By Allison Miller
Quick, name the first Harvard quarterback to start his career 14-0.
Did you say Ryan Fitzpatrick '05? Conner Hempel '15? Maybe Colton Chapple '13, Neil Rose '03, Collier Winters '11-12 or Chris Pizzotti '08-09 came to mind. But the lone Crimson QB to begin his career with 14-straight wins is senior Scott Hosch.
Looking at Hosch now, he certainly resembles Fitzpatrick, who is now starting for the New York Jets on Sundays, with his beard growing thicker by the day and his play on the field leading the Crimson to within one game of its third-straight Ivy League title. But coming into the 2014 season, few thought the Sugar Hill, Georgia native would even see the field, let alone run the offense.
A year ago, Hosch found himself at No. 3 on the depth chart. Working himself up to the back-up position before the first game, he suddenly found himself thrust in against Holy Cross when starter Conner Hempel went down with an injury.
"(When I went in against) Holy Cross last year, I had never gotten any reps with the ones before," recalled Hosch. "All of a sudden, I'm getting my first drive with the ones in live action. Knowing the amount of time that I have prepared for that – I've played football since I was five or six – I knew that I was ready for the moment. I told the guys that there wouldn't be a drop-off and we would continue to go out there and continue to succeed as an offense."
Succeed they have, ripping off 22-straight wins overall, including 14 with Hosch under center. Hosch is quick to give all the credit to his teammates, stating "I'd say it's a testament to everyone. I've stumbled upon this position, as part of the best Harvard team that we have had here in a while. The offensive line we have and the defense make my job a lot easier. It is cool (to have never lost), but I don't want to take any credit for that.
"I try to do what I can to get everyone involved and let them take a lot of pressure off my shoulders," Hosch added. "We have such great players around me. I don't have to do much. I have to execute the basics and I know we will be fine."
Hosch's preparation and dedication to the game hasn't changed, whether he is the first man on the depth chart or the last. His work ethic not only propelled him to the top of the depth chart, but also to within 395 yards of the No. 1 spot in the Harvard record book for most passing yards in a season.
"I try to go out there and do my best every day," Hosch said. "(My goal) wasn't necessarily to get the starting job, but to try and get the second job. Luckily, I was able to do that. Once I got the second position, then I was close to being the starter. Then, you have to approach it as you are the starter and fortunately, for me, I was able to start a few games and be prepared for that."
Tim Murphy, The Thomas Stephenson Family Head Coach for Harvard Football, understands Hosch's importance, keying on his leadership during this successful run.
"Scott Hosch is a winner, end of story," said Murphy. "His quiet, understated leadership, toughness and ability to produce under pressure has been nothing short of outstanding. He would make a great coach, but then again he would be great doing anything he loves."
What Hosch loves – besides football and winning – is exploring his faith and helping others through the practice of it. When the pressures of school and football become too much, he turns to his faith and his brothers to help him through.
"I see (my faith) as a source of life," explained Hosch. "When school is dragging me down, it is the place I can go to find strength and joy to continue to press forward. I spend a lot of time with Christian Impact. We have a bible study on the football team and I lead it this year. We call the group Ironman. It's a group of men trying to grow stronger together in our faith. It is something we do year round and even in the summer. It is something that has really been life-giving in my life."
When he graduates in May, Hosch plans on heading to South Africa for a year to expand the Mamelodi Initiative, a project through Christian Impact that he was involved with last winter. The Mamelodi Initiative is a not-for-profit organization that strives to empower members of the South African community so that the members can make the changes they want to see. The company values learning, growing, dreaming and achieving.
"We set up faith-inspired educational programs in townships," Hosch explained. "Right now, the program only serves around 300-400 kids in a township of about a million people. I will be trying to develop new locations so that we can build the program and connect it to churches. That way, what we teach the children continues to grow after we leave."
Hosch has proved he can learn on the fly. He grew into a starter and a winner. He dreamed of winning the Ivy League title. Now, all he has to do is achieve it… for the second-straight year.