In a performance befitting the special occasion, Harvard quarterback Chris Pizzotti ’08 dazzled in the 100th meeting between the Crimson and the Princeton Tigers this past Saturday (Oct. 20) at the stadium. Poised and patient both in and out of the pocket, the senior completed 25 of 35 passes for a career-best 365 yards and a pair of touchdowns to orchestrate an impressive 27-10 win.
Pizzotti’s bright play — representing the fourth highest single game yard total in program history — served to keep the Crimson perfect in league play at 3-0, while avenging (particularly for the senior play caller, one imagines) last year’s frustrating 31-28 setback in the Garden State. In that game, Pizzotti managed 46 yards and an interception off the bench. In this most recent edition of the storied series, however, the Crimson struck first and never looked back.
A mere two minutes into the contest, on second down, Pizzotti rolled to his right and scanned his options at length before connecting with classmate Corey Mazza on a 41-yard loft. The pass capped a five-play march to the end zone.
Sophomore Patrick Long then tacked on a 23-yard field goal with 3:05 left in the first to make it 10-0, advantage Crimson. The 13-play scoring drive typified Harvard’s ball-hogging ways. All told, the home team held possession for 34:36 — over nine minutes longer than the Tigers.
In the second stanza, Princeton managed to even things up with a touchdown and field goal of their own, but the Crimson responded with another Long kick from 28 yards out to take a 13-10 edge. The Crimson defense then earned a series of key stops to close out the half, including a sack of Princeton quarterback Greg Mroz for a loss of 7 yards.
In the early going of the third quarter, Harvard scored its lone rushing touchdown of the afternoon on a 1-yard carry courtesy of Cheng Ho ’10. Following the extra point, the score helped Harvard to a 20-10 advantage. For his part, Ho recorded 121 yards to lead all rushers on the day.
The Crimson defense, meanwhile, continued to keep the Tigers at bay in the second half. Leading the scourge was cornerback Steven Williams ’08, who collected a pair of interceptions. The senior currently leads the nation in interceptions (six) and passes defended (16). As a whole, the Harvard D limited the Tigers to just 84 passing yards, while denying 11 of their 14 third-down conversion attempts.
The Crimson piled on one last touchdown to set up the final tally at the 4:51 mark of the fourth. In another of his scrambling yet coolheaded moments, Pizzotti hit Mike Cooke ’10 on a 20-yard pass for the score.
Harvard closes out its three-game home stand this Saturday (Oct. 27) at 12:30 p.m. against Dartmouth (2-4; 2-1 Ivy).