Harvard (7-0, 4-0 Ivy) and Penn (6-1, 4-0) were both 3-0 in the Ivy League standings before Saturday. They are both now 4-0; but it was not easy. With the Ivy league season more than half over, the Cantabs and Quakers are still on top of the standings with perfect 4-0 league records, while Yale (4-3, 2-2), Princeton (4-3, 2-2) and Cornell (2-5, 2-2) are tied for third.
Penn 20, Brown 16
Only a week after extending their Ivy League winning streak to a record 18 games, Penn almost gave it all up at home Saturday when it hosted Brown (4-3, 1-3). Despite being the heavy favorite, the Quakers led the Bears for a meager 3:28 during the entire game.
With Brown leading 16-13 with six minutes left in the third quarter and poised to add to its lead, Penn defensive end Bobby Fallon stripped Brown running back Nick Hartigan before he was able to cross the goal line, giving Penn the ball.
The turnover proved to be crucial in Penn’s 19th straight league victory. Just minutes after Fallon’s effort, the Quakers initiated an incredible 88-yard drive to get past Brown.
Quarterback Pat McDermott came alive on the drive, hitting six out of eight passes to three different receivers and finished with 341 yards for the day. But during the fourth quarter, all six of his passing completions gained 12 or more yards and enabled the Quakers to move the ball down the field quickly. A defensive pass interference call in the Bears’ end zone gave the Quakers a new set of downs. The Quakers made the Bears pay in just two plays when running back Sam Mathews scored the decisive touchdown with just 50 seconds remaining in the game.
The Bears launched the final round of a desperate attack, but their hopes were ended when Penn defensive back Bryan Aruguello picked off McDermott in the end zone.
Hartigan was Brown’s star in a great effort that came so close to pulling off a huge upset. He carried the ball an incredible 39 times for 176 yards against a Quaker defense that is known for its toughness.
Harvard 13, Dartmouth 12
Despite remaining winless on the season, Dartmouth (0-7, 0-4) gained some respect Saturday when it fell short to the undefeated Harvard Crimson at home. By looking at the records of both teams, one would expect the outcome of the game to have favored the Cantabs. It did, but not by much.
Harvard was able to take a 10-0 lead in the first half on the strength of a 38-yard field goal by freshman Matt Schindel and a 20-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick to Brian Edwards. The Crimson defense was up to the task as well, keeping the Big Green on its side of the field for the entire first half.
Dartmouth came back at Harvard in the second half as the Big Green scored twice. The Big Green pulled within one point when Dan Shula connected with Bob Murphy for a 12-yard TD pass with 2:15 left. The Big Green went for a two-point conversion, but Daniel Tanner broke up the pass from Shula to Murphy to keep Dartmouth from taking the lead.
Dartmouth missed its last opportunity to win when it was unable to stop the clock in the waning seconds to attempt a game-winning field goal. The loss marked the first time Dartmouth, which has played football since 1881, has lost seven in a row in a season.
Cornell 21, Princeton 20
After losing five games by an average margin of six points, Cornell (2-5, 2-2) finally got a win. The Big Red came out of another close battle, this time against Princeton (4-3, 2-2).
Cornell quarterback Ryan Kuhn threw for 208 yards and two touchdowns and Cornell held on to beat the Tigers 21-20. Brian Romney had five catches for 114 yards and two touchdowns for Cornell. Chad Nice added four catches for 142 yards and one touchdown.
Romney’s 54-yard touchdown catch from Kuhn opened the scoring with 8:52 left in the first quarter. The Tigers were able to answer with a four-play drive capped by Bill Foran’s 80-yard touchdown reception at the halfway mark of the second quarter. Both teams entered halftime knotted at seven.
Romney got his second touchdown on a 24-yard pass from Kuhn to give Cornell a 14-7 lead to open the second half. The gap was doubled when Nice caught a 79-yard touchdown catch from D.J. Busch with 3:32 left in the third quarter. But Princeton’s Jon Veach scored on a 3-yard run on its next possession to close the gap back to one touchdown for the last quarter of the game.
The Tigers had a chance to come away with the victory, or at least to tie the game, when Greg Field got his name on the board with a 6-yard touchdown run with 6:48 remaining in the game. But Cornell’s Matt Pollock got his hand on the extra point attempt that preserved the victory for the Big Red.