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It’s an exciting time to be a Princeton football fan. Last Saturday, Nov. 3, the Tigers took down Dartmouth 14–9 in a thrilling showdown of unbeaten teams. This Saturday, Princeton plays Yale for a chance to earn a bonfire and secure at least a share of the Ivy League title. Here’s a list of takeaways from the Dartmouth game and things to think about before the Yale game.
No. 17 Princeton’s (7–0 overall, 4–0 Ivy League) game Saturday against Cornell (3–4, 2–2) had the appearance of a classic “trap” game for the undefeated Tigers. Sandwiched in Princeton’s schedule between a hard-fought win against rival Harvard (3–4, 1–3) and a looming showdown against fellow Ivy unbeaten No. 20 Dartmouth (7–0, 4–0), Cornell entered the weekend playing better than their 3–3 record indicated, with losses against strong FCS opponents and stellar performances in recent weeks. It became quickly evident that Princeton would not fall for the trap. Instead, spectators saw the biggest blowout in a Princeton season full of lopsided wins. On a cold, rainy day, Princeton’s defense forced three interceptions in just the first quarter, its offense scored 45 first-half points, and the Tigers cruised to a 66–0 win.
On Saturday, No. 18 Princeton (6–0 overall, 3–0 Ivy) faced an unfamiliar challenge this season: a close game. Princeton entered the game with an undefeated record and 43.4-point average margin of victory but needed all 60 minutes to put away Harvard (3–3, 1–2) in a 29–21 victory in Cambridge, Mass.
Throughout the season, Princeton (5–0 overall, 2–0 Ivy) has proved it can beat teams decisively, entering the weekend with four blowout wins in four games. This week, the team showed it could do the same without its star quarterback, with junior Kevin Davidson filling in for injured senior John Lovett at quarterback. Davidson threw for four touchdowns, and the Tigers put up 559 yards of total offense in a 48–10 “Alumni Weekend” win over Brown (1–4, 0–2 Ivy), earning its second Ivy League win and staying undefeated on the season.
It was a historic day for Princeton football (4–0 overall, 1–0 Ivy League) in its nonconference finale Saturday afternoon against Lehigh (1–3). Senior quarterback John Lovett accounted for 399 yards of offense, seven different players scored touchdowns, and Princeton scored its most points since 1950 in a blowout 66–7 win.
Women’s volleyball (10–4 overall, 3–0 Ivy League) remained undefeated in the Ivy League this season with a pair of commanding wins against Brown (8–5, 1–2) and Yale (8–4, 2–1) this weekend.
A 2016 rule change in the Ivy League led to a significant reduction in concussions in conference football games, a study published Monday in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded.
Last year's Princeton team found itself the victim of some bad luck, losing several close games, including its Ivy League opener against Columbia. This year's team seems to have found an effective solution to that problem: Blow its opponents out. In their Ivy League opener Friday night, the Tigers (3–0 overall, 1–0 Ivy) dominated Columbia (2–1, 0–1) on the road, winning 45–10.
Princeton's (2-0 overall, 0-0 Ivy League) home opener against Monmouth (2-2) began with a firework display above Powers Field as the Tigers ran out onto the field. Despite the early entertainment, the Tigers’ offense quickly took center stage. Senior quarterback John Lovett threw for 332 yards on 21-27 passing, senior wide receiver Jesper Horsted hauled in 3 touchdowns to set the Princeton record for career receiving touchdowns with 20, and the offense posted 49 points in a commanding 51-9 victory.
At first glance, Princeton football does not appear to be in a great position heading into the 2018 season. Not only are the Tigers coming off an underwhelming, second-to-last finish in the 2017 Ivy League standings, but they also graduated quarterback Chad Kanoff, now playing in the NFL for the Arizona Cardinals, who in 2017 indisputably posted the most impressive season by a quarterback in Princeton history. Further examination, however, reveals the Tigers have good reason for optimism. Princeton will return several key players who missed most or all of the 2017 season, including the 2016 Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year, senior quarterback John Lovett, and senior defensive standouts linebacker Mark Fossati and defensive lineman Kurt Holuba. The Tigers will also benefit from an influx of young talent looking to make an immediate impact — their 2018 recruiting class was ranked as the best in all of Football Championship Subdivision football and includes a quarterback, Brevin White, who chose Princeton over football powerhouse Alabama.
Football @ Butler: W 50–7
In the opening match of the NCAA tournament in Lubbock, Texas, women’s tennis came within a point of knocking out No. 19 Illinois University, but fell just short to lose 4–3.
Men’s track and field @ Franklin Field: 1st Place in Outdoor Ivy Heps
After a perfect 7–0 run through Ivy League play, women’s tennis will head south for the NCAA regionals beginning May 11. They will travel to Lubbock, Texas, where they will begin play facing nationally ranked No. 19 Illinois. Also in the group, competing for a spot in the NCAA championships, are West Point and host Texas Tech.
On a wall in the tunnel connecting the home locker room to the tunnel, there is a collection of portraits of former Princeton players with NFL experience. During this weekend’s NFL draft, we will find out whether any recent graduates will earn a precious spot on that wall. The likeliest candidate is quarterback Chad Kanoff, who broke all-time University records in career passing yards, single season passing yards, and completion percentage in the 2017 season and has drawn the attention of scouts from several NFL teams. In any case, in anticipation of the most exciting days of the long football offseason, we have compiled a list of Princeton players who have heard their names called in the draft over the past few years.
After a 1–11 start to the season and an 0–4 start to EIVA play, the suggestion that men’s volleyball would make it all the way to the EIVA conference final might have seemed laughable. However, after the fourth-seeded Tigers upset top-seeded George Mason in four sets on Thursday’s semifinal, that’s exactly what happened. Unfortunately for the team, they would fall to Harvard in four sets in a clash of Ivy League rivals, coming up short in their bid to win their first EIVA title in 20 years.
Men’s baseball (8–16 overall, 5–4 Ivy) continued its Ivy League conference schedule this weekend with a three-game home series against Penn (11–19, 5–6–1). The team received an absolute gem of a pitching performance in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader from senior righthanded pitcher Ben Gross, who threw his first ever complete-game shutout in a 3–0 win, but still lost the series after falling 7–2 and 10–1 in the other two games.
The last time men’s volleyball faced off against George Mason, the team took two of the first three sets from the EIVA regular season champions before ultimately losing in five. This weekend, Princeton will have a chance to avenge the loss, with even higher stakes, as it prepares to play George Mason once again in the EIVA semifinals.
In its final home game of the season, Men’s Volleyball took George Mason University to five sets but were unable to close the deal, falling two sets to three.
Men’s hockey’s impressive season finally came to an end Saturday with a 4–2 defeat at the hands of Ohio State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Princeton had mounted a seven-game winning streak to win its first ECAC conference title since 2008 and qualify for the NCAA Tournament, but was unable to keep the run going against top-seeded Ohio State.