Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Ivy Week in Review

Yale 26 Dartmouth 14

Dartmouth failed to build on its decent performance against Penn the previous week and only briefly challenged the Elis in this game. Dartmouth made in 19-14 at the end of the third quarter, but Yale drove 89 yards down the field on the next possession for the final score of the game. Mike McLeod had a monster game, with 198 yards on 33 carries and both Yale TD's. Eli QB Matt Polhemus had an unspectacular, but mistake free game. Dartmouth QB Mike Fritz had a strong game against the Bulldogs questionable secondary, going 16-for-21 for 211 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. But the Big Green running game was non-existent again, totaling just 98 yards for the day.

Impressions: A week after holding Penn's star runner Joe Sandberg to just 65 yards rushing at Penn, Dartmouth surrendered big numbers to McLeod at home. Either Sandberg isn't nearly as good as McLeod, or this Big Green defense is a little erratic. Yale still hasn't faced an Ivy team with a really strong offense, and the good news for the Elis is there aren't any other than Harvard. But Princeton's offense is getting there and might be ready to torch the Bulldogs by week nine. Until then, Yale's biggest challenge will be keeping the offensive machine going.

Harvard 33 Cornell 23

For the second straight week, Harvard's Clifton Dawson was held just under 100 yards rushing. But the Bushnell Cup favorite still torched the Big Red with a 93-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to start the game. The best news for Cornell is quarterback Nate Ford had his best game passing, going 20-for-33 for 309 yards, one touchdown and one interception. The bad news is Luke Siwula was stuffed for just 49 yards on 15 carries. Harvard QB Chris Pizzotti continued his solid play backing up the suspended Liam O'Hagan with 15-of-24 passing for 231 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

Impressions: There's no real reason to suspect Harvard still isn't the team to beat in the Ivies this year. The pass defense may have been a little sloppy, but it's also possible Cornell QB Nate Ford is finally getting comfortable. But the Crimson were ahead 33-10 in this game before two later touchdowns from the Big Red. This Saturday's game at Harvard Stadium against Lafayette should be a good tune-up for the big contest at Princeton on the 21st, (that game will be on YES).

Princeton 27 Colgate 26 (OT)

A very, very impressive road win for the Tigers. Colgate's strong rushing defense stuffed the Princeton ground game, but QB Jeff Terrell responded with the best game of his college career, going 17-of-32 for 293 yards, one touchdown, and most importantly, NO interceptions. Brendan Circle had a strong game at receiver with four big catches for 114 yards, including a 33-yard touchdown. Colgate is not an easy place to win, and the Tigers have got to be happy they survived with their undefeated record intact.

Impressions: Terrell is starting to look like the best quarterback in the Ivies. He's not spectacular, but he has now shown that he can win games on his own, and that's more than any other current signal-caller in the league has done. Princeton is still too fumble-prone and the running game is suspect, but this squad should be good enough to give Harvard a good run for their money in two weeks. But for now the Tigers have to contend with a short week as they face Brown at home this Friday night.

Holy Cross 35 Brown 30

How the mighty have fallen. Yes, Holy Cross is an improved team this year and a legitimate Patriot League title contender, but the Crusaders lanced the Bear defense and stuffed their running game in the win. Brown trailed 28-10 late in the third quarter before falling short in a furious comeback. Brown QB Joe DiGiacomo threw for some big numbers, going 28-for-51 for 401 yards and three touchdowns. But he also threw two interceptions, (he seems to throw two per game no matter what), and one of them led directly to a Holy Cross TD. And the 44 yards rushing Brown notched on 24 carries is an astoundingly bad stat.

Impressions: Brown is going to struggle to stay out of the bottom four of the Ivies this season. The defense is surprisingly weak and the running game is just not there. They have a chance to redeem themselves against Princeton on Friday night, but I just don't see it.

Penn 34 Bucknell 24

This game was not as close as the score indicated, but the improving Bison played without their starting QB. Joe Sandberg rushed for 112 yards on just 12 carries, but the big story was Robert Irvin's big day at QB. He went 23-of-33 for 304 yards and three touchdowns. He still had two interceptions, but the key was Irvin and Sandberg racked up big yardage after they both had sub-par games against Dartmouth the week before at Franklin Field. Wide receiver Braden Lepisto had his best game with seven catches for 140 yards including a 72-yard TD. One item of concern is that the Quakers fumbled the ball five times, but they lost it just once. The defense was very strong with four sacks and just 217 total yards allowed.

Impressions: Bucknell was not exactly a serious test for Penn, but a road win is a road win, and Irvin probably got a big shot of confidence just at the right time. Penn does need to do a better job of cutting down on turnovers, or some of the more opportunistic Ivy teams will take advantage as Dartmouth almost did two weeks ago.


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