Oct. 15, 2011
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Colton Chapple completed 13 of 23 passes for 176 yards and a Harvard record-tying five touchdowns and the Crimson outgained the Bison 399-140 on its way to a 42-3 victory Saturday afternoon at Harvard Stadium. The Crimson gained 223 yards on the ground against Bucknell, which entered the contest second in the nation against the run.
Chapple, who threw for four touchdowns last week in a 41-31 win at Cornell, tied the Harvard single-game record with his five touchdown passes. He became the first Crimson player to achieve the feat since 1953, a span of 544 games. He also rushed 13 times for a team-high 71 yards.
Harvard (4-1) led 28-0 at halftime behind a commanding first 30 minutes of play. The Crimson outgained the Bison 294-31 in the first half, including 143-(-5) on the ground, didn't yield a first down until 30 seconds remained in the first stanza and held Bucknell to 0-for-6 on third downs.
The Bison finished the game with five first downs, minus-five yards rushing and were 0-for-11 on third downs.
Harvard, which was 7-for-17 on third downs, scored just one touchdown in the first quarter on a Chapple-to-Kyle Juszczyk 11-yard pass, but Bucknell (4-3) was still very much in the game in the early stages, thanks to a pair of forced fumbles. However, the Bison had a tough stretch early in the second quarter, just after it appeared as though they had gained momentum. Josh Eden forced his second fumble of the game, giving the Bison possession at the Harvard 25 trailing just 7-0. However, the Crimson scored 14 points in the next 2:09, needing just five total plays to do it, as they turned the contest into a one-sided affair.
On the very first play following the Harvard fumble, Brandon Wesley had Frank DeNick streaking down the right sideline, but Brian Owusu stepped in front of the underthrown pass and returned it 58 yards. Two plays later Chapple found Alex Sarkisian for a 27-yard touchdown to put the Crimson up 14-0.
Harvard then squibbed the ensuing kickoff and the Bison returners were unable to handle the bouncing ball and the Crimson recovered. Three plays later Chapple found Cameron Brate for a nine-yard touchdown as Brate fell out the back corner of the end zone for the first of his two scores in the game.
Chapple rounded out his strong first half with another touchdown pass to Brate. This one was for four yards across the middle of the field and it capped an 11-play drive that spanned more than four minutes and 87 yards. Chapple finished the first half with 151 passing yards on 12 completions, four of which went for touchdowns, and he rushed 11 times for 51 yards.
Chapple picked up where he left off early in the second half when he found Kyle Juszczyk down the middle of the field for a 25-yard touchdown on fourth-and-six. The touchdown capped a four-play drive that spanned 29 yards and 1:13.
A number of reserves for both teams saw significant playing time over the final 25 minutes of the second half after the Crimson built their 35-0 lead.
Bucknell's only points in the ballgame came thanks to Bryce Robertson's sixth interception of the season. He returned it 74 yards inside the five-yard line, setting up a great chance to score a touchdown. However, the Harvard defense stopped the Bison on three straight plays, forcing a short Drew Orth field goal. Orth has now scored all nine Bucknell points over the last two games, and 10 in a row dating back to the Georgetown victory the first Saturday in October.
With its first points on the board, Bucknell was looking to cut into the Harvard lead, but Seitu Smith III returned the ensuing kickoff 91 yards for a touchdown.
Bison quarterback Brandon Wesley, who was 13-for-26 for 135 yards, completed four passes on the next Bucknell drive, getting to the Harvard four-yard line. However, he then threw the first of two consecutive interceptions in the end zone. He finished the game with four interceptions after having just two all season entering the contest. The Bison totaled 81 of their 140 yards of total offense on those two back-to-back drives that ended in interceptions.
The Bison forced three turnovers in the game, but for the first time this season lost the turnover battle as they had five of their own.
Wesley's favorite receiving target was Victor Walker, who had four catches for 65 yards.
Harvard, which entered the game fourth in the nation in rushing defense, limited the Bison to minus-five yards on 21 carries.
Bucknell will return home for its final home contest next Saturday, Oct. 22, when it hosts Holy Cross. Kickoff is at 1 p.m. It will be Senior Day and the Bucknell Athletics Hall of Fame Class will be honored at halftime.