After record passing displays in three midseason games, the football team unlimbered its ground attack at the Stadium on Saturday night. With a preternaturally early nor’easter blanketing the playing field with wet snow, three Crimson backs ran for more than a hundred yards apiece as Harvard plowed Dartmouth under, 41-10.
With three games remaining, Harvard (4-0, 6-1) is now the only Ivy League team without a league loss, a game ahead of Brown, Penn, and Yale in the standings. Brown dealt Penn its first league defeat on Saturday, ending an 18-game Ivy winning streak for the Quakers.
For Dartmouth (1-3, 2-5), the loss was the fourteenth in the Green’s last 15 meetings with Harvard.
Junior tailback Treavor Scales rushed for 139 yards on 18 carries, while his alternate, freshman back Zach Boden, carried 15 times for 117 yards. Quarterback Collier Winters, starting his second game after sitting out four games with a hamstring pull, rushed for 126 yards on 15 carries. Each back had a pair of touchdowns.
Never before had three Harvard backs rushed for more than 100 yards in the same game. Winters was also the first Crimson quarterback to break the century mark since 2004, when Ryan Fitzpatrick ’05 ran for 102 yards against Cornell.
The offense scored on six of its first seven possessions, with drives of 84, 44, 99, 77, 46, and 95 yards. All told, the Crimson piled up 395 yards rushing.
When Harvard did take to the air, Winters was close to flawless, completing 10 of 13 passes for 116 yards. In his return to action a week earlier, Winters had thrown for a record-tying five touchdowns and rushed for another in a 56-39 shootout with Princeton.
This time Winters scrambled 13 yards to begin the scoring parade after six minutes of play. After a 27-yard Dartmouth field goal late in the opening period, a 43-yard kickoff return by freshman Seitu Smith III set up a series of carries by Boden, finished off by an 8-yard touchdown that helped the Crimson to a 13-3 lead. Scales scored on a short-yardage run on the team’s next drive, giving Harvard a 20-3 lead at halftime.
The scoring parade continued after the half. Driving deep into Dartmouth territory, the Harvard offense scored again on short runs by Winters, Boden, and Scales. The Green drove for a consolation touchdown with a minute left in the game.
The Crimson defensive unit limited Nick Schwieger, Dartmouth’s all-time rushing leader and the Ivy League’s top ground-gainer, to 51 yards on 15 carries. The senior tailback had been averaging 118 yards per game. In two previous outings against Harvard, Schwieger had been held to a total of 89 yards rushing.
The defense confined the Dartmouth ground attack to 104 yards rushing, and allowed just 98 yards through the air. Despite the weather conditions, neither team gave up a fumble or an interception.
Linebackers Alex Gedeon ’12 and Joshua Boyd ’13 led the defense with eight and seven tackles respectively. Gedeon, the team’s captain, ranks second in the league in total tackles (66), while senior cornerback Matt Hanson is the Ivy leader in passes defended (8). Kick-return specialist Seitu Smith leads the league and ranks third nationally in kickoff runbacks, averaging 31.2 yards per game.
The win brings the Crimson’s record in Stadium night games to 6-0. This season’s home opener was a rain-soaked night victory over Brown. Harvard had never before scheduled two Stadium night games in one season, and this was the first to be played in a snowstorm.
Harvard’s offense has now scored more than 40 points in each of the last four games. Not since 1890, when captain Arthur Cumnock’s eleven rolled over Dartmouth, Bowdoin, Wesleyan, and Cornell by a combined score of 250-0, has a Crimson team reached the 40-point plateau in four consecutive games.
This year’s team bears a striking resemblance to captain Ryan Fitzpatrick’s Ivy League championship crew of 2004, aptly described by the Boston Globe’s John Powers ’70 as “an all-terrain, all-weather scoring machine.” That team generated 235 points in its first seven games and went on to set a modern Harvard record for scoring (339 points). In seven games this season, it’s 257 and counting.
In other Ivy games: Two field goals were enough to give Brown (3-1, 6-1) a 6-0 shutout of Penn (3-1, 4-3). Yale (3-1, 4-3) beat winless Columbia (0-4, 0-7), 16-13. Cornell (1-3, 3-4) secured its first Ivy win, a 24-7 victory over Princeton (1-3, 1-6).
Next week: Harvard travels to Columbia’s Wien Stadium for the team’s fourth road game of the season, kicking off at 12:30 p.m. The Crimson has won 12 of its last 14 meetings with the Light Blue. Elsewhere, Ivy League railbirds will keep a watchful eye on Yale Bowl, where the Eli will be contesting with Brown. The winner will still have a shot at the Ivy title, but—barring an unpredictable confluence of almost unimaginable outcomes—the loser will not.
The Harvard-Dartmouth score by quarters:
Dartmouth 3 0 0
7 — 10
Harvard 6 14 21 0 — 41
The season so far:
Holy Cross 30, Harvard 22
Harvard 24, Brown 7
Harvard 31, Lafayette 3
Harvard 41, Cornell 31
Harvard 42, Bucknell 3
Harvard 56, Princeton 39
Harvard 41, Dartmouth 10