Saturday, November 12, 2016

Ivy Race Opens Up

Two facts have held true for decades: Dartmouth has won more Ivy League championships than any school in the Ivy League, and every time there have been tri-champions the Big Green has been in on the party.

The first fact will be changing. Penn's 27-14 win over Harvard last night in Philadelphia means at least one of the two schools will win tie Dartmouth with its 18th Ivy League title. If form holds, meaning Harvard defeated Yale and Penn beats Cornell, the schools will share the title and Dartmouth, Penn and Harvard will each have 18 Ivy League championships.

The second fact will change if Harvard and Penn win next week and Princeton defeats Dartmouth. That would mean tri-champions for the second year in a row and for the first time without the Big Green earning a share.

Penn 27, Harvard 14
On a windy night Penn used a 40-yard, Lois Vecchio "pick six" of a screen pass to take a 7-3 halftime lead that the Quakers extended to 14-3 on a 47-yard pass from Alex Torgersen to Christian Pearson 4:30 into the third quarter.

Harvard got a 25-yard Jake McIntyre field goal early in the fourth to make it 14-6, which is how it stay as the clock counted down below six minutes remaining.

A 26-yard punt return by Justice Shelton-Mosley set the Crimson up at the Penn 38 with 5:51 left. Facing a third-and-22 after a holding call, the Crimson got a clutch 15-yard Joe Viviano completion and then a nine-yard Viviano-to-Shelton-Mosley completion to keep the drive going. Viviano, who had three interceptions in the first half, then found Joseph Foster for a 26-yard TD throw that made it 14-12 with 3:23 left.

Needing a two-point play to tie the score, Harvard coach Tim Murphy dug successfully into his bag of tricks. The snap went not to Viviano, but to a back who then handed off to Shelton-Mosley on a left-to-righ reverse. While the defense changed direction to close down on Shelton-Mosley, Viviano drifted into the end zone where Shelton-Mosley hit him with a short toss. The quarterback-turned-receiver took a big hit but held on for the catch that tied the score.

But it didn't end the game.

A Penn offense that was shut out a week earlier against Princeton and hadn't been in very good sync most of the night finally got going as Torgersen hit eight of 10 passes to drive the Quakers 80 yards in 10 plays, the last the game-winning, two-yard TD throw to Justin Watson with 15 seconds left to make it 21-14.

A penalty on the kickoff set Harvard up at its 14 and after an incompletion the Crimson needed a miracle on the final play. But after a short completion an intended lateral bounced into the hands of Tayler Hendrickson, who returned it 18 yards for a Penn touchdown as time expired.

Ivy League Titles (Outright/Shared)
Dartmouth 18 (9/9)
Penn 17 (13/4)
Harvard 17 (8/9)
Yale 14 (6/8)
Princeton 10 (3/7)
Brown  4 (1/3)
Cornell 3 (0/3)
Columbia 1 (0/1)

A reminder that the Dartmouth-Brown game can be seen today on ONEWorld Sports at noon. It's not on my system but maybe it's on yours. To see if you can pick up the network, try its Channel Finder HERE.