Bucknell Football Drops 35-7 Decision at No. 21 Harvard
Oct. 13, 2012
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Colton Chapple completed 11 of 18 passes for 189 yards and two touchdowns and ran eight times for 120 yards and two more scores to lead Harvard to a 35-7 victory over Bucknell Saturday evening at Harvard Stadium. The Crimson, who are ranked 21st nationally, improved to 5-0 on the season, while the Bison fell to 1-5.
Chapple, who threw for a Harvard record-tying five touchdowns a year ago against Bucknell, had his second straight strong outing opposite the Bison. He completed his final eight passes and led a Crimson offense that scored three touchdowns on plays of longer than 50 yards, including a 59-yard scamper by Chapple after a fake handoff.
Harvard, which entered the game averaging 43 points and 500 yards per game to rank among the country's leaders in both categories, totaled 459 yards on Saturday. The Crimson defense held the Bison to 250 yards as Bucknell avoided its first shutout since 2006 with a one-yard touchdown run by Jeremiah Young in the final minute of play.
Bucknell was in the game early as its defense forced two punts and one interception on Harvard's first three possessions. However, the Crimson scored four touchdowns on their final five possessions of the first half to take a 28-0 lead into halftime.
Bucknell had a chance to put the first points in the game on the board midway through the first quarter, but an interception in the end zone by Chris Splinter on a tipped Brandon Wesley pass thwarted the Bison's chance for their first touchdown since the Cornell game. Bucknell had such good field position (Harvard 12-yard line) thanks to an interception by Evan Byers that gave the Bison the ball deep inside Crimson territory. It was the first of two interceptions in the game for Byers, who also picked one off in the second half.
Harvard went three-and-out on its next possession and punted the ball to the Bison. Bucknell took over at its own 24-yard line, but turned the ball over on a second consecutive offensive play as Wesley fumbled on the first play of the drive. Harvard took possession at the 27-yard line. Four plays later Chapple rushed in from six yards out to put the Crimson up 7-0 with 3:01 left in the first quarter.
Harvard took control in the second quarter, putting 21 points on the board. Bucknell punted three times in the frame and had possession of the ball when the half ended. The Crimson totaled 237 yards of offense in the second quarter, compared to 21 for the Bison.
Harvard went up 14-0 when Chapple completed a 14-yard touchdown pass to Cameron Bates midway through the second quarter. The drive spanned six plays and 71 yards following a Ryan Gutowski punt. Chapple completed three passes to Bates on the drive for 34 yards.
It didn't take long for the Crimson to make it 21-0. Bucknell went three-and-out and on the very first play of the ensuing drive Andrew Fischer scored on a 58-yard run on a reverse.
Harvard brought a 28-0 lead into halftime after tight end Kyle Juszczyk caught a 20-yard pass from Chapple and turned it into a 59-yard touchdown reception thanks to five broken tackles.
Bucknell opened up the second half with a 15-play drive that spanned nearly nine minutes, but the Bison advanced the ball just 33 yards and were forced to punt. Bucknell punted three more times before covering 91 yards on nine plays on its final drive of the game, which ended with Young's fourth career touchdown.
Harvard's only points in the second half came on Chapple's 59-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. The Crimson punted twice and threw an interception on their final three drives.
Wesley started the game well for Bucknell, completing seven of his first 10 passes for 79 yards. He finished 21 of 29 for 227 yards as he moved into third place on the Bison career passing yards list (4,198 yards). Chapple was just 3-for-10 to open the contest.
Wesley's favorite targets were his running backs. Charles Thompson, Travis Friend, Tyler Smith and Young combined for 10 catches for 108 yards. Josh Brake caught a 38-yard pass and his five receptions led the team.
Bucknell struggled running the ball against the Crimson defense, which was ranked first nationally in rushing defense entering the game. The Bison ran 37 times for 23 yards. Young's 29 yards led the team.
Harvard was very balanced offensively as it totaled 203 yards on the ground and 256 through the air.
The Crimson defense totaled six sacks and 12 tackles for loss in the game. Bucknell had three sacks and five tackles for loss. Byers led the way for the Bison for a third straight game with nine tackles.
Bucknell will wrap up its three-game road trip next Saturday, Oct. 20, at nationally ranked Lehigh. Kick off in Bethlehem, Pa., is 12:30 p.m.