The contest was the first home performance of the season for the Bears (0-2, 0-1), a team struggling to find a win after blanking in Ancient Eight throughout the 2017 season and subsequently finishing last in the division.
With the ball and the momentum of an antsy home crowd, McGovern carried the team downfield in his first drive. When there wasn’t a man open through the air, the sophomore starter used his feet to reset the downs.
The drive ended in a field goal, a result Brown coach Phil Estes lamented in his postgame interview. “We got away with just a field goal,” Estes said. “We should have had a touchdown in that first drive and what a difference that would have made.”
The Crimson’s sophomore quarterback capitalized. In a drive that featured three passes that sailed for over 20 yards, in his final target Smith found senior wideout Henry Taylor who snagged the spiral and sprinted in to the end zone to earn Harvard its first lead of the night. The Bears never recovered.
From there it was all Crimson en route to the 31-17 victory.
Harvard introduced its third sophomore tailback of the season and he started with a bang. Taking the ball from Smith, second-year B.J. Watson took his first rushing attempt of the contest to the house, traversing the 43 yards between the give and the Bears’ end zone.
Across the three sophomore backs — Watson, Aaron Shampklin and Devin Darrington — the Crimson accumulated 237 rushing yards, 205 more than Brown.
The game was not nearly as one-sided as it seems from the box score. To start the fourth quarter, Smith was intercepted as the visiting team knocked on the door of another touchdown. McGovern led the ensuing air assault.
The Bears scored, knocking Harvard’s lead down to seven with 12 minutes left remaining. Three snaps later, Smith faced a third down deep in his own territory. The sophomore escaped pressure and found the open senior tight end Dan Werner to move the sticks.
Three more times, Smith face similar third-down situations. Each time, the sophomore composed himself and found the open receiver, leading the Crimson on a game clinching touchdown drive. It was senior wide receiver Adam Scott that caught the drive’s final pass, maneuvering 22 yards into the Brown touchdown.
The home crowd, already spotty after the first half domination, lost all enthusiasm.
With only four minutes remaining, Harvard curtailed McGovern and drained the clock.
On the night, the Crimson receiving core earned 251 yards, outpacing Harvard’s ground game for the first time this season. Leading the wide outs, Scott accumulated 90 yards on a career high eight catches, while senior Justice Shelton-Mosley took his six catches for 65 yards.
The Crimson left Providence, R.I., with its eighth straight victory in the series.