Surprises abounded this Saturday as league play began in the Ancient Eight. The preseason favorite Cantabs (2-0, 1-0 Ivy) narrowly survived Brown (1-1, 0-1) while last season’s 2-8, 1-6 Ivy Princeton team (2-0) showed signs of life winning its second-consecutive game at San Diego. The University of Pennsylvania’s (1-1) record-breaking 17-game unbeaten streak finally came to an end against Villanova. Rounding out the Ivies, both Columbia (0-2) and Dartmouth (0-2) lost in one-sided match-ups.
Harvard 35, Brown 34
With a 21-point halftime edge, Saturday’s game appeared safely in Brown’s back pocket. But the Crimson broke out of its slump, shocking the home fans at Brown Stadium.
Harvard’s sophomore runningback Clifton Dawson contributed most to the rally, scoring two of his three touchdowns and 142 yards on the day in the second half.
With the scoreboard showing 31-10 in their favor at the start of the second half, the Bears decided to go into hibernation. That’s when the Crimson woke up; they decided to take advantage of the opportunity with a huge second-half rally.
It all started when Harvard forced Brown to punt for the first time on the day at the start of the third quarter. Senior Crimson quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick led the drive 80 yards down the field on six plays, capping the attack with a 35-yard pass to wide receiver Corey Mazza to cut the Bears’ lead to 31-17.
Halfway into the third, Harvard faced a fourth-and-27 situation and had to punt. Brown receiver Rashad Collins muffed the catch and the Crimson’s Gary Garcia recovered the loose ball on the Bears’ two-yard line. Only a strong stand from the Brown defensive kept the home team in the game, forcing the Crimson was forced to settle for a field goal on fourth-and-goal. Cantab placekicker Matt Schindel easily put away the 22-yard field goal to make the game 31-20.
On the ensuring drive following another Brown punt, Dawson broke through the Bear secondary for an 80-yard touchdown run. Fitzpatrick carried the ball left into the endzone for the two-point conversion to close the gap to 31-28.
Fitzpatrick called the go-ahead drive after a 29-yard run to the Bears 13-yard line. Dawson took the ball the rest of the way on three carries, the third of which put him in the endzone to take the lead 35-31.
The Bears finally woke to see their unconquerable lead whittled to a deficit and attempted to rally back after Brown placekicker Steve Morgan nailed a 28-yarder to bring the game to 35-34 with five minutes left in regulation.
Brown had another opportunity to take the lead on a 30-yard field goal attempt, but the kick sailed wide. One final chance for the Bears came with less than two minutes to go on their own 21-yard line, but they turned the ball over on fourth down and Harvard ran out the clock to secure the victory.
Brown scored three touchdowns on its first three possessions — one each from quarterback Joe DiGiacomo, tailback Nick Hartigan and split end Jarret Schreck — to start the afternoon with a 21-0 lead. Dawson and Schindel respectively contributed a touchdown and field goal before Hartigan and Morgan did the same to make the score 31-10 at halftime.
Brown gained an incredible 451 yards in the first half alone but came up short in the end.
Princeton 24, San Diego 17
Two defensive touchdowns gave Princeton the edge it needed to stay in the lead and take the win over the Toreros Saturday afternoon in San Diego.
This season, Princeton has won its first two games — the same number of games it won all season last fall. This is the first time the Tigers have opened the season 2-0 since 1995.
On Princeton’s first possession, quarterback Matt Verbit dove into the endzone to take an early 7-0 lead.
Neither team scored afterward until five seconds into the second quarter when Princeton notched defensive touchdowns. Tiger defensive end James Williams picked up a fumble from Torero quarterback Todd Mortensen, running the ball 12 yards into the endzone.
On San Diego’s next offensive play, Tiger defensive back Jay McMareins ran back an interception to take a 21-0 lead.
San Diego scored two touchdowns in the final five minutes of the first half to get the game to 21-14.
The two sides exchanged field goals in the second half to end the game.
University of Pennsylvania 13, Villanova 16
The Quakers’ 17-game winning streak (19-game home winning streak) came to an end Saturday night against Villanova at Franklin Field. The streak was the longest in NCAA Div. I-AA and dated all the way back to October 2, 2002.
After a scoreless first quarter, the Wildcats drew first blood five minutes into the second on a one-yard carry by runningback Terry Butler.
Only 10 seconds later, Villanova added two more points to its score on a fumbled Quaker snap that resulted in a safety.
In the middle of the third quarter the Wildcats struck again, this time on a seven-yard run by Villanova quarterback Marvin Burroughs to put Penn in a 16-0 slump.
It was not until 6:11 left in the fourth that the Quakers finally got on the scoreboard as quarterback Pat McDermott connected with wide receiver Dan Castles in the endzone on a 13-yard pass.
Villanova thwarted Penn’s attempt on the two-point conversion, keeping the score at 16-6.
With 1:32 left, McDermott found wide receiver Matt Makovsky open in the endzone for a 29-yard touchdown pass. Quaker placekicker Evan Nolan stuck the extra point to make the score 16-13.
Penn went for the onside kick, but failed to recover the loose ball, and the Wildcats kept possession until time expired.
Columbia 13, Bucknell 42
Four touchdowns on Bucknell’s first four possessions decided the outcome of this mismatch against Columbia Saturday night at the Bison’s home turf.
The domination started when Bucknell quarterback Daris Wilson connected with wide receiver Nisan Troter for a 59-yard touchdown pass in the first 2:10 of play.
Four minutes later Wilson hit receiver Ian Nutt on a 14-yard touchdown pass to take a 14-0 lead.
Bison runningback Kenny Davis carried the ball six yards on the next possession for the third touchdown, and Wilson pitched to receiver Michael Cangelosi, who threw to a diving Troter in the endzone to make the score 28-0 at halftime.
Columbia scored its first touchdown of the season when Lion runningback Ayo Oluwole ran for 23 yards into the endzone to make it 28-7. The Lions scored again 47 seconds later when quarterback Jeff Otis connected with wide receiver Brandon Bowser on a 37-yard pass, but placekicker Nick Rudd missed the extra point on a bad snap.
But Bucknell was way too far ahead.
Dartmouth 24, New Hampshire 45
Despite trailing early, New Hampshire scored 35 of the 45 points in the second half to overcome Dartmouth Saturday afternoon at Memorial Field.
The Wildcats pulled off an early first quarter lead when quarterback Ricky Santos hit wide receiver David Ball on a touchdown pass and placekicker Connor Mccormick booted a 36-yard field goal to lead 10-0.
But the Big Green answered back when quarterback Charlie Rittgers threw to tailback Ray Rochester for the 73-yard touchdown pass — ninth longest in program history. Rittgers also found wide receiver Andrew Hall open for a six-yard touchdown pass to lead 14-10 in the second quarter.
New Hampshire took over from there, scoring two more touchdowns before the halftime to enter the third up 14-24.
In the second frame, the Big Green only managed 10 more points of offense — a 20-yard field goal from placekicker Erik Hinterbilcher and a 10-yard pass from Rittgers to receiver Bob Murphy.