No. 15/20 Football Tripped Up at Holy Cross, 27-17

Photo: Gil Talbot
Photo: Gil Talbot
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WORCESTER, Mass. – In the first of three-straight games away from home, No. 15/20 Harvard football (4-1) could not overcome an early deficit, falling to Holy Cross, 27-17, on Saturday afternoon at Fitton Field.

In his first-career start, sophomore Tom Stewart completed 19 of 33 passes for 219 yards and a touchdown. Senior Anthony Firkser and sophomore Brian Dunlap each caught six passes for 72 yards, with Dunlap recording his second-career touchdown in the second quarter. Sophomore Noah Reimers added a touchdown on the ground, compiling 36 yards on 11 carries.

Turnovers plagued the Crimson, as the loss snapped its FCS-leading and Ivy-record road winning streak at 16 games. The Crimson's non-conference winning streak was also halted at 16 games; Holy Cross was also the last non-Ivy team to top Harvard, earning a victory in 2011.

Reimers put Harvard on the board first, 7-0, with 8:15 on the clock in the first period, taking a handoff from Stewart and running 14 yards for the score. The touchdown was the first of the year for Reimers, which capped a seven-play, 54-yard drive.

Holy Cross (3-4) scored three times in the opening period, taking a 21-7 lead after touchdown passes to Brendan Flaherty and Jake Wieczorek and a fumble recovery in the end zone by Brett Laurie. The deficit marked the largest for the Crimson in 2016.

Harvard opened the second quarter with a touchdown to pull within seven, 21-14. A 35-yard third-down completion from Stewart to senior Joseph Foster put Harvard in the red zone, and three plays later Stewart found Dunlap with a slant from 12 yards for the touchdown. The score was the second of the season for Dunlap, while Stewart recorded the first of his career. A 37-yard field goal from freshman Jake McIntyre sent the teams to the intermission with Harvard trailing, 21-17.

The Harvard defense tallied four sacks in the second half – one apiece for sophomore DJ Bailey, senior Doug Webb and junior Scott Evans, and a shared sack from seniors Langston Ward and James Duberg – but the offense could not get on the board in the second half, compiling only 28 total yards of offense.

A pair of Holy Cross field goals marked the only scoring of the final two periods, splitting the uprights from 44 and 41 yards.

Harvard takes its 2-0 Ivy League record on the road to Princeton for a 1 p.m. kickoff on Saturday, Oct. 22. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3 and the Ivy League Digital Network.