The deluge at the Stadium was relentless, picking up in the second quarter as a handful of hearty souls stuck it out on the cold, wet cement seats huddled under their umbrellas.
And in a perfect storm, Harvard, riding an 11-game winning streak, poured it on against winless Holy Cross Friday night.
“We take pride in being able to play in any kind of conditions,” said coach Tim Murphy after his Crimson cruised to their Championship Subdivision-best 12th consecutive victory, 52-3, before an announced crowd of 10,215.
Under the lights in particular. A 24-7 romp over Brown in the rain last September. A 41-10 plowing of Dartmouth in a blizzard last October.
Friday night was more of the same: prolific precision, coupled with ball security, regardless of the weather, resulting in a pounding.
When senior quarterback Colton Chapple charged into the end zone on a 3-yard keeper for a 42-3 spread — setting a program mark for first-half points, eclipsing the 41 rolled up against Columbia on Nov. 5, 2005 — there were still 5 minutes and 39 seconds remaining in the second quarter.
Senior tailback Rich Zajeski danced in from the 4 for the seventh Harvard TD three minutes later, set up by a 51-yard pass down the middle from Chapple to senior tight end Kyle Juszczyk.
It capped an explosive 30 minutes in which the Crimson piled up 394 yards of offense (Holy Cross had 92), were 9 for 9 on third down, and converted a blocked punt from sophomore Connor Sheehan into a 23-yard scoop-and-run from D.J. Monroe for a score.
The initial strike of lightning, so to speak, in the romp — the most lopsided win in the 66-game series — came on the first collegiate touch for freshman back Paul Stanton Jr., who scampered 42 yards on the opening kickoff.
Chapple (13 of 18, 260 yards, 4 touchdowns in the first half) connected with Ricky Zorn for 36 yards to the 10, and then went back to the junior receiver on play-action for the game’s first score.
Holy Cross (0-4), which lost starting quarterback Kevin Watson (torn anterior cruciate ligament) for the season in a Week 2 loss to Brown, answered quickly when sophomore Ryan Laughlin (9 of 24, 105 yards) found tight end Nate Stanley over the top for 65 yards to the 12.
But the Crusaders were forced to settle for a 27-yard field goal by John Macomber.
Harvard (3-0) piled up 520 yards and limited Holy Cross to 191.
Senior tailback Treavor Scales continued his assault on defensive fronts, slashing for 82 yards on 15 carries, and Stanton had 76 on just eight rushes.
Chapple connected with junior tight end Cameron Brate on two scoring tosses (35 and 19 yards), along with a 14-yard TD strike to Juszczyk.
“It was a combination of us being completely in synch in the first half and playing against, quite frankly, a very banged-up Holy Cross squad,” said Murphy.