Football struggles at Harvard

By Greg Stevenson

Senior Writer

One week after falling 30-6 at home to No. 10 Lehigh Mountainhawks, the Bison suffered their second consecutive lopsided defeat last Saturday, this time versus the Harvard Crimson, 42-3, on the road. After a stellar five-game stretch to start the year, the Orange and Blue have seen their once 4-1 record drop to 4-3 with just four games, all in the Patriot League, remaining.

“The difference between the first five games and the last two is the past two opponents,” Head Coach Joe Susan said. “Lehigh is [now] ranked number nine and Harvard is right on the edge of the top 25. They are the two best teams we will play. Our performance against them has provided perspective.”

The Bison defense hung tough on consecutive drives to open the game, forcing a Harvard fumble and missed field goal. The Orange and Blue struggled on offense early on, unable to sustain long drives and giving the ball back to the Harvard scoring attack.

The Crimson opened the scoring on the final play of the first quarter, beginning what would turn out to be a historic day for Harvard quarterback Colton Chapple. His 11-yard touchdown strike as time expired in the first period put the Crimson up 7-0 and would be the first of five passing scores from the Crimson quarterback in the contest.

Harvard would use the second quarter to break a close game wide open. The Crimson would end three of their five offensive drives in the period with touchdowns, all through the air from their quarterback Chapple, enough for a 28-0 halftime lead.

“Chapple was very efficient in both the run and the pass,” Susan said. “I thought he did a good job of managing the game. We had match-up problems in our passing game and he exploited them.”

Just five minutes into the second half, the Harvard quarterback put the finishing touches on an outstanding performance, finding the endzone for the fifth time in the contest and ending any chances for a Bison comeback.

The one shining moment from an otherwise tough game for the Orange and Blue came late in the third quarter, when Bryce Robertson ’12 returned an interception 74 yards down to the Harvard two-yard line. Despite the outstanding field position, the Bison could only muster a 23-yard field goal from Drew Orth ’12.

Overall, it was a rough day for the Bison offense. The same offense that had scored 27 or more points four times this season managed just 140 total yards against Harvard, including netting negative-five yards in the rushing game. Quarterback Brandon Wesley ’14 struggled throughout, getting sacked four times and throwing four interceptions.

“Harvard created pressure on our passing game with a four-man rush,” Susan said. “This enabled them to be sound in their coverage and they did not have to play man-to-man or take any risks with pressure.”

Seeking to end their two-game slide, the Bison return home to face the Holy Cross Crusaders tomorrow in their final home contest of 2011. A victory over Holy Cross would at worst put the Bison in a second-place tie in the Patriot League standings, with three conference games to go.

“We are back at home, back in the league with a chance to have an impact,” Susan said. “We cannot dwell on last week. Our team did a great job of practice and I feel they will respond well and prepare the right way to play well against Holy Cross.”


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