Harvard vs. Georgetown
Both Harvard and Georgetown enter Friday undefeated (Gil Talbot).
The No. 19/25 Harvard football team returns home for the first of two-straight home games at Harvard Stadium Friday, Sept. 30 against Georgetown. Harvard enters the contest 2-0 overall and 1-0 in Ivy League play after beating Rhode Island in its season opener, 51-21, at home and then taking down Brown on the road, 32-22, last Saturday. Georgetown also enters tonight's matchup undefeated, sporting a 3-0 mark with victories over Davidson (38-14), Marist (20-17) and most recently Columbia (17-14). The game is being broadcast live on ESPN3 and the Ivy League Digital Network.
After coaching last week, Tim Murphy surpassed long-time Harvard head coach Joe Restic (1971-93) by coaching in his 221st game with the Crimson. Murphy boasts a 158-63 record, while Restic was 117-97-6.
Tonight's game is just the third in the all-time series between Harvard and Georgetown, with the previous two meetings coming over the last two seasons. The Crimson is 2-0 against the Hoyas, outscoring them by a combined margin of 79-3. Last year's edition saw Harvard trounce Georgetown to the tune of 45-0. Harvard's offense accumulated 494 yards in the game, while the defense limited Georgetown to 222.
Harvard is averaging over 41 points and nearly 500 yards of offense per game through the first two games of the season. Senior Joe Viviano has been a spark under center for the Crimson. In his first year as the starting quarterback, the Berwyn, Pennsylvania native is averaging 247.5 yards through the air and is second on the team in rushing, contributing 63.5 yards with his feet. Viviano's three rushing touchdowns matches junior RB Semar Smith for the team lead. Smith's 98 rushing yards per game leads the Crimson rushing attack.
The receiving corps is led by sophomore Justice Shelton-Mosley and senior Anthony Firkser. Shelton-Mosley has nabbed a team-best 15 catches, averaging 11.8 yards each time. Firkser has pulled in 11 catches for 189 yards, while finding the end zone on two of those grabs.
After a 24-point victory in its season opener over Davidson, the Hoyas have won its last two games by three points. Senior QB Tim Barnes is averaging 182.3 yards though the air, completing 59 percent of his attempts. He has six touchdowns against two interceptions, with receivers Justin Harrell and Justin Hill each catching a pair of TDs. Harrell leads the Hoyas with 19 catches for 155 yards thus far. Junior ball carrier Alex Valles has registered 215 yards on the ground in three games, good for a 67.3 per game mark.
Last Time Out
Semar Smith and Joe Viviano combined for four rushing touchdowns and the Harvard offense accumulated 189 yards on the ground, leading the Crimson to a 32-22 triumph over Brown last Saturday in Providence. The Crimson produced a balanced attack on the offensive side of the ball, adding 205 yards through the air for 394 yards of total offense. Smith led the rushing game with 89 yards on 22 attempts, while Anthony Firkser led the receiving corps with 78 yards on four catches. Justice Shelton-Mosley reeled in six grabs to the tune of 69 yards. Viviano finished 17-of-31 through the air, while running for 76 yards.
Third and Got It
The Crimson is converting nearly 60 percent of its third-down opportunities (.583), a number that leads the FCS. Harvard has also connected on half of its fourth-down tries.
With the victory over Rhode Island, Harvard has now won 14 of the last 16 season openers, including five in a row, and is an impressive 118-23-2 (.832) all-time in the first game of the season. Under current head coach Tim Murphy, the Crimson is 17-6 (.739) on opening day.
Dating back to the beginning of the 2013 season, Harvard has rattled off 16-consecutive wins on the road, setting a new Ivy League and program record (breaking the Crimson record set from 1974-77). The streak is the longest in the FCS and second longest in all of Division I (Ohio State, 19).
The Crimson last lost on the road, 30-21, at Penn Nov. 10, 2012, and has gone more than three full seasons without dropping a game away from Cambridge.
