Lafayette Ends Non-League Slate at Harvard

Oct. 10, 2017

 Lafayette at Harvard
 Gameday Info  GoLeopards.com Gameday
 Date & Time  Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017 - 12 p.m.
 Location  Cambridge, Mass. | Harvard Stadium
 Tickets  Lafayette Athletics Ticket Office
 Game Notes  Lafayette Get Acrobat Reader | Harvard Get Acrobat Reader
 TV  NESN 
 Play by Play: Alex Vispoli
 Analyst: Eric Gallanty
 Live Streaming  Ivy League Digital Network (subscription required)
 Live Stats  Harvard Live Stats
 Social Media  Twitter & Facebook


The Match-Up: Lafayette has won its last two games, both Patriot League outings, and will travel to Harvard (2-2) on Saturday for a noon kick-off. The game marks the final non-conference contest for the Leopards who have six weeks remaining in the regular season (including a bye on Oct. 28). It is also the 700th game in Harvard Stadium history.

Repeat Winner: Senior LB Brandon Bryant is the Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week for the second straight week. He equaled his season-high in tackles with 15 stops in a 14-10 win over Fordham. Thirteen of Bryant's tackles were solo stops and he also added a sack. The senior captain helped the Leopards' defense shut down Fordham on 4-of-5 fourth-down situations and 10-of-16 third-down opportunities.
Bryant is averaging 14.3 tackles per game over the past four contests and 12.2 tackles per game (third in the nation) for the season. He ranks sixth in the nation in solo tackles per game (7.3). Bryant also garnered honorable mention status
in the running for STATS Defensive Player of the Week honors.

Last Time Out: Lafayette claimed its second straight Patriot League victory, using two fourth-quarter scores to top Fordham, 14-10, on Saturday evening at Fisher Stadium. Senior WR Rocco Palumbo finished the day with nine catches for 129 yards and two touchdowns while freshman QB Sean O'Malley completed 29-of-41 for 256 yards.
The Leopards' defense held Fordham All-American running back Chase Edmonds to 78 rushing yards.

The Garrett Era: John Garrett began his first head-coaching assignment on Dec. 21, 2016 when he was introduced at a press conference on the Lafayette College campus. Garrett, the Fred M. Kirby '42 Head Football Coach, brings more than 25 years of coaching experience at the NFL, NCAA FBS and NCAA FCS levels. His most recent stints included offensive coordinator gigs at Richmond and Oregon State. In his first season, Garrett is handling the offensive play-calling duties, taking over a Leopard squad that was 3-19 over the last two seasons.

Stat Watch: Senior WR Matt Mrazek needs one reception to take over sole possession of second place on Lafayette's career receptions list. He currently has 162 career grabs, tied with John Weyrauch '04. Mark Ross '14 is the all-time leader (198).

Pick-Free Performance: Lafayette's win over Fordham marked the first game this season in which freshman quarterback Sean O'Malley did not throw an interception. It also represented the fewest times he was sacked this season (two).

Familiar Face: Lafayette will see a familiar face on the opposing sideline at Harvard. Mickey Fein, who spent nine seasons at Lafayette including eight as the offensive coordinator, is now the passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach for the Crimson. His daughter, Jacklyn, is a freshman on Lafayette's women's lacrosse team.

Defensive Stands: The Leopards' defense held fifth-year senior QB Peter Pujals in check at Holy Cross. He entered the game averaging 281 yards passing with eight touchdowns and finished with just 191 yards and no touchdowns. Lafayette stopped Holy Cross on 4-of-6 fourth-down attempts.
Against Fordham, the Lafayette defense held All-American running back Chase Edmonds to 78 rushing yards, a year removed from Edmonds' 359-yard performance.

Parham's Picks: Senior cornerback Phillip Parham has four interceptions in six games for the Leopards and ranks ninth in the nation in that statistical category. He has nine interceptions for his career. The Lincoln Park, Mich. native ranks first in the nation in passes defended [pass breakups (8) + interceptions (4)], averaging 2.0 per game.

Punting Prodigy: Freshman Michael Turk has been outstanding in his first six games as the team's punter. He is averaging 43.1 yards per attempt (which would rank him first in single-season average at Lafayette) with a long of 64 yards and 10 punts of 50-plus yards. He has landed nine punts inside the opponent's 20-yard line.
Turk developed his skills in 2016, training with his uncle Matt Turk, who was an NFL punter for 19 seasons. Prior to that, he had not punted in high school.

At the Horn: Lafayette's last-second triumph at Holy Cross was the first in the final minute since Nov. 8, 2014. In that game, Thomas Martin drilled a 31-yard field goal, the first of his brief career, to erase a 16-point third quarter deficit and register a 19-16 win at Colgate.

Fresh Contributions: Six freshmen have cracked the starting lineup. QB Sean O'Malley, P Michael Turk and OL Gavin Barclay have started every game. Taron Hampton has started one game at right tackle and three at left guard. Kicker Jeffrey Kordenbrock stepped into the starting kicker role after a week one injury to junior Jacob Bissell. Jake Taggart has started the last two games at tight end when the Leopards began with a two tight-end set.
Two other members of the Class of 2021 are in the two-deep as back ups: QB Cole Northrup and LS/LB Ryan Dickens. Northrup has seen limited snaps and Dickens has played on special teams, serving as the long snapper in the Princeton and Fordham games while also appearing on other coverage units throughout the season.

The Opponent: Harvard comes into the game with a 2-2 overall with wins over Brown and Georgetown and losses to Rhode Island and Cornell.

The Crimson return 46 letterwinners, including seven starters on offense and six on defense, from a 2016 squad which placed third in the Ivy League.

Harvard has featured a balanced offense, averaging 163 yards per game on the ground and 213 yards per game through the air. The Crimson have used two quarterbacks, senior Joe Viviano and freshman Jake Smith. Junior WR Justice Shelton-Mosley is one of the team's top receivers and serves as the kick and punt returner.

Senior LB Luke Hutton leads the team with 29 tackles on a unit surrendering 326 yards per game.

Harvard is coached by Tim Murphy (165-68) who is in his 24th season at the school founded in 1636.