WORCESTER, Mass. – Senior quarterback Ryan Taggart (Bedford, Texas) completed 22 of 35 passes for a career-high 320 yards and a touchdown, to lead the Holy Cross football team to a 30-22 victory over Harvard at Fitton Field on Homecoming weekend. Taggart also rushed nine times for 34 yards and a score, and received the Johnny Turco Memorial Trophy as the most valuable player of the Crusaders' Homecoming game. Holy Cross improves to 2-1 overall this season, while defeating the Crimson for the third time in the last five years. Harvard opens the year at 0-1.
The Crusader defense forced three turnovers on the day, while holding Harvard to 372 yards of total offense. Sophomore cornerback Andrew Zitnik (Warren, Ohio) led the way with nine tackles and an interception, while sophomore linebacker Mike Tucker (Chester Springs, Pa.) added seven tackles and two quarterback sacks.
Holy Cross opened the scoring at the 11:02-mark of the first quarter on a 22-yard field goal by sophomore placekicker John Macomber (Vienna, Va.). That field goal was set up when junior tailback Eddie Houghton (Toronto, Ontario) recovered a fumbled punt return at the Crimson three-yard line.
Harvard came right back with touchdowns on its next two possessions to claim a 14-3 lead. Collier Winters ran four yards for the first score, then Winters tossed a seven-yard touchdown pass to Kyle Juszczyk early in the second quarter. The Crusaders responded on their next play from scrimmage, with Taggart throwing a 68-yard scoring strike to junior tight end Josh Hauser (Dallas, Texas). Taggart added a one-yard scoring run later in the second quarter, before a 27-yard Macomber field goal gave Holy Cross a 20-14 halftime lead.
Neither team scored again until late in the third quarter, when Macomber booted his third field goal of the day, from 37 yards out, to make the score 23-14. The Crimson were then threatening early in the fourth quarter, when Zitnik intercepted a Winters pass and returned in 97 yards for a touchdown to give the Crusaders a 30-14 advantage.
Harvard refused to go quietly, and on its next possession Winters threw a 46-yard scoring pass to Alex Sarkisian and then ran for a two-point conversion to make it a one possession game at 30-22. The Crimson would drive into Holy Cross territory one last time in the final minutes, but on fourth-and-eight at the Crusader 45-yard line, senior cornerback Chandler Fenner (Virginia Beach, Va.) intercepted a Winters pass to ice the victory.
Holy Cross returns to action on Saturday, Oct. 1, when it travels to New Hampshire for a 1:00 p.m. game.