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Crimson crushes Quakers for share of Ivy, 31-10
Philadelphia, PA - Undefeated and 15th ranked Harvard (9-0,6-0) blew past the 17th ranked Penn Quakers (7-2,5-1) to clinch a share of the Ivy League title and terminate Penn's 20-game Ivy League winning streak by a score of 31-10. The Crimson will win the Ancient Eight title for the 11th time. If they defeat Yale next week in The Game, they'll stand atop the Ivy League all by themselves. Should they lose to Yale while the
Quakers top Cornell in upstate New York, they will share this year's crown.
The Penn offense seemed ready to make this a high-scoring game as it scored on its first possession when PK Derek Zoch kicked a 24-yard FG to take an initial 3-0 lead. Harvard failed to respond quickly as WR Corey Mazza dropped a catchable Dan Fitzpatrick pass when he had the Penn secondary beaten on a third and six from his own 25. Harvard was forced to punt instead. However, the next time The Crimson took over, Fitzpatrick heaved a desperation attempt under heavy pressure and connected with WR Brian Edwards on the right side of the end zone for a 19-yard scoring pass. The QB took a hard shot as he released the ball, but seemed to be unaffected immediately after the play. Fitzpatrick was 13 0f 26 for 186 yards passing and 44 yards rushing on this day. PK Matt Schindel made the extra point and Harvard took a 7-3 lead that lasted through the first period.
Turnovers and punts marked the second period of play. Harvard RB Clifton Dawson lost a fumble for the first time in his 2-year career on 396 carries, courtesy of the statistician’s announcement in the press box we could clearly hear behind us in the sparsely populated upper deck of Franklin Field on the visitors’ side. The sophomore record-setter had a “quiet” 161 yard day on 33 carries in our observation. With what later turned out to be Harvard’s last possession of the second period, the start of the drive was aided by an unsportsmanlike Quaker penalty (Leo D’Ullisse’s ears must have been ringing after his observations made at Princeton the week before) that got The Crimson started at the Penn 42. Fitzpatrick unloaded the ball for 15 yards to the 15 on a third and eleven to keep the drive alive before Clifton Dawson dove in from one yard line with :16 remaining to push the score to 14-3 in favor of Harvard going into intermission.
Guest Game Analyst, Eric Koreivo, age 9, was uncomfortable in the shade of the Penn side of the stadium on a cold, windy day. So, between the first two quarters we walked to the upper deck of the oldest stadium in D1 football and observed the game from above as we ambled around the nearly empty, expansive upper deck to the Harvard side where we found it definitely much more comfortable in the sunshine. Halftime concession lines were long, and Eric didn’t find the hot chocolate there to his liking as he described it tasting like iced tea, even though it was hot! He picked up a pretty nice Penn Football hooded sweatshirt he bought with most of his own money. Earlier, he pondered the Quaker nickname, not being familiar with Quakers since school curriculum probably doesn’t include them among studies as one of the world’s great religions. “What is it, Dad? Some kind of bird?” It’s Quakers, not Quackers! Eric’s still intrigued by ref’s call and not only seems to understand many of the signs, but knows what they’re going to call in some situations. Today, he was reviewing what the letter on each officials’ back stood for. He knew most. Refereeing seems to be his calling. Later in the game, he made a very interesting observation. “Dad, why do most kickers wear two different kinds of shoes when they kick?” Before I could answer, he came up with his own conclusion. “Oh, I know. It must be so they can remember which foot to kick with!” I could have explained traction, footing, contact with the ball, etc., but his explanation was probably on target. You always hear stories about kickers being a little strange!
Harvard started its first possession to begin the second half from their own 25. Working up to the Penn 43, Fitzpatrick dropped back and had lots of time to throw as he scrambled from sideline to sideline until he unleashed a pass to WR Corey Mazza in the end zone for his second TD pass of the day. Harvard led 21-3 and seemed to be in control as the defense held the Quakers in check. Schindel added three more points with a 32-yard FG on Harvard’s next possession for a 24-3 Crimson lead. Once again, Harvard’s D held and the offense started again from their own 31. On a fourth down at the Penn 18, Schindel came on to kick again, but instead holder Robert Balkema, listed as a LB, stood up, rolled left and tossed a short pass on the left side to fellow LB Bobby Everett who carried the lone Penn defender on his side into the end zone for six points and a commanding 31-3 Harvard lead before the end of Q3.
