Although Ivy League football began nonleague competition weeks after most other Division I-AA programs had several games under their belts, the Ancient Eight favorites had little trouble winning their season openers on Saturday.
The University of Pennsylvania, Harvard and Yale — the three teams atop the Ivy League Football Preseason Media Poll — cruised to victories against Duquesne, Holy Cross and Towson, respectively.
Elsewhere, Brown defeated Albany and Cornell escaped with a narrow victory over Bucknell.
But the Ivies were not completely successful over the weekend. Princeton and Dartmouth were soundly defeated at home by Lehigh and Colgate, respectively. And despite a valiant comeback, Columbia fell short against Fordham.
Penn 51, Duquesne 10
The defending Ivy League champion Quakers (1-0) racked up 20 points in the first 10 minutes of their home opener against Duquesne (1-2) and never looked back.
After Duquesne cut its deficit to 20-10 early in the second quarter, the Quakers scored 31 unanswered points, including 28 in the third quarter alone.
Penn quarterback Michael Mitchell completed 19 of 30 passes for 206 yards and four touchdowns; running back Sam Matthews rushed for 89 yards on 19 carries, scoring one touchdown.
The stifling Penn defense, which allowed less than 12 points per game on average last year, limited the Dukes to 216 total yards. The Quaker defense forced five turnovers, including a fumble returned for a touchdown.
Despite the rout, Penn was not without weaknesses. In addition to being penalized eight times for 80 yards, the Quaker quarterbacks had a penchant for interceptions. Mitchell was intercepted thrice, and backup quarterback Pat McDermott was picked once in five pass attempts.
Harvard 43, Holy Cross 23
In a Massachusetts shootout that amassed over 1,000 total yards, the Cantabs (1-0) prevailed over the Crusaders (1-2) in Worcester, Mass.
Crimson quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick led Harvard in passing and rushing, accumulating 359 aerial yards and 112 ground yards. In the process, Fitzpatrick surpassed the Crusaders’ 444 total offensive yards and set the Harvard school record in single game total yardage by a single player. Fitzpatrick’s 471 total yards broke quarterback Neil Rose’s 449 mark set against Dartmouth in 2002.
Fitzpatrick, who completed 20 of 27 passes, threw for two touchdowns and ran for a third.
Ryan Tyler and Clifton Dawson, who split running back duties for the Cantabs, added three touchdowns. Tyler carried 18 times for 85 yards and two touchdowns; Dawson ran 17 times for 76 yards and a touchdown.
Harvard jumped to a 13-0 lead in the first quarter and took a commanding 27-3 lead midway through the second quarter. Led by starting quarterback Brian Schiller, who completed 16 of 27 attempts for 259 yards and a touchdown, and backup John O’Neill, who completed 9 of 19 attempts for 120 yards, Holy Cross narrowed the Crimson advantage to 27-16 shortly after halftime. But Harvard scored 10 unanswered points before the fourth quarter and held on for the victory.
Brown 21, Albany 3
Turnovers played a crucial role in Brown’s victory at Albany. The Bears, who had no turnovers, intercepted three Great Dane passes and recovered a fumble.
Anjel Gutierrez’s 20-yard interception return for a touchdown midway through the fourth quarter sealed the game for Brown (1-0). Albany (1-2) was held scoreless after a field goal in the first quarter.
Brown scored touchdowns in the first, second and fourth quarters. Kyle Slager, completing 16 of 23 passes for 188 yards, and Nick Hartigan, rushing 24 times for 126 yards and a touchdown, led the Bears’ offense.
Cornell 21, Bucknell 19
The Big Red (1-0) nearly let a 21-12 fourth quarter lead slip away at home against the Bucknell Bison (2-1).
After a Bucknell touchdown culminated an 80-yard drive early in the fourth quarter, the Bison threatened to take the lead with only 1:43 remaining. But kicker Ryan Korn, who made field goals of 31 and 37 yards in the first quarter, hit the left upright on a 27-yard potential game winning field goal attempt.
Bucknell took possession with less than a minute remaining in the game, but Cornell’s Kyle Thomas intercepted Daris Wilson’s pass with 31 seconds remaining, sealing the Big Red victory.
Cornell quarterback Mick Razzano, who threw for one touchdown and rushed for two others, scored once in each of the first three quarters. He threw for 216 yards and completed 17 of 30 passes.
Colgate 31, Dartmouth 9
Racking more than 200 passing and 200 rushing yards, Colgate (3-0) gave the Dartmouth (0-1) crowd little to cheer for in Hanover, N.H.
The Raiders, who won their ninth consecutive game, scored touchdowns in all four quarters and kept the Big Green from the end zone for the entire game.
Colgate running back Jamaal Branch scored thrice, rushing for 211 yards on 26 carriers. Raider quarterback Chris Brown completed 18 of 28 passes for 201 yards and a touchdown.
No Big Green player surpassed 40 yards on the ground. Dartmouth quarterback Scott Wille was intercepted twice, completing 21 of 40 passes for 180 yards.
Lehigh 28, Princeton 13
Although the Tigers (0-1) outgained the Mountain Hawks (3-0) in yardage, four Princeton turnovers helped Lehigh win its seventh straight game over the Tigers.
Lehigh scored twice in the first quarter and twice in the third quarter before Princeton finally put points on the board in the fourth quarter.
Lehigh quarterback Chad Schwenk threw four touchdown passes, completing 24 of 41 passes for 301 yards. Tight end Adam Bergen caught half of Schwenk’s passes, accumulating 173 receiving yards.
Tiger quarterback Matt Verbit threw 296 yards, completing 16 of 36 passes, including a 75-yard touchdown pass to B.J. Szymanski, but that fourth quarter score came after the Mountain Hawks substituted backup personnel.
Fordham 37, Columbia 30
On paper, this game appeared to be no contest.
But even though Fordham was ranked No. 11 in the ESPN/USA Today Division I-AA Top 25 College Football Coaches Poll and Columbia was rebounding from a 1-9 season, the Lions (0-1) still threatened the Rams (3-1) late in the contest.
The game began as expected. The Rams scored the first 20 points and led 37-16 with 4:00 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Then, two late Columbia touchdowns, including a 91-yard punt return, brought the Lions within one score. But the comeback fell shy.
Fordham’s Kirwin Watson broke the all-time Fordham career touchdown record with the first of his three touchdowns in the game. He rushed for 163 yards on 36 carries.
Ram quarterback Kevin Eakin threw for two touchdowns, completing 25 of 36 passes for 336 yards.
Columbia quarterback Jeff Otis threw for 300 yards and one touchdown. He completed 26 of 47 passes in the loss.