A special report for the Mr. Squishy Show by Joe Schlobotnik
Another Ivy League football season came to an end this weekend, and unlike last year, several teams have something to be happy about.
The Big Green of Dartmouth, who ended their slate with a 24-0 victory at Princeton, swept their way to their fourth Ancient Eight crown of the '90s, finishing at 7-0 in the Ivies and 10-0 overall. The Hanover Horde, unbeaten in their last seventeen games, were ranked #17 in the final I-AA poll, but according to Ivy rules will not take part in the national tournament.
Columbia began the season with six straight wins, three of them in the league, but after a loss to Princeton and a 4-0 shellacking by Dartmouth, it looked like they might repeat last year's second-half slide. The Lions pulled it together, though, and won their last two, including Saturday's 31-27 home win over Brown in an epic battle that saw the lead change hands four times in the fourth quarter. Columbia finished the season 5-2 Ivy, 8-2 overall.
Brown themselves had a respectable if streaky season, losing their first three, then winning five straight and looking like title hopefuls before falling to the Dartmouth Juggernaut and the resurgent Lions. The final verdict: 4-3 Ivy, 5-5 overall.
Cornell slew a personal demon at season's end with a 24-20 win over Pennsylvania, their first victory over the hated Quakers since 1990. The Red are still smarting, however, from the season-ending injury to senior running back Chad Levitt the week before. Levitt was only 58 yards short of breaking the school and league career rushing record of Ed Marinaro when he broke his arm on a pass play. Backup Brad Kiesendahl stepped in with 130 yards rushing against the Quakers to complete Cornell's 4-3 season (4-6 overall) which saw wins over Harvard and Penn.
And how about Penn? No one is happy in Philadelphia without an Ivy championship, and so the 4-3 (overall 5-5) Quakers are dissapointed for the second straight year despite a late surge of three straight league wins.
Harvard, which barely escaped winlessness last year, has slightly lower expectations, so they can be pleased with their 2-5 finish (4-6 including non-league contests). They can be especially happy with their 26-21 season-ending victory over archrivals Yale. Crimson senior Elion Hu gained 177 yards, breaking for the second year in a row the Harvard rushing record for "The Game".
Princeton students, despite being shut out and capping a 2-5 (3-7) season, tore down the goalposts at Palmer Stadium this Saturday. The reason was that they won't be needed any more, as the second-oldest structure in college football will fall victim to the wrecking ball. Since its replacement won't be ready until 1998, Saturday's was the last Princeton home game for over a year.
Finally, another farewell was just as bitter, with Yale Coach Carm Cozza finishing a 1-6 season, 2-8 overall, with losses to Princeton and Harvard. The last of Cozza's 32 seasons in New Haven saw the Elis win their opener, then reel off six straight Ivy losses. What a way to go.
And with the Ivy League season in review, I'm Joe Schlobotnik, Mr. Squishy Sports.