Dartmouth owns the next-longest road win streak, rattling off 14 in-a-row from 1995-97.
The duo of Justice Shelton-Mosley and Anthony Firkser has combined for 366 yards on 26 catches this season, each averaging over 85 yards per game. Both surpassed 100 yards receiving in the opening contest against URI, with Firkser hauling in two touchdowns. Shelton-Mosley has been very productive with the ball in his hands, gaining an average of 132.5 yards per game.
Nation's Best D
Through two games, the Crimson ranks seventh in the FCS, and first in the Ivy League, in rushing defense, allowing just 86.0 yards per game. Last season, Harvard ranked first in the FCS in rushing defense (84.4 rushing yards allowed per game) and was second in scoring defense (13.0 points allowed per contest).
Ivy Coaching Wins
Tim Murphy ranks third all-time in Ivy League wins.
Carm Cozza Yale 135
Al Bagnoli Penn/Columbia 113
Tim Murphy Harvard 111
Bob Blackman Dartmouth/Cornell 100
Joe Restic Harvard 92
Better Than Average
With nine wins last year, Harvard clinched its 117th season at .500 or better in the program's 143-year history. It also marked the Crimson's 17th-straight year at .500 or better.
Harvard Owns New England
Since 1994, the Crimson owns a record of 114-43 (.724) in games played in New England. Since the 2001 campaign, Harvard stands at 89-16 (.846), and the team is 35-3 since the start of 2012 (.919) in contests held in the region.
September Under Murphy
Since Tim Murphy began patrolling the Harvard sideline in 1994, the Crimson is 38-13 (.740) in games played in the month of September. Harvard boasts a 29-6 (.824) mark since 2001 and has won 12 straight in September.
Harvard is 36-9 in its last 45 road games (.795). The Crimson is 28-5 (.844) in its last 33 Ivy League road games.
Harvard has scored points in an Ivy League and school-record 180-consecutive games. The Crimson has not been shut out since a 24-0 loss to Columbia in the 1998 season opener.
Brown held the previous Ivy record (162 games), which was stopped on Oct. 13, 2012 (19-0 loss at Princeton).
Successful Signal Callers
Eleven of the last 12 Harvard QBs have won their first career start. Six of those games have come on the road.
Garrett Schires vs. Lafayette Oct. 18, 2003
Richard Irvin at Holy Cross Sept. 17, 2005
Liam O'Hagan vs. Brown Sept. 24, 2005
Chris Pizzotti vs. Holy Cross Sept. 6, 2006
Jeff Witt at Brown Sept.13, 2006
Andrew Hatch vs. Holy Cross Sept. 18, 2010
Colton Chapple at Lafayette Oct. 2, 2010
Conner Hempel at San Diego Sept. 21, 2013
Michael Pruneau at Cornell Oct. 12, 2013
Scott Hosch at Brown Sept. 27, 2014
Joe Viviano vs. Rhode Island Sept. 16, 2016
Going For Four
Harvard has won at least a share of the last three Ivy League titles and is seeking to become the first team to capture four consecutive Ancient Eight titles since Penn (1982-86). This marks the first time the Crimson has won three straight crowns.
The other schools to win three straight: Yale (1967-69), Dartmouth (1969-73), Yale (1979-81) and Penn (1982-86).
Harvard players have earned several preseason honors. Sophomore Justice Shelton-Mosley, a wide receiver, was selected to the College Football Performance Awards FCS National Performer of the Year Watch List. Shelton-Mosley also earned STATS FCS Preseason All-America honors, and senior captain Sean Ahern was tabbed to the Lott Impact Award Watch List. Ahern was the only FCS player on the Lott Impact Award Watch List.
