Saturday marked the Ivy League’s season-opening weekend and proved to be a day of close losses and dominating victories for the Ivies. Brown, Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania and Princeton all dominated their first games of the season by no less than 15 points. Columbia, Cornell and Dartmouth were not as fortunate; all lost by close calls that were decided by a touchdown or less.
Brown 35, Albany 7
On a cold and rainy Saturday afternoon at Brown Stadium, Bear quarterback Joseph DiGiacomo threw for 245 yards and two touchdowns in his collegiate debut to lead the home team to a commanding 35-7 victory over Albany.
Brown scored on its first possession of the game after DiGiacomo connected with tight end David Turner on a 43-yard toss to break out to an early 7-0 lead. Albany responded with a touchdown of its own before the first quarter expired to tie the game 7-7. Sadly, this would be Albany’s one and only score for the entire game.
Midway through the second quarter, the Bears charged through the field once again, bringing the ball to the Albany 13-yard line. Under heavy pressure, DiGiacomo threw the ball as he was falling to the ground and connected once again with Turner, who dove for the one-handed catch in the endzone, giving Brown a 14-7 lead.
The second half proved to belong solely to the Bears, as they scored another touchdown on their first possession after a hand-off to runningback Nick Hartigan, who punched the ball through the endline. Hartigan scored once more on a three-yard carry at the end of the third quarter to extend Brown’s lead 28-7.
Runningback Brandon Markey scored the final Bears touchdown on a five-yard run through the defensive line.
The Brown defense was the most crucial part of this dominating win, as it held the Great Danes to only 33 yards rushing after the first quarter. DiGiacomo completed 14 of 20 passes for 245 yards, Hartigan ran for 93 yards, and Turner finished with a personal best six catches for 136 yards.
Harvard 35, Holy Cross 0
Harvard sophomore sensation runningback Clifton Dawson scored three touchdowns in the first half to whitewash the Crusaders 35-0 in the rain at Harvard Stadium. Defensive back Ricky Williamson nabbed two interceptions, and the Crimson defense held Holy Cross to only 131 total yards and forced five turnovers.
Harvard took advantage of an early Crusader turnover after Williamson made his first interception and took the ball to the Holy Cross 32-yard line in the opening quarter. Dawson carried the ball five times before capping the drive off with a one-yard touchdown run to take a 7-0 lead.
The Crimson defense forced Holy Cross to punt, and a penalty against the Crusaders brought the Crimson up to the 14-yard line. Dawson took advantage of the opportunity and scrambled up the middle to give the Cantabs a two-touchdown lead in the second quarter.
Holy Cross threatened to score on the ensuing drive, bringing to ball up to Harvard’s 21-yard line. But Harvard defensive back Gary Sonkur punched the ball loose as runningback Sean Gruber was dashing to the endzone. Defensive end James Harvey recovered the ball in the endzone for a touchback.
Dawson then took the ball in on a 74-yard run for another touchdown.
Crimson linebacker Bobby Everett hauled the ball in the endzone for the two-point conversion to give Harvard a 22-0 lead. Cantabs wide receiver Brian Edwards recovered a punt on his own 13-yard line and ran the ball 87 yards for a touchdown to give the Crimson a 29-0 lead at halftime.
The last scores of the game came from two field goals from freshman kicker Matt Schindel to give Harvard a 35-0 lead in the third quarter.
The Crimson defense controlled the rest of the game, keeping the Crusaders off the scoreboard.
Harvard finished with 246 rushing yards, 184 from Dawson, while O’Neil completed 10 of 26 passes for 70 yards.
University of Pennsylvania 61, San Diego 18
Running back Sam Mathews scored a career-high three touchdowns to lead the Quakers to a stunning 61-18 victory over San Diego over on the West Coast.
Penn broke out early with two touchdowns from Mathews with four minutes left in the first quarter to get a 14-0 lead. Quaker quarterback Pat McDermott threw his first touchdown of the season on his collegiate debut to tight end Matt Boyer for a six-yard touchdown to move the lead up 20-0. McDermott finished his inaugural game 13 for 27 for 181 yards and two touchdown.
Quaker kicker Evan Nolan started the second quarter with two field goals, the first from 33 yards and the second from 49 yards, the fifth-longest in Penn history, for a comfortable 26-0 cushion at halftime.
After the break, Mathews ran in for his third touchdown from three yards out, but San Diego finally showed some signs of life by scoring its first touchdown on the ensuing drive. But McDermott responded with a touchdown pass to Castles to finish the quarter 40-6.
