Ivy League Football Notebook: Harvard Stopped By The Rams In Opening Week

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Brown University quarterback Nicholas Duncan and the Bears scored an opening-day win a week ago over Bryant University. (PHOTO CREDIT: Brown University Athletics)

By Bob Whitney (@WhitneyBob) 

The Ivy League kicked-off its 62nd season with their best season-opening record (6-2) since 2013 last Saturday.

Princeton, the league’s co-favorite, led the way with a 27-17 road win over San Diego.

However, there was one big surprise, as league co-favorite Harvard suffered an upset of sorts at the hands of the Rhode Island Rams, 17-10.

URI quarterback Tyler Harris threw for 235 yards and a touchdown as Rhode Island (1-2) won its first game of the 2017 season (fourth in last three seasons) and first victory over Harvard in five tries.

Cornell was the other Ivy to come up short suffering a 41-14 drubbing at the hands of the Delaware Blue Hens.

This week, the Crimson (0-1, 0-0 Ivy) will face a major emotional challenge as it prepares to face Brown (1-0, 0-0 Ivy) on Saturday at Harvard Stadium. It will be the Ivy League opener for both squads with kick-off set for 12 p.m. (Fans can watch the game on the Ivy League Network (IL) or NESN-Plus).

Brown will enter the contest on a positive note after holding on to defeat Bryant, 28-23, last weekend in Providence.

Bryant dominated play, accumulating nearly 200 yards more total offense than the Bears (and two-to-one time of possession), but fell victim to two costly turnovers.Junior quarterback Nicholas Duncan ran for two touchdowns and threw for 152 yards (14-of-27) and a score to pace the Bears.

Brown’s Scott Boylan returned the opening kick-off 95 yards for a touchdown. Defensively, the Bears received a number of outstanding efforts most noteworthy was senior defensive end Richard Jarvis who had four sacks and eight tackles, which earned him Ivy Defensive Player of the Week honors.

For Harvard to be successful against Brown they will need to finish in the red zone. Quarterback Joe Viviano (17-of-32, 192 yards) had a decent outing against the Rams, but failed to connect for a touchdown.

The Crimson ground game received a solid effort last week from Charlie Booker III (139 yards) and the defense turned in a decent effort, holding the Rams scoreless in the second half.

Harvard’s Tim Murphy, with plenty of talent and experience on both sides of the ball, will be looking for his squad to be more consistent in Week 2.

Bob’s Harvard Prediction: Can Harvard overcome the emotional issues surrounding the serious injury to their team mate? Young men are resilient, particularly football players, but it should be an emotional win. PREDICTION: Harvard 17, Brown 16. 

Next week: Harvard will travel to Georgetown on Sept. 30 (2 p.m.). The game will be played at historic RFK Stadium.

Around the Ancient Eight: The Yale Bulldogs served notice that they are a team to contend with when they clobbered Lehigh 56-28. Yale quarterback Kurt Rawlings was named Ivy Offensive Player of the Week when he threw for 308 yards (20-of-26) and four touchdowns. Rawlings certainly is a front-runner for Ivy League MVP … Yale will host Cornell in Week 2. The Big Red committed five first half turnovers in their loss to Delaware … When Harvard and Brown meet tomorrow it will be the 117th meeting between the two schools … Boylan’s 95-yard kickoff return against Bryant last week was the eighth-longest kickoff return in Brown football history.

(Report compiled from various Ivy League media sources).

Follow Bob on Twitter @WhitneyBob; like him on Facebook and Instagram.

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