Saturday, September 29, 2012

Football: Ivy League Week 3 Preview

Pennsylvania (0-2) at Dartmouth (2-0)
Following the graduation of all-time great running back Nick Schwieger (as well as 15 other starters) expectations for Dartmouth this year were tempered.  Despite that, the Big Green have started their season 2-0, blasting Butler 35-7 before squeaking by Holy Cross 13-10 on the road last week.  Dominick Pierre has picked up where Schwieger left off, running for 255 yards and three touchdowns so far.  Penn, meanwhile, has started 0-2 for the fifth time in six years.  Quarterback Billy Ragone, who was first-team All-Ivy as a sophomore, is not obviously the Quakers' starter at this point; fellow senior Andrew Holland has attempted 60% of the team's passes so far (with only two interceptions to Ragone's five(!)).

Colgate (1-3) at Yale (1-1)
The Raiders' only win this year came two weeks ago against the terrible Sacred Heart Crusaders.  Jordan McCord leads a strong ground attack, averaging better than 136 yards/game so far.  Colgate's rush defense is as porous as their offense is potent, having been gashed for 230 yards/game so far.  There might be room to run for Bulldog freshman back Tyler Varga, who has almost 200 yards in his first two games.  The young Elis have generally been good at moving the ball, but have been killed on turnovers--they've surrendered the ball nine times already.  The Raiders' Gavin McCarney might not torch Yale like Cornell's Jeff Mathews did last week, but he should hold onto the ball better than his freshman counterpart Eric Williams.

Princeton (0-2) at Columbia (1-1)
Princeton used a fumbled punt to pull close to 13th-ranked Lehigh two weeks ago, but couldn't complete the comeback, losing 17-14.  Last week things were even closer, as they lost 21-20 on a last-minute Georgetown field goal.  They may have found an answer at running back in freshman Di Andre Atwater, who accumulated 92 yards on just 15 carries.  That said, the Tigers have been outgained in both games, and need Conner Michelson to be something more than a warm body at quarterback.  The Lions, meanwhile, have opened with a 10-9 win over Marist and a 20-13 loss at the hands of Fordham.  Apart from Marcorus Garrett's 140 yards/game on the ground, I'm not sure Columbia is all that good at anything.  Still, the Tigers are in the same boat, and the game is in Manhattan.

Brown (1-1) at Georgetown (3-1)
Following a 24-21 win over Holy Cross in their opener, Bruno couldn't keep up with the Crimson last week,  falling 45-31.  Spiro Theodhosi has rushed for at least 85 yards in both games so far, and senior quarterback Patrick Donnelly has been extremely efficient.  Georgetown, meanwhile, is already on their third Ivy League opponent of the year, including a 24-21 loss to Yale and the aforementioned win over Princeton.  The Hoyas are powered by a tough ground game on both sides of the ball, having more than doubled their opponents' rushing output so far (845 yards to 406).  Expect a big day from Donnelly, but a bigger one from the Hoyas.

Cornell (1-1) at Bucknell (1-2)
The Ivy nightcap features a Cornell team that flexed its muscles--specifically those involved with throwing a football--last week against Yale.  Jeff Mathews hit on 29-of-39 for 340 yards and three touchdowns in the 45-6 evisceration.  Cornell did lose their opener to Fordham, but that may not provide a blueprint for Bucknell to follow: Cornell only put up seven point in the first half due to a missed 26-yard field goal and two Big Red punts from the Fordham 38.  For the Bison to have a chance, they will likely need dual-threat quarterback Brandon Wesley to avoid turning the ball over.

Predictions About Which I Am Supremely Confident
Penn 27 - 23 Dartmouth
Colgate 23 - 20 Yale
Columbia 17 - 13 Princeton
Georgetown 31 - 27 Brown
Cornell 31 - 20 Bucknell

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