From now until the end of the football season, Ivy League teams will play only Ivy League teams. No more Patriot League. No more non-conference games. It’ll be all Ancient Eight, all the time. And what an opening weekend it was. Two overtime games and a nailbiter. Not a bad way to enter the backstretch of the 2003 season.
Dartmouth 26, Columbia 21
The Green won its second straight game to improve to 2-4 on the season, when it held on for a home win against Columbia. Quarterback Charlie Rittgers had two touchdown passes to lead Dartmouth, which withstood a furious fourth-quarter comeback attempt by the Lions. With Dartmouth leading 26-7, Lions quarterback Jeff Otis connected with Wade Fletcher for an eight-yard touchdown reception with a little more than eight minutes remaining in the game. Ayo Oluwole ran in a two point conversion to cut the Green lead to 11 points. Five minutes later, Otis found Zach Van Zant for a 35-yard touchdown pass to pull Columbia within five. However, the Dartmouth defense stopped the Lions on its final possession to hold on to the win.
Penn 34, Yale 31, OT
What began as a 24-3 Penn lead midway through the third quarter quickly became a much closer game than the Quakers had banked on, as Yale staged a tremendous fourth-quarter comeback behind the arm of quarterback Alvin Cowan. Cowan passed for three touchdowns in the final 11 minutes of the game to tie the score at 31 with 32 ticks remaining. Receivers Chandler Henry and Ralphy Plumb were on the receiving end of Cowan’s passes. With no time left on the clock, Penn kicker Peter Veldman attempted a 45-yard field goal that fell just short.
However, in the overtime period, Veldman again lined up to kick the potential game-winner, this time from 23 yards out. This time he converted, to give the Quakers the win, keeping their 12-game winning streak in tact.
Harvard 43, Princeton 40, OT
For most of last Saturday’s game, it appeared that Princeton was about to pull off the most improbable of upsets. The Tigers held on to a 20-18 lead before entering the pivotal fourth quarter. The game had two ties and five lead changes, including several in the final quarter. Twice Harvard went up by a touchdown, and twice Princeton came back to tie. The final scoring strike came with 3:24 remaining in the final stanza, as Matt Verbit completed a 43-yard touchdown pass to Blair Morrison to knot the contest at 37.
After Harvard won the toss and elected to kick in the overtime period, Princeton kicker Derek Javarone converted on a 36-yard field goal attempt to give the Tigers a 40-37 lead. But, on third-and-goal on the Princeton four-yard line on Harvard’s overtime possession, quarterback Garrett Schires found Rodney Byrnes in the back of the end zone for the game-ending touchdown.
Archived article by Owen Bochner