The final segment of the game favored the Quakers as McDermott handed the ball to running backs Michael Recchiuti and Von Bryant for two touchdowns after a San Diego touchdown to move up 54-12. Both teams then exchanged touchdowns to end the game 61-18.
Mathews ran for 102 yards on 19 carries on the day while San Diego failed to convert any extra points after their touchdowns.
Princeton 35, Lafayette 18
Princeton won first season opener since 1998 with a decisive victory over Lafayette at Princeton Stadium Saturday evening. Tiger runningback Greg Fields gained 230 all-purpose yards and quarterback Matt Verbit threw for two touchdowns and rushed for another.
Fields opened the game, scoring the first and only touchdown in the first quarter on a 16-yard run. Verbit hit his first touchdown pass early in the second quarter on a connection with receiver Joel Mancl to take a 14-0 lead.
The Leopards answered back with a touchdown of their own but missed the extra point to make it a 14-6 game. With five minutes remaining in the half, the Quakers slowly drove the ball down the field from their own 32-yard line. Princeton’s offense managed to move up to Lafayette’s four-yard line before Verbit ran the ball into the endzone with no time left on the clock to extend the lead 21-6 at halftime.
Only 48 seconds into the second half, Tigers running back Jon Veach made a four-yard touchdown run for a 28-6 lead. Nine seconds into the final quarter, Verbit connected with wideout Eric Walz on a 50-yard touchdown pass. Lafayette’s running back Jonathan Hurt ran into the endzone twice before the game ended, but it was too little to late for the Leopards.
Colgate 17, Dartmouth 15
Despite the effort and a Big Green touchdown at the end of the game, Dartmouth could not rally back and had to settle for a 15-17 loss against the 15th-ranked Colgate on the Raiders home turf.
It was Dartmouth that struck first blood in the opening quarter, when kicker Erik Hinterbichler scored a 21-yard field goal to take the 3-0 lead. Midway in the second quarter, Colgate tied the game with a field goal of its own. Neither team scored for the rest of the half.
The Big Green got a break late in the third and managed to recover its own punt. Dartmouth’s tail back Ray Rochester scored the touchdown seven plays later in the fourth quarter to put Dartmouth up 9-3. A bad snap on the PAT prevented the extra point.
Colgate drove the field for a touchdown on the ensuing drive and took the lead 10-9. The Big Green failed to score on its drive and had to punt. The Raiders then took the biggest lead of the game when Colgate runningback Jamaal Branch ran 45 yards into the endzone with 3:14 left in the game.
Wide receiver Bob Murphy caught a 19-yard touchdown pass for Dartmouth in the final seconds of the game to bring the game within two before time expired.
Bucknell 15, Cornell 9
Cornell coughed up the lead in the last five minutes of the game, falling to Bucknell Saturday evening at Christy-Mathewson Memorial Stadium.
The Bison opened the game with a touchdown near the end of the first quarter to break out a 7-0 lead. The Big Red answered back in the second quarter when tailback Andre Hardaway ran past the defensive line for the four-yard touchdown, but Cornell’s kicker Trevor MacMeekin failed to convert the extra point, and the Big Red still trailed 7-6.
The defense on both teams prevented each other from scoring the entire third quarter, but Cornell finally got a break late in the fourth when its place-kicker A.J. Weitsman nailed a 28-yard field goal to take the 7-9 lead, with 4:51 left in regulation.
Bison quarterback Daris Wilson then hit his receiver Nisan Trotter on a 49-yard pass to get within Cornell’s 22 before rushing on the next play all the way to the one-yard line. Wilson then faked a hand-off and dove into the endzone for the touchdown. Bucknell also hit the two-point conversion to win 15-9.
Fordham 17, Columbia 14
A dramatic Columbia comeback fell three points short as Nick Rudd’s 41-yard field goal attempt fell short about three yards, giving the Rams the close victory.
Fordham took control of the first half with two touchdowns and kept the Lions off the scoreboard for 30 minutes.
Columbia fought back in the third after blocking a punt attempt and freshman safety Ryan Mettee recovered the ball in the endzone for the touchdown.
Trailing 7-17, the Lions defense forced a fumble and defensive end Ryan Armburst recovered the loose ball and took it to the endzone for his first-ever touchdown just before the end of the third quarter.
Neither team could score afterwards, and, in the final play of the game, Columbia had the chance to tie it up on a 41-yard field goal attempt, but it fell short in the final seconds of regulation.