Harvard (5-3, 3-2 Ivy) vs. Penn (4-4, 2-3 Ivy)
Harvard football will return home for the final time in 2017, as the Crimson hosts Ivy League rival Penn for a 12 p.m. kickoff to be broadcast on NESNPlus and the Ivy League Network. Alex Vispoli and Eric Gallanty will have the call.
Heading into week nine, Harvard is one-game out of first place, sitting at 3-2 in the Ivy League and 5-3 overall. The Crimson controls its own destiny for its 18th-Ivy League crown, as two victories two close the season would guarantee at least a share of the conference title. Yale sits in first at 4-1 in the Ancient Eight, while Harvard is tied for second with Columbia, Cornell and Dartmouth (all 3-2). Penn, 4-4 overall, sits tied for sixth with a 2-3 conference mark.
Saturday's game will mark the 88th all-time meeting between the Ivy rivals, with the Crimson leading the series, 48-37-2. Last season, the Quakers emerged with a 27-14 victory at Franklin Field. Since 2001, Harvard has won eight matchups, while Penn has also taken eight. Since the 1997 campaign, either Harvard or Penn has captured at least a share of the Ivy crown on 18 occasions, and either Harvard or Penn has won at least a portion of the conference title in every season since 2007.
The Crimson came back to defeat Columbia by a score of 21-14 last weekend in New York. Joe Viviano came off the bench in the second quarter and went 6-of-12 for 120 yards and two touchdowns through the air, while also adding one on the ground. Defensively, Harvard amassed a season-high eight sacks, with Richie Ryan leading the effort with 2.5 sacks and 3.5 tackles for a loss. Despite throwing four interceptions, Harvard did not surrender any points off turnovers to the Lions. With the win, head coach TIm Murphy picked up the 200th of his career.
In a 38-35 victory over Princeton at Franklin Field last week, Abe Willows rushed for 136 yards and two touchdowns, and Tre Solomon added 116 yards on the ground of his own, as Penn ran for 317 yards and accumulated 531 total yards of offense in the victory.
Where We Are Now
This week's game will be Harvard's 1,311th varsity football game. The Crimson has an all-time record of 869-391-50 (.682).
Getting To The QB
Harvard's eight sacks in the win over Columbia last week was the most for the Crimson since also recording eight sacks against the Lions in a 69-0 victory on Nov. 3, 2012. Richie Ryan led the Crimson with 2.5 sacks and 3.5 tackles for a loss in this year's victory over Columbia.
Down The Stretch Into November
Since 2007, the Crimson owns a 28-6 mark (.824) in contests played during the month of November.
Among the Nation's Best
Justice Shelton-Mosley leads the nation in punt returns for touchdowns (two) and punt return average (19.9). Shelton-Mosley is also 40th in kickoff returns (23.3). Charlie Booker III ranks 21st in rushing yards per game (87.3) and 29th in yards per rush (5.50). Jake McIntyre ranks 30th in field-goal conversion (.750).
As a team, the Crimson stands third in punt returns (19.5), 12th in sacks (3.0) and 12th in fourth-down conversion percentage (.667).
Leading The Ivy
Harvard paces the Ivy League in punt returns (19.5). Justice Shelton-Mosley is the league's top punt returner (19.9) and is third in the conference in all-purpose yards per game (115.2). Alex White is tied for fourth with 4.5 sacks, and Luke Hutton is sixth with 66 tackles.
Ryan Antonellis caught two touchdown passes in Harvard's win over Dartmouth Oct. 28. This marked the first time a Crimson tight end had two TDs since Anthony Firkser caught two against Georgetown on Sept. 30, 2016.
Harvard has finished with at least seven wins in each of the last 16 years and is the only program in Ivy League history to have such a stretch of success. Nine years ago, Harvard became the first Ivy team with seven such seasons together.
The current stretch is the Crimson's best 16-year run since a 28-year streak of seven-plus win seasons came to an end in 1911.
Since 2000, Harvard is 35-2 (.946) when it does not fumble and 34-1 (.971) when not committing a turnover. The lone loss came to Yale in 2016.
Harvard is 313-6-1 (.980) all-time when the Crimson scores 30 or more points.
Harvard has reached double figures in scoring in 80-straight games and 145 of its last 146 contests (.993). The last team to hold Harvard to single digits was Penn (7) in 2009.
Harvard Coach Tim Murphy
In his 24th season as Harvard's all-time winningest head coach, Tim Murphy enters this week's game with a 168-69 record with the Crimson and a 200-114-1 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 168 and he is just one of eight coaches to win 100-plus games. Murphy also owns 118 Ivy League wins, tied for second most all-time. Murphy has led Harvard to nine Ivy League championships (1997, 2001, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2015).
Run The Ball
Charlie Booker III had a career-high 159 yards on 23 carries against Lafayette, marking the first time a Harvard player topped 150 rushing yards in a game since Nov. 15, 2014 (Paul Stanton Jr., 235 yards vs. Penn).
Aiming for the Top
Head coach Tim Murphy sits one Ivy League title short of tying the record for most first-places finishes in the league for a head coach. With one more Ivy crown, Murphy would tie Yale's Carm Cozza (1965-96) for the most Ivy League titles for a head coach with 10.
Most Ivy League Titles By Coach:
10 - Carm Cozza (Yale, 1965-96)
9 - Tim Murphy (Harvard, 1994-present)
9 - Al Bagnoli (Penn/Columbia, 1992-present)
Ivy League Network
The Ivy League Network returns for a fifth season as the home for all live streaming and on-demand video content for each of the conference's eight institutions. Broadcast in full HD and featuring a live score bug and play-by-play and color commentary, the Ivy League Network provides fans with unprecedented access to the Ancient Eight.
Multiple subscription options are available to fans, including school-specific and league-wide passes. To learn more about the Ivy League Network or to sign-up today, click here.
Make sure to head over to tickets.GoCrimson.com to reserve your seats for every Harvard football game.