Photo courtesy of Harvard Athletics
By Craig Haley, FCS Executive Director/Senior Editor
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (Sports Network) - Like many quarterbacks, Cornell's Jeff Mathews threw countless passes and worked on his footwork this offseason.
That's not what Big Red coach Kent Austin has noticed about his standout junior.
"I told him the other day, 'You finally have a shoulders and a chest on you,'" Austin said.
Mathews hardly resembled the water boy, but he now packs 218 pounds on a 6- foot-3 1/2 frame, having worked in the weight room to get stronger.
The added bulk may completely deflate the mind-set of Ivy League defensive coordinators as they try to figure out how to stop Cornell's record-setting signal-caller.
Last season, Mathews became the first sophomore to earn the Bushnell Cup as the league's offensive player of the year. This season, Mathews hopes to put Cornell in the Ivy title race that, as usual, features defending champion Harvard and Penn, the 2009 and 2010 winner.
Mathews is coming off a dominant campaign in which he set Cornell and Ivy League records for passing yardage in a game (548 yards at Penn) and season (3,412 yards), while also setting Big Red records for touchdown passes (25), total offense (3,274 yards), completion percentage (.679) and passing efficiency (162.60).
"Guys like that are worth two or three games a year," said Harvard coach Tim Murphy, who has seen his share of excellent quarterbacks, including his former protege Ryan Fitzpatrick, the Buffalo Bills' starter.
"If Mathews continues on the curve that he's on, he not only in my opinion will get an opportunity to play in the NFL, but I think he will be drafted in the top three rounds. He's really special."
Cornell and Mathews' chief recruiter, linebackers coach and special teams coordinator Travis Burkett, were focused on the Camarillo, Calif., native early while he surprisingly went underrecruited. When more schools tried to recruit him later in the process, Mathews was committed to obtaining an Ivy League education and turning around the Big Red's fortunes under Austin, their third-year head coach.
The Big Red, who are seeking their first winning season since 2005, were picked third in the league's preseason poll.
Having already thrown for 5,135 career yards, Mathews should move from fourth to first on Cornell's all-time passing yardage list (Ricky Rahne is first with 7,710 yards from 1998-2001) and to No. 2 on the Ivy's all-time list this season. Brown's James Perry, who threw for 9,294 yards from 1997-99, would then likely be within reach in Mathews' senior season next year.
A Walter Payton Award nominee, Mathews is a technically sound passer who has always been strong mentally and excellent with game preparation. Add in the increased strength this offseason and Cornell has one of the top quarterbacks in the FCS.
"The one thing about him is that I think he's very physical. He's a guy that I've seen him take multiple numbers of hits and still make plays," Brown coach Phil Estes said.
"He keeps your secondary in the secondary, and there can be no letups because you never know, even with pressure that he's still going to be able to get that ball off."
Following is a team-by-team breakdown of the 2012 Ivy League race.
The Sports Network's predicted order of finish:
1. HARVARD CRIMSON (9-1 overall, 7-0 Ivy)
COACH: Tim Murphy (120-59 in 18 seasons at Harvard; 152-104-1 overall)
STARTERS RETURNING: 15 (8 offense/7 defense)
OFFENSIVE STAR: RB Trevor Scales, Sr. (170 carries, 816 yards, 8 TD; 13 receptions, 96 yards)
DEFENSIVE STAR: DT Nnamdi Obukwelu, Sr. (24 TT, 4.5 TFL, 1 PBU)
OTHER KEY PLAYERS: QB Colton Chapple, Sr. (65-of-105, 918 yards, 12 TD, 2 INT; 37 carries, 101 yards)
RB Zach Boden, So. (79 carries, 484 yards, 6 TD; 15 receptions, 145 yards, 1 TD)
H-back Kyle Juszcyk, Sr. (37 receptions, 512 yards, 7 TD)
WR Matt Brown, Jr.
WR/RS Seitu Smith, So. (12 receptions, 86 yards; 29.9-yard KO return average, 1 TD; 13.3-yard punt return average)
TE Cam Brate, Jr. (25 receptions, 386 yards, 7 TD)
LT Anthony Fabiano, So.
