Football Begins Long Road Swing at Holy Cross

Photo courtesy of Zack Williamson
Photo courtesy of Zack Williamson
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Harvard vs. Holy Cross
Saturday, Sept. 15
Fitton Field (23,500)
Charter3/Patriot League Network
Kevin Shea and Andy Lacombe
Live Stats
Harvard (4-0, 2-0 Ivy)
Holy Cross (2-4, 1-1 Patriot)
Harvard leads, 42-24-2
W, 41-18 (Sept. 19, 2014)
W3
Harvard vs. Holy Cross (PDF)


Harvard wraps nonconference action at Holy Cross Saturday (Zack Williamson).

The Storyline
For the first time since 1888, Harvard football will be away from home for three-straight weeks, starting its road swing at Holy Cross Saturday, Oct. 15. The No. 15/20 Crimson, standing at 4-0 overall, faces the 2-4 Crusaders at Fitton Field (1 p.m.) on Charter3 TV and the Patriot League Network. 

Holy Cross was the last non-Ivy team to best the Crimson, earning a 30-22 win Sept. 17, 2011.

Series History
Harvard holds a 42-24-2 advantage in the all-time series against Holy Cross. The series dates back to 1904, a 28-5 triumph for the Crimson. The win was the first of nine straight to begin the series between to the two schools, the longest run for Harvard. After meeting for 13-straight years, the two squads did not face each other last year, with the Crimson earning a 41-18 win at the last meeting in 2014.   

The Numbers
For the fifth-consecutive year, Harvard walks into week five with an unblemished 4-0 record. The Crimson defense has allowed just 18.3 points per game, picking off eight passes and holding opponents to 321.3 yards per game. The offense has accumulated 470.3 yards, scoring an average of 35.8 points per game.

Senior quarterback Joe Viviano leads the Harvard offense, completing 78-of-119 passes (65.5 percent) with seven touchdowns through the air and another three on his feet. His favorite targets have been senior Anthony Firkser and sophomore Justice Shelton-Mosley, accumulating 427 and 245 yards, respectively. Firkser is averaging over 100 yards receiving per game and has found the end zone five times.

On defense, Luke Hutton paces the team with 22 tackles, while reigning Ivy League Player of the Week Tanner Lee is close behind with 19, adding three interceptions. In his first career start against the Big Red, Lee picked off two Cornell passes, including one in the end zone.

The Holy Cross offense is led sophomore wide out Richie DeNicola currently leads the team with 41 receptions for 381 yards and three touchdowns. Senior wide receiver Jake Wieczorek ranks second with 37 catches for 456 yards and four scores, while leading the team with 896 all-purpose yards. Quarterback Peter Pujals is 111-for-175 (63.4 percent) for 1,110 yards and 10 scores.

On the defensive side of the ball, junior linebacker Nick McBeath paces Holy Cross with 56 tackles and five tackles for loss, while Kyle Young has added 49 tackles and an interception. Senior Dewayne Cameron has recorded 35 tackles with six sacks and 10 tackles for loss.

Last Time Out
Semar Smith recorded three rushing touchdowns and Joe Viviano threw for 229 yards and one touchdown, adding 57 yards on the ground to lead then-No. 16 Harvard to a 29-13 win over Cornell last Saturday afternoon at Harvard Stadium. 

The Crimson defense recorded three interceptions on the day, with Tanner Lee notching two of them, Harvard's first two interception game since Connor Sheehan had two on Nov. 8, 2014.  The Harvard defense came up with big stops when it had to, holding Cornell to just 5-of-14 on third down.

Third and Got It
The Crimson is converting nearly 60 percent of its third-down opportunities (58), a number that leads the FCS. Harvard has also connected on half of its fourth-down tries (2-of-4).

Road Streak
Dating back to the beginning of the 2013 season, Harvard has rattled off 16-consecutive wins on the road, setting a new Ivy League and program record (breaking the Crimson record set from 1974-77). The streak is the longest in the FCS and second longest in all of Division I (Ohio State, 19). 

