WORCESTER, Mass. – Harvard tailback Paul Stanton scored on a game-ending 17 yard run in the third overtime period, to lift the Crimson to a 41-35 victory over the Holy Cross football team at Fitton Field on Homecoming weekend. Stanton finished the game with 103 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries, and received the Johnny Turco Memorial Trophy as the Most Valuable Player of the Crusaders' Homecoming game. Holy Cross falls to 2-4 on the season with the loss, while Harvard improves to 3-0 overall.
Freshman quarterback Peter Pujals (Glenview, Ill.) led the Crusader offense by completing 33 of 50 passes for a career-high 345 yards and four touchdowns. Senior wide out Mike Fess (Caldwell, N.J.) finished the afternoon with a game-high 11 receptions for 117 yards and two scores, while sophomore tailback Elad Covaliu (Rockville, Md.) ran the ball 17 times for a team-best 59 yards.
Harvard opened the scoring at the 4:31-mark of the first quarter on a 12-yard run by Andrew Casten. Holy Cross responded with a six-yard scoring strike from Pujals to Fess in the second quarter, and the score was tied 7-7 at halftime. The Crimson pulled back in front on a four-yard fumble return for a touchdown by Eric Medes, before a 22-yard scoring pass from Pujals to senior wide receiver Nate Stanley (Euclid, Ohio) tied the game at 14-14 in the third quarter.
The Crusaders claimed their first lead of the day with just 3:11 remaining in the fourth quarter, when Pujals hit senior wide out Jon Smith (Matawan, N.J.) with a 20-yard touchdown pass. But Harvard refused to die, tying the game again at 21-21 with just 38 seconds to go on a 10-yard scoring strike from Conner Hempel to Cameron Brate.
Holy Cross had the ball first in overtime, and took the lead on a seven-yard touchdown pass from Pujals to Fess. Hempel found Tyler Ott from three yards out to knot up the score, before Stanton opened the second overtime with a one-yard scoring run to put Harvard back in front. Sophomore wide receiver Kalif Raymond (Lawrenceville, Ga.) then scored on a five-yard touchdown run to tie up the game at 35-35.
The Crusaders were unable to move the ball in the third overtime, before missing a 45-yard field goal attempt to give the ball back to the Crimson. Stanton then scored on a 17-yard run to end the game.
Senior defensive tackle Gary Acquah (Bronx, N.Y.) led the Holy Cross defense with seven tackles and one quarterback sack, while junior cornerback Ben Coffaro (Cincinnati, Ohio) added five tackles, an interception and a pass breakup. The Crusader defense was able to limit the high-powered Harvard offense to just 267 total yards and 21 points in regulation.
Holy Cross returns to action next Saturday, Oct . 12, when it travels to Bucknell for a 1:00 p.m. game.