Football Travels To Lehigh For Saturday Showdown

Football Travels To Lehigh For Saturday Showdown

Pictured: Chucks Obi and the Crimson defense looks to make it two-straight for the Crimson as it travels to Lehigh this week.
Photo: Gil Talbot

The Particulars
Harvard takes to the road for the first of two straight away from Harvard Stadium as the Crimson battles the Lehigh Mountain Hawks on Oct. 3 at Goodman Stadium in Bethlehem, Pa. 

Harvard's Last Time Out
Ranked in every Top 25 poll in the country heading into last week, the Crimson dropped a close 27-20 decision to then-No. 23 Holy Cross on the road as the Crusaders - preseason favorites to win the Patriot League - improved to 3-0.

Behind first-year starter Collier Winters, Harvard marched 79 yards on its opening possession capped by a five-yard touchdown pass to Gino Gordon to take an early 6-0 lead. A game-experienced Holy Cross team took advantage of several first-game miscues from the Crimson however, and scored the next 20 points before Gordon struck again with a two-yard run in the third quarter.

At that point the game was up for grabs as the two teams traded long touchdown passes before the home side forced a fumble on Harvard's final drive of the game to finally secure a victory.

Winters was impressive in his first outing, throwing for 195 yards and running for 40 more while Gordon collected 93 total yards and Chris Lorditch finished with 89 receiving yards.

Scouting Harvard
Harvard has shown the ability to avoid negative plays on offense. The Crimson has allowed just two quarterback sacks this season to rank first in the Ivy League. Quarterback Collier Winters has shown impressive poise in the pocket and he recorded a game-high 66 rushing yards last week against Brown.

In a departure from previous years, the Crimson's defense does not rank among the nation's  "top 10" after the second week of the season. Instead, a solid if unspectacular unit still ranks among the Ivy's best after facing off against two of the nation's most prolific passing attacks from 2008 in Holy Cross and Brown.

Scouting Lehigh
Lehigh is winless after three games for the first time since 1982 when the team went 0-4 to start.

However, after giving up 228 rushing yards to central Connecticut State in week one and 310 rushing yards to No. 2-ranked Villanova in week two, the Mountain Hawks had a week to settle in before their game against Princeton. The team  responded by allowing just 163 yards total against the Tigers - including just 47 yards through the air. Still, Lehigh came away with a loss after allowing a 68-yard touchdown run and a 77-yard interception return for a touchdown.

Despite the gaudy rushing numbers against, Lehigh will take its strength against Harvard's offensive strength with the nation's third-ranked pass defense at just 110 yards per game.

After a successful 2008 season, Lehigh QB JB Clark has struggled in 2009 with a less than 50 percent completion percentage and five interceptions. He was replaced last week by sophomore Chris Lum who was 11 of 18 for 135 yards.  

Harvard's Last Time Out
Harvard linebacker Jon Takamura batted down a desperation pass in the endzone as Harvard defeated Brown, 24-21, in a battle of defending Ivy League champions. Takamura also had an interception earlier in the game that led to the eventual game-winning touchdown catch by Matt Luft as the Crimson came back from a 14-10 halftime deficit.

One week after missing a 40-yard field goal as time expired, Brown would not attempt one from 42 yards after recovering an onsides kick with 30 seconds left. faced with fourth down from the Harvard 25, the Bears instead opted to try the endzone.

Collier Winters completed 18 of 27 passes for two TDs while running for a game-high 66 yards and another score. 

Lehigh's Last Time Out
Steve Cody returned an interception 77 yards for a touchdown and Tommy Wornham scored on a 68-yard run to lead Princeton to a 17-14 win over Lehigh despite the Mountain Hawks having a week to prepare for the game.

Cody's interception came midway in the first quarter as Lehigh drove to the Princeton 28-yard line. Wornham's rushing score with 6:22 left in the second quarter put the Tigers ahead 14-0.

Cody led the Tigers' defense with 11 tackles, including a pass breakup.

Jay Campbell rushed for 88 yards on 22 carries for the Mountain Hawks, who had 332 yards compared to 163 by the Tigers. Chris Lum was 11 of 18 for 135 yards passing. 

Series History
Saturday's game will be just the 15th meeting between Harvard and Lehigh in a rivalry that dates to 1928. Harvard tied the series at 7-7 with a victory last year at Harvard Stadium. 

Out Of The Gates
After defeating Brown last weekend, Harvard has won its Ivy League opener in 10 of the last 11 seasons with nine of the wins coming against Brown and the other coming against Columbia. 

Last Year's Meeting
Harvard's Glenn Dorris '09 recovered a fumble by Lehigh  QB J.B. Clark, forced by Peter Ajayi '09, with 46 seconds left as Harvard fended off a fourth-quarter rally to defeat Lehigh, 27-24.

Dorris also had a 21-yard interception return for a touchdown in the second quarter. Harvard QB Chris Pizzotti '09-10 completed 25 of 40 passes for 302 yards and two touchdowns and Matt Luft caught seven passes for 111 yards and two touchdowns for Harvard.

Harvard led 24-10 after two Pizzotti touchdown passes to Luft, Dorris' interception return and a Patrick Long field goal and the Crimson had 230 yards in the opening half. 

Harvard Coach Tim Murphy
In his 16th season as Harvard's head coach, Tim Murphy enters Saturday's game with a 98-53 record with the Crimson and a 130-98-1 overall head coaching record, which includes five years at Cincinnati and two years at Maine. Murphy has led Harvard to five Ivy League championships (1997, 2001, 2004, 2007, 2008). He is 3-5 all-time against Lehigh. 

Lehigh Coach Andy Coen
Andy Coen is in his fourth year as Lehigh's head coach and has an 16-20 overall record in his first head coaching position. Before taking the position with the Mountain Hawks, Coen had been offensive coordinator at Penn for six seasons. He is 1-2 against Harvard.

Quarterback Collier Winters earned the New England Football Writer's Gold Helmet Award, sponsored by the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston, for his effort in the win over Brown.

Winters accounted for all three Harvard touchdowns in a 24-21 win over Brown in a matchup of defending Ivy League champions at Harvard Stadium on Friday night.

Winters completed 18 of 27 passes for 223 yards and two touchdowns (30 yards and 15 yards) while also running for a game-high 51 yards including a three-yard TD run. He averaged 5.1 yards per carry on the night (13 attempts). 

Ivy Honors
Quarterback Collier Winters was named the Ivy League's Offensive Player of the Week.

Harvard has had at least one offensive player of the week each season this decade while having a quarterback win the award in each of the last three seasons. 

Ivy League Honor Roll Call
Gino Gordon        Sept. 21
Chris Lorditch     Sept. 21
Collier Winters     Sept. 28 (OPOW) 

Elite Company
With 98 career victories on the Harvard sideline, head coach Tim Murphy ranks second on the Crimson's all-time wins chart. Murphy is 19 wins away from Joe Restic's school record 117 wins (from 1971-93).

Complete Game Notes
For complete games notes in PDF format, click on the link at the beginning of this page.