Harvard Pulls Away in Second Half to Knock Off Columbia, 35-21
NEW YORK - Columbia led 14-7 midway through the second quarter but Harvard scored 28 unanswered points to win its seventh straight game and fifth in a row within the Ivy League.
Columbia began the game by completing an impressive 12-play, 67-yard drive to take a 7-0 lead. Sean Brackett, who threw for 196 yards on the day, connected with Mike Stephens on two straight pass plays to start the drive then found Louis DiNovo on a third and three from the Harvard 49 that went for 10 yards to keep the drive going.
Griffin Lowry ultimately found the end zone on a 12-yard run up the middle for his first career score, putting the Lions ahead 7-0.
On its opening drive, Harvard passed the ball on all nine of its plays. Collier Winters finally connected with Kyle Juszczyk on a 15-yard play that tied the game at 7-7 late in the first quarter.
Early in the second quarter, Harvard was driving again and Winters faced a third and two at the Columbia 16. Ross Morand stepped right in front of Winters' pass intended for Alex Sarkisian in the right flat and ran down the far sideline 87 yards for a score. The pick six gave Columbia a 14-7 lead and sent the Lions' sideline and the home crowd into jubilation.
Harvard regained possession and methodically drove down the field to tie the game four minutes later. After mixing in the pass and the run, Harvard's Treavor Scales ran up the middle for the tying score, making it 14-14 as the game remained even heading into halftime.
The Columbia defense forced Harvard to punt on its first two possessions of the second half, but the defense was left with a short field after a Harvard interception in Columbia territory.
With 9:32 in the third quarter, Zach Boden rushed twice for 23 yards to put the ball at the one-yard line. Winters then snuck it in from a yard out to put Harvard ahead for good at 21-14.
Winters passed to Chris Lorditch and Kyle Juszczyk on scoring plays of 41 yards each that gave the Crimson a three-touchdown lead, 35-14 early in the fourth quarter.
After the final Harvard touchdown, Columbia put together another impressive scoring drive, going seven plays in 65 yards.
After a Lowry nine-yard run, Brackett evaded Harvard's pash rush and scrambled 19 yards past a swarm of defenders to make it 35-21 with nine minutes remaining.
The Columbia defense forced a Harvard three and out and regained possession at the 7:27 mark, needing two scores to tie.
The Lions gained three first downs on its next possession. However, the drive stalled on fourth and four from the Harvard 22 when Reynaldo Kirton broke up a pass intended for Mike Stephens, who made eight grabs for 99 yards on the day.
Brackett threw for 196 yards and rushed for 87 more on the ground. Stephens led the receiving corps with eight catches and Hamilton Garner made five receptions for 60 yards.
Winters completed 20 of 30 passes for 323 yards and three scores. Both Juszczyk (118 yards, two TDs) and Lorditch (123 yards, 1 TD) had big days for the Crimson through the air.
Columbia linebacker Josh Martin had another outstanding game with 10 tackles, three that went for a loss, two sacks and a forced fumble. Fellow junior Mike Waller made six stops, two for a loss, and had two sacks and a fumble recovery.
The Lions are back in action next Saturday, November 12 at Cornell in their final road game of the season. Kickoff is set for 12:30 p.m. in Ithaca, N.Y.