FOOTBALL '09: The Ivy League Rundown

A new wave of quarterbacks puts Ivy title up for grabs

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BROWN

After grabbing a share of the Ivy title last year, Brown—like almost every other team in the league—has lost its starting quarterback. Junior Kyle Newhall Caballero has won the starting spot without ever throwing a varsity pass. But the Bears’ fearsome receiving duo of Buddy Farnham and Bobby Sewall is back and looking to improve on last year’s combined 1,764 yards. On the defensive end, senior David Howard leads a squad that gave up 19 points a game last year.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Bobby Sewall

COLUMBIA

Columbia crawled out of the league cellar with a 2-8 record in 2008, and the Lions return a number of key contributors on defense. Junior linebacker Alex Gross returns after leading the league in tackles a year ago, and senior Lou Mills paced the Ivies in sacks. Columbia is also one of the few teams to return its starting quarterback. Senior Shane Kelly will have his three top targets—Austin Knowlin, Taylor Joseph, and Mike Stephens— back as well.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Alex Gross

CORNELL

Another young team with an inexperienced quarterback, Cornell will try to replicate last year’s hot 3-0 start. The Big Red faltered down the stretch, winning just one of its final seven games, and will be without graduated All-Ivy quarterback Nathan Ford.Senior Ben Ganter will be taking the snaps, protected by an experienced offensive line led by senior Quentin Bernhard. The defense will be anchored by senior linebacker Chris Costello, who was third in the league in tackles in ‘08.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Randy Barbour

DARTMOUTH

Once again picked to finish in the basement of the Ivy League, Dartmouth was outscored by an average of over 21 points a game last year. The good news for the Big Green is that its young squad has one more year of experience. Junior wide receiver Tim McManus will again be the top target in the air, coming off a season in which he hauled in 60 catches and earned All-Ivy honors. But the defense, which gave up an abysmal 455 yards a game in 2008, still needs some help.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Alex Jenny

HARVARD

Harvard’s biggest question is at quarterback, but junior Collier Winters will have plenty of experienced targets at receiver in his first collegiate start. The running corps remains fully intact from last year’s Ivy-leading offense. Defensively, the Crimson will have to contend with the loss of six All-Ivy starters, but a senior-heavy front seven and a seasoned secondary leaves Harvard in good shape against a league with few veteran quarterbacks.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Matt Luft

PENN

Picked second in the Ivies this season, Penn will be helmed by junior quarterback Keiffer Garton, who jumped from third to first on the depth chart towards the end of last year. Garton’s top target will be senior Kyle Derham, who led the team with 404 receiving yards in ’08. Kicker Andrew Samson returns after leading the league with 16 field goals. All-Ivy senior Chris Wynn anchors a unit that was second in the Ancient Eight in scoring defense.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Mike DiMaggio

PRINCETON

Though Princeton is once again picked to finish in the middle of the pack, one spot where the Tigers are ahead of the game is at running back. Senior Jordan Culbreath, a unanimous First-Team All-Ivy pick in ’08, is back after leading the league with 1,206 rushing yards. Princeton will have a new starting quarterback for the fourth consecutive year, with sophomore Tommy Wornham getting the snaps. Linebackers Scott Britton and Stephen Cody, who combined for 166 tackles last year, lead the D.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Jordan Culbreath

YALE

First-year coach Tom Williams has a battle at quarterback on his hands. Junior Brook Hart, who started five games last year, is the incumbent, but sophomore transfer Patrick Witt has been seeing a lot of preseason action as well. Whoever earns the job will have some familiar faces at receiver, as the top three targets are all back. The Bulldogs also lost several key players from the defensive unit, which was tops in the Ivies with just 10.5 points allowed per game.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Jordan Forney

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