.
Harvard's record for fewest first downs allowed in a game is one, coming in a 13-0 win over Yale in 1923.
Senior quarterback Conner Hempel is Harvard's all-time leader in completion percentage (.665, 183-of-275).
This season, QB Scott Hosch ranks seventh in the nation in completion percentage (.676, 71-of-105), while Harvard quarterbacks are fourth overall in the country (.695, 82-of-118).
Keeping Points Off The Board
For the 44th time in the Tim Murphy era, the Crimson held an opponent to under 10 points, as Harvard topped Cornell, 24-7, Oct. 11. In those 44 games, the Crimson owns a 42-2 record.
After his three touchdown performance against Holy Cross Sept. 19, running back Andrew Casten busted the Georgetown defense for four rushing scores (2, 22, 6 and 3) Oct. 4. The Harvard record for rushing TDs in a game is five, held by Tom Ossman '52, who found the back of the end zone five times against Brown Nov. 17, 1951.
Casten ranks fifth in the nation in scoring (12.0 ppg), 13th with eight rushing touchdowns and is 14th in yards per carry (6.57).
Harvard has scored points in a school-record 162 consecutive games. The Crimson has not been shut out since a 24-0 loss to Columbia in the 1998 season opener.
The Crimson has also tied the Ivy League record for scoring in consecutive games with Brown, which was stopped on Oct. 13, 2012 (19-0 loss at Princeton).
With its 4-0 record, Harvard is just one of five remaining undefeated FCS teams in the country (Coastal Carolina, Eastern Kentucky, Illinois State and North Dakota State).
The Crimson has started the season 4-0 in each of the last three seasons and seven times under head coach Tim Murphy (since 1994). Harvard has opened the year with four straight wins 54 times overall in 141 years of football.
Coming Down With It
Wide receiver Andrew Fischer doubled his career-high with 12 catches (115 yards, 1 TD) in the win at Brown Sept. 27.
Fischer ranks 17th in the country this fall with 6.5 receptions per contest.
Through two conference games, Harvard and Dartmouth are tied atop the standings with 2-0 marks. Princeton is also unbeaten at 1-0, while the other five teams have at least one conference loss.
3rd Down? No Problem
The Crimson boasts the nation's seventh-best conversion rate on third downs (.500, 28-of-56). Harvard converted nine third downs in the 34-3 win at Georgetown Oct. 4.
The Crimson has won seven straight road games, dating back to its 42-20 win at San Diego Sept. 21, 2013. The streak is the second longest in the FCS, trailing only North Dakota State (15).
Harvard Owns New England
Since 1994, the Crimson owns a record of 102-42 (.708) in games played in New England. Since the 2001 campaign, Harvard stands at 77-15 (.837), and the team is 23-2 since 2011 (.920) in contests held in the region.