Ivy League Football Set To Kick-Off This Weekend

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Ivy League Football returns this weekend with a big match-up looming after the first week between Harvard and Brown at Harvard Stadium. (PHOTO CREDIT: Bleacher Report)

By Bob Whitney (@WhitneyBob)

The Ivy League does things just a tad different. As opposed to the Power 5 conferences, which enter their third week of play, the Ivies get around to starting their 62th football season with a full slate of games this weekend.

All eyes will be on the Princeton Tigers, which claimed its second title in the past four years in 2016, was picked to finish first in the preseason poll.

Harvard, a dominant force in the league over the past decade (six titles) and still smarting from last year’s upset in THE GAME (21-14) to the Yale Bulldogs, joined Princeton as a preseason favorite.

Penn, Yale and Dartmouth figure to contend for the title with Brown, Columbia and Cornell projected to be real long shots.

Harvard opens its 144th season on Saturday (1 p.m.) at Rhode Island (0-2).

The game with the Rams will be the fourth all-time meeting between the two schools. The Crimson won the first game in 1923 at Harvard Stadium, 35-0, and last year, trounced the Rams, 51-21, at Harvard Stadium.

The Crimson has a number of All-Ivy players returning from last year’s squad 7-3 (5-2 Ivy League) which include defensive stalwarts, Luke Hutton, Raishaun McGhee, DJ Bailey, Jake McIntyre, Tanner Lee, Adam Scott and wide receiver Justice Shelton-Mosley.

Shelton-Mosley was a unanimous selection to the All-Ivy League first team last year, with 48 catches for 568 yards and one touchdown.

Defensively, Hutton and Lee will lead the defensive unit that was among the nation’s best in scoring defense and rushing defense in 2016.

Offensively, the Crimson should be in good shape, with experience at the skilled positions in quarterback Joe Viviano and running back Semar Smith along with Shelton-Mosley.

URI is led by quarterback Tyler Harris who has thrown four touchdown passes in their two losses. Last week, in a 35-18 loss to Stony Brook, Harris was 15-of-32 for 185 yards. Wide receivers Aaron Parker and Marven Beauvais will pose a challenge for the Harvard secondary.

Defensively, D.J. Stewart has been a force with a team-high 22 tackles.

Bob’s Prediction: It is the first game for Harvard, but the offense and Shelton-Mosely should have a field day with an under-performing Ram defense in Kingston, Rhode Island. Harvard 42 – URI 10

Next week: Harvard will host Brown in its home opener on Saturday, September 23 with a noon kickoff. The game will be televised on NESN.

Around the Ancient Eight: In other local Ivy action of note, Brown will open their 140th season on Saturday against Bryant University at Brown Stadium. Former Ivy League Player of the Year James Perry, who led Brown to the Ivy title in 1999, is the first year coach at Bryant.

The Ivy League football teams have fared well on opening day with a 49-39 (.557) record over the past 11 seasons (2005-15).

The NFL opened the season with 20 former Ivy Leaguers on NFL rosters (14 on active rosters).

When Harvard faces URI it will mark the 1,303rd varsity football game. The Crimson’s all-time record is 864-388-50 (.683).

Various Ivy League media outlets utilized to compile this report. 

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

Get In The Game: What You Can Expect From Our Noontime Coverage This Fall

GITG Matt Noonan

By Matt Noonan (@MattNoonan11) 

Happy Wednesday, Noontime Sports (and NoontimeSports.com) fans!

It’s an exciting time these days – not just because football has returned – but our site has been updated with some new features, including an easy way to join our email list (you can sign-up on the right side of the screen if you’re on a laptop or tablet or at the bottom of the page on mobile).

Additionally, we have introduced a brand-new podcast for the upcoming football season – Football Friday – which has been a great addition to our New England D3 coverage. We have had some great guests thus far – thank you to those that have taken the time to join us! – and will have more interviews with coaches, student-athletes and media members before, during and after the season, so make sure to circle back every Friday for a new show.

