By Matt Noonan
CAMBRIDGE, MA – Harvard’s fifth-year quarterback Collier Winters completed 34-of-42 passes for 403 yards, as well as became the third quarterback in the school’s history to toss five touchdowns in a single game, which helped the Crimson earn an important win on Saturday afternoon against Princeton University, 56-39.
“We had everything going for us, [and] all of a sudden it looked like we were going uphill and again our kids hung in their, handled the adversity and found a way to win,” Harvard head coach Tim Murphy said after his team’s fifth victory of the season.
“Certainly come into [Saturday’s game], I prepared this week to come out and really to play up to my potential. I felt like for the most part I did that today, still [I have a] lot of things to work on, [and] a lot of improvement to make and hopefully we can make that the last four weeks,” Winters said. “A win is a win, I’m happy with that and so we can get in tomorrow and watch film and fix the things we need to.”
Harvard’s offense began with a bang, as they rallied to tie the game during the opening quarter on a one-yard dash by Winters, which was followed up by a 29-yard fade route to Matt Brown literally three-minutes later.
Princeton responded with a 28-yard field goal by senior Patrick Jacob before junior running back Treavor Scales capped off an 11-play drive to give Harvard a comfortable 12-point lead at halftime.
Winters then added two more touchdown strikes to begin the second half to Chris Lorditch and Alex Sarkisian before the Tigers staged an epic rally that featured three straight scores and an onside-kick, which was miraculously recovered.
“The guys were pretty much excited to go the whole time,” Princeton quarterback Tommy Wornham said. “Once the ball started rolling it just didn’t stop. It was one of those things where momentum kept carrying us through, so I don’t know what the difference was [between our first and second half play], but that was a fun third quarter.”
Princeton’s rally eventually ended when Scales cashed in on a one-yard score in the fourth quarter, which gave the Crimson a 10-point lead and eventually the game.
“[Harvard] has a ton of talent, and it shows and it made it hard for [our] defense to get stops throughout the game,” Princeton head coach Bob Surace said. “You’ve got to give them credit [because] the quarterback has not played a lot of football recently and he goes and has a terrific game. [He] didn’t look rusty or anything at all and their receivers made some unbelievable catches and it’s kind of been the story of our last two weeks defensively and I thought their running back ran hard [too].”
NEXT UP: Harvard will return to the comforts of their home stadium next Saturday evening against Dartmouth College, while Princeton will host Cornell University.