Though the fans weren’t treated to another quintuple-overtime game, Princeton football (6–0 overall, 3–0 Ivy League) remained victorious against the Harvard Crimson (4–2, 2–1).
This past Saturday, the Tigers left no room for doubt as they dominated Harvard on both ends of the ball in a 37–10 victory. With this win, the Tigers continue their five-game win streak in the regular season against Harvard, with their last loss against the Crimson in 2016.
Princeton started the game with the ball possession, showcasing their offensive prowess early with a three-minute touchdown. Following a slow start to the drive, junior quarterback Blake Stenstrom found a wide-open senior wide receiver Andrei Iosivas, who cruised into the end zone for the 61-yard touchdown. The drive by Iosivas catapulted a strong performance from him, as he finished the night with one touchdown, nine receptions, and 176 yards.
“We performed well, there are always things to work on but a win is always the goal,” Iosivas wrote to The Daily Princetonian. “If you prepare with intention for every game, you set yourself up for success, which is what we do for every game.”
Harvard was unable to respond until four minutes into the first quarter, settling for a field goal and making the score 7–3 after missing the game-tying touchdown by inches in the end zone.
Neither team scored until the fifth minute of the second quarter, where first-year running back Ryan Butler caught a pass from Stenstrom for his first touchdown of the game. Harvard managed to respond after Princeton’s second drive, scoring their only touchdown of the game immediately after to make the score 14–10.
Along with a huge offensive display, the Tigers bolstered their play throughout the game with their suffocating defensive pressure. Prior to Butler’s touchdown, Princeton recovered a fumble from Harvard, which helped spark a Princeton offense that initially struggled against Harvard in the second quarter.
The Tigers’ defense continued its impressive outing in the second half, forcing multiple punts and two interceptions from the Harvard offense. This was Princeton’s third game this season where the opposing team scored 10 or fewer points.
In the third quarter, the Tigers took control of the game, scoring two touchdowns, while successfully defending against the Crimson in every possession. For their first touchdown of the third quarter, Stenstrom threw a well-timed 23-yard pass to senior wide receiver Dylan Classi, who caught the ball as he ran into the end zone.
Throughout the game, Stenstrom led the Tigers offensively, throwing for 278 yards and three touchdowns. He also completed a touchdown of his own in the fourth quarter, ending his night against Harvard with a performance strong enough to win Ivy League Player of the Week.
“Friday’s game was a great experience for our team,” Blake wrote in an email to the ‘Prince.’ “Our approach in practice every week is process-oriented rather than results-oriented, so the standard by which we prepare does not change week to week. We are excited to take the same approach in practice this week.”
The second touchdown of the third quarter was manufactured by Princeton’s rushing. Butler finished off the drive for his second touchdown of the game, managing to squeeze into the end zone for a one-yard touchdown to make the score 28–10. His impressive performance earned him Ivy League Rookie of the Week.
In the final quarter, following a field goal by sophomore kicker Jeffrey Sexton to make the game 31–10, Princeton tallied one more touchdown. After a wonderful 31 yard catch by Iosivas, Stenstrom concluded the night offensively for Princeton with a four-yard drive into the end zone. For the rest of the game, the Tigers would not let Harvard advance down the field.
With just four games left in the season, Head Coach Bob Surace ’90 is focused on how the team can continue to improve.
“I think our effort through our first 6 games has been consistently at a high standard. I think the biggest key is continuing to prepare with the same urgency and level of detail,” Surace wrote in an email to the ‘Prince.’ “Our league certainly has a lot of parity, and the preparation doesn’t guarantee success on a given week, but it gives us the opportunity to play well.”
The Tigers will look to uphold their undefeated season when they host the Cornell Big Red on Saturday, Oct. 29 for the Homecoming game. The Big Red is currently 4–2 in the League and have won their last two matchups against Lehigh and Brown.
Brian Mhando is a contributor to the sports and podcast sections at the ‘Prince.’ He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Instagram @brianmhando.