LG John Collins, Sr.
C Jack Holuba, Sr.
RG Austin Scheufele, Jr.
RT Will Whitman, So.
DE Grant Sickle, Sr. (21 TT, 2 sacks, 1 FF)
DE John Lyon, Sr.
DE Zach Hodges, So. (20 TT, 3.5 TFL, 2 sacks, 1 INT)
DT Jack Dittmer, Jr. (23 TT, 2 TFL, 1 INT)
ILB Bobby Schneider, Sr. (40 TT, 2 TFL, 1 INT, 4 PBU)
ILB Josh Boyd, Sr. (64 TT, 3 TFL, 1 FR, 1 FF)
OLB Alex Norman, Sr. (40 TT, 4.5 TFL, 1 INT, 1 FR)
OLB Matt Martindale, Jr. (18 TT, 3 TFL)
CB/RS Brian Owusu, Jr. (44 TT, 2 INT, 3 PBU, 1 FR, 2 FF)
CB D.J. Monroe, Jr. (21 TT, 1 PBU)
SS Chris Splinter, Jr. (19 TT, 1 INT, 2 PBU, 1 FR, 1 BK)
SS Rey Kirton, Jr. (23 TT, 4 PBU, 1 FF)
PK David Mothander, Jr. (6-of-8 FG, 48-of-50 PAT)
P Jake Dombrowski, Sr. (56 punts, 40.2 ypp)
BIGGEST LOSS: DT Josue Ortiz (38 TT, 14.5 TFL, 10 sacks, 2 FR, 1 FF)
OUTLOOK: The Crimson always find a way to reload, and this season they seem to have the depth to replace some of their departed stars, such as QB Collier Winters, LT Kevin Murphy, WR Chris Lorditch, LB Alex Gedeon and S Matt Hanson. No Ivy team finished within 10 points of the Crimson a year ago while they enjoyed a perfect league season. Another sweep of the league is quite possible. Chapple was a two-time Ivy player of the week when he filled in for an injured Winters last season. The offense will have an up-tempo style, but with a twist - the Crimson work different formations and get the ball to Juszcyk, an H-back, and Brate, a tight end (sound like the New England Patriots?). They also have four starters returning to arguably the league's best offensive line, so the first option is to get the ball to RB Scales. He has rushed for 1,821 yards in his career. The losses defensively will make it hard for the Crimson to finish in the FCS in scoring defense, as they did last season in surrendering 17.1 ppg. They won't have as strong a pass rush without Ortiz, although Owusu, one of the league's better cornerbacks, won't be affected by it. If there are potential weaknesses, the Crimson lack experienced wide receivers and should still be vulnerable against the pass as some juniors step into bigger roles in the secondary.
Sept. 15 - vs. San Diego
Sept. 22 - at Brown
Sept. 29 - vs. Holy Cross
Oct. 6 - vs. Cornell
Oct. 13 - vs. Bucknell
Oct. 20 - at Princeton
Oct. 27 - at Dartmouth
Nov. 3 - vs. Columbia
Nov. 10 - at Penn
Nov. 17 - vs. Yale
2. PENN QUAKERS (5-5 overall, 4-3 Ivy)
COACH: Al Bagnoli (136-62 in 20 seasons at Penn)
STARTERS RETURNING: 13 (7 offense/6 defense)
OFFENSIVE STAR: QB Billy Ragone, Sr. (151-of-265, 1,860 yards, 11 TD, 11 INT; 106 carries, 424 yards, 7 TD)
DEFENSIVE STAR: DT Brandon Copeland, Sr. (51 TT, 6 TFL, 2 sacks, 1 FR, 1 FF)
OTHER KEY PLAYERS: QB Ryan Becker, Jr. (20-of-37, 187 yards)
RB Brandon Colavita, Sr. (144 carries, 665 yards, 4 TD)
RB Jeff Jack, Sr. (50 carries, 165 yards, 2 TD)
RB/KR Lyle Marsh, Sr. (22 carries, 89 yards, 3 TD in four games; injured last season)
FB Greg Schuster, Sr.