The Crimson last lost on the road, 30-21, at Penn Nov. 10, 2012, and has gone more than three full seasons without dropping a game away from Cambridge.

Dartmouth owns the next-longest road win streak, rattling off 14 in-a-row from 1995-97.

Talented Tandem
The duo of Justice Shelton-Mosley and Anthony Firkser has combined for 627 yards on 47 catches this season, each averaging over 80 yards per game. Both surpassed 100 yards receiving in the opening contest against URI, and Firkser neared the 150 mark against Georgetown. The tight end has five touchdowns to his credit through four games.  

D-Fence
Through four games, the Crimson ranks eighth and ninth in the FCS in scoring and rushing defense, respectively. The Crimson has allowed 92.5 yards rushing and 18.3 points per game. The 18.3 points allowed is the best in the Ancient Eight. Last season, Harvard ranked first in the FCS in rushing defense (84.4 rushing yards allowed per game) and was second in scoring defense (13.0 points allowed per contest). 

Ivy Coaching Wins
Tim Murphy ranks third all-time in Ivy League wins.

Carm Cozza                Yale                             135
Al Bagnoli                   Penn/Columbia         113
Tim Murphy                Harvard                      112
Bob Blackman            Dartmouth/Cornell    100
Joe Restic                   Harvard                       92 

Opening Day
With the victory over Rhode Island, Harvard has now won 14 of the last 16 season openers, including five in a row, and is an impressive 118-23-2 (.832) all-time in the first game of the season. Under current head coach Tim Murphy, the Crimson is 17-6 (.739) on opening day. 

Better Than Average
With a win at Holy Cross, Harvard can clinch its 118th season at .500 or better in the program's 144-year history. It will mark the Crimson's 18th-straight year at .500 or better. 

Harvard Owns New England
Since 1994, the Crimson owns a record of 116-43 (.730) in games played in New England. Since the 2001 campaign, Harvard stands at 91-16 (.850), and the team is 37-3 since the start of 2012 (.925) in contests held in the region. 

September Under Murphy
Since Tim Murphy began patrolling the Harvard sideline in 1994, the Crimson is 39-13 (.750) in games played in the month of September. Harvard boasts a 30-6 (.833) mark since 2001 and has won 13 straight in September. 

Road Trip
Harvard is 36-9 in its last 45 road games (.795). The Crimson is 28-5 (.844) in its last 33 Ivy League road games. 

Over Par
Harvard has scored points in an Ivy League and school-record 182-consecutive games. The Crimson has not been shut out since a 24-0 loss to Columbia in the 1998 season opener. 

Brown held the previous Ivy record (162 games), which was stopped on Oct. 13, 2012 (19-0 loss at Princeton).

Successful Signal Callers
Eleven of the last 12 Harvard QBs have won their first career start. Six of those games have come on the road. 

Garrett Schires... vs. Lafayette.. Oct. 18, 2003

Richard Irvin........ at Holy Cross. Sept. 17, 2005

Liam O'Hagan..... vs. Brown         Sept. 24, 2005

Chris Pizzotti...... vs. Holy Cross Sept. 6, 2006

Jeff Witt.............. at Brown........ Sept.13, 2006

Andrew Hatch..... vs. Holy Cross Sept. 18, 2010

Colton Chapple... at Lafayette... Oct. 2, 2010

Conner Hempel... at San Diego.. Sept. 21, 2013

Michael Pruneau at Cornell....... Oct. 12, 2013

Scott Hosch........ at Brown........ Sept. 27, 2014

Joe Viviano.......... vs. Rhode Island..... Sept. 16, 2016

Going For Four
Harvard has won at least a share of the last three Ivy League titles and is seeking to become the first team to capture four consecutive Ancient Eight titles since Penn (1982-86). This marks the first time the Crimson has won three straight crowns. 

