So much for a seven-way tie.
Although the 2017 Ivy League football season was certainly a wild one, there was one team who emerged as the league’s best: the Yale Bulldogs. After routing Harvard in The Game, Yale finished the season 9-1 overall and 6-1 in Ivy play, one game better than both Columbia and Dartmouth. The Red (3-7, 3-4 Ivy) finished tied for fifth after a crushing loss to Penn, only one spot better than last season despite sitting tied atop the league just a few weeks ago.
Entering week eight, the league faced the slim, but real, possibility of a seven-way tie if all the results went the right way. Yale made sure that did not happen, besting Princeton and dominating the Crimson in the last two weeks for its first Ivy title since 2006 and its first outright crown since 1980.
Columbia and Dartmouth did their part with wins in their respective matchups to stay alive for the title this weekend, but the Bulldogs, who lost just one game in 2017 to Dartmouth by a single point, made the wins meaningless.
Yale 24, Harvard 3
After clinching at least a share of the Ivy title last weekend, Yale needed a win Saturday to own that championship outright. And what better way to do it than over arch-rival Harvard in the most anticipated game of the year.
Despite getting off to a bit of a slow start, the Bulldogs, ranked No. 4 heading into the 2017 season, found their stride and had no trouble with the Crimson, dominating their way to a 24-3 victory in front of a raucous 51,000 fans at the Yale Bowl.
Yale’s defense used four turnovers to keep Harvard out of the end zone for the Crimson’s second consecutive week without a touchdown, and the Bulldogs added a defensive score as well. Freshman running back Zane Dudek led the way for Yale’s rushing attack, which finished the day with 118 more yards. Dudek ends his rookie season with a league-leading 1,133 yards on the ground and 15 rushing touchdowns.
Harvard freshman quarterback Jake Smith was ineffective, throwing for just 83 yards and coughing up two fumbles before being pulled in the second half. With the loss, Harvard falls to 5-5, its worst record since 2000. Yale now leads the overall series with Harvard 67 to 59.
Columbia 24, Brown 6
While it proved impossible, Columbia entered its final matchup of the season with a shot at the league crown just one game back of Yale. The Lions became the latest team to beat up on a winless Brown team which fell to 0-7 in the conference after Saturday’s 24-6 defeat. But Columbia, which finished with a magical 8-2 campaign, had to settle for second after Yale’s win.
It was another huge day for Columbia wide receiver Josh Wainwright who caught 13 passes for 127 yards and a touchdown to go over 1000 for the season. Quarterback Anders Hill did what he needed to do, completing 19 of 26 and not turning the ball over. Brown heads into the offseason with a 2-8 record, an embarrassing mark for a team expected to finish in the middle of the pack.
The Lions, on the other hand, have completely turned around their football program. No longer bottom-dwellers, Columbia finished the 2017 season 8-2 and earned a tremendous amount of respect along the way.
Dartmouth 54, Princeton 44
Dartmouth found itself in the same position as Columbia entering the final week, needing a win and a Yale loss. The Green did its job in Hanover but also like Columbia, found no luck down in New Haven.
In what was the day’s wildest game, Dartmouth found a way to top the Tigers, 54-44, behind a 34-point fourth quarter effort that was too much for Princeton to overcome. The Green stood strong in a game that featured seven lead changes, five of which came in the fourth quarter.
Dartmouth got the win done primarily on the ground, amassing a whopping 343 yards of rushing. Running back Jared Gerbino ran for 203 yards on 32 carries to go along with an impressive four touchdowns.
Princeton’s Chad Kanoff did everything he could in defeat, tallying 444 passing yards and three touchdowns. Kanoff finishes the season atop the league in just about every passing stat, but the defending-champion Tigers, ranked No. 1 entering the season, fell to 2-5 in the Ivy League, better than only Brown. Dartmouth finishes tied for second.