WR Ryan Mitchell, Jr. (39 receptions, 587 yards, 3 TD)
WR Conner Scott, Sr. (injured last season)
WR Joe Holder, Sr. (20 receptions, 251 yards, 2 TD)
TE Ryan Allen, Sr.
LT Jake Schwertner, Jr.
LG Steve Szostak, Jr.
C Chris Bush, Jr.
RG Mike Pinciotti, Sr.
RT Joe Bonadies, Sr.
NG Taylor Brown, Sr. (29 TT, 1.5 TFL, 1 FF)
DT C.J. Mooney, Jr.
DE Mike Schmall, So.
DE Mason Smith, Jr.
DE Anthony Stroffolino, Sr.
LB Steve Lias, Sr. (34 TT, 3 TFL, 1 PBU in seven games)
LB David Park, Sr. (7 TT, 3 TFL, 2 sacks)
CB Justyn Williams, Sr. (42 TT, 3.5 TFL, 2 sacks, 3 PBU, 1 FR, 2 FF)
CB David Twamley, Sr. (31 TT, 2.5 TFL, 6 PBU)
SS/FS Daniel Ritt, Sr. (31 TT, 1 INT)
SS Sebastian Jaskowski, So. (41 TT, 3 PBU, 1 FF)
SS Dexter Davis, So.
FS Drew Harris, So.
PK Connor Loftus, So. (9-of-15 FG, 27-of-30 PAT)
P Scott Lopano, Sr.
BIGGEST LOSS: LB Erik Rask (83 TT, 11.5 TFL, 2.5 sacks, 2 INT, 6 PBU, 1 FR, 1 FF)
OUTLOOK: Here's the best news of the preseason for Penn, which was picked second in the Ivy poll: The team picked to finish second has gone on to win the league title in each of the last three seasons, including the last two times the Quakers were predicted to finish as the runner-up (2009 and 2010). They have a lot of returning players, too. The offense is loaded. The mobile Ragone is in his third season as the starter, there are plenty of options at running back (Colavita, Jack and Marsh have all had at least 650 yards in a season) and the wide receivers corps is especially deep with the return of Scott from injury. On defense, DT Copeland already is a two-time All-Ivy first-team selection. He will be dominant as the Quakers' five-man front again shuts down running games. Injuries affected the secondary last season, so the Quakers were forced to use a lot of players, which will pay dividends this season. The kicking game should be solid. Last year was an eye-opener for the Quakers. They had their worst record since 2007 and saw their title hopes implode in the last two weeks. It's highly likely they will be playing for at least a share of the Ivy title when they reach their final two games against Harvard and Cornell.
Sept. 15 - at Lafayette
Sept. 22 - vs. Villanova
Sept. 29 - at Dartmouth
Oct. 6 - vs. William & Mary
Oct. 13 - vs. Columbia
Oct. 20 - at Yale
Oct. 27 - vs. Brown
Nov. 3 - at Princeton
Nov. 10 - vs. Harvard
Nov. 17 - at Cornell
3. CORNELL BIG RED (5-5 overall, 3-4 Ivy)
COACH: Kent Austin (7-13 in two seasons at Cornell)
STARTERS RETURNING: 17 (9 offense/8 defense)
OFFENSIVE STAR: QB Jeff Mathews, Jr. (250-of-368, 3,412 yards, 25 TD, 11 INT)
DEFENSIVE STAR: MLB Brett Buehler, Jr. (68 TT, 8.5 TFL, 2 FF)
OTHER KEY PLAYERS: RB Ahmad Avery, So. (27 carries, 101 yards, 1 TD)
H-Back Nick Mlady, Sr.
WR Shane Savage, Sr. (65 receptions, 1,080 yards, 12 TD)
WR/RS Luke Tasker, Sr. (57 receptions, 827 yards, 4 TD; 27-yard KO return average)
WR Kurt Ondash, Sr. (54 receptions, 856 yards, 5 TD)
Slot Back/WR Grant Gellatly, Jr. (61 carries, 260 yards, 2 TD; 27 receptions, 240 yards, 2 TD)
WR Lucas Shapiro, So. (15 receptions, 150 yards, 1 TD)
LT J.C. Tretter, Sr.
