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Lifeless Crusaders routed by Crimson
Before last night, Harvard senior quarterback Andrew Hatch hadn’t played in a college football game since the seventh week of the 2008 season. Back then, he was calling the signals for LSU.
Hatch’s journey has been interesting to say the least, one that has taken him from his home in Henderson, Nev., across the country to Harvard, where he played for the JV team in 2005, to Chile on a church mission, to LSU, where he was a member of the Tigers’ 2007 national championship squad, and now, back to Harvard.
Hatch, 24, had to sit out last season after transferring, but he certainly made up for lost time in the Crimson’s opener against Holy Cross.
Hatch completed 20 of 25 passes for 276 yards and three touchdowns in leading Harvard over the Crusaders, 34-6, before 21,704 fans at Harvard Stadium.
Holy Cross (1-2) was hoping to bounce back from an extremely disappointing loss at UMass, but the Crusaders continued to struggle and for the second straight week were shut out in the first half. The 24-point loss to the Minutemen had been HC’s worst since a 36-point setback to Lafayette in 2004 — until last night
“We’re not making plays and we’re just not executing the assignments that we’re capable of executing,” Holy Cross coach Tom Gilmore said. “We went against a very good football team that did execute. We were ready for what they did. We just didn’t play well enough. I’ve got to believe we’ve got to make some changes and refocus how we’re preparing and figure out how we can be a lot more productive on offense and stop making these mistakes on defense.”
Holy Cross opened the season with a 38-7 win over Howard, but has been outscored, 65-13, in its last two games. UMass put up 525 yards against HC. Harvard totaled 423 and was 7 for 12 on third down.
“We’re not getting off the field on third down,” senior safety Anthony DiMichele said. “We’ve got to get better. We’ve got to keep working.”
Senior quarterback Ryan Taggart was 5 for 11 for 54 yards and an interception in the first half. Junior backup Kevin Watson played the second half and was 13 for 25 for 116 yards and a 15-yard touchdown pass to Freddie Santana with a minute left in the fourth quarter.
“Going into the game we talked about mixing in Watson,” Gilmore said. “Not all the problems we had were Ryan Taggart’s fault, but we just weren’t making enough plays. We wanted to give Kevin Watson a chance.”
Gilmore said he expects Taggart to start next week at Georgetown.
Fifth-year senior Bill Edger, HC’s leading receiver, dressed, but did not play because of a sprained shoulder. HC was also without starting inside linebacker Ricky Otis, who has an oblique strain.
Harvard shared the Ivy League title last year and was the preseason pick to win the championship in 2010.
HC had beaten Harvard two of the last three years, both times in dramatic late-game fashion, but the Crimson jumped on the Crusaders early last night.
Hatch, who was named Harvard’s starter this week after Collier Winters suffered a possible season-ending hip injury, completed 8 of his first 9 pass attempts. Harvard scored on all four of its first-half possessions.
“It felt really good to get out there again,” Hatch said. “We were prepared. It was fun to be out there.”
HC’s first possession included two false start penalties, and on fourth down, a bad snap to punter Don Lemieux resulted in Harvard starting its next drive at the HC 29.
Hatch found an opening on the left side of the Harvard defense and scampered for a 16-yard gain, and senior running back Gino Gordon, Harvard’s leading rusher in ’09, scored from 4 yards out.
Hatch led an eight-play, 82-yard drive early in the second quarter and connected with senior wide receiver Marco Iannuzzi for a 26-yard scoring strike to put Harvard up, 17-0.
Harvard coach Tim Murphy was pleased with Hatch’s performance, but also praised his defense.
“We never let (Holy Cross) in the game,” Murphy said.
Later in the second quarter, senior receiver Levi Richards made a nice sideline catch on a third-and-15 play to keep another Harvard drive going.
On second-and-11 from the HC 17, it looked like Holy Cross linebacker James McLaughlin had Hatch for a big loss, but Hatch escaped McLaughlin and the sack and instead ran for 12 yards and a first down. The play led to David Mothander’s 24-yard field goal. Harvard led, 20-0, at the half.
Lifeless Crusaders routed by Crimson
By Jennifer Toland, Worcester Telegram & Gazette