November 5, 2003

Around the Ivy League

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With only seven conference games every year, each Ivy contest is a must-win game. Three teams — Penn, Harvard, and Yale — have separated themselves from the pack, with defending league champion, Penn, at the head of the class. Penn remained perfect on the year, while second-place Harvard suffered a critical blow to its title hopes.

Penn 24, Brown 21

The Quakers (7-0, 4-0 Ivy) remained perfect in conference play after holding on to beat the Bears (2-5, 1-3) by a 24-21 score. In a game that featured the league’s top two tailbacks, Penn’s Sam Matthews and Brown’s Nick Hartigan, it was Matthews and Penn that came out on top. The Quaker back led the way, slashing through the Bears defense for 173 rushing yards and two touchdowns. It was his fifth-consecutive 100-yard game.

On the other sideline, Hartigan, the league’s top runner going into the weekend, was stymied by the Penn defense, as he managed just 58 yards on 19 carries.

Penn raced out of the gates, scoring on its first drive, which spanned 62 yards on 12 plays. Quarterback Mike Mitchell culminated the drive with a 7-yard scoring toss to Brian Edwards. Matthews, who finished the afternoon with 225 passing yards ran in two more touchdowns to give Penn a commanding 21-0 lead early in the third quarter.

The Bears, playing in front of its home crowd, did not go quietly, however, pulling to within two touchdowns on Hartigan’s one-yard touchdown run. Brown quarterback After a Penn field goal made the score 24-7, Brown’s Kyle Slager connected with Nick Christ for a 24-yard touchdown, and Hartigan scored from seven yards out to pull Brown to within 24-21.

The comeback attempt was quelled with 2:38 left in the game, though, as Slager was picked off by Pat McManus.

Dartmouth 30, Harvard 16

The big news before the game was the return of the Crimson’s star quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick, who had missed significant time after suffering a broken hand against Cornell on Oct. 11. However, it was the other quarterback, Dartmouth’s Charles Rittgers, who stole the show on Saturday, throwing for 344 yards in the Green’s stunning 30-16 upset of previously unbeaten Harvard.

Harvard (6-1, 3-1) lost for the first time in seven meetings against Dartmouth (3-4, 2-2). Fitzpatrick, seeing his first action in three weeks, showed his rust, throwing for just 161 yards and completing just 12 of his 21 pass attempts. He was also picked off twice by the opportunistic Green defense, which had three interceptions on the day.

Meanwhile, Rittgers was 17-of-33, throwing for two scores and rushing for another. His two first-half touchdown passes, which went to Andrew Hall and Casey Cramer, along with a Tyler Lavin 50-yard boot, spotted the Green a 16-9 lead heading into the intermission.

Chris Little helped Dartmouth extend the lead to 14, when he scampered through the Dartmouth defense for a 35-yard scoring run. Fitzpatrick hit Rodney Byrnes for a 55-yard scoring strike, but Rittgers capped off the scoring with a two-yard run.

Yale 29, Columbia 14

A week after a heartbreaking 34-31 loss to Penn, the Bulldogs (5-2, 3-1) rebounded with a convincing win over the Lions (2-5, 1-3). The season-long offensive fireworks continued for Yale, as quarterback Alvin Cowan threw for 322 yards and ran for 53 more, while running back Robert Carr added 129 yards and three touchdowns.

Yale struck early, scoring on its first possession after Columbia botched an onside kick attempt. Cowan drove the offense downfield, setting up a one-yard scoring run by Carr.

The Lions responded later in the quarter, when quarterback Jeff Otis continued his phenomenal season with a scoring toss to tight end Wade Fletcher to give Columbia a 7-6 lead.

The lead wouldn’t last long, however, as Carr added two more rushing touchdowns to give Yale a lead it would never relinquish. Tight End Nate Lawrie led the Bulldogs with 127 receiving yards on 10 catches while Fletcher had 72 receiving yards for the Lions.

Archived article by Alex Ip