LG Brad Wagner, Jr.
C Bob Bullington, Sr.
RG Josh Grider, Jr.
RT Matt Simmonds, Jr.
DE Tre' Minor, Jr. (48 TT, 3.5 TFL, 1 FR, 1 FF, 1 BK)
DE Richie Silverman, Sr.
DE Kevin Marchand, Jr. (18 TT)
DT Shane McManamon, So. (19 TT)
DT Hugh Stewart, Sr. (13 TT, 4 TFL, 2 sacks)
WLB Cody Roberts, Sr. (50 TT, 3 TFL, 2 FR)
SLB Taylor Bethros, So.
CB Aaron Hancock, So. (24 TT, 3 PBU)
CB DeMarr Moulton, Sr.
SS Andrew Nelson, So. (55 TT, 1 INT, 4 PBU)
FS Josh Barut, Jr. (77 TT, 3 PBU, 2 FF)
S Michael Hernandez, Sr. (30 TT, 2 PBU)
S Brian Gee, Jr. (injured last season)
PK Boomer Olsen, Fr.
P Ardian Sahinovic, Fr.
BIGGEST LOSSES: PK/P Brad Greenway (13-of-15 FG, 36-of-36 PAT; 39 punts, 34.3 ypp) and CB Rashad Campbell (78 TT, 6.5 TFL, 2 sacks, 4 INT, 2 PBU, 1 FR, 1 FF)
OUTLOOK: Don't confuse Ithaca, N.Y., as a quiet, slow-paced town, it's going to be raucous this fall. Even if the Big Red don't challenge for the Ivy title - and they're expecting to do that - Mathews will be passing the ball up and down the field all season. He ended last season with back-to-back 500-yard games and finished with an Ivy single-season record 3,412 yards (his 341.2 ypg was third-best in the FCS). With the return of Savage, Tasker and Ondash, who combined for 176 receptions, the Big Red passing game should be unstoppable. The problem ahead may be that their running game has been stoppable (it's been under 100 yards per game in three of the last four seasons). Gellatly, though, emerged at slot back during last season, so that could be the difference-maker over a full season. Nonetheless, the offensive line is going to have to protect Mathews and cut down on last year's 29 sacks. The defense lost its two leading tacklers and is a no-name kind of unit. It ranked second-to-last in the league in total defense (407.7 ypg) last season and was awful against the run. Most of new coordinator Kim Dameron's key defensive players are juniors (including MLB Buehler, DE Minor and FS Barut) and sophomores (SS Nelson), so the unit figures to grow together. Despite all the buzz about the Big Red, who were picked third in the Ivy preseason poll, they haven't had a winning record in the league since 2005. They're anxious to back up the optimism with results.
Sept. 15 - at Fordham
Sept. 22 - vs. Yale
Sept. 29 - at Bucknell
Oct. 6 - at Harvard
Oct. 13 - vs. Monmouth
Oct. 20 - at Brown
Oct. 27 - vs. Princeton
Nov. 3 - vs. Dartmouth
Nov. 10 - at Columbia
Nov. 17 - vs. Penn
4. YALE BULLDOGS (5-5 overall, 4-3 Ivy)
COACH: Tony Reno (first season at Yale)
STARTERS RETURNING: 14 (9 offense/5 defense)
OFFENSIVE STAR: WR/KR Chris Smith, Sr. (28 receptions, 602 yards, 6 TD; 24- yard KO return average in six games; injured last season)
DEFENSIVE STAR: ILB Will McHale, Sr. (79 TT, 4.5 TFL, 1 INT, 2 FR, 1 FF)
OTHER KEY PLAYERS: QB John Whitelaw, Jr. (1-of-4, 8 yards)
RB Mordecai Cargill, Sr. (116 carries, 530 yards, 5 TD; 15 receptions, 171 yards, 2 TD)
RB Kahlil Keys, So. (injured last season)
FB Elijah Thomas, Jr. (7 carries, 34 yards)
WR/RB/RS Deon Randall, Jr. (48 receptions, 523 yards, 3 TD; 37 carries, 162 yards; 18.8-yard KO return average)
WR Cameron Sandquist, Jr. (18 receptions, 243 yards, 2 TD)
WR Allen Harris, Sr. (19 receptions, 200 yards, 1 TD)
WR Jackson Liquori, Jr. (21 receptions, 280 yards, 2 TD)
TE Keith Coty, Jr.
