November 9, 2004

Harvard, Penn Remain Unbeaten in League Play

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As the Cornell football team continued to make its case for comeback story of the year with a win over Dartmouth on Saturday, the other squads in the Ivy League were just as busy. In an action-packed weekend characterized by incredulous offensive plays, crushing defensive stands and a couple of near-upsets, week eight in the Ancient Eight proved once more that the nation”s oldest football conference still has a little bite left.

No. 20 Penn 16, Princeton 15

In a thrilling outing left undecided until the final play, the Quakers emerged victorious in front of 15,891 fans at Princeton Stadium last Saturday. Penn (7-1, 5-0 Ivy) dodged a bullet when Tigers kicker Derek Javarone missed a 41-yard attempt by mere inches with 18 seconds left in the roller coaster game. The Quakers had been down, 15-13, with less than nine minutes to play before quarterback Pat McDermott led a 59-yard scoring march to bring the favored team within striking distance. Penn freshman Derek Zoch avoided the fate of his Princeton counterpart, nailing his first career field goal attempt from 22 yards out.

Running back Sam Mathews anchored the Penn ground game, amassing 73 total yards on 24 carries. Wide receiver Gabe Marabella caught seven passes for 96 yards in the air — including a 19-yard touchdown scoring play from McDermott. The Tigers (4-4, 2-3 Ivy) outperformed the Quakers when they had the ball, picking up 335 net offensive yards to Penn”s 289.

The win kept Penn unbeaten in league play this season and extended the team”s overall Ivy League unbeaten streak to 20 games.

Brown 24, Yale 17

In another game with more plotline twists than a Choose Your Own Adventure novel, the Bears (5-3, 2-3 Ivy) mounted a valiant comeback against the powerful Bulldogs (4-4, 2-3 Ivy) in the second half to secure their second league victory. Junior running back Nick Hartigan stole the show for the Bears, piling up 135 rushing yards and breaking through for two touchdowns.

The Bears trailed, 17-14, at the half but displayed a revitalized spirit in the third and fourth quarters. With 9:38 remaining in the third, freshman kicker Steve Morgan knotted the score at 17 with a 21-yard field goal. After Yale missed a field goal of its own, Brown quarterback Joe DiGiacomo orchestrated the game-winning, 80-yard scoring drive in just under two and a half minutes of possession. Hartigan capped the finishing drive with his second touchdown of the afternoon — his 12th of the season.

Hartigan”s effort overshadowed the equally impressive performance of Yale quarterback Alvin Cowan, who completed 31 passes for 419 total yards and two touchdowns. The Bulldogs backfield was relatively quiet, with running back Robert Carr recording 83 net ground yards on 18 carries.

No. 15 Harvard 38, Columbia 0

In a slightly less competitive day on the field, the explosive Crimson (8-0, 5-0 Ivy) systematically overwhelmed the Lions (1-7, 1-4 Ivy) at Harvard Stadium to remain the only undefeated team in Div. I-AA. Harvard running back Clifton Dawson added some weight to his league-leading rushing statistics by posting 82 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries — enough to insure his second consecutive 1,000+ yard season.

The Lions mounted little resistance to the Crimson”s high-octane assault, giving up touchdowns on Harvard”s first two possessions. Harvard quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick found his receivers 12 times for 121 total aerial yards and two touchdowns. The Lions were buried under the Harvard attack, recording only 203 net offensive yards to the Crimson”s 389.

This weekend, the Crimson will take on fellow Ivy unbeaten Penn in Philadelphia. The winner is assured at least a share of the league championship.

Orange County, Calif. 1, Portland, Ore. 0

In the long-awaited season opener of The O.C., disenfranchised adolescent Seth Cohen returned home to Newport Beach after an ill-fated runaway excursion to Portland. Alas, despite the preponderance of trees and down-to-earth women, Cohen was irresistibly drawn back to the land of plastic, tans and helplessly dramatic romance.

Archived article by Kyle Sheahen
Sun Assistant Sports Editor