New England Football: Yale Picked To Capture The Ivy League

Yale BulldogsBy NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

The 2019 Ivy League Football Preseason Media Poll was released this morning with Yale University checking-in atop the eight-team list with nine first-place votes.

Yale, which was picked to finish first in the Ancient Eight one year ago, concluded its 2018 campaign with a 5-5 record, including a 3-4 mark in league play.

Dartmouth College and Princeton College checked-in second and third, respectively – two the teams combined for six first-place nods with the Tigers claiming four of them while Harvard University secured the fourth position with one first-place vote.

Penn University checked-in fifth overall while Columbia University placed sixth with one first-place vote. The Lions finished 6-4 last season – they won their final two games against Brown University (42-20) and Cornell University (24-21).

Cornell and Brown rounded out the eight-team poll, checking-in seventh and eighth, respectively.

Princeton captured the 2018 Ivy League crown with a 10-0 mark – it was the 13th time in league history that an Ancient Eight team has finished its campaign without a single setback.

Yale won the league crown in 2017, while Penn and Princeton were tabbed co-champions in 2016. Harvard and Dartmouth also shared the Ivy League title in 2015.

The 2019 Ivy League season officially begins Saturday, September 21st.


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Harvard Football Unveils 2019 Schedule

7865_harvard_crimson-helmet-0.pngBy NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

Just weeks after capping its 2018 season with a 45-27 win over Yale University in the 135th playing of The Game, the Harvard University football team unveiled its 2019 slate, which features five home and five road games.

Harvard will entertain Brown UniversityCornell UniversityDartmouth CollegeHoward University and University of Pennsylvania at historic Harvard Stadium, while visiting Columbia UniversityHoly CrossPrinceton UniversitySan Diego and Yale this fall.

The Crimson will commence their 2019 season in San Diego on Saturday, September 21st before hosting Brown one week later on Saturday, September 28th. The Crimson’s home-opener against the Bears will be aired on ESPN+.

Following their home date with Brown, the Crimson will entertain Howard and Cornell in early October before visiting Holy Cross and Princeton.

The Crimson will cap their final month of play with two home games and two road contests, including the 136th playing of The Game against Yale in New Haven, Connecticut on Saturday, November 23.

Harvard concluded its 2018 season with a three-game winning streak, while finishing third in the Ivy League. Princeton, which defeated Harvard in October by eight points (29-21), captured the Ancient Eight crown with a perfect 10-0 record, while Dartmouth finished second at 9-1 overall.

The 2019 season will be coach Tim Murphy‘s 26th with the program – the tenured coach currently owns a 174-75 overall record with Harvard, but needs five wins to match Yale’s Carmen Cozza (179) for the most win in conference history.


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Ivy League Football Notebook: Harvard Keeps Title Hopes Alive, Set To Face Columbia

496202By Bob Whitney (@WhitneyBob) 

Harvard kept their 2017 Ivy League title hopes alive with a come-from-behind 25-22 win over Dartmouth at Harvard Stadium last Saturday.

The Crimson’s win set up an important showdown  in New York on Saturday against Coach Al Bagnoli’s Columbia Lions 6-1 (3-1), who fell from the ranks of the unbeaten at the hands of Yale, 23-6.

Yale, Columbia and Cornell rest at the top of the Ivy standings with 3-1 records while the Harvard, Princeton and Dartmouth remain in hot pursuit with two losses.

The Crimson rallied in the fourth quarter to defeat the Big Green 5-2 (2-2) behind the play of freshman quarterback Jake Smith. Smith was 18-for-35 for 125 yards and three touchdowns. Smith also rushed for 64 yards.

Smith’s 11-yard touchdown pass to Aaron Shampklin with 7:21 left in regulation sealed the win.

Meanwhile Bagnoli’s surprising Lions suffered their first loss of the season, courtesy of a dominating performance by a Yale defense.

Yale’s defense was the story as they recorded four sacks and two interceptions in limiting the Lions to just 206 yards of total offense and just one touchdown (1-yard run by quarterback Anders Hill).

Saturday’s contest will be the 76th meeting between the Crimson and Lions. Harvard holds a 60-14-1 lead in the series. The Crimson has won the last 13 games between the two schools. The kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.

Bob’s Prediction: The Crimson will make it 14 in a row over the Lions and stay alive in the title chase. All signs point to THE GAME! PREDICTION: Harvard, 21, Columbia 17

Next week: Penn invades Harvard Stadium, Saturday, November 11 for a 12 p.m. kickoff (NESN).