OL Wes Gavin, Jr. (injured last season)
OL Roy Collins, Sr.
OL Ben Carbery, So.
OL John Oppenheimer, Jr.
OL James Talerico, Jr.
DL Chris Dooley, Sr. (12 TT, 2.5 TFL)
DL Allen Davis, Sr. (11 TT, 1 FF)
OLB E.J. Conway, So. (6 TT, 3 sacks, 1 FR)
OLB Wes Moyer, Sr. (26 TT, 4.5 TFL, 2 PBU)
OLB Ryan Falbo, Sr. (16 TT)
ILB Brian Leffler, Sr. (18 TT, 1.5 TFL)
CB Kurt Stottlemyer, Sr. (23 TT, 1 INT, 7 PBU, 1 FF)
CB Colin Bibb, Sr. (24 TT, 5 TFL, 2 sacks, 1 PBU, 1 FF)
S Nick Okano, Jr. (35 TT, 2 INT, 4 PBU)
S John Powers, Sr. (22 TT, 2 TFL, 2 PBU)
PK Philippe Panico, Sr. (8-of-13 FG, 25-of-31 PAT)
P Kyle Cazzetta, So. (49 punts, 35.2 ypp)
BIGGEST LOSS: QB Patrick Witt (199-of-321, 2,368 yards, 17 TD, 14 INT)
OUTLOOK: Reno, a former Yale assistant under Jack Siedlecki, returns from three years working on the Harvard staff, replacing the fired Tom Williams. Reno knows how Harvard beats Yale. Now he has to figure out how to beat Harvard with a Yale program which has lost 10 of the last 11 meetings. Of course, that game isn't until the finale on Nov. 17. The first half of the schedule is quite manageable, so the Bulldogs have the chance to open the Reno era in a positive way. The offense needs to replace Witt at quarterback, but that job is made easier by the return of Cargill, Randall and Smith in the skills positions. Cargill rushed for 230 yards on 42 carries in a snowstorm at Columbia last October. Smith is a breakaway threat as a receiver and kick returner and Randall is a versatile runner and receiver who has All-Ivy ability. Reno will try to keep the offense balanced and needs his new quarterback, the athletic Whitelaw, to be a runner and a passer. Standout OL Gavin is a two-year starter coming off an injury-plagued campaign. The defense will be young. McHale is the headliner, having finished second on the team in tackles for two straight seasons. The defensive line was hit hard by graduation, but the secondary, led by Bibb and Okano, is a veteran group that's ready for a step forward.
Sept. 15 - at Georgetown
Sept. 22 - at Cornell
Sept. 29 - vs. Colgate
Oct. 6 - vs. Dartmouth
Oct. 13 - vs. Lafayette
Oct. 20 - vs. Penn
Oct. 27 - at Columbia
Nov. 3 - at Brown
Nov. 10 - vs. Princeton
Nov. 17 - at Harvard
5. BROWN BEARS (7-3 overall, 4-3 Ivy)
COACH: Phil Estes (85-54 in 14 seasons at Brown)
STARTERS RETURNING: 10 (5 offense/5 defense)
OFFENSIVE STAR: RB/KR Mark Kachmer, Jr. (124 carries, 569 yards, 4 TD; 31 receptions, 241 yards, 2 TD)
DEFENSIVE STAR: CB/RS A.J. Cruz, Sr. (60 TT, 3 INT, 5 PBU, 1 FR, 1 BK; 31.2- yard KO return average)
OTHER KEY PLAYERS: QB Patrick Donnelly, Jr. (43-of-81, 411 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT; 18 carries, 114 yards in 2010; injured last season)
RB Spiro Theodhosi, Sr. (injured last two seasons)
FB Jackson Freeman, Sr.
