October 31, 2006

Yale Moves Into First Place

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Cornell’s upset of Princeton in Ithaca Saturday afternoon cleared the way for Yale to take sole possession of the top spot in the Ivy League standings with a dominating performance over Columbia. And while Harvard kept pace, staying one game behind the Bulldogs with a shutout against Dartmouth, Penn faltered and faded to fourth place after falling in overtime to Brown. Yale may be the only team left with a perfect mark in the Ancient Eight, but there are three weekends of football left and anything can happen.

Yale 21, Columbia 3

The Bulldogs (6-1, 4-0 Ivy) defended their territory with resounding success, earning a 21-3 victory over the Lions (3-4, 0-4) in New Haven, Conn., on Saturday afternoon. Although Columbia’s Jon Rocholl was the first to put points on the board with a 41-yard field goal in the second quarter, Yale scored 21 unanswered points en route to victory. The Bulldogs scored in ways familiar and unusual in the win. First, sophomore tailback Mike McLeod found the end zone with a 20-yard run with just over a minute left in the second frame; then, sophomore linebacker Bobby Abare returned his first career interception 52 yards for a touchdown — the first Yale player to score on a pickoff since 2003. A 1-yard run by Matt Murray after a 10:30 drive in the fourth quarter capped the Bulldogs scoring for the day. McLeod finished with 129 yards on 31 carries — and stands just eight yards away from tallying 1,000 on the season — as well as an unsportsmanlike penalty for somersaulting into the end zone on his scoring run. Sophomore linebacker Drew Quinn was a defensive stalwart for the Lions, making 10 tackles, including one for a loss, in the defeat.

Brown 30, Penn 27 (OT)

For the second consecutive week, the Quakers (4-3, 2-2) came up short in extra time, suffering a 30-27 overtime loss when junior Steve Morgan connected on a 25-yard field goal for the Bears (3-4, 2-2) on Franklin Field in Philadelphia Saturday afternoon. Penn junior Derek Zoch had sent a 26-yard field goal attempt wide right in the first overtime period, and the Quakers were called for a false start penalty that allowed Brown a second chance after Morgan missed a 35-yard attempt. Morgan earned Special Teams Player of the Week recognition for his work in the win, during which he was a perfect 3-for-3 on field goal attempts. Brown’s senior quarterback, Joe DiGiacomo, earned Ivy League Offensive Player of the Week accolades after connecting on a 13-yard touchdown pass to Lonnie Hill to tie the game at 27-all with less than four minutes left in regulation. DiGiacomo was 27-for-49 on the day with 340 yards and two touchdowns, with the other coming on a 44-yard bomb to Paul Raymond. Senior safety Scotty got momentum on Penn’s side early, converting a fumble recovery to a touchdown in the second quarter and making an interception on consecutive plays. He had another interception and six tackles to claim Co-Defensive Player of the Week honors. Penn’s Chris Wynn was named the Rookie of the Week after he returned a kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown as time expired in the third quarter.

Harvard 28, Dartmouth 0

Harvard (6-1, 3-1) painted Hanover, N.H., Crimson Saturday afternoon with a 28-0 rout of Dartmouth (1-6, 1-3) on Saturday afternoon. The visitors set the tone early, as senior running back Clifton Dawson unleashed a 74-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage. The Crimson defense kept the pressure on by forcing a turnover on the Green’s first possession, as senior safety Daniel Tanner recovered a fumble by senior wide receiver Ryan Fuselier.

Dawson finished the day with 164 yards and accounted for three of Harvard’s touchdowns, including two in the second quarter to give the Crimson an impenetrable lead. Classmate and defensive tackle Michael Berg kept things firmly in hand from the other side of the ball, leading the Crimson with seven tackles, including three for a loss and a sack, as well as forcing two fumbles and recovering another. In one play alone, he broke through the line to tackle the quarterback and prevent a handoff, earning a tackle for a loss, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery on that play alone. Junior linebacker Justin Cottrell was a lone bright spot for the Green, as he had a game-high 17 tackles to go with one forced fumble and one sack.