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Patriot football teams set to dive into the Ivy
Teams to renew rivalries with Ivy League
Non-scholarship leagues square off seven times on Saturday
Although plenty of people following Patriot League football these days wish the league would award scholarships and aspire to be more like the Colonial Athletic Association, no one could argue that the league was originally established in 1986 with the Ivy League in mind.
The Patriot League has striven to emphasize academic excellence first and foremost.
So, for 25 years, Patriot League members and Ivy Leaguers have often battled for the same kids.
And the two leagues have been very competitive against each other on the field, with the Ivies holding a 233-213-3 advantage.
All seven Patriot members will play Ivy League opponents on Saturday with some long-standing rivalries and territorial battles renewed.
Lafayette will play the University of Pennsylvania for the 88th time, Lehigh battles Princeton for the 55th time, Mass Turnpike rivals Harvard and Holy Cross square off for the 65th time and New York City neighbors Columbia and Fordham will meet — surprisingly — for only the 20th time.
Over the years, Patriot League members have compiled winning records against Brown (22-18), Columbia (44-19-2) and Dartmouth (31-23) and are even against Cornell (32-32-1).
Patriot teams have struggled against Penn (17-39), Yale (12-33), Princeton (28-36) and Harvard (27-33).
Last season, Patriot members were just 6-11 against the Ivies, but seven of those 11 losses were by two touchdowns or less.
This year, the two leagues will meet 16 times. Six of the seven Patriot League members have multiple games against the Ivies. Only Georgetown, which plays at Yale, has only one game against an Ivy program.
“From having coached there, I know that league very well and it’s a very well-coached league with a lot of talented kids,” said Lehigh coach Andy Cone, who was offensive coordinator at Penn for six seasons between his two stints on South Mountain.
“You look at Princeton and they have kids from 30 or 31 states. So they are recruiting nationally and you know they are getting very talented kids.”
What makes it difficult for Patriot League teams is that this is the opening weekend of games for the Ivy League, and thus, Patriot coaches have to use film from last year’s games while the Ivies have two games — in most cases — to study of their Patriot League foes.
DID YOU KNOW?
After two weeks, the only two unbeaten teams in the league are Bucknell and Georgetown.
The Bison have already doubled their win total of last year and the Hoya’s are already halfway to matching last season’s win total.
Since entering the Patriot League in 2001, Georgetown has never had a winning season and has never won more than two league games in a season.
Bucknell’s last winning season was 2006 and the Bison haven’t had a winning mark in the league since 2004.
Holy Cross won its league opener for the sixth time in the last seven seasons under coach Tom Gilmore and the Crusaders continued their recent mastery of Colgate with a resounding 37-7 win on Saturday. It was Holy Cross’ third straight win over Colgate and fourth victory in five seasons. It was also just Colgate’s third loss of 30 points or more under coach Dick Biddle.
This was not a fluke either. Holy Cross led 16-0 at halftime, 30-0 after three quarters and got a 60-yard interception return on the first play of the fourth quarter by Patriot League defensive player of the week Jimmy Thomas, who also had 10 tackles.
Holy Cross, which is beginning its season with three straight home games, outgained Colgate 403-319 in total yards.
PATRIOT LEAGUE STANDINGS
# - Ineligible for 2011 Patriot League title and games do not count in League standings
PATRIOT LEAGUE SCHEDULE
Georgetown at Yale, noon
Columbia at Fordham, 1 p.m.
Harvard at Holy Cross, 1 p.m.
Colgate at Dartmouth, 1:30 p.m.
Bucknell at Cornell, 6 p.m.
Lafayette at Penn, 6 p.m.
Lehigh at Princeton, 6 p.m.
By Keith Groller, The Morning Call