Around the Ancient Eight: It’s crunch time in the Ivy League this weekend with three huge contests, in addition to the Harvard/Columbia clash. Yale 6-1 (3-1) hosts Brown 2-5 (0-4), Princeton 5-2 (2-2) is at Penn 3-4 (1-3) while Dartmouth 5-2 (2-2) travels to Ithaca to face Cornell 3-4 (3-1). There are six teams in the hunt for the title with just three weeks remaining in the schedule.

Harvard’s all-purpose back, Justice Shelton-Mosley, leads the nation in punt returns for touchdowns (two) and punt return average (23.1).

Yale’s freshman running back, Zane Dudek, is having quite an inaugural season for the Bulldogs. Last week in the Bulldogs huge 23-6 win over previously unbeaten Columbia Dudek rushed a season-best 173-yards. The effort earned the first-year phenom National Rookie of the Week as well as offensive player and co-rookie of the week in the Ivy League.

Dudek, who ranks second among all Football Championship Subdivision ball carriers (8.4 yards per attempt), was placed on the FCS Jerry Rice Award Watch List. He has been Ivy Rookie of the Week three times while having four games where he rushed for over 100 yards.

Yale’s senior linebacker standout Matthew Oplinger leads the FCS averaging better than one per game and has 9.5 on the year.

Dartmouth’s upcoming matchup with Brown on Friday, November 10, will be held in historic Fenway Park.

Looking way ahead to a game that is looking more and more like it will determine the Ivy League football champion, Yale will host Harvard in THE GAME on Nov. 18.

Follow Bob for all the Yale football game highlights, features and more: @WhitneyBob

(Compiled from various Ivy League media outlets)

Ivy League Football Notebook: Harvard Looks To Regroup Against Lafayette

Harvard Crimson Logo By Bob Whitney (@WhitneyBob) 

It was a game that Harvard should have come back to Cambridge with a victory.

But Dave Archer’s Big Red had other ideas about the final outcome and walked off Schoellkopf Field with a well-deserved 17-14 upset over the Crimson.

Cornell, which had suffered through three dismal and turnover-plagued losses, committed just a single turnover while grinding out 233 yards on the ground to stun the Crimson.

Cornell’s strategy to focus on the rush paid off handsomely as the Big Red dominated time of possession (36:50 vs 23:10) which kept the Crimson offense off the field.

Chris Walker led the Cornell 1-3 (1-1 Ivy) ground attack with 93 yards on 19 carries.

Walker was joined by fellow running backs Harold Coles (68 yards) and Jack Gellatly (49 yards) in an impressive display of ground-and-pound football.

Meanwhile, Harvard’s offense sputtered, rushing for just 62 yards, while adding 162 through the air.

The loss left the highly-favored Crimson with a 2-2 record (1-1) and facing a non-league home game this week against Lafayette (2-4), in another of those games Harvard should put in the win column.

Saturday’s game, the 700th game in Harvard football history, will be the 20th all-time meeting between Harvard and Lafayette.

History is one Harvard’s side as they lead the series, 16-3. Harvard has won five-straight against Lafayette, and is 9-2 all-time against the Leopards in Cambridge.

The Leopards enter the contest with some momentum after last week’s come-from-behind, 14-10, win over Fordham.

The Crimson will have to deal with a passing threat in quarterback Sean O’Malley who passed for 256 passing yards and two TDs in the win over Fordham.

O’Malley has a favorite target in wide receiver Rocco Palumbo who had nine catches for 129 yards.

It will be interesting to see who Harvard will feature at quarterback as freshman Jake Smith was 8-of-14 against Cornell. Murphy had been rotating Smith and senior Joe Viviano, but Viviano did not appear in the stat sheet against Cornell.

Bob’s Prediction: It’s one of those less important non-league affairs, but the Crimson need to bounce back and gain some consistency. You can bet that the Crimson defense will be focused on stopping the Leopards ground attack. Prediction: Harvard 31, Lafayette 10 

Next week: The preseason favorites, Princeton and Harvard, will get after it on Friday, Oct. 20 under the lights at Harvard Stadium (7:30 p.m. NBCSN).

Around the Ancient Eight (Notes): The Ivy League is off to its best non-conference start since 1970 with a 15-5 record in out-of-conference play in 2017.

