- Harvard Athletic Communications
Time was when a four-touchdown day for a Harvard passer was a special occasion. But Colton Chapple seems to make a habit of it.
Harvard’s senior quarterback threw for four touchdowns and ran for another as the Crimson dispatched Cornell, 45-13, at the Stadium on Saturday. In a rain-soaked night game a week earlier, Chapple had passed for four first-half touchdowns in a 52-3 rout of Holy Cross.
A year ago, as the team’s backup quarterback, Chapple passed for 414 yards and four touchdowns in a 41-31 shootout at Cornell. He then tied a 58-year-old Harvard record by throwing five scoring passes in a 42-3 victory over Bucknell.
Four games into the season, Harvard (4-0, 2-0 Ivy League) has rung up 170 points, for a league-leading average of 42.5 per game. Chapple has accounted for 14 touchdowns—11 passing and three rushing—over that four-game span. His won-lost record as a starter is now 10-1.
In a game that was framed as a showdown between the league’s top-ranked quarterbacks, Chapple outplayed Cornell’s Jeff Mathews, last year’s Ivy offensive player of the year. He completed 24 of 36 attempts for 362 yards, with one interception. Mathews, the Big Red’s junior co-captain, completed 21 of 45 throws for 307 yards and one touchdown. Harvard defenders intercepted him twice, sacked him four times, and recorded nine quarterback hurries.
The defense held Cornell’s ground game to 29 yards on 19 carries, forcing the Big Red into a one-dimensional offense.
Harvard took command early, scoring on its first three possessions and sealing the win with 21 unanswered points in the final period. The Crimson’s explosive offense has scored 21 fourth-quarter points in three of this season’s four games.
Making good on his first 12 passing attempts of the game, Chapple threw three scoring strikes to junior receiver Andrew Berg to give Harvard a 21-0 lead at the start of the second quarter.
Cornell answered with its only touchdown of the day, on a short pass from Mathews to receiver Luke Tasker after a quick six-play aerial drive covering 80 yards. A 25-yard Big Red field goal late in the second quarter brought the score to 21-13 at halftime.
Harvard started the second half with a fourth scoring drive, capped by junior kicker David Mothander’s field goal following a dropped pass in the end zone.
The Crimson offense put the game away with a fourth-quarter splurge that began when junior receiver Ricky Zorn outjumped a Cornell defender to seize a 24-yard pass at the goal line.
The scoring continued on Harvard’s next two drives, with tailback Treavor Scales going in from six yards out and Chapple making a four-yard dash to the right pylon.
Scales, who has rushed for seven touchdowns this season, was the game’s leading ground-gainer, with 106 yards on 21 carries. Berg was the top pass-catcher, with 10 receptions for 132 yards. His three touchdown catches tied a Harvard record held by three earlier Crimson receivers.
Senior linebackers Josh Boyd and team captain Bobby Schneider led the defensive team with eight tackles each. Returning to action after a shoulder injury in the season’s second game, Boyd forced a fumble on Cornell’s third play of the game and recovered the ball to set up Harvard’s first touchdown drive. The Crimson defense contained Mathews on all but two of 13 third-down conversion attempts.
The offensive unit was without three of its most valued starters. Sophomore tackle Will Whitman injured a knee in practice and is out for the season. Receiver and kick-return specialist Seitu Smith II ’15 broke his hand in the Brown game and may not return this year. Senior center Jack Holuba is recovering from a concussion, but may play next weekend.
Harvard has won 11 of the last 12 games against Cornell, and has scored 31 points or more in six of the teams’ last seven meetings. The Crimson now owns a 13-game winning streak, the longest of any NCAA Division I team.
Cornell (2-2, 1-1 Ivy League) had lost its opening game to Fordham, 34-27, but had then crushed Yale, 45-6, and held off Bucknell, 15-10.
In other games: Dartmouth (3-1, 1-1 Ivy) defeated Yale (1-3, 0-2) for the first time since 2002, 34-14. In nonleague play, Penn (1-3, 1-0) lost to William & Mary (2-4), 34-28. Brown (3-1, 0-1) downed Rhode Island (0-5), 17-7. Columbia (1-3, 0-1) lost to Lehigh (6-0), 35-14. Princeton (2-2, 1-0) defeated Lafayette (3-2) in a night game, 35-14. Harvard’s next opponent, Bucknell (1-4, 0-2 Patriot League), lost to Holy Cross (1-4, 1-0), 13-6.
Next Saturday: Harvard hosts Bucknell at the Stadium, with an unusual kickoff time of 3:30 p.m. A year ago Harvard stampeded the Bison, 42-3, with Colton Chapple throwing all of his five touchdown passes in the first 35 minutes of play.
The Harvard-Cornell score by quarters:
Cornell 0 10 3 0 —
Harvard 14 7 3 21 — 45
The season so far:
Harvard 28, San Diego 13
Harvard 45, Brown 31
Harvard 52, Holy Cross 3
Harvard 45, Cornell 13