The Crimson and Big Red football teams struggled mightily for three periods at Cornell’s Schoellkopf Field on Saturday, with the lead changing hands five times. But Harvard then took command, scoring 21 points in a seven-minute stretch to defeat the feisty Big Red, 41-31.
Junior quarterback Colton Chapple had a career day, passing for 414 yards and four touchdowns. Neil Rose ’03, who did it twice, is the only other Crimson passer to have thrown for more than 400 yards in a game.
Chapple began the season as a reserve, stepping in for the injured Collier Winters ’10 (’12) in the team’s second game. In the three games he has started this year, he has passed for 742 yards and seven touchdowns.
Cornell took the fight to Harvard early, scoring on a 42-yard pass from strong-armed sophomore quarterback Jeff Mathews to receiver Shane Savage on the third play of the game. Mathews, last season’s Ivy League rookie of the year, finished the game with 322 passing yards and three aerial touchdowns.
Harvard evened the score later in the first period, on an 11-yard pass from Chapple to Adam Chrissis ’12, and took a short-lived lead at the start of the second quarter on a 42-yard field goal by David Mothander ’14. Cornell struck back with another scoring pass and a field goal, but Harvard tallied on its next two drives and held a 20-17 lead at halftime.
The Harvard scores came on a two-yard dash by freshman Zach Boden—set up by a 41-yard bomb from Chapple to Chrissis—and a 26-yard field goal by Mothander.
Cornell regained the lead with a 60-yard scoring drive in the third quarter, but Chapple then threw the first of three consecutive touchdown passes, connecting with receiver Alex Sarkisian ’12 on a 42-yard pass play.
The next score came after a bad Cornell punt snap gave Harvard the ball at the Big Red 38-yard line. Chapple hit tight end Cameron Brate ’14 with a 27-yard scoring pass just three plays later.
The Crimson’s final touchdown came on the team’s next series, on a 26-yard pass from Chapple to tight end Kyle Jusczcyk ’13.
Harvard’s defense stymied the Big Red on their next two possessions. Trailing 41-24, Cornell got a consolation touchdown on a 44-yard pass play with less than two and a half minutes remaining in the game.
Chapple completed 23 of 38 pass attempts and was intercepted once. Receiver Alex Sarkisian, who did not log much playing time before this season, also had a career day. He caught seven passes for 112 yards, and fought off two defenders to make a brilliant catch of the third-period touchdown pass that put Harvard ahead for keeps.
Punter Jacob Dombrowski ’13 had a stellar afternoon as well, averaging 46 yards on six kicks, with a long of 58 yards.
The defensive unit had four quarterback sacks against an offensive line that had allowed only two in Cornell’s three previous games. Linebackers Josh Boyd ’13 and Bobby Schneider ’13 each recorded eight tackles. Linebacker and captain Alex Gedeon ’12 made seven tackles and an interception.
Harvard (3-1, 2-0 Ivy) has defeated Cornell (2-2, 0-2) in 10 of the teams’ last 11 meetings. The Crimson has scored at least 31 points against the Big Red in five of the past six years.
Harvard will be back at the Stadium next Saturday for a nonleague match with Bucknell (4-2), which returns to the schedule after a 14-year hiatus. The Crimson holds a 4-3-1 edge in a sporadic series that began in 1955. Kickoff time is 1 p.m.
Bucknell is 1-1 against Ivy opponents, with a 24-13 loss to Cornell and a 34-9 blowout of Princeton. The Bison lost to Lehigh on Saturday, 30-6, giving up four touchdown passes to Mountain Hawk quarterback Chris Lum.
In other weekend games: Yale (3-1, 2-0 Ivy) shut out Dartmouth (1-3, 0-2), 30-0. In nonleague action, Brown (3-1, 0-1) defeated Holy Cross (2-3), 20-13. Columbia (0-4, 0-1) lost to Sacred Heart (3-2), 34-25, and Princeton (1-3, 1-0) lost to Hampton (3-2), 28-23. Penn (2-2, 1-0) beat Fordham (1-4), 35-20, in a night game at Franklin Field.
The Harvard-Cornell score by quarters:
7 13 7 14 — 41
Cornell 7 10 7 7 — 31
The Season So Far
Holy Cross 30, Harvard 22
Harvard 24, Brown 7
Harvard 31, Lafayette 3
Harvard 41, Cornell 31