Harvard Coach Tim Murphy
In his 23rd season as Harvard's all-time winningest head coach, Tim Murphy enters this week's game with a 158-63 record with the Crimson and a 190-108-1 overall head coaching record, which includes five years at Cincinnati and two years at Maine. Since the formation of the Ivy League in 1956, only one Ivy coach has compiled more wins than Murphy's 158 and he is just one of five coaches to win 100-plus games. Murphy also owns 111 Ivy League wins, third most all-time. Murphy has led Harvard to nine Ivy League championships (1997, 2001, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2015). He is 2-0 against Georgetown.
Georgetown Coach Rob Sgarlata
Sgarlata, a former Georgetown player and 18-year assistant coach, is in his third season as the head coach of the Hoyas. Sgarlata led Georgetown to a 3-8 record in his first season, followed by a 4-7 mark in 2015, but has shown a stark improvement this year, bringing the unbeaten 3-0 Hoyas to Cambridge Friday. Georgetown's 3-0 start is its best since the 1999 campaign when it began the year 5-0. Sgarlata is 0-2 against Harvard.
Offense Clicking Under Murphy
With its 51-point performance vs. Rhode Island Sept. 16, Harvard improved to 38-1 (.974) under head coach Tim Murphy (since 1994) when scoring 40 or more points. The lone loss was at home against Princeton, 51-48, in triple overtime Oct. 26, 2013.
Since 2000, Harvard is 31-1 (.969) when it does not fumble and 32-0 when not committing a turnover.
Crimson Colored Ivy
Since the formation of the Ivy League in 1956, Harvard has been the winningest team during league play. The Crimson also has a conference-best 264 victories.
Team W L T Ivy Titles
Harvard 264 148 9 17
Dartmouth 247 164 9 18
Yale 240 172 8 14
Penn 226 190 4 17
Princeton 224 191 5 10
Brown 181 232 7 4
Cornell 179 237 5 3
Columbia 94 321 5 1
Harvard is the only Ivy League school with a winning record against all other Ivies.
Harvard's lowest winning percentage is .533 against Princeton.
Harvard In The National Polls
Harvard is appears at No. 19 in the FCS Coaches' poll and No. 25 in the STATS media poll this week.
Harvard in the national polls in 2016:
FCS Coaches' STATS
Presesaon 19 (127) ARV (294)
Sept. 5 21 (98) ARV (183)
Sept. 12 22 (102) ARV (153)
Sept. 19 19 (127) ARV (277)
Sept. 26 19 (169) 25 (323)
Harvard has won 33 of its last 40 non-league games dating back to 2003 (.825).
The Crimson has rattled off 15-straight victories against non-Ivy League opponents. The last non-Ivy team to defeat Harvard was Holy Cross (30-22) Sept. 17, 2011.
Harvard has reached double figures in scoring in 63-straight games and 129 of its last 130 contests (.992). The last team to hold Harvard to single digits was Penn (7) in 2009.
Harvard has amassed a 204-137-8 (.596) record against opponents currently in the Patriot League.
Harvard vs. The CAA
With Harvard's 51-21 victory over Rhode Island Sept. 16, the Crimson boasts a record of 25-4-2 (.839) against schools currently in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA).
Into The Night
After 1,204 games, Harvard played its first night game Sept. 22, 2007. The Crimson is 13-0 all-time in night games at Harvard Stadium following its 51-21 win over URI this year. Harvard is 5-0 at home at night against Brown, 4-0 vs. Holy Cross, 2-0 against Dartmouth, 1-0 vs. Georgetown and 1-0 vs. Rhode Island..
The Crimson drew 18,898 fans to its first-ever night game in 2007 against Brown at The Stadium. A year later, in its 2008 opener against Holy Cross, the Crimson drew 20,462 in the first Friday night game at The Stadium.
Harvard played a program-record three night home games in 2015: Brown (W, 53-27), Georgetown (W, 45-0) and Dartmouth (W, 14-13).
The Crimson is averaging 14,932 fans in its night home games, with an all-time high of 21,704 in a 34-6 win over Holy Cross in 2010.