FB Cody Taulbee, Jr.
WR Tellef Lundevall, Sr. (51 receptions, 516 yards, 4 TD)
WR Jonah Fay, Sr. (19 receptions, 239 yards, 2 TD)
WR Jordan Evans, Jr.
TE Alex Harris, Sr.
TE Andrew Marks, Jr.
LT Jack Templeton, Sr.
LG Nate Bernstein, Sr.
C Nathan Svensson, Jr.
RT Cole Hooper, Sr.
DE Michael Yules, Jr. (11 TT, 6.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks, 1 FF)
DT Ross Walthall, Sr.
DT Brett Polacek, Jr. (13 TT, 2 TFL)
DT Patxi Colbern, Sr. (12 TT, 1.5 TFL, 1 PBU)
DL Ross Walthall, Sr. (20 TT, 2 TFL, 1 QBH)
DL Stephen Fox, Sr. (9 TT, 1.5 TFL, 1 PBU)
LB Stephen Zambetti, Sr. (20 TT, 1 sacks)
DB Anthony Franciosi, Sr. (9 TT)
PK Alex Norocea, Jr. (7-of-13 FG, 29-of-31 PAT)
RS/WR Jordan Evans, Jr.
BIGGEST LOSS: QB Kyle Newhall-Caballero (226-of-370, 2,356 yards, 18 TD, 7 INT)
OUTLOOK: During the Estes era, the Bears have been the Ivy League's third-best program behind Harvard and Penn, capturing three championships. This year, they have to fill plenty of holes if they are going to be competitive in a schedule that is especially tough in September. QB Donnelly, back from injury, worked out of the Wildcat offense in 2010, so the Bears can throw a different look at opponents. With speed and power in the backfield, Donnelly will want to get the ball to the running backs, especially Kachmer, who has All-Ivy ability. The Bears will utilize their tight ends more than some Ivy teams and they have one of the league's best O-linemen in LT Templeton. The Bears' defensive improvement under Estes has been overlooked because of Brown's usually potent offense, but this year's unit is back to being vulnerable after it suffered numerous graduation losses. The only returning player who ranked in the top nine for tackles last season was CB Cruz, who was fifth with 60. In addition to Cruz, the strength is the defensive line, which has a deep rotation, led by DT Walthall.
Sept. 15 - at Holy Cross
Sept. 22 - vs. Harvard
Sept. 29 - at Georgetown
Oct. 6 - at Rhode Island
Oct. 13 - at Princeton
Oct. 20 - vs. Cornell
Oct. 27 - at Penn
Nov. 3 - vs. Yale
Nov. 10 - at Dartmouth
Nov. 17 - vs. Columbia
6. PRINCETON TIGERS (1-9 overall, 1-6 Ivy)
COACH: Bob Surace (2-18 in two seasons at Princeton; 20-21 overall)
STARTERS RETURNING: 13 (6 offense/7 defense)
DEFENSIVE STAR: DT Caraun Reid, Sr. (68 TT, 16 TFL, 8 sacks, 3 PBU, 3 QBH, 1 FR, 1 FF, 3 BK_
OTHER KEY PLAYERS: QB Quinn Epperly, So. (23-of-52, 259 yards, 3 INT; 43 carries, 215 yards, 2 TD)
QB Connor Michelsen, So.
TB Will Powers, So.
TB Jon Esposito, So.
TB Brian Mills, Jr. (53 carries, 236 yards, 1 TD in six games - injured last season)
FB Joe Bonura, So.
WR Shane Wilkinson, Sr. (38 receptions, 384 yards, 1 TD)
WR/PR Matt Costello, So. (29 receptions, 341 yards; 6-yard punt return average)
WR Tom Moak, Sr. (9 receptions, 86 yards, 1 TD)
WR Connor Kelley, So.
TE Mark Hayes, Sr. (11 receptions, 107 yards, 1 TD)
LT Spencer Huston, So.
