Football: Harvard 37, Pennsylvania 20
A runaway victory confers an Ivy League football championship.
In their wisdom, the football gods decreed that this year’s quest for the Ivy League football championship should not go down to the wire.
Harvard, still unbeaten in league play, eliminated its last remaining rival from contention by drubbing Pennsylvania, 37-20, at the Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Minutes earlier, the Crimson’s only other rival had succumbed in Providence, where Brown unexpectedly lost to Dartmouth, 21-16. Both Penn and Brown now have two league losses.
Whatever the outcome of next Saturday’s Yale Bowl finale, Harvard (6-0 in Ivy games, 8-1 overall) is assured of this year’s Ivy championship.
Harvard teams have won or shared 14 titles since the start of formal league play in 1956, but none had clinched an outright championship in the ninth week of the season. This year’s title is Harvard’s third in a five-year span. The last outright championship came in 2007.
Penn (4-2, 5-4) took an early 7-0 lead as the first quarter ended, but the Harvard defense got a takeaway on the Quakers’ next series, when senior end Josue Ortiz forced and recovered a fumble at Penn’s 24-yard line. On Harvard’s first play from scrimmage, quarterback Collier Winters ’11 (’12) rifled a scoring pass to tight end Cameron Brate ’14 in the end zone.
That started a run of 37 consecutive points that staked the Crimson to a 37-7 lead midway through the final period. Harvard led, 17-7, at halftime.
The runaway points came on a 14-yard rush by freshman tailback Zach Boden, a 35-yard field goal by David Mothander ’14, a four-yard rush by Winters, a two-yard rush by tailback Treavor Scales ’13, and a 34-yard interception runback by linebacker Alexander Norman ’13.
After Penn’s first-period scoring drive, Harvard’s defense kept the Quakers out of Crimson territory until late in the game, when Penn took advantage of two Harvard fumbles to score twice in the waning minutes of play.
Winters, who missed four games in the first half of the season because of a pulled hamstring muscle, completed 13 of 20 passes for 132 yards. He also ran the ball 13 times for another 30 yards. Boden rushed for 86 yards on 11 carries; Scales picked up 70 yards on 10 carries.
Ortiz led the defensive unit with 10 tackles and two sacks. Linebacker and captain Alex Gedeon ’12 had eight tackles, while cornerback Chris Splinter ’14 had six. The defense held Penn’s ground game to 24 yards rushing on 30 attempts.
Penn’s junior quarterback, Billy Ragone, passed for 190 yards and two touchdowns, and scored another touchdown himself on a short-yardage run.
Harvard has now won six of the last 11 contests with Penn, and three of the last four meetings at Harvard Stadium. The Quakers had quashed Crimson title hopes with a 17-7 Stadium victory in 2009 and a 34-14 rout at Franklin Field in 2010.
The Harvard offense has scored more than 30 points in seven consecutive games—something no Crimson team has done since 1891—and seems likely to break Harvard's modern scoring record of 339 points, set by the Ivy championship team of 2004. The current point total is 329.
In other weekend action: Yale (4-2, 5-4) defeated Princeton (1-5, 1-8), 33-24. Dartmouth (3-3, 4-5) ambushed Brown (4-2, 7-2), 21-16. Cornell (2-4, 4-5) outscored Columbia (0-6, 0-9), 62-41.
Next week: Harvard travels to Yale Bowl for the 128th H-Y game, kicking off at noon. The Blue still leads the historic series, 65-54-8, but Harvard has prevailed in nine of the last 10 games. Over that interval, Harvard has outscored Yale, 259-146, and is 5-0 in games played at the Bowl. Elsewhere, Brown plays at Columbia, Penn hosts Cornell, and Dartmouth hosts Princeton.
The Harvard-Penn score by quarters:
Penn 7 0 0 13 — 20
Harvard 0 17 7 13 — 37
The season so far:
Holy Cross 30, Harvard 22
Harvard 24, Brown 7
Harvard 31, Lafayette 3
Harvard 41, Cornell 31
Harvard 42, Bucknell 3
Harvard 56, Princeton 39
Harvard 41, Dartmouth 10
Harvard 35, Columbia 21
Harvard 37, Pennsylvania 20
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