Saturday, October 31, 2009

It's the Big Green Harvard Crimson!

Today's Video: In honor of Halloween, it's the football scene from "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!" (note link should NOW be working.)

The Ivy League football season is coming up on its halfway point. Last week saw the first week of all Ivy vs. Ivy games, which continues until the end of the season. This week, the Harvard Crimson look to end a three game homestand on a high note as they face the Dartmouth Big Green.

Let's look back at last week, starting with the Harvard Crimson (4-2, 3-0 Ivy), who took on the Princeton Tigers (1-5, 0-3 Ivy). The Crimson started off with a bang as less than 3 minutes in, Collier Winters found Chris Lorditch for a 77 yard touchdown pass to make it 7-0. After Princeton's lone points of the day, a Ben Bologna field goal, it was all Johnnies, who were up 24-3 at the half. Geno Gordon than made it 31-3 with a run in the third quarter, while third stringer Cheng Ho took advantage of the playing time to add a touchdown in the fourth that made it 37-3 for the final score. The best pass of the day may have come from WR Mike Cook, who threw a touchdown pass to Matt Luft only to see it negated by an ineligible receiver down field penalty.

Meanwhile, there was much to celebrate for the Hanover crowd as the Dartmouth Big Green (1-5, 1-2 Ivy) snapped a seventeen game losing streak by beating the Columbia Lions (2-4, 1-2 Ivy). Nick Schweiger ran for a school record 244 yards and a touchdown, earning him both Ivy League and National recognition. Connor Kempe was 8 for 22 for 75 yards. Dartmouth's defense grabbed three turnovers, included a fumble returned 39 yards for a touchdown, in a game that also wasn't in doubt, as that score put Dartmouth up at 21-0 in the fourth quarter, grabbing a 28-6 win.

Now Dartmouth comes to Harvard Stadium looking to get their first winning streak in six years. Speaking of six years ago, that was the last time Dartmouth bested the Crimson, with a 30-16 win at Harvard Stadium. Are the Big Green poised to get the win? Or is last week's win over Columbia just a signed (but un-noterized) written promise to convince Dartmouth to come running up to the ball only for the Harvard Crimson to quickly pull it away, leading to a loud "AAAUUUGH!" from the Hanover faithful? WHRB will be here to answer that question, starting with our pregame coverage at 11:30 AM with Scott Reed and James Yoon, and then live from Harvard Stadium at 12 PM with Alasdair Wilkins, Tom Brennan, and Kara Hollis.

Leaving you in the able hands of the on-air folks to break down this game further, let's look at the rest of the Ivy League and see how many more Halloween/"Peanuts" references I can cram into this post, after the jump.

The marquee game of the week for the rest of the Ivies might be the battle in Providence, as the Penn Quakers (4-2, 3-0 Ivy) come into town to do battle with the Brown Bears (4-2, 2-1 Ivy) in a game that will have some Ivy League title ramifications. For Bruno, this is their last shot to earn their way back into the conversation for the Ancient Eight title, as every other team they face is below them in the standings. Brown is certainly trending upwards at the moment, extending their win streak to four games by beating the Cornell Big Red. Brown had some trouble early, and were tied 7-7 at the half, but then opened things up to a 34-14 victory. The Bears had over 500 yards on the day, including three rushing touchdowns from Zachary Tronti, while Kyle Newhall continued to be possibly the best Ivy signal-caller, throwing for 338 yards, two touchdowns, and two picks. Penn, meanwhile, is coming off a 9-0 defensive showdown with the Yale Bulldogs, their third straight win and 8th Ivy League win in 10 Ivy League games. Penn put up 177 yards in the game, but the game didn't feature much offense, as the points were scored off a field goal and an interception return, all in the first quarter. With these two Ancient Eight foes colliding to try and remain in control of their destinies in the Ivy League race, it's certain to be a real Monster Mash.

Down in New Jersey, the Cornell Big Red (2-4, 1-2 Ivy) look to end a four game losing skid against the appropriately attired Princeton Tigers. Cornell's run defense has look liked Dr. Jack Griffin (aka "The Invisible Man" throughout the season. They gave up only 165 yards last week on the ground, but three rushing touchdowns- in addition to the 338 yards in the air as they lost to Brown 34-14. Meanwhile, Princeton might be hoping that an Invasion of the Body Snatchers occurs and replaces a few of the Princeton players to give a boost to a team that was not very competitive last week. Their high scoring for the year is 17, achieved twice, against Brown and Lehigh (a 34-17 loss and a 17-14 win respectively) and the offense looked no better last week, as they got only 38 yards rushing and 119 passing. The result was a mere three points, in addition to 14 less first downs than Harvard (24-10 discrepancy) and 11 minutes less time on the field on offense. At this point, the Princeton that fought Colgate to OT seems like the aberration, but if they want to climb out of the cellar, they need to get back to that team as well as produce some offense.

In the last game of the week, the Yale Bulldogs (3-3, 1-2 Ivy) travel down to NYC to face the Columbia Lions (2-4, 1-2 Ivy). The Elis are making Princeton's struggles on offense seem like nothing- they were shut out last week, and only have 7 points through their last two games- a lone touchdown against Lehigh two weeks ago. Still, the Yale defense has been solid, as they have only given up 10 points in the last three games, with the other 6 points being scored coming by way of a returned interception. Columbia, meanwhile, seemed likely to receive a treat last week when they faced the Dartmouth Big Green, only to open up their bag and discover that they got a rock. Columbia was a team that, after a strong early season performances had people (mostly me) talking about the possibility of them being in the running for the Ivy League title. But their three game skid has done them no favors, and it hasn't been a pretty skid. In the past two games, they only have 9 more points than they have turnovers- they've scored 19 points but lost the ball 10 times. Last week, they lost it three times to the Big Green, and unlike two weeks ago when they were a -20 rushing, this time it was the passing game that couldn't get going, as they had only 89 yards in the air. Both of these teams will look to turn around struggling offenses this week, but for the moment, both of these teams Ivy League chances seem to be Dead and Loving It.

And that will do it for this blog preview and it's increasingly stretching references for this week. But do tune in for our pregame show at 11:30 AM and then to the game live from Harvard Stadium at 12 PM on Halloween, all on 95.3 FM and online at Also, do check out the right side of our blog, where we now have the Ivy League standings. And of course, have a Happy Halloween!

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