Quick ‘Football Friday’ Plug for this week (Aug. 9th): There will be now show this week, but we will return next week after a quick (and brief) one-week hiatus! 

In addition to a brand new looking site and podcast, we will also unveil some new content this season (and school year). Most of this content you may or may not have seen in the past, but it will include longer-form features on student-athletes, coaches and teams, more videos, including a weekly Facebook Live Show, and new guests for Noontime Sports the Podcast. 

We will also expand our reach (or audience, technically), adding some Division I and II coverage in New England, and we may even sprinkle in some high school stories, too.

All in all, the biggest goal going forward for our site (and social network channels) is to produce unique and engaging content for you, the reader (and fan). We want to shed a different light on a player, and perhaps a play or series from a game. We want to take you inside the minds of some of your favorite programs – perhaps some film studies or a day in a life? – while producing content that you won’t always see on national or local site.

And as we begin to embark on an exciting new chapter, we want to hear from you, the fans and readers. We want to know what you think, as well as what you want to read and view, both here on our site and social media channels, too. Send us an email to NoontimeSports@gmail.com or connect with us on social media (Facebook, Twitter and YouTube).

All in all, this is an exciting time for our site and I am really looking forward to providing unique and engaging content this upcoming school year!

Stay connected with Matt Noonan on social media, follow him on Twitter (@MattNoonan11) and Instagram (@MattNoonan11). Matt is also on Snapchat, you can add him by typing in the following username: NoontimeSports. And if you want to email Matt, you can reach him at MatthewJNoonan@gmail.com. 

New England College Football: Harvard Is Prepared To Contend For An Ivy League Crown

Harvard Crimson Logo

By Brian Willwerth 

In about a month, the eight teams in the Ivy League will kick off the 2016 season.

The preseason media poll was released this morning, and there is a familiar name at the top: Harvard.

The Crimson top the poll for the eleventh time overall, and the sixth in the last nine years. In order to claim another league title, Harvard will have to replace what is arguably the most successful football class in Harvard football history.

“To lose that nucleus of 15 starters last year (it) is a little bit daunting and certainly unprecedented for us,” said head coach Tim Murphy during the Ivy League media conference call. “But there are a lot of guys really looking for the opportunity to replace those guys.”

The biggest question mark is at quarterback. Senior Joe Viviano and sophomore Tom Stewart are vying for the starting job. Whoever the starter is will have big shoes to fill: replacing the Ivy League offensive player of the year, Scott Hosch.

“I can’t remember coming into the season with a competition at quarterback where really neither guy has ever taken a meaningful snap in a college football game,” said Murphy.

The running back position will be a platoon situation, at least to start the season. Murphy expects junior Semar Smith, and sophomores Noah Reimers and Charlie Booker to all get some carries.

Up front, Murphy says some players to watch include lineman Larry Allen and Max Rich, H-Back Anthony Firkser, and wide receiver Justice Shelton-Mosley.

The leading returner on defense is Sean Ahern, a fifth-year cornerback who is also team captain. Doug Webb and Miles McCollum return to anchor on the defensive line.

Murphy expects a lot of seniors, who haven’t had much playing time, to step up.

“You’ve got to recruit character kids. And if you recruit character kids….they know what it takes. The starting point is ‘lead by example’,” he said.

Harvard begins its 2016 campaign on Friday, September 16th against Rhode Island.

The Crimson and the rest of the Ivy League teams will have to deal with some changes on kickoffs. They’ve been moved to the 40-yard line. And on touchbacks, the ball will be placed at the 20. The goal is to reduce the number of concussions and other injuries on returns.

