And in other games...
Dominic Randolph led the Crusaders
Holy Cross beat Harvard 27-20 in yet another thrilling game between these two teams.
Harvard's "pass first, run second" philosophy won't work against defenses as tough as this Holy Cross team. New QB Collier Winters did fine, but he needed to be great to beat the Crusaders. The Crimson's new defensive line netted just one sack and did not stuff the run like we've seen it do in year's past. Overall, I'd say this loss is kind of a push as far as projecting the Harvard season from here. Head Coach Tim Murphy has a history of not being so strong in openers, and this Crimson team wasn't too bad on Saturday. The Brown game will tell us a lot more.
Brown fell to Stony Brook, 21-20 in a game where kicking miscues made a big difference. As expected, new Brown QB Kyle Newhall-Caballero had a stellar night but he threw a crucial INT that killed a Bear scoring drive in the second quarter. Running back Zach Tronti netted just 3.5 yards per carry on 24 rushes. On the bright side for Brown, Buddy Farnham had 12 catches for 121 yards and a TD. The Bear defense played pretty well overall, but not in the clutch.
Stony Brook has been a mess on the field the last couple of years and it's surprising its defense played so well when it counted against Brown. The Bears pass defense was a question coming into this season and now it's really a question mark. Winters and all of Harvard's receivers will shred Brown's secondary alive if they don't improve. Overall, this was a bad loss for the Bears.
Colgate backup runner Jordan McCord rushed 44 times for 212 yards and 2 touchdowns as the Raiders beat Dartmouth at home, 34-15. The Big Green kept it close in the first half, but just didn't have the offense to answer McCord's outbursts in the second half.
Colgate is a really good team and it's hard to judge if Dartmouth has improved much from a game like this. It does have to be worrying that starting QB Alex Jenny only completed 11 of 28 passes despite not being intercepted. But the biggest concern is the big day McCord had considering he was a backup. Overall, this loss slightly downgrades my outlook for the Big Green this season.
Cornell had a joyous season opener at home with a 33-9 win over Bucknell. On the bright side, new starting QB Ben Ganter had a solid 17-for-25 passing performances. On the down side, the Big Red's conventional running game looked weak, with lead running back Randy Barbour netting just 27 yards on 13 carries. And here's something you don't see every day: each team had a safety!
Bucknell looks like a very, very bad team this year and the Big Red always plays a lot better at home. But because Ganter avoided throwing an INT and looked good in the pocket, I'm going to say this result provides Cornell with a nice upgrade for now when it comes to their season forecast.
Villanova strangled Penn, 14-3 at Franklin Field in a game that was essentially over as soon as the Wildcats returned the opening kickoff for a TD. Penn's defense played extremely well but the offense, especially the running game went nowhere. QB Keiffer Garton passed well efficiency-wise, but he took six sacks and was picked off once.
Villanova is just so good it's hard to get any idea what Penn will look like against Ivy foes. Garton's higher percentage passing is a positive, but I'm not sure this was a great game for him by any stretch. This loss is a push and we'll learn a lot more about the Quakers from the game this week at Lafayette.
Yale pulled away from Georgetown, 31-10 in a game that had been just 17-10 Yale in the fourth quarter. But the Elis were really controlling the game the entire time as the Hoyas did nothing in the running game. Eli QB Patrick Witt had some mental errors, but still went 22 of 27 for 216 yards.
Georgetown is another generally weak team and there's not much you can learn about Yale from this win. But I still give the Elis a slight upgrade thanks to their great defensive performance against the run. The secondary is still in question after giving up all those passing yards.
The Citadel slammed Princeton 38-7 at Princeton Stadium. New QB Tommy Wornham threw the ball a lot, going 24-for-41 for a TD and two picks. He wasn't spectacular, but clearly Princeton has a decent enough QB to compete. Returning Ivy League rushing champ Jordan Culbreath wasn't a factor in the game with the Tigers playing from behind most of the day, but he did get a decent 67 yards on 15 carries.
No one really expected Princeton to win this one, but the Tigers played the Citadel better in South Carolina last year than they did at home on Saturday. That's not a good sign and I'm giving them a bit of a downgrade after this loss.
Lafayette hung tough but lost to Liberty 19-13 at home Saturday night. Liberty's defense just never gave the Leopards offense much of a chance, and Lafayette's own "D" turned in a great effort that wasn't enough.
It was interesting to see Lafayette's offense face the same kind of punishment the Leopards are used to doling out week after week. This game really doesn't tell us much except that Lafayette kicker David Rodriguez is DEFINITELY not himself as he missed another PAT and a short FG attempt. He's been lights out until this season.