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harvard 41, howard 25

Harvard football puts away Howard with strong second half

Ledger Hatch caught four passes from quarterback Charlie Dean in Harvard’s 41-25 win over Howard at Audi Field in Washington, D.C., on Saturday afternoon.

He turned two of them into touchdowns.

Ahead, 10-7, in the second quarter, Hatch got behind the Bison defense and hauled in a 36-yard touchdown to extend the lead. At the start of the second half, Hatch caught his second pass of the game — a 44-yard strike from Dean that ended with Hatch in the end zone to give the Crimson (4-1) a 24-17 lead.

“The combination of all our receivers … it’s definitely a strength of our football team,” said Harvard coach Tim Murphy. “Charlie Dean is getting better every day. That combination has made us more effective now than coming out of the blocks in our opener.”


From there, the defense and special teams guided the Crimson home with a blocked punt, a blocked field goal, and an interception as the Bison (1-5) scored just once in the second half.

Running back Shane McLaughlin added two touchdowns for the Crimson, including the first of the game in the first quarter. He took a handoff, decided against pushing through a packed box, and instead bounced outside for the 1-yard score. He bookended his first touchdown by scoring the last one in the fourth, punching through the line from 3 yards out to make it 41-17.

Howard kept pace with Harvard in the first half, but could not keep up after the break. The Bison were forced to punt on the first drive of the third quarter, but no one picked up defensive back James Herring, who blocked the punt and set up Harvard at the Howard 12.

Running back Aidan Borguet finished off the short drive with a 1-yard TD run that put the Crimson up, 31-17.


On the next drive, defensive lineman Truman Jones broke through the line and blocked a Howard field goal attempt, spotting the Crimson at the 23. They didn’t capitalize, but picked off Howard quarterback Jaylon Tolbert on the next drive to set up a 35-yard field goal from Jonah Lipel, who was 2 for 3 on the afternoon.

The Bison finally got on the board in the second half, finishing off an 11-play, 76-yard drive with a 6-yard rush by Ja’Shawn Scroggins and 2-point conversion. Down two scores with 30 seconds remaining, the Bison failed to recover an onside kick and the Crimson lined up in victory formation.

“The defense played great in the second half, and the offense made very few mistakes,” Murphy said. “We are getting better every week. We are definitely a better football team than we were a few weeks ago.”

Eamonn Ryan can be reached at eamonn.ryan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @eamonn_ryan41.