Photos courtesy of Dartmouth Varsity Athletics Communications, Harvard Athletic Communications and Penn Athletics Communications
PRINCETON, N.J. -- An exciting 2012 Ivy League football season came down to a thrilling conclusion, highlighted by Penn laying claim to its 16th title and third in four years.
Penn was up by as many as 15 points before an upset-minded Cornell squad tied the game at 28-28 with just under three minutes. The Quakers answered the bell, led by senior quarterback Andrew Holland, with a touchdown with just 60 ticks left on the clock. The potent Big Red offense, led by junior quarterback Jeff Mathews, got dangerously close to tying the game again in the waning seconds with a first-and-goal at Penn's eight-yard line with eight seconds left. However, an incomplete pass and a penalty pushed Cornell out of striking distance as time expired.
Over in Cambridge, Mass., Harvard and Yale provided another classic in the storied history of "The Game" as the teams embarked in a defensive slugfest early and an offensive see-saw battle late. The two teams could only muster three field goals through the middle of the third quarter. Then the game got entertaining as the teams traded touchdowns with the Crimson taking a 27-24 lead with 4:44 remaining. Harvard senior running back Treavor Scales capped off the game, season and his collegiate career with a 63-yard run to put an exclamation point on the Crimson's sixth-straight victory over Yale. Scales ended the day with 177 rushing yards, which tied a school record for most rushing yards in "The Game".
Down in Princeton, N.J., Dartmouth ended its season undefeated on the road with an explosive six-minute stretch in which the Big Green scored three times to go from a seven points down to two touchdowns ahead en route to a 35-21 win over Princeton. Freshman quarterback Dalyn Williams shined on the final day of his rookie season with four touchdowns (three passing, one rushing) in the victory.
Back up in Providence, R.I., Brown closed out 2012 with its third-straight win in a 22-6 win over Columbia. Senior quarterback Patrick Donnelly threw for three touchdowns to lead his senior class to four-straight winning seasons and the Bears' fifth-straight winning season.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Penn senior quarterback Andrew Holland (Willoughby, Ohio) came up big in his first career start, throwing for a touchdown and rushing for a second, to lead the Quakers to an Ivy League-title victory at Cornell. With the game tied 28-28, Holland drove the Quakers 63 yards in six plays for the game-winning touchdown with 1:00 left. On the game-winning drive, Holland was a perfect 3-for-3 for 38 yards and set up the go-ahead, three-yard touchdown run. At end of the first half, Holland engineered a go-ahead drive that covered 89 yards in just 51 seconds. He hit senior wide receiver Jason Seifert on a 41-yard strike with just 26 seconds remaining before the break to put the Quakers up 14-13. On the day, Holland completed 81.8 percent of his passes (18-of-22) and finished with a career-high 255 passing yards.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Dartmouth junior linebacker Michael Runger (Lisle, Ill.) was a force on defense in collecting a career-best 17 tackles, the most by any player in the Ivy League this season, in the Big Green's 35-21 win over Princeton. Most of Runger's work came during the first half as he made 13 stops before the intermission, including a stonewall of Princeton's Quinn Epperly at the two-yard line near the end of the second quarter, as Dartmouth fought to stay close to the Tigers. He did not get as many opportunities in the second half due to the Big Green offense being on the field for nearly 22 of the final 30 minutes, but he still contributed four more tackles and broke up a pass early in the fourth quarter with Dartmouth leading, 28-14.
SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Harvard junior placekicker David Mothander (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) provided critical points in the Crimson's 34-24 win over Yale with two field goals and all four of his PAT opportunities. Throughout most of the game when points were tough to come by, Mothander connected on a 23-yarder to open Harvard's scoring early in the second quarter. He put the Crimson ahead 6-3 at the 8:53 mark of the third quarter with a 37-yard boot that sailed through the uprights. From that point, the game kicked into a see-saw battle that made the first three of his four PATs critical before his final one gave Harvard a 10-point lead with 1:08 remaining.
ROOKIE OF THE WEEK
Dartmouth freshman quarterback Dalyn Williams (Corinth, Texas) ended his rookie campaign by throwing for a season-high 284 yards and three touchdowns while completing 20-of-35 passes, and running for another score to lift the Big Green past Princeton. Dartmouth fell behind by 14 points in the second quarter, but Williams got his squad on the comeback trail by guiding the Big Green 75 yards on just five plays, the last a seven-yard touchdown toss. In the second half, his four-yard scoring strike put the Green on top, 21-14, and his two-yard option run into the end zone capped a three-touchdown outburst in the first six minutes of the third quarter. He completed his day with a 37-yard bomb on 4th-and-12 in the fourth quarter to seal the victory.
Patrick Donnelly, Brown (Sr., QB - Longmeadow, Mass.)
16-23-1, 225 yds., 3 TDs
Luke Hagy, Cornell (Fr., RB - Pittsburgh)
69 rush yds., 3 TDs, 83 rec. yds.
Bobby Marani, Cornell (Fr., LB - Aptos, Calif.)
11 tkls. (5 solo), 2.5 TFL, 2 sacks
Lyle Marsh, Penn (Sr., RB - Bethel Park, Pa.)
19 car. for 111 yds., 1 TD
Jeff Mathews, Cornell (Jr., QB - Camarillo, Calif.)
31-45-1, 445 yds., 1 TD
Treavor Scales, Harvard (Sr., RB - Stone Mountain, Ga.)
19 car. for 177 yds., 1 TD
Andrew Starks, Princeton (Sr., LB - Plainfield, Ill.)
16 tkls. (8 solo), 1.5 TFL, 1 sack
Grant Wallace, Yale (So., WR - St. Louis, Mo.)
11 rec. for 118 yds., 1 TD
Stephen Zambetti, Brown (Sr., LB - Germantown, Tenn.)
12 tkls. (9 solo), 1.5 TFL, 0.5 sack
• Penn's 16 Ivy League football titles rank second to Dartmouth's 17.
• Penn leads the League with 13 outright championships.
• The title is head coach Al Bagnoli's ninth outright Ancient Eight crown. He has never shared a title and his nine Ivy rings rank second-most all-time behind Carmen Cozza's 10 (Yale 1965-96).
• Bagnoli ended his 21st season leading the Quakers second on the Ivy League all-time coaching lists in overall wins (142) and conference wins (109).
• Cornell junior quarterback Jeff Mathews became just the second player in Ivy League history to pass for more than 8,000 career yards. He has 8,331 passing yards and will enter his senior season needing just 934 yards to pass Brown's James Perry, who passed for 9,264 yards in 1997-99.
• Columbia senior quarterback Sean Brackett ended his career in the League's all-time top 10 in total offense (5th, 7,470), passing attempts (8th, 999) and passing yards (10th, 6,237). He finished 11th in passing completions (531) and touchdowns (46).
• Harvard head coach Tim Murphy ended the season with 91 Ivy League wins, just two away from becoming the school's all-time leader and moving into fourth place on the Ivy League's all-time list in that category.
• The League has finalists for The Sports Network's FCS postseason awards -- Princeton head coach Bob Surace for the Eddie Robinson Award (Coach of the Year) and Cornell freshman running back Luke Hagy for the Jerry Rice Award (Freshman of the Year).
• "Inside Ivy League Football," hosted by Dan Loney and Brian Seltzer, exploded popularity in its second season with more than 11,000 listens for its 10 episodes. In 2011, the show totalled more than 2,100 listens in its premiere, 10-episode season. All 20 episodes are available on BlogTalkRadio.com (blogtalkradio.com/insideivyleaguefootball).