14th-Ranked Harvard Football Wins 14th Ivy Title, Beats Penn, 37-20
CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—The Harvard football team clinched its 14th Ivy League championship—its sixth under Tim Murphy—with a 37-20 win against Penn Saturday afternoon at Harvard Stadium.
The Crimson (8-1, 6-0 Ivy League) wrapped up the outright league title with a week remaining in the season behind a defense that limited the Quakers (5-4, 4-2) to 219 yards, including just 24 on the ground, and caused three turnovers. The win combined with Dartmouth's victory over Brown gave Harvard a two-game cushion in the standings with only The Game next week at Yale left on the schedule.
Josue Ortiz paced the defensive effort with 10 tackles, including 3.5 for loss and two sacks, while also forcing and recovering a fumble. Alex Gedeon added eight tackles, and Chris Splinter notched six. Harvard also won battles of special teams and field position, starting four drives in Penn territory in addition to Alexander Norman's interception return for a touchdown.
The Crimson ran for 204 yards, with Zach Boden (11 carries for 86 yards) and Treavor Scales (10 for 70) scoring once and averaging more than seven yards per rush. Collier Winters ran for 56 yards and a score to go with 132 yards on 13-for-20 passing and a touchdown pass to Cameron Brate.
Ortiz, Scales and Winters are among 21 seniors on the Crimson. The members of that class, who were freshmen when Harvard last won the Ivy crown in 2008, were honored before the game, their last at Harvard Stadium.
The teams traded punts on the game's first five possessions. Ortiz recorded a sack on the Quakers' first drive and ended their second with another sack, his league-leading ninth of the season.
Penn then took advantage of a few breaks to go ahead. After a penalty extended the drive and a pass batted by two Crimson defenders landed in the hands of Joe Holder for a 22-yard gain, Billy Ragone hit Ryan Calvert for a 21-yard score. The Penn quarterback threw for 195 yards with 17 completions in 36 attempts.
The Penn lead lasted less than three minutes. On the first play of the Quakers' next drive, Matt Martindale stopped Jeff Jack in his tracks, allowing Ortiz to come in to force and recover a fumble at the Penn 24-yard line. Winters evened the score at 7-7 with a pass over the middle to Brate on the first play of the Crimson possession.
The Crimson gained its first lead barely a minute before halftime. Chris Lorditch hauled in a juggling catch down the right sideline for 37 yards to the Penn 19, and Boden ran around the left side three plays later, scoring from 14 yards out.
After the Quakiers' next drive stalled, they got off bad snap on their punt attempt, and Harvard got the ball at the Penn 18 with six seconds left in the half. David Mothander converted a 35-yard field goal to give the Crimson a 17-7 halftime lead.
Harvard stopped Penn to start the second half and then used the ground game to extend its lead to 24-7. After Boden runs of 13 and 12 yards earlier in the drive, Winters danced around defenders on a 17-yard quarterback draw to the Penn 15. He later scampered around the left side from the 4-yard line and leaped into the front corner of the end zone for a 24-7 edge.
The Crimson defense forced a three-and-out by the Quakers, and Scales ran the lead up to 30-7. He broke free up the middle for 35 yards on the final play of the third quarter and then ran two more times to punch the ball into the end zone. Norman added another score 20 seconds later, running back an interception 34 yards up the right sideline.
Penn took advantage of a muffed punt by Harvard, recovering and cutting the lead to 37-14 on a one-yard run by Ragone four plays later. Ragone added one more score in the final four minutes, hitting Calvert from 13 yards out.