With 2:13 remaining in the game, Penn finished the scoring for the day as Freshman QB Bryan Walker (18 of 30 for 178 yards) threw a 6-yard TD pass to All-Ivy WR Dan Castles to make the final score 31-10. Harvard not only placed themselves atop the Ivy League standings alone with a 6-0 league record, it halted Penn’s all-time Ivy League winning streak at 20 games. The Crimson victory also ended and 11-game losing streak aat Franklin Field. It’s home to Cambridge, MA next weekend for Harvard to finish the season against archrival Yale in The Game. A win for the Crimson means an outright Ivy League title and an undefeated 10-0 season. If accomplished, Harvard would finish the season as the only undefeated team in 1AA competition this year. The hated 5-4 Bulldogs will surely have something to say about that next weekend, but it’s too bad the Ivies avoid the 1AA playoffs. For one thing, we’d like to see what they could do against teams outside the Ivy and Patriot League (Harvard did beat A-10 Northeastern this year), and secondly, they could possibly host a 1AA game while we’re in New England for Thanksgiving. We’re thankful that we did get to see them play twice this year, as Harvard has a nicely balanced offense and a good defense. GGA Eric stood above the entrance to the Harvard locker room at old Franklin Field as a lot of happy faces shared congratulations with fans on the way in. For the second time this year, it was kind of fun to hear the song of victory coming from the Harvard locker room as we left. This outside observer can tell, however, that there was still calm reservation about this great victory among the players as The Game still remains. It’s that attitude, however, that will get The Crimson past their archrivals to attain their unblemished season that will place them among the greatest teams in both Harvard and Ivy League history. CollegeFootballFan.com was happy to be there to see this part of their history.
Extra Points: Fitzpatrick's favorite targets, Edwards and Mazza, had nearly identical statistics. Each had 4 catches for 66 yards and each had a TD. Mazza's long for the day was the 43 yard TD pass and Edwards' longest reception was for 42 yards.
The announced crowd was 15,123, but it was hard to believe that was true for a stadium that claims 52,958 as full capacity. It was nowhere close to 30% full. As I looked at the stadium seating though, I realized that if it was up to the Penn State administration as opposed to Penn’s, the capacity would be listed as 75,000 plus! The numbered seats on the aluminum bleachers in Franklin are about 18” wide as opposed to those in Beaver Stadium which are about 12” apart! And even Eric noted that there are some pretty bad seat locations as some views are obstructed by the stairwells in the lower seating areas that lead to the upper level.
A Penn tradition was in evidence as students in the second half sing “Drink a Highball” (a term I hadn’t heard since I was a kid), and throw pieces of toast to the sideline as they sing “Here’s a toast to dear old Penn”. According to the program, a turf cleaner known as the “Toast Zamboni” comes along to clean up after the chorus. I guess the ice fixing machine used on hockey rinks was named after the guy pushing the broom on the Penn track. The small Penn student section in evidence was gone not long after the rendition as the score was 31-3 at that time.
The game program, Franklin Field Illustrated, announced Penn Head Coach Al Bagnoli’s all time team since he’s been there since 1992. One RB position is filled by current NY Giant Jim Finn who rushed for 2,251 yards and 28 TDs during his Ivy career. He tallied 6 TDs against Brown during his senior season. A thank you in the Penn program goes to all the boosters who helped fund the team’s California trip to face U. of San Diego earlier this season. Penn trounced the Toreros, 66-18. The program shows a picture of the 1950 Penn team boarding a plane bound for California to play the Cal Bears. It’s indicative that the Ivies were true Division 1 teams in those days who played everyone including Notre Dame, Michigan and then powerhouses Army and Navy.
In the game we had originally planned to see, Kings Point (3-7) beat Coast Guard (1-8), 16-7, for the Secretary’s Cup.