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Friday, October 9, 2009

Early Edition- Harvard Clashes with Big Red on Saturday

This Week's Video- Last Year's Halftime Show at the Harvard-Cornell Game

What if you got tomorrow's newspaper, today? I don't know, and that's not what we're offering by this early edition of our weekly Harvard and Ivy League preview- we (well, mostly I) mean that this is getting posted a few hours earlier, because I will be without Internet access as I begin the odyssey toward Ithaca. Since we don't have Gary Hobson-like powers to tell you the results of this week's game, we'll head back toward last week to get a taste of this weekend's Ivy League match-up between the Harvard Crimson (2-1, 1-0 Ivy) and the Cornell Big Red (2-1, 1-0 Ivy).

Harvard was back on the road last Saturday as they traveled to another Patriot League opponent, the Lehigh Mountain Hawks (0-4, 0-0 Patriot). Lehigh got in front with a touchdown pass from Chris Lum to Alex Wojdowski, but the Johnnies put up 28 straight points to put the game out of reach and take the win 28-14. It was a big day for the Crimson defense, as they picked off the inexperience Lum four times, including John Takamura's 60 yard interception return for a touchdown. Collier Winters had 15 completions for 152 yards, two touchdowns, and his first career interception. The Crimson run game, a question mark entering the game with Gino Gordon out injured and Treavor Scales out with a family emergence, but the run game became an exclamation point as Cheng Ho rumbled to 132 yards and a touchdown, adding a touchdown reception.

Cornell was also playing a Patriot League opponent, but one at the opposite side of the standings as they faced the Colgate Raiders (6-0, 1-0 Patriot) in a battle of undefeated teams. Colgate jumped out in front 14-0 thanks to running back Nate Eachus running into the endzone for two of his three touchdowns on the day. The game got as close as 21-10 before Colgate put the game away with 17 unanswered points. The passing game for both teams was pretty equal, as both teams grabbed 217 yards through the air, but the discrepancy was the run game, as Colgate had 344 yards on the ground while holding the Big Red to 63 yards. 84 of Colgate's running yards came from quarterback Greg Sullivan. Both teams tallied an interception in the game, as Colgate won 45-23.

That's about it for the blog spiel on the Harvard-Cornell game. As always, Scott Reed and James Yoon will have more in-depth coverage of this Ancient Eight contest on the pregame show beginning at 12pm, while Alasdair Wilkins, Tom Brennan, and (for this week only) myself have the call live from Schoellkopf Field in Ithaca beginning at 12:30. And as always, both of those can be heard on 95.3 FM and here at WHRB.org.

After the jump, we'll take a look around the Ivy League, including a game that has already been played this week.

Around the Ivy League

In a rare Thursday night match, the Ivy League and Patriot League squared off again in a nationally broadcast game on ESPNU as the undefeated Colgate Raiders took on the Princeton Tigers (1-3, 0-1 Ivy). After having an explosive week on offense last week against their rivals the Big Red, the Raiders were shut down heavily, scoring only a touchdown in four quarters. Princeton was coming off a humbling 38-0 defeat at home by Columbia to start Ivy League play, and Princeton's offense sputtered in this game, also only grabbing a touchdown in four quarters. So at 7-7, the two teams headed to overtime, where the offenses started clicking. Princeton opened up the extra session with a touchdown pass, but was promptly matched by Colgate. In the second overtime, only Colgate found a way to put points up on the board, as Princeton was stopped on downs for the 21-14 2OT loss for the Tigers.

In an all-Ancient Eight showdown, the Dartmouth Big Green (0-3, 0-1 Ivy) travel to the Yale Bowl looking to snap a fifteen game losing streak as they take on the Elis (1-2, 0-1 Ivy). The Bulldogs remain winless at home on the year, after last week's 31-14 loss to Lafayette in non-conference play, a game that saw Yale start 7-0 before giving up 24 unanswered points. The Big Green, meanwhile, came close to ending their losing streak as they fell 30-24 to the Penn Quakers. Dartmouth fell behind early after a blocked punt in the endzone, and while their passing attack was impressive, garnering 204 yards, their rush defense was less impressive, giving up 288 yards on the ground.

Harvard's first loss and Harvard's first win on the season will collide in Providence as the Zach Randolph led Holy Cross Crusaders (4-0, 1-0 Patriot) take on the Brown Bears (1-2, 0-1 Ivy) in non-conference play. Holy Cross torched the Northeastern Huskies (0-5) last week, grabbing a 21-0 lead and never looking back, winning 42-21. Randolph had 305 yards and five touchdown passes to five different receivers. Brown had some success in the air as well, as Kyle Newhall threw three touchdown passes, but also three interceptions, as they beat the Rhode Island Rams (1-3) 28-20 to earn the Governor's Cup and their first win of the season.

The Penn Quakers (1-2, 1-0 Ivy) are coming off a scare against Dartmouth and will be looking to reassert their claim as a preseason favorite as they face Bucknell (3-2) at Franklin Field. The Quakers had plenty of success running the ball last week, getting 288 yards, but the passing was paltry, netting only 69 yards. Special teams were big for Penn, as they had three field goals plus a blocked punt for a touchdown. The Bison, meanwhile, are coming off a 14-6 win over Georgetown (0-5). Bucknell, like Penn, had low numbers in the air, netting only 86 passing yards in the victory.

In the late game, the Columbia Lions (2-1, 1-0 Ivy) are traveling to Pennsylvania to take on the Lafayette Leopards (3-1, 1-0 Patriot). Lafayette put up 396 yards against the Yale Bulldog defense last week, and had a 24-7 lead going into the final quarter before winning the game 31-14. The Lions, meanwhile, blew out their opponents in the Big Apple - Garden State rivalry, the Princeton Tigers, by a score of 38-0, thanks to a big second half that saw Columbia score 29 points. Quarterback M.A. Olawale threw for two touchdowns and ran for another in the winning effort. The Columbia defense yielded 344 yards to the Tigers, but earned three turnovers to preserve the shutout. Lafayette travels to Cambridge next Saturday for Harvard's last non-conference game of the season.

Ivy League Standings
1. Columbia, Cornell, Harvard, Pennsylvania (all 1-0)
5. Brown, Dartmouth, Princeton, Yale (all 0-1)

That'll do it for the pregame blog post. We're all headed to New York tomorrow, so it'll be a slow day at the blog and on twitter, but we'll have plenty of coverage of this game on 95.3 FM and WHRB.org with our pregame show at 12:00PM, the live call starting at 12:30PM, and postgame analysis on Sportstalk Sunday at 1pm. All of that can be found live on 95.3 FM WHRB, WHRB.org, and the WHRB iPhone app.

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