Ivy League Preview: Harvard Crimson

The Harvard Crimson are slated to finish second in the Ivy League this season, according to the 2014 Ivy League Football Preseason Media Poll. Tim Murphy enters his 21st year as head coach in Cambridge, coming off a 9-1 (6-1 Ivy) campaign last season, good for a share of the Ivy League title as well as the 23rd spot in the FCS Coaches Final 2013 Poll. Coming off a season in which an impressive 15 members of the Crimson were elected All-Ivy performers, the 2014 edition of the team is led by captain & All-Ivy Defensive Back Norman Hayes. The three-year starter helps bolster a defense that includes All-American Defensive End/Linebacker Zach Hodges, who is the lone FCS player on the Butkus Award Watch List, given annually to the nation’s top linebacker. Harvard begins its season on September 19 vs. in-state opponent College of the Holy Cross, a rare Friday night game. Other out-of-conference foes include Georgetown and Lafayette, with the season’s real tests coming week six at Princeton — last year’s fellow Ivy co-champions — as well as November 22 when the Crimson welcome Yale up to Cambridge for the 131st installment of “The Game.”

Harvard returns seven starters on offense, including senior quarterback Conner Hempel, a 2013 Honorable Mention All-Ivy selection. Joining Hempel in the backfield is junior Paul Stanton, Jr., a second-Team All-Ivy running back who scored four of his 15 touchdowns last year against Yale in a 34-7 trouncing. The offensive line returns three starters, including senior guard Nick Easton, a preseason FCS All-American. Wide receiver Ricky Zorn has a chance to climb higher in the Harvard record books during his senior year, entering the season with 86 receptions and 1,264 career receiving yards, good for 13th & 11th respectively all-time.

The Crimson 2014 schedule is listed below; all start times are subject to change.

Fri, 09/19/2014 Holy Cross           7:00 PM

Sat, 09/27/2014 at Brown              6:00 PM

Sat, 10/04/2014 at Georgetown                 12:00 PM

Sat, 10/11/2014 Cornell                  1:00 PM

Sat, 10/18/2014 Lafayette             1:00 PM

Sat, 10/25/2014 at Princeton       1:00 PM

Sat, 11/01/2014 at Dartmouth     1:30 PM

Sat, 11/08/2014 Columbia             1:00 PM

Sat, 11/15/2014 at Penn                1:00 PM

Sat, 11/22/2014 Yale                        12:30 PM

Campus Sports Exclusive: Bob Whitfield