Lehigh 21, Harvard 19

A 17-point lead, gone with the wind.

Lehigh’s Mountain Hawks engineered a second-half comeback at a windswept Harvard Stadium on Saturday, surmounting a 17-point deficit with three third-period touchdowns.

Strong northwesterly winds, gusting to almost 40 miles per hour, played hob with the football in a game that had more than a few freakish moments. Outpassed and outkicked in the last two quarters, Harvard took its second loss of the season by a 21-19 score.

The Lehigh offense, shut out in the first half, struck back with a crisp passing attack that effaced a 17-0 Harvard lead in the space of nine minutes. With the wind behind them, quarterbacks Chris Lum and Michael Colvin completed 13 of 18 third-quarter passes for 195 yards and three touchdowns. Sophomore receiver Ryan Spadola caught two scoring passes and finished the game with 14 catches, tying the Lehigh record.

Spadola had the game-breaker after a Harvard punt got caught in the jetstream, took a Lehigh bounce after falling to earth, and ended up at the original line of scrimmage. Two plays later, Spadola caught a short pass from Lum, slipped away from two tacklers, and ran 51 yards for the Mountain Hawks’ third touchdown.

Harvard’s offense had held the whip hand in the opening period, scoring first on a 38-yard field goal by freshman David Mothander, and then capitalizing on a forced fumble and an interception to ring up two touchdowns. Though the Crimson appeared to be in command at the halftime break, both offense and defense were largely ineffectual the rest of the way.

Trailing 21-17 as the final quarter began, the Harvard offense couldn't exploit its wind advantage and mounted only one sustained drive. With just over a minute to play and the ball on the Lehigh 30-yard line, receiver Mike Cook ’10 (’11) caught what looked to be a 28-yard touchdown pass near the end zone sideline. Postgame replays established that Cook had both feet in bounds when he caught the ball, but the pass was ruled incomplete.

A two-point safety with three seconds left in the game completed the scoring.

Harvard’s first-half touchdowns came on an 18-yard dash by tailback Gino Gordon ’11 and a 17-yard pass from quarterback Colton Chapple to tight end Kyle Juszczyk ’13. Gordon, with 118 yards on 22 carries, was the game’s leading rusher.

Chapple completed 12 of 27 passes for 143 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. Most of his incompletions—and the interception—came in the final period, when the sophomore quarterback connected on just three of 14 attempts.

The Crimson defense held the Mountain Hawks to 25 yards rushing, but yielded 303 yards in the air. The down linemen, who had made life miserable for Cornell quarterback Jeff Mathews a week earlier, were unable to put equivalent pressure on Lum and Colvin.

Tackle Chuks Obi ’11 was credited with 11 tackles and two forced fumbles. Captain and safety Collin Zych had 10 tackles and a pass breakup.

No Harvard team had surrendered a lead of 17 points or more since October 2000, when Cornell erased a 28-0 deficit by scoring 29 points in the second half. Since the start of the 2003 season, Harvard teams had won 46 of 47 games after leading at halftime.

Lehigh’s overall record is now 4-2. Harvard had outscored its earlier Patriot League opponents, Holy Cross and Lafayette, 69-16.

Now 3-2 overall and 1-1 in Ivy League play, Harvard resumes league competition at Princeton Stadium next Saturday, with a 1:30 kickoff against the Tigers (1-4, 0-2). Elsewhere, league-leading Penn and Yale (both 4-1, 2-0) will be duking it out in New Haven; Brown (3-2, 2-0)—also unbeaten in league play—will host sinking Cornell (1-4, 0-2).

 

Saturday’s other Ivy results: Brown defeated Princeton, 17-13. Penn downed Columbia (3-2, 1-1), 27-13. Yale edged Fordham, 7-6. Dartmouth (3-2, 0-2) defeated Holy Cross, 27-19. Cornell lost to Colgate, 44-3.

 

The Score by Quarters:

Lehigh      0   0  21  0  —  21
Harvard  10   7   0   2  —  19

Attendance: 12,252.


the season so far:
Harvard 34, Holy Cross 6
Brown 29, Harvard 14
Harvard 35, Lafayette 10
Harvard 31, Cornell 17
Lehigh 21, Harvard 19

Read more articles by: Cleat

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