No. 9 University of Pennsylvania (8-0, 5-0 Ivy) has no intention of releasing the lonely No. 1 spot in the Ivy League. With its win over Princeton (2-6, 2-3), Penn clinched at least a share of the Ivy League Championship. Harvard’s (6-2, 3-2) loss to Columbia (3-5, 2-3) sets it back in the Ivy League race as it is now tied with Yale (6-2, 3-2) for second place. Dartmouth (4-4, 3-2) has begun a small win-streak of its own after winning it’s fourth consecutive game of the season against Cornell (1-7, 0-5).
Pennsylvania 37, Princeton 7
The Quakers added another game to their 14-game winning streak — the second longest streak in Division I or I-AA football — after they beat Princeton at Franklin Field Saturday.
Both the Penn offense and defense were on key during the game, and took advantage of several Princeton turnovers. The Quaker defense forced Princeton to fumble the ball on three consecutive plays in the first half and on four of its last five possessions in the opening frame. Penn converted three of these turnovers into scores.
The rout began in the opening minutes of the game when Quaker defensive tackle Michael Sangobowale sacked Tiger quarterback Matt Verbit on the game’s first play. The Penn defense allowed Princeton to move up only two more yards on the next two plays, forcing the Tigers to punt on fourth and long. Only three plays after Penn received the ball on its own 46, runningback Sam Matthews made a flea flicker to quarterback Mike Mitchell, who then threw for 39 of his 304 yards of the day to wide receiver Dan Castles to give the Quakers a 7-0 lead.
Penn kicker Peter Veldman hit a 24-yard field goal — one of his season-high three completions on the day — with 9:53 into the first quarter. Less than seven minutes later, Matthews added the second touchdown of the game on a three-yard run to make the score 17-0.
The scoring did not stop there for Penn. Veldman added two more field goals in the second quarter — the first from 29 yards out and the second from 25 yards away. With 40 seconds remaining in the first half, Mitchell hit Castles in the end zone on a 10-yard pass to give Penn a commanding 30-0 lead.
The Tigers licked their wounds and managed to get their first score of the game in the third quarter when runningback Jon Veach capped off a 96-yard drive with a two-yard scoring run.
But Penn didn’t give Princeton any more chances. In the fourth quarter, the Quakers put the game out of the Tigers’ reach when Matthews scampered untouched into the end zone on a five-yard run.
The Penn offense proved unstoppable, scoring on its first four possessions of the game and on six of its first seven possessions.
Columbia 16, Harvard 13
Despite jumping out to an early lead, Harvard fell victim to a late-game Columbia rally and the crushing Columbia defense en route to the Cantabs’ second upset of the season.
A little more than three minutes into the first quarter, Lions fullback Ayo Oluwole put his pride on the scoreboard with a one-yard touchdown run. Columbia kicker Nick Rudd missed the ensuing extra point. With 49 seconds remaining in the quarter, Crimson wide receiver Brian Edwards tied the game 6-6 on a 19-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Garret Schires.
Early in the second quarter, Harvard looked to pull away from the Lions when the Cantabs’ rookie sensation tailback Clifton Dawson made a one-yard touchdown run make give the Crimson the lead 13-6.
Late in the third quarter, Rudd made a 19-yard field goal to shorten the Harvard lead to 13-9.
Both teams then went three-and-out on their first four possessions of the fourth quarter. On Harvard’s fifth possession late in the fourth quarter, Lions cornerback Prosper Nwokocha picked off a Schires pass intended for Edwards and returned the ball to the Crimson 45. With 1:08 left in the game, Columbia quarterback Jeff Otis hit wide receiver Zach Van Zant on a 10-yard touchdown pass to give the Lions a 16-13 edge. With little time left in the game, Harvard tried to get into scoring position. But on second-and-one Schires threw yet another interception to Nwokocha to seal the Lions’ victory.
Dartmouth 26, Cornell 17
After starting out 0-4 this season, Dartmouth is quietly putting together a win streak. The Big Green won its fourth consecutive game against Cornell, which has yet to see an Ivy victory this season.
Big Green quarterback Charlie Rittgers put Dartmouth on the scoreboard first when he connected with wide receiver Andrew Hall on a 13-yard touchdown pass with 7:38 left in the first quarter, but Dartmouth missed the extra point. Cornell quickly responded and Big Red quarterback D.J. Busch hit receiver Carlos Hill from 10 yards out for the touchdown to take the lead 7-6.
Four minutes later Cornell kicker Trevor MacMeekin made a 32-yard field goal to make the score 10-6.
In the second quarter, Dartmouth took advantage of the wind at its back when Rittgers sent a 25-yard touchdown pass into the arms of senior tight end Casey Cramer to regain the lead 13-10.
Rittgers and Cramer connected again in the middle of the third quarter on a three-yard touchdown pass to strengthen Dartmouth’s lead 19-10. With 51 seconds left in the third quarter, Busch cut that lead short 19-17 when he hit receiver John Kellner with a 26-yard touchdown pass.
On Cornell’s next possession in the fourth quarter, the Big Red got the ball to their own 40-yard line when Dartmouth strong safety Phil Frost intercepted Busch’s pass and returned the ball to Cornell’s 38. A few plays later, Rittgers found senior receiver Jay Barnard open in the end zone for a 14-yard touchdown pass to again strengthen Dartmouth’s lead 26-17. Cornell missed an attempted 27-yard field goal and from then on was not able to get into Dartmouth territory.