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When the Princeton football team took the field at Princeton Stadium for the final time last fall, the Tigers defeated Dartmouth and left as Ivy League Champions for the 11th time in school history. Returning last Saturday, Sept. 16, the team began this year’s campaign to defend their title with a resounding 27-17 nonconference win against San Diego. Facing a solid opponent that won an FCS playoff game last season, Princeton combined a stout defense, a productive offense, and an opportunistic special teams unit to earn the win in convincing fashion, scoring early and never relinquishing the lead.
On Saturday, Princeton football will open its 149th season at home against San Diego (1–1). This will be the start of the Tigers’ battle to defend the Ivy League title that they achieved last year. In the preseason poll, Princeton was tied with Harvard, both receiving 120 points; however, the Tigers received more first-place votes than the Crimson. Penn, the team that Princeton shared last year’s Ivy League title with, was right behind Princeton and Harvard with 110 points and five first-place votes, the same number that the Crimson earned.
After both teams emerged victorious in their season finales, the Princeton and Penn football teams were awarded the honor of Ivy League co-champions. While this obviously represents a major accomplishment for both teams, it also presents several conundrums. Does a team celebrate a tie for the conference championship with the same vigor as it would an outright win? Were players and fans even aware that a tie was a possibility, or did they make the same mistake as Donovan McNabb in 2008, who admitted that he didn’t realize an NFL game could end in a tie? (“I hate to see what happens in the Super Bowl… you have to settle with a tie,” he remarked). Anyways, ties are no fun, so in this article, we will explore whether Princeton or Penn is the “true” Ivy League champion.
The Princeton Tigers (8-2, 6-1 Ivy League) overcame Dartmouth (4-6, 1-6 Ivy League) this Saturday to clinch a share of their first Ivy League title since 2013.
Though a cursory glance at the Ivy League standings will reveal that Princeton (7-2, 5-1 Ivy) should be considered the favorite against Dartmouth (4-5, 1-5 Ivy), the Tigers hope to avoid complacency as they prepare for their season finale at home this Saturday. Saturday’s game has massive implications for Princeton, as it finds itself in a three-way tie for first place with Penn and Harvard with a single game left to play. If all three teams manage to win their season finales, the Ivy League will have three-way-champs for the second year in a row. While it is impossible to downplay the magnitude of these stakes for a Princeton team that last won an Ivy League title in 2013, the team must not let the possibility of a conference championship distract it from executing against a Dartmouth team looking to play the role of spoiler.
The stars aligned for Princeton football this weekend, as the Tigers (7-2, 5-1 Ivy ) thrashed Yale 31-3 while Penn topped Harvard in overtime. These results have catapulted the Tigers to a three-way tie for first place in the Ivy League, and Princeton now controls its destiny in-conference.
Over fall break, the Princeton football team scored two crucial victories to keep themselves firmly in the chase for the Ivy League title. The Tigers (6-2, 4-1 Ivy) routed Cornell before shutting out powerhouse Penn in a pair of huge games.
The Princeton Tigers will continue their Ivy League schedule over the next two weeks, facing Cornell (3-3, 1-2 Ivy) this Saturday and Penn (4-2, 3-0 Ivy) on Saturday, Nov. 5.
Princeton had more yards and won the turnover battle, but Harvard took the day in a heartbreaking 23-20 overtime victory over the Tigers to stay atop the Ivy League.
Junior quarterback John Lovett passed for two touchdowns and rushed for a third as the Princeton Tigers (4-1, 2-0 Ivy) cruised to an easy victory over Brown (1-4, 0-2 Ivy).
Following a successful three-game road trip, the Princeton Tigers (3-1, 1-0 Ivy) will return home this Saturday to face the Brown Bears (1-3, 0-1 Ivy) in a critical Ivy League matchup.
Junior quarterback John Lovett rushed for three touchdowns and passed for another as the Princeton Tigers (3-1, 1-0 Ivy) rolled over Georgetown (3-2, 2-1 at home), 31-17.
Senior quarterback Chad Kanoff threw for 230 yards, junior quarterback John Lovett and senior running back Joe Rhattigan rushed for almost fifty yards apiece, and the Princeton Tigers (2-1, 1-0 Ivy) opened their Ivy League season in emphatic style by dismantling the Columbia Lions (0-3, 0-1 Ivy), 48-13.
Despite a tough battle, the Princeton Tigers (1-1, 0-0 Ivy) dropped their second game of the season to Lehigh (2-2, 1-1 Home), 42-28.
The Princeton Tigers (1-0 overall, 0-0 Ivy League) will continue their season this Saturday as they take on Lehigh (1-2) in a second non-conference game.
After a 2015 campaign that saw the Tigers start 4-0 before dropping close games late to Yale and Dartmouth, Princeton football will look to further their successes this season.
Fireworks danced outside of Princeton Stadium on Saturday night as the Tigers (1-0, 0-0 Ivy) came storming back to erase an early Lafayette lead and beat the Leopards (1-2, 0-0 in-conference) 35-31 to open the 2016 season.
This Reunions, the Prince had a chance to sit down and talk with Samuel Young ’96, a former defensive tackle on the Princeton football team. Young concentrated in molecular biology at the University and earned his Ph. D. at the University of North Carolina in under four years. He is a current Research Group Leader of Molecular Mechanisms of Synaptic Function at the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience. On Friday, he was able to share with us insights on his time on the football team and how it helped shape his eventual success as a scientist.
Over Reunions, the Prince sat down with Thomas Bevan ’91, co-founder and publisher of RealClearPolitics. As a Tiger, Bevan played defensive back for the Princeton football team before earning a history degree. During the talk, the Chicago-based writer discussed team bonding, waking up at 4 a.m. to update his website and career advice.