Mass. College Hockey: Power Play Goals Lift No. 5 BC Past No. 7 Harvard In Beanpot Semifinal

Boston College freshman Casey Fitzgerald netted the quickest goal in the last 10 years of the Beanpot as the Eagles beat Harvard in Monday's semifinal. (Photo Credit: BCHeights.com)
Boston College freshman Casey Fitzgerald netted the quickest goal in the last 10 years of the Beanpot as the Eagles beat Harvard in Monday’s semifinal. (Photo Credit: BCHeights.com)

By Matt Noonan 

BOSTON, Mass. – A pair of second period power play goals by sophomore Zach Sanford and freshman Colin White proved to be the difference as the fifth-ranked Boston College Eagles defeated seventh-ranked Harvard University, 3-2, in the 64th Boston Beanpot semifinals on Monday evening at the T.D. Garden.

With the win, the Eagles will compete in their 35th championship in program history. Boston College will face either ninth-ranked Boston University or Northeastern University next Monday, February 8 at 7:30 p.m.

The Crimson will compete in the consolation game with puck drop scheduled for 4:30 p.m.

Boston College freshman Casey Fitzgerald provided the Eagles with an early lead, potting his third goal of the season at 1:35 in the opening stanza. Fitzgerald’s goal was the quickest marker since Bryan Ewing lit the lamp 10 years earlier as a member of the BU Terriers.

Harvard, which did not register a single shot for close to 10 minutes, capitalized on its initial attempt as freshman Ryan Donato netted his first-ever Beanpot goal after racing into the Eagles zone at 9:47. Classmate Adam Baughman pushed the Crimson ahead, 2-1, minutes later as he slid the puck past BC junior goalie Thatcher Demko at 14:44. The goal marked Baughman’s initial collegiate marker.

The Crimson would not locate the back of the net for the remainder of the game as Demko turned aside 21 shots. Harvard sophomore goaltender Merrick Madsen denied 30 shots, including 13 attempts in the final session.

“(Boston College) played a strong game and were really able to limit us. (We) didn’t get the amount of zone time and possession of the puck that we needed (so we could) create more offense, so give them a lot of credit for (the win), but we’re disappointed and frustrated that we didn’t execute a lot of the things we needed to do to be more successful,” said Harvard head coach Ted Donato.

Monday’s win marked Boston College’s 12th consecutive victory against Harvard in the Beanpot, while head coach Jerry York improves to 14-1 against the Crimson.

“It was a good test for us,” York said following his team’s 18th win of the season. “I thought Harvard gave us all we could handle tonight, I thought the ability for us to kill (a late third period) penalty was a major factor, and then our five versus six – we never really let them get settled coming up the ice, so those are kind of key parts of the game.”

RECAP: Second Half Surge, Strong Defensive Play Carries Harvard Past MIT, 59-39

Harvard Crimson Logo

By Matt Noonan 

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Harvard commenced its 2015-16 men’s basketball season with a 59-39 victory over MIT on Friday evening, but the team’s initial win didn’t come easily.

MIT kept pace with its Massachusetts Avenue neighbor, trailing by six-points (25-19) at the break, but Harvard responded with a 25-9 run in the second half to push ahead for good.

Harvard freshman Tommy McCarthy led all scorers with 12 points, netting nine points in the second session, while senior Agunwa Okolie finished with 10 points.

As a team, the Crimson converted 20-of-52 field goals and netted 14-of-21 free throws. Harvard limited MIT to just 14 field goals, while the Engineers converted 3-of-17 trifectas and 8-of-14 free throws.

“I was pleased with our defense,” Harvard head coach Tommy Amaker said. “I think it’s been a calling card of our program – part of our identity and it is so important for us – (but) I feel like we lived up to that defensively (this evening).”

Harvard’s defense certainly helped the hosts limit MIT to numerous one-shot series, while defending freshman Bradley Jomard, who paced the Cardinal and Gray with 10 points.

“He is a good player,” Amaker said of Jomard. “He is very athletic and (he’s) an active kind of player.

