Matt Luft was marching tall
Harvard 42 Columbia 28
Why Harvard Won
QB Chris Pizzotti had an even better day than usual, throwing for almost 300 yards in the first half alone. Despite pretty good coverage from the Columbia secondary, his throws were som accurate and well-timed that it didn't matter. Of course, it helped to have a 6-foot-6 WR like Matt Luft to throw to as well.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Crimson weren't dominant, but they grabbed some key interceptions and executed a good pass rush at the end of the game to seal the deal.
Why Columbia Lost
More mistakes at crucial times, but this time it was not a variety of mistakes, just the same thing over and over: interceptions. Rough throws from both QB's not only snuffed out Lion drives, but they also set up a Harvard offense that was already in high gear.
Key Turning Points
1) With Columbia leading 7-6, Harvard's first play from scrimmage after the Columbia TD resulted in a 76-yard TD pass from Pizzotti to Chris Lorditch and with the 2-point conversion the Crimson were back up 14-7. The pass came after what looked like some kind of hard contact on Lion corner Calvin Otis, leaving Lorditch wide open in the middle of the field.
2) With the score still 14-7, the Lions began a promising drive at the Harvard 48 and got a 2nd down and 1 at the Crimson 21 before three straight running plays all yielded no gain. A quick Harvard TD drive and another score after a Shane Kelly interception and it was 28-7 at the half.
3) After Austin Knowlin broke off a 76-yard punt return for a TD making it 28-14, Harvard grabbed the momentum right back with a 61-yard TD drive helped by a pass interference call on Kalasi Huggins on a 3rd and 7. That made it 35-14 and Harvard didn't really have to worry after that.
For a team going up against a Harvard team that's peaking right now, the Lions still had a number of positives:
-Lou Miller had two more sacks and four and half tackles for a loss overall. This comes after his late game ejection versus Yale the previous week, proving he can still play with abandon, just not completely reckless abandon.
-Zack Kourouma had something of a breakout game. He grabbed the first QB TD on a well timed pattern into the end zone for his second score of the year. Later in the game he broke off a nice run on a sweep for 27 yards and wouldn't go down after a reception that helped Columbia convert a 3rd and 20.
After three years of returning punts off and on, it was nice to see Austin Knowlin finally break one for a score. Knowlin simply took it to the corner and beat the Crimson down the sideline with his speed.
-Overall, Columbia recorded five sacks. True, Harvard threw the ball so many times that there were ample chances to get sacks, but the Crimson have been doing that for most of the year and they had only allowed 12 sacks over seven weeks coming in to the this game. Many of the sacks were the result of good coverage downfield, making them a team effort.
-It was nice to see the strong effort and good results from the special teams. Not only were they error free, but they helped create two TD's with Knowlin's return and the recovery of the bad Harvard punt snap at the Crimson 4.