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BC Football: The good & the bad

September 16, 2016 GMT

THREE UPS

1. Multi-talented sophomore Justice Shelton-Mosley returns after earning Ivy League Rookie of the Year honors last season. The acrobatic, 5-foot-10 wide receiver caught 40 balls for 589 yards and scored six touchdowns. He averaged an Ivy-best 19 yards on punt returns, including an 86-yarder for a touchdown. His 1,140 all-purpose yards (114.0 per game) were the best on the Crimson.

2. Crimson captain Sean Ahearn and the rest of the seniors are 28-2 entering their final season. Nonetheless, Harvard lost key personnel at virtually every position. It’s a good thing the coaching staff is so good. Head coach Tim Murphy enters his 23rd season at the Crimson helm with a record of 156-63. Last year, he guided Harvard to a third straight Ivy League crown, a feat never before accomplished at the school. Penn (1982-86) is the last Ivy club to win four titles in a row.

3. The kicking game is one area that shouldn’t cause Murphy any sleepless nights. Junior Kenny Smart made 5-of-9 field goals (long of 40) and booted 45-of-48 PATs a year ago while junior punter Zach Schmid had a 35.2-yard average, with 13 of his 39 punts landing inside the 20.

THREE DOWNS

1. Reigning Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year Scott Hosch has graduated, leaving a huge void at quarterback. The top candidate to succeed Hosch is injury-plagued senior Joe Viviano. The 6-foot-5, Berwyn, Pa., native broke bones in both feet last preseason and missed the entire year. Murphy believes Viviano can be an “outstanding” quarterback but first must keep him on the field.

2. Key losses include the graduations of H-back/tight end Ben Braunecker (now with the Bears), leading tacklers Jacob Lindsey, Matt Koran and Eric Medes and running back Paul Stanton Jr. (809 yards, nine TDs). Senior Anthony Firkser is expected to plug the gap at H-back. Shelton-Mosley could see time on option plays, bubble screens and end around plays. Overall, however, answers must be found.

3. The schedule offers no breaks with three night games, including one in Philly against Penn at Franklin Field, always a tough venue for the Crimson. In addition, Harvard historians have been busy researching whether this year marks the first time in 143 seasons that Harvard will play three consecutive road contests — Oct. 15, 22 and 29 at Holy Cross, Princeton, and Dartmouth.