Penn must be feeling really, really special this week. The kind of warm, fuzzy feeling that only a pigskin championship can bring.
The Quakers clinched a share of their second consecutive Ivy League football title last weekend with their 33-19 defeat of Princeton in New Jersey.
Mark DeRosa, the Quaker quarterback, sliced and diced the Tiger secondary to the tune of 18-of-30 for 243 yards, even with a hurt ankle. Because of his heroics, DeRosa was named the Ivy League Offensive Player of the Week.
DeRosa also leads the Ancient Eight with 10 touchdown passes and a completion percentage of 62.4.
On the Quaker defensive side of the ball, linebacker Pat Goodwille helped bring 12 Tigers to the ground--seven by himself--and forced a fumble.
Harvard travels to Philadelphia to take on Penn this coming Saturday.
In a losing effort, Princeton wide receiver/kick returner Marc Ross amassed 202 all-purpose yards while touching the ball only 13 times. Included in there is a 50 yard punt return and a 41 yard kickoff scamper.
The victory by Penn has boosted its league record to 5-0, far ahead of Cornell at 3-2. All eight other teams are knotted at 2-3.
The week's biggest surprise was Yale's 24-14 defeat of Cornell.
The Big Red, who for a week was ranked in the NCAA Division I-AA Top 25, has seen the bottom fall out of its rise to fame.
The warriors of the Cayuga River have lost their last two games now--a week and a half ago Brown upended Cornell, 16-3.
The victory ended a four-game slide for the Eli, who started the season with three victories.
Top Bulldog performers include tailback Bob Nelson, who rumbled all of 139 yards and three touchdowns.
In other action, Brown defeated Harvard, 23-17, in a matchup across the Charles. The Crimson's Eion Hu had another phenomenal day despite the loss, rushing for 109 yards on 31 carries.
It is the fifth time that the Leverett House sophomore has rushed for more than 100 yards this year. It is also the unprecedented fifth time that Hu has been chosen as the Ivy League Rookie of the Week.
With the loss, Harvard continues its flip-flop season. In the game after each loss, the Crimson has won; and after victories Harvard invariably loses.
If this holds true for the rest of the year, the Crimson will beat Penn but lose to Yale--a turn of events that ought to make any self-respecting Harvard fan shudder.
In other Harvard news, punter Tim Griffin leads the Ivies in punting average with 38.2 yards per boot.
For Brown, running back Marquis Jessie garnered 105 yards on 18 attempts in the Bears' victory--over six yards per carry.
And in the last Ivy game on Saturday, Columbia's dream season took a step backwards with a close but no cigar 14-13 loss at Dartmouth.
The Lions (2-3 Ivy, 4-3-1 overall) are having their best season in a long, long time. And going into Hanover, Columbia was coming off of victories over Yale (30-9) and Princeton (17-10).
But the Big Green, eager to make up for last week's thrashing at the hands of Harvard, would prevail, even though the Lions had three chances late in the game to win.
Dartmouth's biting defense, however, recovered a fumble at the goal line to kill one late drive.
Then, after Columbia scored a touchdown, the Big Green broke up a two-point conversion to keep the one-point lead, and finally stopped Columbia on downs after an onside kick to ensure the victory.
Remember, those estimable Lions of Columbia have not won a football game in to the state of New Hampshire since 1956--theyear the Ivy League was formed.
For his effort, Dartmouth linebacker Josh Bloom won the Ivy League Defensive Player of the Week award. Bloom tallied 13 tackles, two for losses and a sack.
Next week, Harvard is on the road to Penn, Princeton goes to Yale, Cornell goes to the Big Apple to take on Columbia, and Brown hosts Dartmouth.
Only a disaster can keep Penn from winning the League title out-right. The race for second place, however, is much more open.
With a win against Columbia, Cornell assures itself at least a share of the title. On the other hand, if the Lions prevail, then the best the Big Red can really hope for is a share of second place.
Cornell's last game of the season is at home against Penn.
The other six teams in the Ancient Eight all have 2-3 records, and thus each team has the same chance of catching the Big Red.
Harvard, however, is the only team to have not played powerful Penn yet, and because of this the Crimson is at a disadvantage to the other 2-3 teams.
However, if nothing else the Ivy League has always been known for its unpredictability, and so the fact that Harvard faces a difficult Penn team might actually be a good thing for Crimson fans.
Hey, it's an odd week. Don't forget it.