It’s lonely at the top. But for the Div. I-AA No. 11 University of Pennsylvania (7-0, 4-0 Ivy), who stands alone at the top of the Ivy League after this weekend, that is just fine. While the Quakers avoided a late-game Brown (2-5, 1-3) comeback, Harvard (6-1, 3-1) fell to Dartmouth (3-4, 2-2) in Cambridge, Mass. Down in the Ancient Eight basement, Princeton (2-5, 2-2) got a little more of its confidence back after a near-shutout victory over Cornell (1-6, 0-4).
Dartmouth 30, Harvard 16
Dartmouth stunned the Crimson, who were ranked No. 15 in Div. I-AA before this weekend, knocking the Cantabs off their lofty perch at the top of the Ivy League.
The Dartmouth defense proved to be the deciding factor in the upset. The Big Green forced Harvard’s quarterbacks to throw three interceptions and only allowed the Cantabs to make three fourth-down conversions. Harvard’s starting quarterback Garret Schires threw the Crimson’s first pick. The Cantab’s former top signal-caller Ryan Fitzpatrick, who has not started since Oct. 18 because of an injury, contributed two more.
Harvard started the scoring early, when, only three minutes into the game, freshman tailback Clifton Dawson made an impressive 71-yard touchdown run to give the Cantabs an early 6-0 lead. The Big Green did not take long to answer back. With 3:50 left in the first quarter, Dartmouth quarterback Charlie Rittgers threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to junior wideout Andrew Hall to tie the game 6-6. Rittgers finished the day with 344 yards.
After a 25-yard field goal by Crimson junior kicker Jim Morocco returned the lead to Harvard, Dartmouth launched a barrage of attacks from which Harvard would not be able to recover.
In the middle of the second quarter, Big Green kicker Tyler Lavin sent a whopping 50-yard field goal through the uprights to tie the game again at 9-9. On Harvard’s next possession the Cantabs were able to drive the ball all the way down to the two-yard line, but the Dartmouth red-zone defense stuffed the Crimson on the fourth.
With only 3:11 left in the first half, the Big Green capped off a 98-yard drive when Rittgers found senior tight end Casey Cramer open for a 23-yard touchdown pass.
In the third quarter, the Dartmouth defense held Harvard completely off the scoreboard. Meanwhile, the Dartmouth attack took advantage of the Crimson scoring drought. With 2:41 left in the quarter, Rittgers handed off the ball to junior tailback Chris Little who then ran for a 35-yard touchdown to increase Dartmouth’s lead to 23-9.
Harvard finally got out of its offensive funk when wide receiver Rodney Burns caught a 55-yard pass from back-up junior quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, but the strike ended there. Rittgers scored the final touchdown of the game on a two-yard run with 12:23 left in the game to make the final score 30-16.
Penn 24, Brown 21
After going up 21-0 at the beginning of the third quarter, Penn seemed to have the game wrapped up. But Brown mounted a 21-point comeback to put the Quakers on their heels. The game-winner turned out to be a Penn field goal that came with 6:51 left in the third quarter when kicker Peter Veldman connected on a 33-yarder. The win this Saturday extends the Quakers’ unbeaten streak to 13 games.
The Quakers owned the first half. In the first quarter, senior Penn quarterback Michael Mitchell led a 62-yard drive, capping it off with a seven-yard touchdown pass to senior tight end Brian Adams. The Quakers struck again in the second quarter after stopping Brown’s drive at the Quakers’ four-yard line. After leading Penn on a 96-yard drive, Mitchell handed the ball to sophomore runningback Sam Mathews, who scampered on a two-yard drive into the end zone for a touchdown. Mathews’ score gave the Quakers a 14-0 lead by the end of the first half.
Only four minutes into the third quarter, Mathews scored his second touchdown of the game on a four-yard run into the end zone.
Realizing they were down 21-0, the Bears finally awoke from hibernation. Brown senior quarterback Kyle Slager threw for 62 of his 320 yards of the game on a long lob to sophomore wide receiver Lonnie Hill. About a minute and a half later Brown sophomore runningback Nick Hartigan ran from the one-yard line to the end zone to finally put Brown on the scoreboard. Just before the third quarter fizzled out, Penn senior kicker Peter Veldman made the 33-yard gamewinner, a personal record for him this season.
The Bears entered the fourth quarter down 7-24, but not down in spirit. Brown made its move after freshman defensive back Zak DeOssie picked off Mitchell’s pass at the Bears’ 13-yard line. Slager then marched the team 87 yards down-field, finishing the drive with a 24-yard touchdown pass to senior tight end Nick Christ with 8:46 left in the game. The Bears held Penn back again on their next possession on the Brown 25-yard line. Slager lead the team on another long march, this time for 75 yards. Brown capped off the drive with a seven-yard touchdown run by Hartigan with 3:50 left, bringing the Bears within three, 21-24.
When the Bears recovered the ensuing onside kick on their own 42-yard line, they thought they were in shape to pull off the upset. But Penn stopped Brown from getting the fourth down conversion and ended the game with a 24-21 win.
Princeton 28, Cornell 6
The Tigers, who narrowly lost to Harvard in overtime last weekend, dominated Cornell this Saturday, keeping the Big Red off the scoreboard until the fourth quarter.
The first two drives of the game set the tone for the rest of the match. On Cornell’s first drive, the Tigers defensive lineman Joe Weiss sacked Big Red quarterback Mick Razzano twice, forcing Cornell to punt. The Tigers did not waste any time when they got possession and with 11:15 left in the first quarter Princeton junior quarterback Matt Verbit connected on a 32-yard touchdown pass to junior runningback Jon Veach.
It only gets worse for Cornell from there. On the following Cornell possession, Razzano fumbled the ball on first down and Weiss recovered it at the Cornell 23-yard line. Verbit then found senior wide receiver Blair Morrison open in the end zone and hit him for another touchdown. The Tigers’ first two touchdowns were only separated by 22 seconds.
With 3:05 left in the first half, the Tigers pounced again as Verbit connected with sophomore tight end Jon Dekker in the end zone for a 16-yard touchdown pass. Princeton led 21-0 at the half.
After a scoreless third quarter for both teams, Princeton pushed the dagger home with a little more than eight minutes left in the game. Dekker made a four-yard touchdown run to put the Tigers beyond reach 28-0.
Cornell narrowly avoided a shutout when quarterback D.J. Busch connected with wide receiver John Kellneron a 37-yard touchdown pass.