Obum Obukwelu and the Crimson rank second in the nation in scoring defense (Gil Talbot).
After moving into sole possession of first place in the Ivy League for the first time in nearly three seasons, the No. 17/18 Harvard football team returns home to host Columbia at Harvard Stadium.
Ivy League Digital Network
After an incredibly successful inaugural year that saw over 1,000 events streamed live, The Ivy League Digital Network has returned for 2014-15, providing fans with unprecedented coverage of the Ivy League.
Multiple subscription options are available to fans including school-specific and league-wide passes. To learn more about the Ivy League Digital Network or to sign-up today, click here.
Use the all new Social Stream on GoCrimson.com to stay connected with the Crimson on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram this year. The Social Stream brings the conversation from all three platforms into one convenient location, allowing fans of all Harvard Athletics teams to monitor the action in real time.
Fans use #HarvardColumbia for the football game this week.
Saturday's game will be the 73rd meeting between Harvard and Columbia in a rivalry that dates back to 1877.
Last Year's Meeting
Harvard's defense forced two turnovers, as the Crimson topped the Lions, 34-0, in New York on Nov. 9, 2013. The Crimson, which has shut out Columbia in each of the last two seasons, was led offensively by Conner Hempel, who went 19-of-32 for 185 yards and added two rushing scores. Placekicker Andrew Flesher nailed 29 and 33-yard field goals and was 4-of-4 on PATs.
The Crimson finished with 5.5 sacks in the game, led by Danny Frate, who finished with 1.5. Harvard held the Lions to only 49 yards rushing and 216 yards of total offense.
Last Time Out
Paul Stanton, Jr., posted a career-high, rushing for 180 yards on 24 carries, helping the Crimson knock off Dartmouth, 23-12, on a cold, rainy day in Hanover, New Hampshire last weekend. Stanton, who found the end zone twice, amassed 235 yards of total offense. The Crimson outgained the Big Green, 237-94, on the ground, and held on for its 10th-straight victory over Dartmouth. Harvard wide receiver Seitu Smith II threw a 37-yard TD pass to Anthony Firkser in the second quarter, and Andrew Flesher drilled a 33-yard field goal. Sean Ahern finished with a team-high 10 tackles on the day.
Ivy Title Picture
With three games remaining, Harvard (4-0) has moved into sole possession of first place in the Ivy League standings for the first time since the end of the 2011 season. Dartmouth, Princeton and Yale are all 3-1.
Stanton Hits The Record Books
With his career-high 180 yards on the ground at Dartmouth Nov. 1, Paul Stanton, Jr. 12th in team history with 1,670 career rushing yards on 282 carries (5.9 avg.) Stanton is also now seventh in the Harvard record books with 22 rushing touchdowns, having found the back of the end zone six times this fall.
Harvard has not allowed more than 18 points in a game this fall. The last time the Crimson has reached this late in the season with surrendering so few points in a game was in 1982. Harvard allowed 17 points to Army in a 17-13 defeat that year.
With Hempel In The Lineup
During the portion of three games Conner Hempel has played quarterback this season, the Crimson is outscoring opponents, 99-6. Hempel played the beginning and end of the Holy Cross game Sept. 19. Harvard outscored the Crusaders, 34-0, in the portion of the game Hempel played in the 41-18 victory.
Hempel also helped the Crimson open the game at Princeton Oct. 25 with a 49-0 lead. Harvard went on to win that contest, 49-7. Harvard outscored Dartmouth, 16-6, during the portion of the game Hempel played last week in Hanover, New Hampshire.
With his 0.5 sacks against Princeton Oct. 25, defensive end Zack Hodges now has 24.0 in his career (3.0 as freshman, 9.0 as sophomore, 6.5 as junior, 5.5 as senior) and is the school's all-time leader.
The all-time Ivy League sack leader is Penn's Michael Turner (1990-93), who finished his career with 31.0.
Defense Wins Games
Harvard ranks second in the country in scoring defense (10.7 points allowed per game), is third in rushing defense (80.6 ypg.), fourth in fourth-down conversion defense (.231) and 10th in total defense (296.1 yards allowed per game).
Running The Ball
Harvard has scored at least one rushing touchdown in 21-straight games. The last time the Crimson was kept out of the end zone on the ground came in a 39-34 loss at Princeton Oct. 20, 2012.
Senior quarterback Conner Hempel is Harvard's all-time leader in completion percentage (.667, 216-of-324).
This season, junior QB Scott Hosch ranks 25th in the nation in completion percentage (.628, 86-of-137), while Harvard quarterbacks are 10th overall in the country (.655, 131-of-200).
Andrew Fischer ranks nintth in the country in kickoff returns, averaging 27.4 yards per return. Fischer also stands 16th in punt returns (11.9 avg.).
With his performance this year, Fischer now ranks first in school history in career punt return average (11.9) and is third in career kickoff return average (23.9).
No. 29 Goes Gold
After rushing for a career-high 180 yards and adding 55 receiving yards for a total of 235 all-purpose yards in the win at Dartmouth Nov. 1, Paul Stanton, Jr. was named the New England Football Writers Association's Gold Helmet honoree Nov. 3. Stanton also rushed for two scores in the game.