The Game is just days away and Harvard is the final obstacle in the quest for an outright title. Expect the Harvard squad that beat Dartmouth and Columbia to show up at The Bowl on Saturday. You can watch the game on CNBC or the Ivy League Network at 12:30 PM ET on Saturday.
Harvard enters the contest at 5-4 overall and 3-3 in league play with losses to Cornell, Princeton and Penn. The Harvard offense struggled in each of those conference losses averaging just over 12 points per game. The quarterback position has been an area of concern for the Crimson as Murphy started Viviano last week and pulled him late in the game in favor of Freshman Jake Smith. Smith leads Harvard in passing this season with 88 completions for 1071 yards, but also tossed 9 interceptions and only 5 touchdowns. Viviano has struggled since the middle of last season throwing just 3 touchdowns this fall. Fortunately for the Harvard quarterbacks, they are loaded with talent at the running back and wide receiver positions. RB Charlie Booker has run for a net of 733 yards on 141 rushes, while Freshman RB Aaron Shampklin has racked up 326 yards. Booker is fast and hard to bring down on initial contact. Harvard’s offense is dangerous when Booker starts tiring out defenders and opens up the passing lanes. WR Justice Shelton-Mosley is one of the most talented receivers in the league and by far the best returner. His fellow wide receivers Adam Scott and Henry Taylor are both speed demons that can torch defenses. Harvard always seems to have a solid tight end and Senior Ryan Antonellis fills that role this year.
Aside from a disaster against Princeton, Harvard’s defense has been strong all season. Senior LB and Captain Luke Hutton has racked up a whopping 73 tackles. Senior Safety Tanner Lee leads the secondary with 50 tackles and 3 interceptions. Our offensive line will have to figure out how to block the Crimson’s defensive front featuring playmakers such as Stone Hart and DJ Bailey. Hart and Bailey both have 4 sacks on the season, although Bailey did not play last week against Penn. DT Richie Ryan has been a force all season amassing 39 tackles and 3 sacks. Senior LB Alex White leads all Crimson defenders with 4.5 sacks.
Kick and punt coverage this week will be vital to securing a victory as Shelton-Mosley poses a larger threat than Princeton’s Tiger Bech.
Keys to Victory:
- Force Harvard to throw the ball early
- Make Murphy second guess himself
- Put aside the emotions from last week and focus on this game
- Pick apart the Crimson secondary
- Limit missed tackles on special teams