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Harvard 35 Columbia 21
Why Harvard Won
The Crimson shook off some sloppy plays and let its deep passing game doom the Lions in a blistering third quarter run. QB Collier Winters threw for 323 yards and three TD's.
Why Columbia Lost
Once again, Columbia came out in the second half looking flat-footed and lost its momentum quickly. The Lions opening drive of the third quarter ended in a three-and-out and the second possession ended in a turnover that Harvard turned into the lead they never gave up.
Key Turning Points
-Leading 7-0 with a little over five minutes left in the first quarter, the Lions had the Crimson in a tough 3rd and 25 situation at the Harvard 39 thanks to three false start penalties in the same series. But the Crimson got the first down on a brilliant sideline pass to Chris Lorditch that went for 27 yards. Three plays later, Harvard had tied it at 7-7.
-With the score tied 14-14 in the third, Sean Brackett's pass was just a little too wide for a diving Mike Stephens, who got a hand on it but couldn't stop it from being intercepted by Brian Owusu who returned it 11 yards to the Columbia 24. Three plays later, the Cromson had the lead they would never give up.
-The Lions played extremely well against the league's best team for most of the game, and mostly lost because of Harvard's greatest strength: the passing offense.
-Ross Morand's fantastic interception and 87-yard runback for a TD was the best play of the year for Columbia and a great statement by the senior co-captain.
-Harvard came into the game having yielded just 12 sacks in seven previous games. Columbia got five sacks today including two from Josh Martin, two from Mike Waller, and the first-ever sack by Texas A&M transfer Wells Childress.
-Brackett wasn't 100% perfect, but he looked like the Brackett of 2009 and 2010 with some beautiful runs and improved passing. His 19 yard run for a TD late in the fourth was a thing of beauty.
-The missed tackles were on display many times, leading to a good number of Harvard's scores. Perhaps the worst example was the Crimson's final TD, a 41 yarder from Winters to Kyle Juszcyk that should have been a 15 yarder at most.
-Even though the Crimson moved the ball primarily and effectively through the air, you got the feeling they could have done even better had they stuck more to the run. The fact is, Columbia was lucky that Harvard passed as much as it did.
-The third quarter nightmares continue. The Lions were outscored in the 3rd by 14-0 today, bringing the season total in that stanza to 100-20.
Ross Morand was brilliant with five tackles, two pass breakups, and that super pick six that won't be soon forgotten.
RANDOM CELEBRITY SIGHTING
After the game I saw actor Danny Aiello hanging outside the Chrystie Field House. I got the feeling he was somehow related to a Harvard player. If anyone can explain why he was there, let me know.