“I think the key for us (in this game) was defending (Justin) Pedley, (who) has been a terrific shooter (and) scorer for their team. We really did a nice job (defending him as) he scored just two points from the foul line, so again, I thought it was a good team effort to allow us to hold (MIT) to 39 points.”

Junior Tim Butala concluded the contest with seven points; senior Russell Johnson recorded a team-high eight rebounds, while classmate Ryan Frankel dished out a trio of assists.

Harvard senior Patrick Steeves competed for the first time in his collegiate career, netting just one point at the stripe, but it was an important contribution for the Crimson.

“I am very happy for Patrick because he has been injured and banged-up throughout his career and (I know) how hard it is to come back and spend that time to get healthy with the injuries he had, so I was very happy for him,” said Amaker. “Our team was very happy for him and I think that is a really cool thing.”

Harvard will look to double its win total tomorrow evening when they travel to Providence College for a 7:00 p.m. tip-off. MIT returns to action next Tuesday, November 17 when they host Bridgewater State University at 8:00 p.m.

Yale Men’s Basketball Picked To Capture Ivy League Crown

Yale Bulldogs

By NoontimeSports.com 

Yale University received a special honor on Wednesday as the Bulldogs were picked to capture the Ivy League crown, according to the league’s preseason media poll.

The Bulldogs earned the top spot in an extremely close vote – it is the first time Yale was pegged to finish atop the Ancient Eight since the preseason media poll began 31 years ago.

Yale garnered five first-place votes, earning 117 points, while Columbia University (six first-place votes) and Princeton University (six first-place votes) were picked to finish second and third, respectively.

Harvard University collected 96 points, which was good enough for fourth place, while Brown University was picked fifth, Dartmouth College sixth, University of Pennsylvania seventh and Cornell University eighth.

Last season, the Bulldogs were picked to finish second, but wound up sharing the Ivy League title with Harvard, which defeated Yale in a one-game playoff by two points (53-51). The Crimson then went onto compete in the NCAA Tournament, but fell in the second round to University of North Carolina.

“The vote was really close so the league is wide open,” Yale head coach James Jones said in a press release. “I feel good about where our team is [in the preseason], and it is nice to be recognized.”

Yale begins its season on Friday, November 13 when they take on Fairfield University in the Connecticut Six Classic with tipoff scheduled for 3:00 p.m. The Bulldogs will face Harvard twice this coming season with the initial meeting scheduled to occur on Saturday, February 13 in Cambridge at 7:00 p.m.

Mass. College Football: Harvard Looks To Continue Early Season Success

Harvard Crimson Logo

By Matt Noonan 

It has been quite the season for the Harvard University football team.

The Crimson posted their second shutout of the season on Saturday, defeating Lafayette College by a score of 42-0.

Paul Stanton Jr. rushed for a pair of scores and amassed 123 yards on the ground, while Ben Braunecker hauled in six passes for a career-high 123 yards to lift the Crimson to their fifth straight victory and 19th consecutive win.

As noted in Saturday’s release, the Harvard defense has yielded just three points in its last three contests – the last Harvard team to surrender three points over a three-game span was the 1930 squad.

Additionally, Harvard has not allowed a touchdown since Brown University reached the end zone in the fourth quarter during their Ivy League meeting last month.

Finally, Harvard’s offense has been very impressive thus far, tallying 221 points through five games. In 1892, the Crimson registered 231 points in a five-game span.

On Monday, quarterback Scott Hosch was one of 32 players selected to the College Football Performance Awards (CFPA) 2015 Midseason FCS National Performer of the Year Watch List. Hosch is the program’s first signal-caller to start her career 11-0 and is currently eighth in the country in passing yards per completion and 15th in passing efficiency.

Harvard will look to continue its momentum this weekend when they host Princeton University on Saturday, October 24 at 12:00 p.m. The Tigers currently sit third in the Ancient Eight standings, but head coach Tim Murphy knows this is an important game for his team.

“Our playoffs start with the Princeton game,” Murphy told the Harvard Magazine.