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Sports

Harvard 45, Georgetown 0

10.2.15

With backup quarterback Jimmy Meyer holding, placekicker Kenny Smart was perfectly busy on the night, nailing his only field-goal attempt and going six-for-six on points after touchdowns.

Photograph by Matthew W. Deshaw/The Harvard Crimson


With backup quarterback Jimmy Meyer holding, placekicker Kenny Smart was perfectly busy on the night, nailing his only field-goal attempt and going six-for-six on points after touchdowns.

Photograph by Matthew W. Deshaw/The Harvard Crimson

Paul Stanton Jr. scored on a 37-yard jaunt and gained a game-high 113 yards despite playing only in the first half.

Paul Stanton Jr. scored on this 37-yard jaunt and gained a game-high 113 yards despite playing only in the first half.

Photograph by Matthew W. Deshaw/The Harvard Crimson


Paul Stanton Jr. scored on this 37-yard jaunt and gained a game-high 113 yards despite playing only in the first half.

Photograph by Matthew W. Deshaw/The Harvard Crimson

Harvard's mighty offensive line, including Max Rich (79), Adam Redmond (61), Larry Allen Jr. (73) and Cole Toner (78), gashed holes for runners such as Paul Stanton Jr. (29) and did not allow Georgetown pass rushers to penetrate.

Photograph by Matthew W. Deshaw/The Harvard Crimson


Harvard's mighty offensive line, including Max Rich (79), Adam Redmond (61), Larry Allen Jr. (73) and Cole Toner (78), gashed holes for runners such as Paul Stanton Jr. (29) and did not allow Georgetown pass rushers to penetrate.

Photograph by Matthew W. Deshaw/The Harvard Crimson

Crimson defenders such as Matt Koran (59), Stone Hart (90) and Miles McCollum (95) dominated, limiting the Hoyas to a paltry 222 yards of total offense.

Photograph by Matthew W. Deshaw/The Harvard Crimson


Crimson defenders such as Matt Koran (59), Stone Hart (90) and Miles McCollum (95) dominated, limiting the Hoyas to a paltry 222 yards of total offense.

Photograph by Matthew W. Deshaw/The Harvard Crimson

The tiredest fellow at Harvard Stadium last Friday night may well have been Kenny Smart ’18. The Crimson placekicker had a full evening of work, having swung his right leg on the game’s opening kickoff, six successful point-after-touchdown conversions and a field-goal attempt (also good), plus the kickoffs after each score. It was, on balance, welcome fatigue, a byproduct of Harvard’s 45-0 victory over outmanned Patriot League member Georgetown. The win ran the Crimson’s 2015 record to 3-0. (Harvard is 1-0 in the Ivy League.) It was coach Tim Murphy’s 150th victory in Cambridge, 33 more than the total of the next winningest coach (and Murphy’s predecessor), Joe Restic. The victory was also the Crimson’s seventeenth straight, a streak second in NCAA Division I only to Ohio State’s 18. Finally, for Harvard, the nighttime is the right time: the Crimson is 11-0 in Stadium night games. With the loss, Georgetown coach Rob Sgarlata’s Hoyas dropped to 2-3.

For the third straight week, Harvard manhandled an opponent. Though Murphy justifiably proclaimed afterward that “It all starts with defense” and “to get out with a goose egg is really impressive,” he also happily acknowledged that the Crimson is exceedingly balanced. Harvard scored on seven of its 13 possessions (and two others were ended by the whistles for the half and the end of the game, respectively). Though all six touchdowns came on the ground, quarterback Scott Hosch ’16 (now 9-0 in his career as a starter) helped set them up by going 19 for 31, passing for 221 yards with no interceptions. The offensive line again kept Hosch’s uniform (all-crimson this week, more pleasing than last week’s black-jerseyed getup) spotless while carving holes for the running backs, most notably Paul Stanton Jr. ’16 (113 yards and two touchdowns, playing only the first half) and Noah Reimers ’19 (64 yards and three touchdowns).

A small but hardy crowd was on hand on a damp and chilly evening. The opening was a bit of foreshadowing: Georgetown received the kickoff, went three and out, then punted. Harvard took over on its 44 and in 10 plays marched to the Hoya 14, with the biggest gain a 21-yard toss from Hosch to wideout Justice Shelton-Mosley ’19. Facing fourth and 12, the Crimson elected to settle for three points. In came Smart for his first field-goal try of 2015. Last year, field goals were sometimes an adventure, but not this time: Smart’s boot from the 21 split the uprights. Harvard 3, Georgetown 0, just 5:12 into the game.

On the next series, the Hoyas did some marching of their own. Isaac Ellsworth returned Smart’s kickoff 34 yards to the Georgetown 45. The Hoyas reached the Crimson 35 and faced a fourth and two. They were a bit out of field-goal range so they went for it—but Harvard captain Matt Koran ’16 wrapped up running back Jo’el Kimpela for a one-yard loss to turn the ball over. Seven plays later the Crimson was in the end zone. Three of those plays were passes from Hosch to, respectively, senior wideouts Seitu Smith and Andrew Fischer and junior tight end Anthony Firkser (a 19-yarder). Stanton eventually took it in from the four. Smart kicked the extra point. Harvard 10, Georgetown 0.

