So Santa Claus isn’t coming to town. But Big Green quarterback Dalyn Williams is, and who better to challenge the Crimson’s 20-game winning streak than the preseason pick for Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year? And who better to challenge the best offensive line in the league than a Dartmouth defense that has 18 sacks to its name and leads the Ancient Eight with nine picks?
This will be the first real test for the 2015 Harvard team. Yes, I know I’ve said that before, but I mean it this time-pinky swear.
Prediction: Harvard 35, Dartmouth 31
PENN AT BROWN
If you’d told me at the beginning of the season that this game would be a battle for third place midway through the season, I’d have sent you to the crazy house. But somehow, after this week, one of these two teams will share the same league record as either Harvard or Dartmouth.
After being pulled in the second quarter of the Crimson’s massacre of the Bears on a 2-for-7 passing performance that included a pick, Brown starting quarterback Marcus Fuller has quietly ascended the play-calling Ivy ladder, surpassing Dalyn Williams to take the top passing spot in the league with 309.3 yards per game.
And despite the departure of longtime coach Al Bagnoli, the Quakers—in a dramatic turnaround from last year’s underperformance—are surpassing expectations in all facets, especially in an explosive defensive front that leads the Ancient Eight with 19 sacks.
Nevertheless, Brown’s momentum from the surge of four straight wins will be too much for Penn come Saturday in this matchup of, quite surprisingly, the two dark horses in this year’s title race.
Prediction: Brown 42, Penn 38
COLUMBIA AT YALE
How does one recover from two straight conference losses? Schedule in Columbia, of course, for that much-needed boost of morale.
A preseason pick to finish near the top of the standings, the Bulldogs have
floundered so far, getting clobbered by Dartmouth in Week Four and dropping last week’s contest to Penn after a few unfortunate interceptions from quarterback Morgan Roberts.
Roberts and co. can’t afford to be careless again, however—this Lion appears to have grown some claws since last year (and the year before). Games against Columbia are no longer gimmes. Heck, Al Bagnoli’s new team has already won a game—a feat unfamiliar to this squad since 2012—and even put up an impressive fight against Dartmouth last week, losing by only four in Hanover.
I’m not ballsy enough to pick Columbia, however, due to a still lackluster offense and the fact that the players might suffer heart attacks from shock from winning two games in the same month. Yale will pull it together enough to scrape out a victory in New Haven.
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