Sports » Football | Oct. 14
Almost halfway through the season, six of the eight Ivy League teams are at or above .500, and at least half the league still has legitimate championship hopes. Here’s how the league looks going into week five:
1. Harvard (4-0 overall, 2-0 Ivy League): The only team to have played and won two league games this early in the season, the Crimson has allowed Brown and Cornell to put up 23 and 24 points, respectively. Still, Harvard’s offense has put up at least 34 points every time it has taken the field, with quarterback Conner Hempel averaging 267.7 passing yards per game.
2. Princeton (3-1, 1-0): Last year’s 5-5 record gave Tiger fans reason to believe in the team, but nobody expected Princeton’s offense to put up the kind of numbers it has put up over its last three games. Junior quarterback Quinn Epperly has improved by leaps and bounds and now leads the Ancient Eight in passing efficiency, having passed for nine touchdowns and run for eight more. The Tigers’ next two weeks may be decisive in their quest for the championship: they will take on Brown and Harvard on the road.
3. Penn (2-2, 1-0): The Quakers have earned two close wins and suffered two equally hard-fought losses already this season. They outlasted Dartmouth earlier this month to open their Ivy schedule with a win, and they are all but guaranteed a win at Columbia this weekend. The toughest part of their title defense will be away games against Brown and Harvard, but if they come out of those games unscathed, they will be in the driver’s seat as they face Cornell and Princeton at home.
4. Dartmouth (2-2, 1-1): Bouncing back from a heartbreaking loss to Penn, the Big Green came back in the second half of its homecoming game to take down Yale last weekend. Senior running back Dominick Pierre, who leads the Ancient Eight in rushing and has six rushing touchdowns, was named Ivy League Offensive Player of the Week, and nickelback Mike Banaciski earned Player of the Week honors on the other side of the ball.
5. Yale (3-1, 1-1): The Bulldogs forgot last year’s 1-9 season in a hurry, winning their first three games. Junior tailback Tyler Varga, an important enough part of Yale’s offense that he has his own page on the team’s website, averages 129.8 rushing yards per game and senior quarterback Henry Furman has unexpectedly come into his own. They’ve proven they’re a contender, but after last weekend’s loss to Dartmouth, the Bulldogs will probably need to win the remainder of their Ivy games to take the title.
6. Brown (3-1, 0-1): The Bears have won big in every game except their first Ivy matchup, which they dropped to Harvard 41-23. Despite its lapse against the Crimson, the Bears’ defense is the best in the league against the pass, which makes Saturday’s matchup with Princeton a classic case of an unstoppable force running into an unmovable object.
7. Cornell (1-3, 0-2): Despite the best efforts of quarterback Jeff Mathews, who has 10 passing touchdowns and averages an astounding 361 passing yards per game, the Big Red finds itself on the outside looking in, needing to win out and benefit from a perfect storm of losses from its Ivy foes in order to win the Ivy League. Cornell will play its final non-Ivy game in Ithaca against Monmouth before Brown visits on Oct. 26.
8. Columbia (0-4, 0-1): The Lions have been outscored 166-38 in their first four games and show no sign of getting better. The biggest and possibly only bright spot left for them continues to be senior tailback Marcorus Garrett, who averages over 100 yards per game on the ground.