Football Team Makes Friday Night Statement, Posts Biggest Win Over Harvard In 50 Years

  • October 21, 2017

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By the time Chad Kanoff threw his first incompletion, Princeton led by 21 points. Jesper Horsted threw his first career touchdown pass on a day he posted the third-most receiving yards in program history. On a day when Charlie Volker recorded arguably the most barely-noticed three-touchdown day ever, Princeton accomplished something it hadn’t done since Edgar Allen Poe was a captain.

Yes, Friday night in Boston was a good one for Princeton.

The Princeton football team dominated every aspect of a 52-17 win over Harvard in front of 10,114 fans at Harvard Stadium, a place that hadn’t seen its home team lose an Ivy game by at least  35 points since Nov. 11, 1967, when Princeton posted a 45-6 victory over the Crimson. The effort, which was spearheaded by historic performances from Kanoff and Horsted, led Princeton to its third-straight 50-point performance, something that no Princeton team had done since 1890 (a streak that included a 115-0 win over Virginia).

Want more stats? Because this was the night for them.

Kanoff, who completed his first 21 passes, went 31-for-35 for 421 yards and two touchdowns. It was the eighth-most single-game passing yards in Princeton history, and it moved him from 21st to 15th on the Ivy League all-time passing list with 5,921 yards. He completion percentage of .886 was just off the FCS single-game record (minimul 30 completions), which is .889, set by Richie Williams of Appalachian State. Ironically, Williams also had the consecutive completions record from that game until Quinn Epperly ’15 broke it with 29 straight completions against Cornell during the 2013 Ivy championship season.

However, Kanoff and Horsted combined to set the FCS team single-game completion percentage record — they went 32 for 36 for a .889 percentage, topping the previous best of .854, set by Cal St. Northridge in 1998.

Horsted caught 13 passes for 246 yards and two touchdowns; the 246 yards is the third-most in Princeton history, trailing only Michael Lerch (370) and Derek Graham (278). His 13 catches is tied for seventh-most in Princeton history. He now has 55 receptions on the season, only 33 behind Kevin Guthrie’s single-season record of 88.

The Princeton defense, which didn’t allow Harvard’s second touchdown until the score was 52-10, limited Harvard to a 3-of-10 success rate on third downs. Inside linebackers Tom Johnson and John Orr tied for the team high with 10 tackles apiece, while senior cornerback Chance Melancon played a role in both of Harvard’s turnovers; he forced a fumble by Harvard’s Charlie Booker early in the third quarter, and he picked off quarterback Jake Smith in the end zone during the fourth quarter.

There was no shortage of standouts. Volker followed his four-touchdown effort at Brown with three more scores Friday night, while freshman Collin Eaddy posted a game-best 83 yards and scored a touchdown for the second straight week. Stephen Carlson, who had seven catches in the first quarter alone, ended the game with a career-high 11 receptions for 103 yards and a touchdown, which came courtesy of an end around pass by Horsted.

Ben Ellis had seven tackles for Princeton, while Edward Rudinski added six, including one for a loss. Melancon added two pass breakups to his interception and forced fumble, though the defense was a strong collective effort that played the majority of the game without reigning All-America Kurt Holuba, and the whole game without sack leader Mike Wagner, who suffered an injury against Brown.

Princeton, which made a smashing debut in its first ever Friday night road game, will remain on the NBC Sports Network next Saturday night. The Tigers will host Cornell at 7 pm; Princeton has won four straight against Cornell, including a 56-7 win in Ithaca last year.

It will be Family Costume Night at Princeton Stadium; groups that wear Halloween costumes to the stadium will be eligible for an $8 group ticket rate, and there is scheduled to be a halftime costume contest judged by Dean Cain ’88. Also, the first 1,000 fans in attendance will receive an exclusive Princeton Football Seat Cushion.