Har­vard mulls QBs

Who will get call: Vi­viano or Smith?

Boston Herald - - BASEBALL SCOREBOARD - By ROSS GIENIECZKO Twit­ter: @RossGien

It’s been a tale of two games for Har­vard foot­ball this au­tumn.

A 17-10 loss against Rhode Is­land in the sea­son opener was marred by a hor­rific neck in­jury to de­fen­sive back Ben Aber­crom­bie, one that has left the fresh­man tem­po­rar­ily par­a­lyzed.

Last week’s re­sult was a 45-28 rout over Brown in the Crim­son’s Ivy League opener for their first win of the sea­son.

With one win and one loss in the books, Har­vard needs to make sure its per­for­mance this af­ter­noon against Ge­orge­town at RFK Sta­dium in Wash­ing­ton looks a lot more like the sec­ond out­ing than the first.

“We played a good schol­ar­ship foot­ball team in Game 1 that was play­ing in their third game,” Crim­son coach Tim Mur­phy said. “We had some ques­tions we had to get an­swered, a lot of new guys play­ing.

“(Against Brown) we just came out and ex­e­cuted bet­ter and made some plays. They al­ways say you make your most progress be­tween Game 1 and Game 2, and I think that was the is­sue.”

The spot­light in Game 3 against the Hoyas (1-2) will be squarely fixed on Har­vard’s quar­ter­back, who­ever it may be. Joe Vi­viano started nine games last year and the sea­son opener against Rhode Is­land, but fresh­man Jake Smith opened the game un­der cen­ter last week against the Bears.

Both quar­ter­backs saw ac­tion against Brown and led the Crim­son on mul­ti­ple touch­down drives, and Mur­phy hasn’t an­nounced who will start against Ge­orge­town.

En­ter­ing the game in the sec­ond quar­ter didn’t seem to faze Vi­viano, who was a crisp 11-for-13 pass­ing for 150 yards. The se­nior said all the right things when it came to the topic of po­ten­tially get­ting back into the start­ing lineup this week­end.

“You just have to con­trol what you can con­trol. That’s a big thing I try to fo­cus on,” Vi­viano said. “Whether it’s in­juries, whether it’s de­ci­sions the coaches make … just con­trol what you can con­trol and play your best.”

Smith be­came the first Har­vard fresh­man to start at quar­ter­back since Ryan Fitz­patrick did it in 2001.

“We feel like we’ve got two re­ally good quar­ter­backs,” Mur­phy said. “Whether it’s Jake or Joe, we feel like we’re in a good place quar­ter­back-wise, a bet­ter place than we were a year ago.”

Who­ever ends up at quar­ter­back will be lean­ing on a run­ning game that has av­er­aged over 200 yards per game. Ju­nior Char­lie Booker has paced the ground at­tack with 216 yards and a pair of touch­downs on just 26 car­ries.

Booker and the of­fen­sive line will face a tough test from a Hoyas de­fense that has al­lowed just 2.7 yards per carry this year. Mur­phy thinks keep­ing the of­fense bal­anced will be a key go­ing into the game.

“If you can run the ball, you can throw. If you can throw, you can run. We’ve been very bal­anced through two games,” Mur­phy said. “It makes it tough on de­fenses when you’re sort of un­pre­dictable in any for­ma­tion, down and dis­tance and field zone, and that’s where we are right now.

Ge­orge­town’s of­fense isn’t one that should scare the Crim­son too much, as the Hoyas en­ter the con­test av­er­ag­ing just 14 points and 271 yards per game.


CALL­ING AU­DI­BLE: Joe Vi­viano fires a pass last week against Brown, but it re­mains to be seen whether Har­vard goes with the se­nior, or fresh­man Jake Smith, when it vis­its Ge­orge­town today.

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