Wednesday, September 27, 2006

IVY League Roundup, Week 2

It's still too early to really get a handle on the entire league, but Saturday's games are putting the Ivy picture into better focus.

Harvard 38 Brown 21

There really shouldn't be any downplaying of this victory for the Crimson. Everyone in the world knew Brown needed to stop Clifton Dawson to win, and the Bears flat out couldn't do it. Dawson torched them for 181 yards, 7.1 yards a carry and three touchdowns. It what almost everyone thought would be a close game between title contenders, the fourth quarter started with Harvard ahead 31-7. That a team can start its third-string QB and still win so dominantly on the road says a lot about the depth of this Crimson program. Harvard must be considered the odds-on favorite to win the title now, and any Ivy team that challenges them head-to-head will be lucky to do it.

In fact, I'm beginning to think the suspensions Coach Tim Murphy handed out this preseason may have been a result of how deep he knew his team was. Punishing his starting QB O'Hagan and basically booting one of his co-captains must have been a lot easier to do with the knowledge that there were plenty of go-to guys on the bench. And suspending players at the top of the depth chart has the nice side effect of motivating everyone else and keeping them in line.

Yale 21 Cornell 9

In what seems like it was a sloppy game, the Bulldogs beat the Big Red at Schoelkopf with a big fourth quarter. Mike McLoed had a strong game with 104 yards on 26 carries and three touchdowns, (one as a receiver). Cornell is still looking for its first TD of the year, and I have to say I'm surprised by the way they just don't seem ready to play. The Big Red was penalized 10 times and they had some bad turnovers. It may turn out that Yale is a better team than I expected them to be, but I'm still not sold on QB Matt Polhemus, who went nine-of-19 with one interception. He looks pretty good as a runner, but I think he might benefit greatly if Yale just lets him throw the ball a little bit more. We may not know exactly what the Elis are made of until they play Penn at home on October 21st.

Villanova 27 Penn 20

The really eye-popping aspect of this game at Franklin Field is the huge number of yards the Quakers defense gave up; 542! Another area of concern is at quarterback where Penn starter Robert Irvin could not repeat his strong performance in week one. Irvin was yanked after going eleven-of-24 for just 87 yards and two interceptions. His replacement, Bryan Walker, was not much better; he was five-of-16 for 60 yards but no picks. Despite these problems, Penn had every chance to win this game and almost tied it up in the final moments. That was all thanks to superstar Joe Sandberg, who ran for 94 yards, caught a pass for eleven more and threw the Quakers only TD pass on an option. Luckily for Penn, they should get better in a hurry against Dartmouth when they face the weak Green this Saturday at home.

UNH 56 Dartmouth 14

A little more than seven thousand people saw this massacre that was very much expected by everyone around the league. New Hampshire is a top program with a great QB in Ricky Santos, and he had a five TD passes and a 24-of-32 day for 318 yards. Dartmouth ran the ball pretty well, finishing the day with 106 yards on the ground, but the Big Green didn't really get a chance to showcase any weapons. Starting QB Mike Fritz was 15-of-23 with two TD's but also two interceptions. He will try to connect with his best receiver, Ryan Fuselier, as much as possible this season, but that will get tougher as the season goes on and Fuselier deals with more double-teams. After an tough opener against a good Colgate team, this loss to UNH, and this coming Saturday's tough match up with Penn at Franklin Field, you have feel sorry for Dartmouth. If Coach Buddy Teevens is able to get these guys to overcome what is going to be a very tough month, he will deserve a lot of credit.

Princeton 26 Lafayette 14

The Tigers defense looked great for the second week in a row, and QB Jeff Terrell had one of his better games in Princeton's home opening win under the lights. Lafayette managed just 77 net yards rushing and 129 yards in the air. Terrell went 20-of-31 for 261 yards and three touchdowns. He also connected with eight different Tiger receivers. Princeton's offensive line, the main area of concern after all of last year's squad graduated, has been performing well. Starting Tiger tailback Rob Toresco had a rough game with 12 yards on ten carries, but Princeton still managed to break the 100-yard barrier on the ground thanks to some good runs by Terrell and a Toresco's backups. And the pass protection has been superb as the front five has only given up one sack in the first two games. This team is starting to look very, very good, but it's hard to tell just how good its opposition has been. Lehigh and Lafayette are usually pretty good Patriot League teams, but not always. Neither team has shown much on offense all season, and it's possible their ineptitude has greatly contributed to the Tigers' stellar defensive stats. Obviously, we'll know more after they take on our Lions in New York this Saturday.


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