Ancient Eight Readies for League Challenges

Published by Juliet Spies-Gans on September 22, 2011 at 10:11PM

This weekend is a big one for Harvard football. I’m not just talking about normal-sized big, but football-player big.

On Friday, the Crimson takes on Brown in its first league game of the season. This game will be key in terms of gaining momentum and setting up an Ivy League title run.

But before we get to this matchup, here is a round-up of the events that led up to this weekend’s contests:

Last Saturday, Harvard opened its season against Holy Cross. Despite gaining a lead of 14-3 in the first quarter, the Crimson quickly gave the Crusaders a way back into the game.  Covers were blown and Holy Cross completed several long-distance passes. After Holy Cross took the lead 17-14 after a one-yard touchdown run, the team never looked back, scoring 22 consecutive points to push the final score to 30-22. The Crusaders’ win was an upset, as preseason rankings showed Harvard to be on top. Whoops, my mistake, I meant these rankings.

The Crimson’s loss wasn’t the only shocker last weekend. Penn kept its status as the “Social Ivy” by making friends with Lafayette when the Quakers generously rolled over in a 37-12 Leopard blowout. Penn—the preseason favorite to win the Ivy League—blew its eight-game winning streak, losing to Lafayette’s backup quarterback.

While the Ivy’s two top-ranked teams lost several points of self-esteem, some of the lower-seeded squads came out ready to battle. Cornell, who tied with Princeton for the Ivy League's lowest rank, came from a 13-0 deficit to beat Bucknell, 24-13. Touchdown passes of 87 and 64 yards were key moments in the Big Red’s victory. Dartmouth also came out ready, as the Big Green crushed Colgate, 37-20. Dartmouth running back Nick Schwieger came up huge as he ran for two touchdowns and had a total of 175 yards.

Preseason middle-of-the-league teams Yale and Brown pulled out victories against Georgetown and Stony Brook, respectively, while Columbia lost to Fordham. As the Bulldogs handed the Hoyas their first loss of the season, they simultaneously forgot how to count to 100 as can be seen from this pie chart.

When the Bears came back from a 10-point deficit and beached the Seawolves, 21-20, in New York on Saturday night, they proved that they could win close ones. I guess they realized that they couldn’t count the game as pass/fail. Meanwhile, the commute across the River proved to be too much for the Lions who gave in, 21-14, to their newly-found cross water rivals.

Princeton also lost to Lehigh , 34-22—this was not much of a surprise, as the Tigers’ record last season came out to 1-9. They hope to rebound this weekend when the Ivy League season officially begins.