Dies Atra. The ancient Romans had a name for days when the world seemed to turn itself upside down. And that's a fairly accurate description of what happened to the conventional wisdom last Saturday, when the Ivy scoreboard overturned the predictions of the Ivy soothsayers in an almost unbelievable series of upsets.
The news from New Haven, Providence and New York may not have been as stunning as the Soldiers Field variety of upset. Nevertheless, the net effect was to throw this year's Ivy race wide open and The Crimson's sports wizards into confusion.
In a strikingly similar version of last weekend's mud-and-guts Harvard defeat, an overhauled Yale defense put the brakes on an inspired Dartmouth second half offensive effort, holding on to an 18-14 win for the underdog Elis.
The Big Play came with 1:54 left in the game, when Yale lineman Bill Crowley intercepted a Kevin Case pass, killing a Dartmouth drive that neared the goal line. The Yale defense was at its overall best, however, in the first half, when it held the Green to a meager 14 yards.
The story of Saturday's Penn-Brown battle was a chronology of mistakes: a missed tackle, a fumble, and a bobbled ball, all of which added up to a 7-6 overturn victory for Penn.
The crucial factor in this game was a last minute Bruin fumble at the Penn tenyard line, effectively busting a potential victory drive that had begun at the Brown 34
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Meanwhile, inclement weather interfered with the efforts of Ivy League stepchildren Columbia and Princeton last weekend, producing a fumble-filled contest that the Tigers seemed almost to win by default, 9-3.
Next weekend, the outlook is good for Harvard over Dartmouth, Yale over Columbia, and Brown over Cornell. That is, if the Conventional Wisdom can survive another Dark Day.