Football's First Week Marked by Upsets
The Ivy League football schedule got under way Saturday with a full complement of overtime victories, big-time upsets, sentimental retirement stories, record-breaking efforts and the obligatory blood, sweat and tears.
When it was all over, one of the teams on the wrong end of the score was the Harvard Crimson (0-1, 0-1 Ivy). The Cantabs kicked off their 123rd football season Saturday with a heartbreaking 20-13 overtime loss to Columbia (1-0, 1-0).
The game offered supporters and critics alike a look of the NCCA's new overtime rule, which gives each team a chance to score in a non-sudden death, untimed overtime session. The Lions won the coin toss and scored on 12-yard touchdown pass to senior wide-out David Ramirez.
In accordance with the new rule, the Crimson then got possession of the ball at Columbia's 25-yard line. But any hopes of a game-tying score were dashed when junior quarterback Jay Snowden's first pass attempt was picked off by Columbia's Roy Hanks.
The first quarter saw Harvard senior tailback Eion Hu surge ahead of Vic Gatto '69 on the Crimson's all-time rushing list. Hu, who rushed for a game-high 118 yards, entered the contest needing only 18 to usurp the record.
In the upset of the week, defending Ivy League champion Princeton (0-1, 0-1) was upended in a 33-27 double-overtime loss to Cornell (1-0, 1-0).
The Big Red could have possibly won in just one overtime, but an excessive celebration penalty after a touchdown gave the Tigers the ball on the Cornell 12-yard line.
In the second overtime, an interception by Cornell's Dave Ahouse gave the Big Red possession and the eventual victory on a quarterback sneak into the end zone.
The game's wild end overshadowed a dominant performance by Big Red tailback Chad Levitt, who rushed for 178 yards and two touchdowns on 40 carries.
The Ivy League excitement continued in the otherwise unexciting town of Hanover, N.H. It was there that Big Green senior quarterback Jon Aljancic captained a 55-yard touchdown drive in the final 2:34 of the game to lead Dartmouth (1-0, 1-0) to a 24-22 win over Penn (0-1, 0-1). The game-winner was an eight-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Eric Morton.
Aljancic was 21-of-34 for 227 yards and a touchdown and ran for 66 yards and two touchdowns to earn honors as Ivy League Offensive Player of the Week. The Big Green defense was also dominant, holding the Quakers to zero second-half rushing yards.
The standout of the game for Penn was tailback Jasen Rosen, who rushed for 166 yards on just 25 carries in the losing cause.
In other action, Yale coach Carm Cozza--who officially announced his retirement after 31 years on the sideline--began his farewell tour with a bang, as his Elis (1-0, 1-0) crushed Brown (0-1, 0-1) in Providence, 30-0.
Yale's defense held Brown's senior preseason All-American quarterback Jason McCullough to just 75 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions on 8-of-29 passing.
Brown had just 89 total yards on the day and went almost the entire first half without a first down.
The Ivy League schedule resumes October 12 after two weekends of non-league action.