The other schools to win three straight: Yale (1967-69), Dartmouth (1969-73), Yale (1979-81) and Penn (1982-86). 

Preseason Accolades
Harvard players have earned several preseason honors. Sophomore Justice Shelton-Mosley, a wide receiver, was selected to the College Football Performance Awards FCS National Performer of the Year Watch List. Shelton-Mosley also earned STATS FCS Preseason All-America honors, and senior captain Sean Ahern was tabbed to the Lott Impact Award Watch List. Ahern was the only FCS player on the Lott Impact Award Watch List.

Harvard Coach Tim Murphy
In his 23rd season as Harvard's all-time winningest head coach, Tim Murphy enters this week's game with a 160-63 record with the Crimson and a 192-108-1 overall head coaching record, which includes five years at Cincinnati and two years at Maine. Since the formation of the Ivy League in 1956, only one Ivy coach has compiled more wins than Murphy's 160 and he is just one of five coaches to win 100-plus games. Murphy also owns 112 Ivy League wins, third most all-time. Murphy has led Harvard to nine Ivy League championships (1997, 2001, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2015). He is 16-4 against Holy Cross.

Against Brown, Murphy surpassed long-time Harvard head coach Joe Restic (1971-93) by coaching in his 221st game with the Crimson against Brown. Restic was 117-97-6. 

Holy Cross Coach Tom Gilmore
Tom Gilmore is in his 13th season as the head football coach at the College of the Holy Cross. Gilmore's teams have finished with a winning record in eight of his 12 seasons with the Crusaders, winning the Patriot League Championship in 2009. He owns a career record of 68-73 during his time and Holy Cross has placed 96 players on the All-Patriot League teams, good for an average of eight players per year. He is 3-7 against Harvard. 

Offense Clicking Under Murphy
With its 51-point performance vs. Rhode Island Sept. 16, Harvard improved to 38-1 (.974) under head coach Tim Murphy (since 1994) when scoring 40 or more points. The lone loss was at home against Princeton, 51-48, in triple overtime Oct. 26, 2013. 

Ball Control
Since 2000, Harvard is 31-1 (.969) when it does not fumble and 32-0 when not committing a turnover. 

Crimson Colored Ivy
Since the formation of the Ivy League in 1956, Harvard has been the winningest team during league play. The Crimson also has a conference-best 265 victories. 

Team             W                L                 T               Ivy Titles

Harvard    265            148            9                17

Dartmouth  247              164           9                18

Yale           241           172           8                14

Penn          227           190           4                17

Princeton  225           191           5                10

Brown        181           232           7                4

Cornell      180           237           5                3

Columbia  94             321           5                1

Harvard is the only Ivy League school with a winning record against all other Ivies.

Harvard                      7

Yale                             6

Dartmouth                  4

Princeton                    4

Penn                            3

Brown                          2

Cornell                        2

Columbia                    0

Harvard's lowest winning percentage is .533 against Princeton.
Non-Conference Call
Harvard has won 34 of its last 41 non-league games dating back to 2003 (.829).

The Crimson has rattled off 16-straight victories against non-Ivy League opponents, the longest streak in Ivy League history. The last non-Ivy team to defeat Harvard was Holy Cross (30-22) Sept. 17, 2011.            

Double Trouble
Harvard has reached double figures in scoring in 65-straight games and 131 of its last 132 contests (.992). The last team to hold Harvard to single digits was Penn (7) in 2009.

Patriot Games
Harvard has amassed a 205-137-8 (.597) record against opponents currently in the Patriot League. 

Harvard vs. The CAA
With Harvard's 51-21 victory over Rhode Island Sept. 16, the Crimson boasts a record of 25-4-2 (.839) against schools currently in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA). 

Crimson in October
Since the 2006 season, Harvard owns a 38-5 record (.881) in games played during the month of October.