Going into this weekend, Harvard and Penn had not dropped an Ivy League decision. Coming out of it, both remain undefeated, although the Crimson and Quakers overcame their competitors in very different fashions.
Harvard (5-2, 4-0 Ivy) maintained its unblemished conference record by thrashing Dartmouth 42-21 at Harvard Stadium. Harvard’s powerful line, featuring All-American tackle James Williams, paved the way for running backs Gino Gordon and Trevor Scales to amass a staggering 315 yards on the ground. The two running backs were the first pair in 10 years to each eclipse the 100 yards in the same game. Gordon reached his total on only eight carries, averaging almost 15 yards per touch.
Lest Harvard’s next opponent, Columbia, think the Crimson one-dimensional, quarterback Collier Winters completed 12 of 15 passes for 204 yards and a score. Dartmouth managed to keep the game close, however, with a late score in the second quarter and a fake field goal in the third that kept a touchdown drive alive. As a result, despite falling behind 21-0 in the first half, the Big Green found themselves within striking distance at 28-14 in the middle of the third quarter. Yet, although Harvard fumbled twice in the final period and Dartmouth special teams turned a blocked punt into a touchdown, Harvard’s punishing ground game proved too much for the opposing defense. Overall, the Crimson outgained the Big Green 521-262 on the day. With the loss, Dartmouth dropped to 1-6 on the year and 1-3 in conference play.
The Ivy’s other heavyweight, Penn, overcame a six-game losing-streak overtime games to dig out a crucial 14-7 win over Brown in Providence. The game marked the 1300th contest in Penn’s program history.
Playing on the road, Penn grinded out its sixth straight conference win behind quarterback Kyle Olson’s 15-yard touchdown strike to Kyle Derham in overtime. Olson threw for over 300 yards for the game, the first Quaker quarterback to do so since Oct. 27, 2007. His touchdown pass in overtime held up as the winning score thanks to a stout Penn defense that did not concede a point on the day—Brown’s lone touchdown came on a 42-yard interception return on Penn’s opening possession of the second half, which evened the score at 7-7. Penn’s defense has now gone 10 quarters and 161 minutes, 31 seconds of play without conceding a point.
The Quaker special teams also pitched in to keep Brown off the board—after a Penn turnover gave the Bears the ball at the Quaker 12-yard line, the defense forced a three-and-out and linebacker Jake Lewko blocked the ensuing field goal on fourth down. And so, despite four Olson interceptions, Penn heads into its date with Princeton next weekend with its title hopes intact. Brown is now 4-3 on the year (2-2 Ivy).
In other Ivy League action, Princeton faced off against Cornell in Princeton, N.J. The Tigers rallied for a come-from-behind 17-13 victory with quarterback Tommy Wornham’s second touchdown pass of the day to Trey Peacock late in the fourth quarter. Cornell had opened the door for Princeton with Brad Greenway’s missed field goal from 27 yards out that gave Wornham and the Tigers new life with 7:48 to play. From there the Orange and Black never looked back, thanks in part to a drive-saving fumble recovery from senior center Andrew Hauser after Wornham lost control of the ball while running the option. With the emotional victory, Princeton (2-5, 1-3) pulls even with Cornell (2-5, 1-3), as well as Columbia and Dartmouth (both also 1-3 in conference), in a four-way logjam at the bottom of the Ivy standings.