This week the Ivy League features a pair of matchups all critical to the teams who expect to remain in the hunt for a title.

Brown 2-2 (0-1) hosts Princeton 3-1 (0-1), which can be viewed on the Ivy League Network (ILN), while former Penn head coach Al Bagnoli leads surprising Columbia 4-0 (1-0) in to a potential trap game against the Penn Quakers 2-2 (0-1) on Eleven Sports and ILN.

Columbia might be guilty of looking ahead to next week’s contest with Dartmouth.

Bagnoli’s Lions were picked to finish seventh in the preseason polls.

Yale’s dynamic running back combo of Deshawn Salter and Zane Dudek have accounted for 12 of Yale’s 14 rushing TDs this season.

Dartmouth’s quarterback, Jack Heneghan, Ivy Offensive Player of the Week, has kept things all in the Ivy family. Father Lal was an All-Ivy tight end at Penn in 1984. He helped the Quakers to three Ivy League titles in his career.

Penn senior Justin Watson ranks sixth in Ivy League history in both receptions (232) and receiving yards (3,083). He is the sixth Ivy to surpass 3,000 yards and the first since 2002, when Carl Morris (Harvard), Rob Milanese (Penn) and Chas Gessner (Brown) accomplished the feat. Watson, who has caught at least one pass in 34-straight games, needs just one reception in each of his remaining six games to set a new Ivy League record for consecutive games with a catch.

(Report compiled from various Ivy League media sources).

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

Ivy League Football Notebook: Harvard Set To Tangle With Big Red In Ithaca

Cornell/Harvard Logo By Bob Whitney (@WhitneyBob) 

The Harvard Crimson continued their winning ways last Saturday with a lopsided 41-2 road win over the Georgetown Hoyas.

The Crimson put on a dominating offensive performance, rushing for 177 yards and passing for 280 while limiting the Hoyas to 46 on the ground and 155 in the air.

Harvard’s Justice Shelton-Mosley had a special afternoon against the Hoyas as he amassed 169 total yards in the win at RFK Stadium. Shelton-Mosley’s 91-yard punt return for a touchdown was the longest in Harvard history and (tied Columbia’s Travis Chmelka) as the third-longest in Ivy League history.

Jake Smith got the starting nod at quarterback for the second consecutive week and completed 11-of-21 passes for 139 yards in three quarters of work. Joe Viviano saw limited action in Coach Tim Murphy’s platoon system connecting on 5-of-10 for 66 yards.

The Crimson 2-1 (1-0) will return to Ivy League action on Saturday when they face a potential trap game against Cornell 0-3 (0-1) in Ithaca, NY (1:30 p.m.).

Harvard’s secondary had a strong outing against Georgetown and they will be tested again this week against Cornell.

The Big Red has an outstanding quarterback in junior Dalton Banks who will pose a challenge for the Harvard secondary. Banks passed for 239 yards (22-of-43) in a 21-7 loss to Colgate last week.

However, Banks had four picks and was sacked nine times. Harvard leads the all-time series, 47-32-2, and has won 14 of the last 16 meetings.

The Crimson won last year’s meeting, 29-13, at Harvard Stadium.

Bob’s Prediction: Murphy’s recipe for platooning Smith and Viviano at quarterback is looking better each week. The Big Red will throw an early scare at the Crimson but Harvard should pick up Ivy win No. 2. PREDICTION: Harvard 38, Cornell 17

Next week: Harvard will return home to host Lafayette on Saturday, Oct. 14. The game will be the Crimson’s final non-conference clash of the season.

Around the Ancient Eight: The Ivy League is off to its best non-conference start since 1970 with a 13-3 record in the first three weeks of the 2017 season. Columbia pulled off the upset of the early season when they defeated preseason title favorite Princeton, 28-24. It was the Lions’ first win over the Tigers since 2010 and their first 3-0 (1-0) start since 1996.

Columbia wide receiver Ron Smith caught 10 passes for 236 yards and two touchdowns, to lead the Lions against the Tigers.

Dartmouth 3-0 (1-0 Ivy) remained unbeaten, as well as winning their Ivy opener, when the Big Green edged Penn 2-1 (0-1) as time expired, 16-13.

Yale 3-0 (1-0) and Dartmouth 3-0 (1-0) will put their unbeaten records on the line when they square off in Hanover, NH on Saturday (1:30 p.m. ESPN3).

(Report compiled from various Ivy League media sources).

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