While Cornell stumbled out of the gates this past weekend, suffering a 20-5 loss at Bucknell in its season opener, most of the Red’s Ivy League brethren enjoyed success on the gridiron in the first round of competition for the Ancient Eight teams. It was a weekend of extreme highs and lows, as the victorious squads in the conference won by at least 10 points and those who were defeated fell by more than two touchdowns. It’s safe to say things should balance out next weekend, when the Ivy League turns inward for the first conference match-ups of 2006.
Columbia 37, Forham 7
Head coach Norries Wilson’s debut at the helm for the Lions, a 37-7 win over Fordham, had a much happier result than most games the blue and white played last year, when they finished without a win in Ivy League play. Not since Buff Donelli’s debut in 1957 has a Columbia coach won his first game with the Lions, but Wilson’s squad made it happen by scoring 20 points off turnovers, including four recovered fumbles and a pass interception. Kicker/punter Jon Rocholl earned special teams Player of the Week honors from the league office after scoring 13 points in the win, making 3-of-3 field goals and connecting on all four PATs. Rookie of the Week honors also went to the Lions, as wide receiver Austin Knowlin grabbed three passes for 68 yards, including a 62-yard touchdown pass late in the third quarter.
Harvard 31, Holy Cross 14
The favorite to win the league crown this season opened play with a dominating performance, as Harvard topped Holy Cross, 31-14. It wasn’t a sure thing from start to finish, however, as the Crimson lost starting quarterback Chris Pizzotti to a knee injury at the beginning of the second quarter and the Crusaders opened up a 7-0 lead. All-America running back Clifton Dawson, the Ivy League’s Co-Offensive Player of the Week, put his team on his back, however, and ran for 170 yards and three touchdowns as the Crimson scored 31 unanswered points.
San Diego 43, Yale 17
Yale couldn’t stop the laws of physics when it played host to San Diego on Saturday, falling by a score of 43-17 as San Diego earned its 11th straight win to continue the longest current streak in Division I-AA football. The Bulldogs were tamed by quarterback Josh Johnson, who completed 28-of-35 passes for 345 yards, launched four touchdown passes and ran 46 yards for another score.
Brown 34, Georgetown 21
Another winning streak gained strength as the Bears roared to a 34-21 win over Georgetown in Providence, R.I. It was the ninth consecutive victory for the defending Ivy League champions. Senior quarterback Joe DiGiacomo led the charge on offense, throwing for 206 yards and two touchdowns. On the other side of the ball, senior All-America linebacker Zak DeOssie helped stifle the Hoyas with 13 tackles.
Colgate 28, Dartmouth 7
Colgate took off running and never looked back en route to a 28-7 win over Dartmouth in Hamilton, N.Y., on Saturday. Sophomore tailback Jordon Scott provided the initial spark, breaking free for a 65-yard run on the Raiders’ first play from scrimmage. He followed up with a pair of scoring runs, sneaking in from two yards out in the third quarter and finding the end zone on a 7-yard run in the fourth quarter. Scott finished with three touchdowns and 169 rushing yards for the Raiders.
Penn 21, Lafayette 11
After ending the 2005 season with four straight losses, the Quakers started 2006 on the right foot with a 21-11 win over No. 22 Lafayette in Easton, Pa. Running back Joe Sandberg was the hero of the day for Penn, earning Ivy League Co-Offensive Player of the Week honors after rushing for 166 yards and scoring two touchdowns, one in the first quarter and another with 5:39 remaining in the game to seal the victory for the Quakers.
Princeton 14, Lehigh 10
In the closest game of the weekend, the Tigers staged a come-from-behind rally in the third quarter to earn a 14-10 victory on Lehigh’s home turf. After trailing, 10-0, at halftime, Princeton clawed its way ahead with a 7-yard touchdown run from running back Rob Toresco and a 12-yard pass from Jeff Terrell to Adam Berry. Princeton defensive back Tim Strickland recorded two interceptions in the game, including one on the goal line. Strickland, who started his 31st straight game for the Tigers this weekend and has had six interceptions in the last five games, earned Ivy League Defensive Player of the Week honors.