Fancy offense does not win championships, but solid defense does. That was how the Detroit Pistons won their NBA championship last year, and the same principle holds for all the Ivy League winners on Saturday.
The average Ivy defense allowed only 16 points the entire day.
After two rounds of League action, Harvard, Penn and Princeton are tied on top of the Ivy table at 2-0, followed by Yale and Cornell at 1-1.
Harvard 41, Northeastern 14
At home against Northeastern, Harvard senior quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick threw two touchdown passes and sophomore tailback Clifton Dawson ran for 111 yards and two touchdowns as Harvard cruised past Div. I-AA No. 19 Northeastern, 41-14 before 11,809 fans at Harvard Stadium.
Harvard (5-0, 2-0 Ivy), which entered last Saturday’s game as one of only four undefeated teams in Division I-AA, has now extended its winning streak to five and stayed on top of the league. Northeastern (3-3), on the other hand, struggled offensively from the second quarter onwards. Their three fumbles also resulted in 13 Crimson points.
The Crimson broke open a 14-14 game in the first quarter with 10 straight points to close the first half up 24-14. The Crimson continued to outperform their opponent in the second half, as they outscored Northeastern 17-0 in the third quarter to put the game out of reach.
Fitzpatrick completed 22 of 37 passes for 206 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions, and Dawson ended the day with 111 yards and two TDs on 23 carries for the Crimson.
Princeton 24, Brown 10
Despite being tied at the beginning of the fourth quarter, Princeton (4-1, 2-0) outscored Brown (3-2, 0-2) 14-0 in the final period to seal a victory that kept them even with Harvard in the standings. The victory also helped the Tigers equal the school’s best start under head coach Roger Hughes.
A 50-yard touchdown pass from Matt Verbit to Brian Shields was the highlight of the thrilling fourth quarter. Verbit, who hit a season-best nine different receivers on the day, threw for 147 yards and one touchdown. His effort moved him past Jason Garrett into second place on Princeton’s all-time passing and total yards list.
With the score tied at 10 in the last period, Princeton’s Mike Meehan tipped a Joseph DiGiacomo pass and Zak Keasey intercepted and returned it to the Brown 21-yard line. Five plays later, Benson went over from the left side on a fourth-and-two to give the Tigers the lead.
Brown then punted after going three-and-out, and on the first play from scrimmage Verbit found a wide open Shields down the left side for a 50-yard touchdown pass that sent the Tigers to victory.
The Tigers’ solid defense also held Nick Hartigan, the Ivy League’s second leading rusher, to 66 yards while DiGiacomo was 11-for-25 for 137 yards. Brown outgained Princeton 278-267 in total offense.
Saturday’s win means that Princeton remains in contention for this year’s Ivy title, with a potential first-place showdown against Harvard at Princeton Stadium on Oct. 23.
Penn 14, Columbia 3
Penn (4-1, 2-0 Ivy) beat league bottom-dweller Columbia (0-5, 0-2 Ivy) 14-3 at Franklin Field to improve its Ivy League winning streak to 17 straight games. The current winning streak now matches Penn’s own Ivy League record, which was set between the 1992 and 1995 seasons.
Junior quarterback Pat McDermott nailed Dan Castles in the end zone for a two-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter. It was Castles’ 25th touchdown catch of his career, bringing him one step closer to becoming the all-time touchdown-reception leader at Penn. Castles needs just one more TD catch to tie or two to break Miles Macik’s 10-year-old record.
But some credit must go to the Lions defense, which only allowed Penn touchdowns in the first and fourth quarters. The Quakers, who averaged 35.2 points and 405.8 yards of total offense per game entering Saturday, scored just 14 points and had only 320 yards against the Lions.
Penn opened the scoring at 7:36 of the first quarter as McDermott hit Castles for a two-yard touchdown pass on a third-and-goal for the 7-0 lead. The Quakers started the drive with excellent field position following a 33-yard punt return to the Columbia 47. It took Penn eight plays and 2:56 to cover the 47 yards for what would be the only score of the first half.
The Quakers extended their lead to 14-3 at 11:14 of the fourth quarter to complete the scoring. Matt Carre caught his first career touchdown reception on a 28-yard pass from McDermott to cap a six-play, 72-yard drive that took just 1:37.
Colgate 10, Cornell 6
Despite a scoreless first half, Colgate posted a comeback 10-6 victory over Cornell in front of a Homecoming crowd of 12,168 at Schoellkopf Field.
Jamaal Branch scored on a three-yard run with less than eight minutes to play and Colgate held on to edge Cornell in a surprisingly low scoring match. Branch, who had 95 yards on 27 carries, became the third player in Colgate history to score 40 career touchdowns.
Cornell, which fell to 1-4 on the year, got a touchdown and 84 rushing yards from junior Andre Hardaway. It was the second straight season that the Raiders struggled to get past the Big Red.
The Raiders set up their one touchdown with a 42-yard reception by Luke Graham, who caught nine passes for 159 yards. He’s now second on Cornell’s all-time reception list with 186 catches. Chris Brown completed 13 of 24 passes for 170 yards.
Holy Cross 24, Dartmouth 0
Dartmouth (0-5) is still searching for its victory of the season after a 24-0 loss to Holy Cross at Memorial Field. The win by Holy Cross snapped their 15-game losing streak, which was the longest in Division I. Steve Silva ran for two touchdowns and John O’Neil threw another to lead the Crusaders over the Big Green.
Dartmouth junior quarterback Charlie Rittgers tossed for 210 yards while senior Bob Murphy had 81 receiving yards. Freshman Calvin Taylor had 48 yards receiving in his first varsity game. Rittgers was 23 of 49 for 210 yards and, although there were no interceptions, he was sacked four times by Holy Cross.
Holy Cross jumped to a 10-0 lead in the first six minutes as Silva punched into Dartmouth’s end zone from 3 yards out on the Crusaders’ opening drive. Michael Desantis added a career-long 41-yard field goal.
The Crusaders extended their lead to 17-0 on the first play of the second quarter with O’Neil’s 20-yard TD pass to Sean Gruber, ending a 12-play, 80-yard drive.
Silva ran in a 2-yard TD to wrap up scoring with 14:03 left. He had 52 yards on 21 carries.