Football: Holy Cross 30, Harvard 22

Critical breakdowns mar the football team’s first outing.

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“Put your enemy in the wrong, and keep him so,” urged Samuel Adams, A.B. 1740, who once called signals for the New England patriots.

Opening the season at Holy Cross, Harvard’s football team put the enemy in the wrong with two early touchdowns. but was unable to keep him so. Aided by critical Harvard breakdowns, the Crusaders reeled off 27 consecutive points and hung on for a 30-22 victory.

The first breakdown came three minutes into the game, when Crimson defensive back Brian Owusu ’13 fumbled a punt. The Crusaders recovered at the Harvard 3-yard line, and took a 3-0 lead on a short field goal by kicker John Macomber.

With fifth-year quarterback Collier Winters ’10(’12) passing adroitly, Harvard looked unstoppable on its first two possessions. Both culminated in touchdowns. Winters scored the first on a quarterback option from four yards out, and lofted a seven-yard pass to tight end Kyle Jusczcyk ’13 for the second.

But the Crimson’s 14-3 lead was short-lived. A half-minute later, on the Crusaders’ first play of the second period, quarterback Ryan Taggart found tight end Josh Hauser alone at midfield and unloaded a long pass that Hauser caught for a 68-yard touchdown.

Holy Cross forged ahead midway through the period, with Taggart scoring on a one-yard quarterback sneak. Macomber’s second field goal gave his team a 20-14 lead at halftime. 

The costliest Crimson breakdown came early in the final period. Trailing 23-14, Harvard had driven to the Crusader 8-yard line and seemed poised to score. But when Winters attempted a pass to his top receiver, Chris Lorditch ’11(’12), defensive back Andrew Zitnik snared the ball near the sideline and raced 97 yards for a game-changing touchdown.

Harvard managed to score on its next possession — on a 46-yard pass from Winters to receiver Alex Sarkisian ’12, with Winters running for a two-point conversion — and mounted a last-ditch rally with two minutes to play. But that drive, too, was snuffed out by an interception.

Led by linebacker and captain Alex Gedeon ’12, who was credited with 13 tackles, the Crimson defense effectively contained the Holy Cross running attack. Pass defense was another matter. Taggart, the talented Crusader quarterback, completed 22 of 35 pass attempts for a career-high 320 yards, was sacked only once, and was not intercepted. 

Winters got heavier pressure from the Crusader front four, but completed 25 of 41 attempts for 265 yards, with two interceptions and three sacks. Chris Lorditch led the receiving corps with seven catches for 68 yards.

Treavor Scales ’13 was Harvard’s leading rusher, with 68 yards on 16 attempts. The game saw the debuts of two fleet freshman backs, Seitu Smith (124 yards on four kick returns) and Zach Boden (two carries for 15 yards), and of Cameron Brate, a promising sophomore tight end. The 6-5 Brate had three catches for 59 yards.

The game was the third of the season for Holy Cross. The Crusaders had lost their opener, 24-16, to a strong Massachu­setts squad, but had then trampled Colgate, 37-7. Holy Cross has now won three of the last four meetings with Harvard.

In other action: Four of the Crimson’s future Ivy opponents opened the season under the lights on Saturday night. Brown won at Stony Brook, 21-20. Cornell downed Bucknell, 24-13. Princeton lost to Lehigh, 34-22, and Penn was upset by Lafayette, 37-12. Earlier in the day, Dartmouth defeated Colgate, 37-20, while Columbia lost to Fordham, 21-14, and Yale bested Georgetown, 37-27. 

Harvard launches its Ivy League campaign with a night game against Brown at the Stadium on Friday, kicking off at 7 p.m.

The score by quarters:

Harvard         7    7   0   8  —   22
Holy Cross    3  17   3   7  —   30

Attendance: 8,649

Read more articles by: Cleat

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