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).
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