By MIKE ROBBE
Week four of the Ivy League football season kicks off with two conference games and the rest of the Ivy League playing against the Patriot League. Currently, the Ivy League title is still very much up for grabs, with four teams still 1-0. Both Harvard and Yale, the preseason favorites, are 0-1 in Ivy play. With that said, Yale stands the best chance of getting back on track playing lowly Dartmouth (0-3), while Harvard plays a challenging game against Cornell (3-0).
Saturday, October 11
Cornell (3-0, 1-0) at Harvard (2-1, 0-1) - 12 pm ET on Versus
Harvard and Cornell are meeting for the 73rd time, with Harvard holding a slight 38-32-2 advantage in the series. When playing at home, Harvard has a 19-17 record versus the Big Red. Last week, Harvard gained 419 yards of offense against Lafayette, whose defense was only allowing 221 yards a game. Three different Crimson receivers have recorded 100-yard games this season, with Marco Iannuzzi gaining 174 yards on 11 catches against Holy Cross, Matt Luft catching 10 passes for 148 yards in their narrow loss to Brown and Chris Lorditch with four grabs for 108 yards against Lafayette. Harvard has not allowed a team to break 100 yards rushing over the past 30 games, limiting opposing rushers to an average of 37 yards per game this season. On the flip side, Cornell is averaging just 110 yards per game themselves. This will be a tough battle in the trenches, so look for Harvard to use quarterback Chris Pizzotti to move the ball around the field. As for Cornell, they don't have a bad signal caller either, in Nathan Ford, who surpassed the 4,000-yard mark in his career last week. This should be an explosive game and definitely one to watch.
Harvard close over Cornell - 24-21
Yale (2-1, 0-1) at Dartmouth (0-3, 0-1) - 12:30 pm ET on NESN
Yale and Dartmouth are meeting for the 92nd time with Yale leading the series 49-36-6. Even though the Big Green have won six of the last nine games at home, don't look for them to make it number seven. Yale's running game finally showed up last weekend against Holy Cross, with tailback Mike McLeod rushing for 131 yards and one touchdown on 39 carries. If Yale's running game isn't there, they tend to lose, so look for the Bulldog's coach Jack Siedlecki to hand the ball off to McLeod for 35-40 carries against the Big Green. Dartmouth had just five yards rushing against Penn last weekend and quarterback Alex Jenny was only 20-of-41 passing for 169 yards with an interception. Jenny has 642 yards passing, two touchdowns and three interceptions on the season. Yale is using two quarterbacks this season—Ryan Fodor and Brook Hart have combined for 712 yards, seven scoring strikes and one interception. Yale's defense is led by last week's TSN Defense Player of the Week, linebacker Bobby Abare. Abare had 10 tackles (nine solo) and picked off two passes in last week's overtime victory against Holy Cross. Besides the running game, Yale's other noted strength has always been their defense, which has allowed only 73.5 yards per game on the ground. Yale's pass defense hasn't been as effective, allowing 218.7 yards per game. The Big Green defense has been flat our horrible, allowing an average of 33 points per game, 257 yards on the ground and 221.7 yards through the air.
Yale over Dartmouth - 36-10
Lafayette (3-1, 1-0) at Columbia (0-3, 0-1) - 12:30 pm ET
Columbia and Lafayette are meeting for the 40th time with Lafayette leading the series 26-11-2. The Leopards have won the previous six match-ups, holding the Lions to only 180 total yards in last year's 29-0 shutout. The bright note for Columbia this year is linebacker Drew Quinn, who has a league leading 41 tackles, with three straight double-digit tackle games. Quinn currently ranks fourth in the FCS in tackles. However, Columbia is lacking a running game, splitting the duties between Ray Rangle and Jordan Davis. The duo has combined for only 131 yards and two touchdowns. If Columbia has any plans on winning this game, they are going to have to move the ball against a decent defense. The Leopards have held teams to an average of 14 points per game. Columbia’s defense is giving up an average of 29 points per game. Lafayette’s Robert Curley has passed for 670 yards and five scores (three interceptions), while their running game is led by Maurice White with 442 yards and two touchdowns. Backup Tryell Coon has 135 yards rushing and a touchdown. Columbia better watch out, as the Leopards will bounce back this weekend after a loss to Harvard.
Lafayette over Columbia - 31-13
Brown (2-1, 1-0) at Holy Cross (1-3, 1-0) - 1 pm ET
Brown and Holy Cross are meeting up for the 54th time with Holy Cross holding a 30-20-3 lead in the series. Last year's game was an offense explosion, with the teams combining for 1,095 yards of offense in a 48-37 Holy Cross victory. This year's game will be another air assault with both passers returning. Brown's Michael Dougherty has 677 yards, three touchdowns to six interceptions this year. His counterpart, Dominic Randolph, has thrown from 1,144 yards with 10 scoring strikes (six interceptions). Brown’s Buddy Farnham is averaging 18.3 yards per reception, ranking him fourth nationally and leading the Ivy. Looking at the ground attack, both teams aren't very impressive, averaging less than 100 yards per game. Neither team's defense is all that great, though Holy Cross did hold Yale's offense to 244 yards last week. Brown, on the other hand, was destroyed by Rhode Island last weekend 37-13. This one will remain close, but Brown's offense will win this on in the final minutes of the game.
Brown over Holy Cross - 30-26
Princeton (2-1, 1-0) at Colgate (3-2, 1-0) - 1 pm ET
Princeton and Colgate are meeting for the 78th time with Princeton holding a dominate 63-13-1 lead in the series. This game will be a battle of Princeton's air attack against Colgate's running attack. Princeton's defense will have their hands full against Colgate running back Jordan Scott, who is averaging 203.5 yards of total offense per game. Scott has scored nine times this year and seams to break a record each week. The Tiger's signal caller Brian Anderson has tossed the rock for 687 yards, five touchdowns and only one pick. Colgate's Greg Sullivan has passed for only 559 yards in their first five games, with just two scoring strikes to three interceptions, but with Scott in the backfield, they don't have to look for Sullivan to do too much. If Princeton wants to win the game, their defense is going to have to step up and stop Scott. The Tigers are currently giving up 319 yards per game, with 138.7 of those coming on the ground, so they could be in for a long day. This should also be an entertaining game, but it will come down to Princeton's defense.
Colgate over Princeton - 28-21
Penn (1-2, 1-0) at Georgetown (1-3, 0-2) - 2 pm ET
Georgetown and Penn are only meeting up for the sixth time with Penn holding a 4-0-1 lead in the series. Georgetown had to cancel last week's game against Colgate and several other games in different sports due to an outbreak of norovirus. The Hoyas are averaging a miserable 61 yards rushing per game while allowing almost 156 rushing yards a game and they are going to have a tough time against a Penn defense that hasn't allowed a single point in the fourth quarter. Penn has outscored opposing teams 33-3 in the second half of games this season and they should be able to continue against the Hoyas this weekend. Just how bad is it for G-Town? They are averaging 9.75 points per game and only 171 yards through the air. Both scores in the Holy Cross loss came courtesy of linebacker Nick Parrish who returned a pair of interceptions back for touchdowns. Look for Penn to let Robert Irvin, who is averaging 227 yards per game, throw all over the field. If this game is anything like the first three games that Penn has played, the Hoyas will be in for a long, long second half.
Penn over Georgetown - 27-6
Photo Credit: Harvard Athletic Communications
Thursday, October 9, 2008
By MIKE ROBBE