By Matt Noonan
CAMBRIDGE, MA – Here at Harvard University, the college learning process never ends.
After Friday’s win against the Brown University Bears, Harvard’s head coach Tim Murphy explained that he learned something about his football team – they’ll do whatever it takes to win a physical, tough game.
“I think we developed an identity and that is we’re a tough, physical team,” Murphy said. “We made a lot of mistakes on offense – today at times, but the bottom line is our kids just played so hard and if you play that hard and you can force some turnovers, you get a chance to be [in] every single game. I’m really proud of our kids.”
Murphy should be proud of his team’s effort, especially since the Crimson tallied 366 yards of total offense, (159 rushing yards and 207 passing yards) against a Brown team that has allowed their opponents to rack up at least 300 yards or more this season.
Protecting the Ball: Harvard managed to hang onto the football on Friday, despite the inclement weather. Murphy talked about the importance of not turning the ball over, however, according to stat sheet, quarterback Colton Chapple was the only member of the Crimson to register a turnover.
“The last thing I said, when I spoke to the team last night was [when] you takeaway just the turnovers in the Holy Cross game it’s probably a different game. It was a seventeen point differential, so I said, the bottom line is ball security is a team thing. We’ve got to do a great job protecting the football on offense and special teams and then defense and special teams have to knock it loose,” Murphy said.
The coach continued to discuss the impact of Friday’s turnover battle by stating, “I just thought our kids did a great job – just really fighting, smacking [and] just doing the little things to try to give us an opportunity to get a short field.”
Quarterback Swap: Prior to Friday’s contest against Brown, Murphy and his staff decided to forgo starting quarterback Collier Winters and instead, start backup Colton Chapple. Winter apparently sustained an injury against Holy Cross last weekend, which prompted Chapple to start in his place.
“I made the decision really early in the week because it wouldn’t have been fair to the team to invest practice time in him if he was going to go down. It wouldn’t have been fair to him or the team for him to get hurt and have a season ending [or] in his case, career ending injury, so it was an easy decision,” Murphy said.
Chapple finished the game completing 15-of-26 passes for 207 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
“Coach [Joel] Lamb and Coach Murph talked to me Tuesday, our first practice [and] just being a backup, you always got to be ready because you never know when you’re going to go in,” Colton said.
Chapple played quite well, as well as looked like a natural, especially when he hooked up with sophomore Cameron Brate and senior Adam Chrissis for touchdown strikes.
“This is a kid’s dream playing in front of 20,000 people under the lights with his teammates that [I’ve] been working all summer with, so from that standpoint I felt like I didn’t have to win the game, [but] had to manage the game, had to put ourselves in a place to win and along with the help of the defense,” Chapple said.
All in all, I think it’s fair to say, the young man impressed many, as well as exhibited that he can win games, and engineer an offense to success.
Interesting Statistic: With this particular win against the Bears, Harvard improves to [9-0] after a loss. Also, the Crimson has not lost consecutive games since weeks 9-10 of the ’06 season.
Next Opponent: The Crimson will look to build off their exciting win next Saturday, as they travel to Lafayette for a 1:00pm kick-off.