Ivy League Football Notebook: Harvard Finds Its Groove Against Brown

Harvard Crimson Logo By Bob Whitney (@WhitneyBob) 

Harvard found its groove last week in a 45-28 win over the Brown Bears at Harvard Stadium last Saturday. The win was the Crimson’s first Ivy League victory of the season, while the contest marked the first league game for both teams.

The Crimson (1-1, 1-0 Ivy) used a dominating defensive effort, while receiving another solid rushing performance by Charlie Booker III (77 yards, 2 touchdowns) to turn back the Bears (1-1, 0-1). Booker was named to this week’s Ivy Weekly Honor Roll.

Harvard coach Tim Murphy made a sudden change at quarterback when he gave first-year Jake Smith the starting nod over veteran Joe Viviano. Murphy was looking to jump-start his offense after a sluggish performance in his team’s week one setback to URI and the move paid dividends for the Crimson.

Smith looked good in his first start, completing five of seven passes for 72 yards, but faltered near the end of the half. Murphy would turn to Viviano in a relief role, with the Crimson holding a 14-2 lead late in the opening session.

Viviano (11-of-13, 150 yards) was up to the challenge and the Murphy wake-up call as he directed the offense for 31 points.

This week the Crimson will travel to Washington, D.C. where they will face Georgetown (1-2, 0-0 Patriot) at RFK Stadium (2 p.m.). It will be the fourth meeting between the two schools. Harvard won last year’s tilt by a score of 31-17.

Georgetown enters the non-league clash after suffering a 35-14 loss to Columbia last week. Hoya QB Clay Norris showed a strong arm, completing 10-of-19 passes for 174 yards and two touchdowns, however, the Hoyas managed a paltry net 2 yards on the ground.

The Hoyas lone win of the season thus far was a 16-10 win over Campbell on Sept. 9.

Harvard’s defense will be tested by Norris, but my guess is that the unit will control the line of scrimmage and with that dominance the final score.

All in all, it will be interesting to see how Murphy manages his quarterbacks this week.

Bob’s Prediction: Harvard, with another week of practice to fine tune the offense, should cruise to a non-league win at RFK. RFK Stadium is named after Harvard graduate Robert F. Kennedy ’48, who played for the Crimson in 1946 and 1947, and went on to become United States Attorney General and U.S. Senator from New York. PREDICTION: Harvard 45, Georgetown 10

Up Next: Harvard travels to Ithaca, New York for a date with the Cornell Big Red on Saturday, Oct. 7th. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:30 p.m.

Around the Ancient Eight (Extra, Extra): An Ivy League-record seven football standouts were named semifinalists for the prestigious William V. Campbell Trophy, which annually recognizes the top football scholar-athlete in the nation.

Brown senior defensive end Richard Jarvis, Columbia senior quarterback Anders Hill, Dartmouth senior quarterback Jack Heneghan, Harvard senior defensive back Tanner Lee, Penn senior wide receiver Justin Watson, Princeton senior quarterback Chad Kanoff and Yale senior offensive lineman Karl Marback have been nominated.

Nominated by their schools, which are limited to one nominee each, candidates for the award must be a senior or graduate student in their final year of playing eligibility, have a GPA of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale, have outstanding football ability as a first team player or significant contributor and have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship.

The 2017 award winner will be announced at the National Football Foundation Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 5.

The Ivy League is off to its best non-conference start (10-2) since 1970, when the teams went 12-0 in non-conference play … Smith became the first freshman since Ryan Fitzpatrick to start a game for Harvard during his rookie season … Princeton and Yale are receiving votes in both the FCS Coaches and STATS FCS polls, while Dartmouth, Harvard and Penn are receiving votes in the STATS FCS ranking … Things will heat up this week in the Ivy League title chase with two games featuring a battle of the unbeaten. The Penn Quakers (2-0) host Dartmouth (2-0) this evening (NBCSN), followed by Columbia (2-0) at Princeton (2-0) on Saturday.

Bob’s weekly report on Ivy League football was compiled from various Ivy League media sources. Stay connected with Bob Whitney on social media by following him on Twitter @WhitneyBob, while becoming a fan of him on Facebook and Instagram. 

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