On the next possession Georgetown and its quarterback, Kyle Nolan, drove to the Harvard 16. The Crimson defense stiffened. Facing fourth-and-one, the Hoyas elected to try a field goal. “At that point we were just trying to get something on the board,” said Sgarlata afterward. But Henry Darmstadter missed—wide left. (Just our hunch: Inveterate gambler Murphy would have attempted to get the first down.)

The beginning of the second quarter saw what is becoming a Crimson signature. On fourth and nine at the Georgetown 37, Harry McCollum dropped back to punt. In charged Harvard defensive back Tanner Lee ’18 and deflected the boot. It was the third straight week that assistant coach Ryan Crawford’s special teams had blocked a punt. Six plays later Harvard had six points. On the last one, Stanton blew through a huge hole on the left side, took a jab step and ran 37 yards into the end zone. Smart added the point. Harvard 17, Georgetown 0.

The avalanche was about to accelerate. Yet another Harvard 2015 trademark—the sack followed by a fumble recovery and runback—occurred when defensive tackle Miles McCollum ’17 tackled and jarred the ball from Nolan’s grasp. Koran grabbed it and advanced it 15 yards to the Hoya 25. Hosch and tight end Ben Braunecker ’16 hooked up on a 23-yard pass play. Then Reimers barged the remaining two yards into the end zone. Smart kicked. Harvard 24, Georgetown 0.

There were still 10 minutes left in the half, and the hour became desperate for Georgetown. The Harvard defensive front—including McCollum, James Duberg ’16, Denzel Paige ’16, and Jameson McShea ’16—could tee off with abandon, and they soon had Nolan and his replacement, Tim Barnes, running for their lives. A 22-yard Harry McCollum punt gave the Crimson the ball at its 33. Inexorably, methodically, Harvard took it down the field on a 10-play drive that culminated with Hosch running it in from the one. Smart slammed the conversion through. Harvard 31, Georgetown 0.

In the second half Murphy fed the subs into the action. Jimmy Meyer ’16 replaced Hosch, while his classmate and fellow Georgian, running back Jason Holdway, gained 49 yards on 12 carries. Reimers scored on two one-yard plunges (with Smart converting both times) and became an instant folk hero by hurdling a Georgetown defender for an eight-yard gain. (The play is on view in the video recap of the game, at about the 1:15 mark.) The maneuver seemed improvisational, but was actually the product of a sideline chat between Reimers and Stanton. “I had been talking to Paul on the sidelines about how low one of the cornerbacks was trying to tackle us,” said Reimers afterward. “So I thought, if I get the chance I’m gonna jump over him—and it happened just right.” The shutout was preserved when defensive back Chris Keegan ’18 (another Georgian) made a potential touchdown-saving tackle on Ellsworth on Georgetown’s final series. Murphy was thrilled for Keegan: “This is the first day he’s been healthy since the preseason.”

You only can beat whom you play. After three thumping wins, the deathless phrase from the film The Dirty Dozen comes to mind: “Very pretty, Colonel…but can they fight?” The Crimson has yet to be tested. (Or as Murphy put it: “The preseason is over.”) If comparative scores mean anything, Georgetown also lost to Dartmouth, 31-10, but did outgain the Big Green. We might know more next week when Harvard travels to traditionally pesky Cornell. Certainly, it will matter more.

 

Weekend Roundup 

Princeton 10, Columbia 5
Colgate 28, Cornell 21
Yale 27, Lehigh 12
Dartmouth 41, Penn 20
Brown 41, Rhode Island 31

 

Coming up: Next Saturday, Harvard travels to Ithaca, New York, to play Cornell at Schoellkopf Field. Kickoff: noon. (The game will be televised by American Sports Network and the Ivy League Digital Network.) The Big Red stands at 0-3 and is 0-1 in the Ivy League. Harvard leads the series 45-32-2 and has won the last 10, including a 24-7 victory last year in Cambridge. Cornell’s winless 2015 record is a bit deceiving: the Big Red has been competitive in every game and appears to be on the rise under third-year coach (and former Cornell captain) David Archer.

One other note: One hundred years ago, the Big Red ended the Crimson’s 33-game unbeaten streak with a 10-0 victory in Cambridge. Fortunately for Harvard, most of the players from that Cornell national championship team have exhausted their eligibility.

 

The Score By Quarters 

Georgetown0000    0
Harvard1021140  45

Attendance: 7,566

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Turnover: Having intercepted a Brown pass, Harvard senior defensive back Wesley Ogsbury (1) wends his way upfield on a 21-yard return that led to a Crimson field goal.
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In the 1980s, future U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan ’86 and future Stemberg Family Coach Tommy Amaker faced off on the basketball court, Amaker as a Duke point guard and Duncan as a Harvard forward. This image of the two greeted attendees at a Kennedy School Forum event with Duncan.
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