No. 23 Holy Cross Survives No. 25 Harvard, 27-20

No. 23 Holy Cross Survives No. 25 Harvard, 27-20

Pictured: Gino Gordon scored a pair of Harvard touchdowns in the 25th-ranked Crimson's opening game loss to No. 23 Holy Cross on Saturday.
Photo courtesy, Gil Talbot.

WORCESTER, Mass. - In a battle of Top 25 teams at Fitton Field Saturday, 23rd-ranked Holy Cross outlasted No. 25 Harvard by a score of 27-20 as the Crusaders forced a late fumble to seal victory.  

Holy Cross (3-0), playing its third home game of the season, took advantage of several Crimson mistakes in the first half as Harvard (0-1) was playing its season opener. In the end, a solid effort by Harvard put the Crimson in position to tie or win it but Holy Cross made a final defensive stand late in the fourth quarter.

All-American quarterback Dominic Randolph had two touchdowns in the first half - one rushing and one passing, and threw a 40-yard scoring pass in the fourth quarter to lead Holy Cross. He finished 25-for-39 for 293 yards and was also the team's leading rusher with seven carries for 41 yards.

First-year starter Collier Winters drove the Crimson 79 yards for a touchdown on the game's opening possession but a series of costly first-game mistakes on both sides of the ball kept the Crimson out of rhythm throughout the contest.

Still, a Gino Gordon touchdown run made it a 20-13 game late in the third but Holy Cross regained momentum by stopping Harvard on fourth down from the 16. Shortly afterwards, Randolph lofted a 40-yard scoring pass on a corner route to Gerald Mistretta for a 27-13 lead with 11:03 remaining.

Winters kept the game close with a beautiful 46-yard touchdown pass to a diving Chris Lorditch on fourth and 13 to make the score 27-20 with 5:30 left to play.

Harvard stopped Holy Cross and got the ball back with the clock under 3:30. Two running plays yielded just two yards to its 30 yard line however, and Winters then fumbled the ball away after being hit from behind on a rollout pass to seal victory for Holy Cross.

Winters' final numbers were solid - 22-for-37 for 195 yards; and he was impressive in avoiding pressure in the pocket and keeping plays alive throughout the afternoon while throwing for two scores and rushing for 40 yards.

Gordon scored a pair of Harvard TDs - one receiving and one rushing - as the All-Ivy League back led the Crimson's ground attack with 93 total yards. Lorditch led the team's vaunted receiving corps by pulling down nine catches for 89 yards.

Collin Zych led the defense with six solo tackles while Carl Ehrlich had four solos, including a sack and another tackle for a loss. Derrick Barker broke up for four passes.