The Ivy League football season appears to be building up to a climactic showdown between perennial powerhouses Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania. Penn’s win over Yale Saturday and Harvard’s 39-14 victory over Princeton (4-2, 2-1 Ivy) leaves the Quakers (5-1, 3-0) and Cantabs (6-0, 3-0) as the lone undefeated teams remaining in the Ancient Eight. Among the other Ivy League teams, Brown (4-2, 1-2) edged Cornell (1-5, 1-2) 21-17, and Columbia (1-5, 1-2) narrowly defeated Dartmouth (0-6, 0-3) 9-6.
Harvard 39, Princeton 14
Once again, Harvard sophomore tailback Clifton Dawson brought home the bacon. Dawson scored three touchdowns on 31 carries and rushed for 201 yards Saturday to lead the No. 19 Crimson to a comeback victory at Princeton.
In Saturday’s game, Dawson surpassed Harvard’s single-season record for total touchdowns and rushing touchdowns. With four games remaining in the season, Dawson has already notched 14 touchdown runs, one more than the previous record, set by Chris Menck in 1997.
The Cantabs scored first, when freshman Matt Schindel made a 35-yard field goal on a 61-yard opening drive to put Harvard up 3-0.
But the Crimson made some mistakes early on and the Tigers were able to take possession on a bad snap on a fourth down play at the 35-yard line. Matt Verbilt then threw a 31-yard touchdown pass to Monte McNair on fourth down for the 7-3 lead.
On the following drive, another offensive mistake proved to be costly for the Crimson. Harvard lost a fumble on its first play to give Princeton possession at the 22-yard mark. Within two plays, tailback Branden Benson made a touchdown rush to give the Tigers a 14-3 lead.
Princeton did not score again the rest of the way as the Harvard defense came alive to force five punts, two turnovers on downs, two interceptions and a lost fumble.
Dawson scored two touchdowns in the second quarter, the second on a one-yard play following a penalty on a bad punt. Soon after, following an interception by defensive back Doug Hewlett with 12 seconds left in the half, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick tossed a 10-yard touchdown pass.
After a scoreless third quarter, the Cantabs scored in the fourth on a three-yard quarterback keeper. The nail in the coffin was an 80-yard touchdown run by Dawson with 6:46 left in the game.
Brown 21, Cornell 17
In his first career start, Brown quarterback Anthony Vita proved he deserves a little more playing time.
Vita threw for 219 yards and three touchdowns, including two in the fourth quarter, to lead the Bears to a comeback victory at home over Cornell Saturday.
Despite throwing a 19-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter, Vita found himself down 17-7 midway through the third period, thanks to two running plays by Cornell quarterback Ryan Kuhn.
In the fourth quarter, however, the tide began to turn. Vita brought the Bears within four points with an 11-yard pass to wide receiver Jarret Schreck in a 65-yard scoring drive.
Disaster struck the Big Red with 8:32 remaining in the game, when Brown linebackers Scott Epperson and Jamie Gasparella took down Cornell running back Josh Johnson on a fourth and one play. With a series of passes and runs, Vita was able to bring the Bears to the opposite 19-yard line. After a sack, he continued his drive with a 24-yard pass to junior Efrem Blackledge, who dove to catch the ball and score the game-winning touchdown.
Columbia 9, Dartmouth 6
In a low-scoring game on both sides, Columbia took the 9-6 victory over Dartmouth Saturday in New York.
Columbia kicker Nick Rudd scored three field goals for the Lions, becoming Columbia’s career leader in field goals made with 21.
The Lions’ defense was also strong, limiting the Big Green to just 222 yards and 11 first downs.
Columbia took the lead at 6:07 in the first quarter off a 31-yard field goal by Rudd. Rudd added another 31-yard boot in the second.
Finding themselves down 6-0 late in the third, Dartmouth tied the game with a one-yard quarterback run by Charlie Rittgers. But the Big Green failed to take the lead, missing the extra point wide to the left.
Rudd then made the deciding 19-yard field goal at 13:15 in the fourth quarter to break the record and score the winning points.