LG Taylor Pearson, Jr.
C Joe Goss, Jr.
RG Max Coale, Jr.
RT Kevin Mill, Sr.
DE Mike Catapano, Sr. (49 TT, 10 TFL, 5 sacks, 3 PBU, 2 QBH, 1 BK)
NG Greg Sotereanos, Jr. (24 TT, 2.5 TFL, 3 QBH)
OLB Matt Landry, Sr. (24 TT, 5 TFL, 3 sacks, 1 QBH, 1 FF)
ILB Tim Kingsbury, Sr. (43 TT, 1.5 TFL, 1 PBU)
ILB Alex Polofsky, Jr.
ILB Garrit Leicht, So. (20 TT)
OLB Andrew Starks, Sr. (80 TT, 5 TFL, 1 FR)
CB Khamal Brown, So. (51 TT, 2.5 TFL, 1 PBU)
CB Trocon Davis, Jr.
SS Mandela Sheaffer, Sr. (52 TT, 1.5 TFL, 1 PBU)
FS Jimmy von Thron, So.
PK Brendan Sofen, So.
P Joe Cloud, Sr. (31 punts, 40.7 ypp)
BIGGEST LOSS: RB Chuck Dibilio (201 carries, 1,068 yards, 6 TD; 13 receptions, 142 yards, 2 TD)
OUTLOOK: The Tigers continue to be an enigma, having suffered through five straight losing seasons and bottoming out with back-to-back last-place finishes in Surace's first two seasons. They won't have Dibilio, the 2011 Ivy League Rookie of the Year, who suffered a stroke in January and is out of school for rehabilitation. They also are replacing QB Tommy Wornham, who was a starter over three seasons but also plagued by injuries. The defense will be much improved after finishing seventh in the league in scoring defense (32.5 ppg) and sixth in total defense (396.5 ypg). Up front, the Tigers feature outstanding pass rushers in DT Reid and DE Catapano. Their presence makes LBS Kingsbury and Starks even better and will allow for the young secondary to mature as a unit. QB Epperly can run with the football; the question is, how well can he pass it? At least the Tigers have some solid wide receivers in Costello and Wilkinson. The loss of PK Patrick Jacob was a big one, but the Tigers should have the league's best punter in Cloud. It seems time for the Tigers program to win more often. At least that's what everybody thinks.
Sept. 15 - at Lehigh
Sept. 21 - vs. Georgetown
Sept. 29 - at Columbia
Oct. 6 - at Lafayette
Oct. 13 - vs. Brown
Oct. 20 - vs. Harvard
Oct. 27 - at Cornell
Nov. 3 - vs. Penn
Nov. 10 - at Yale
Nov. 17 - vs. Dartmouth
7. DARTMOUTH BIG GREEN (5-5 overall, 4-3 Ivy)
COACH: Buddy Teevens (46-72-2 in 11 seasons at Dartmouth; 80-149-2 overall)
STARTERS RETURNING: 6 (4 offense/2 defense)
OFFENSIVE STAR: TB Dominick Pierre, Jr. (78 carries, 382 yards, 4 TD)
DEFENSIVE STAR: WLB Bronson Green, Jr. (82 TT, 2 INT, 2 FR, 1 FF)
OTHER KEY PLAYERS: QB Alex Park, So. (6-of-8, 48 yards)
QB Cameron Crage, So.
TB Greg Patton, Sr. (42 carries, 197 yards, 2 TD)
WR Michael Reilly, Sr. (22 receptions, 525 yards, 3 TD in 2010; sat our last season)
WR/KR Kirby Schoenthaler, So. (25 receptions, 227 yards, 1 TD)
WR Bo Patterson, So. (24 receptions, 301 yards, 2 TD)
TE Justin Foley, Jr.
LT John Scheve, Sr.
LG Patrick Lahey, Sr. (injured last season)
C Rob Bathe, Sr.
RG Cohle Fowler, Jr.
RT Scotty Whitmore, So.
DE John Golio, Sr. (12 TT, 2.5 TFL, 1 PBU, 1 BK)
DE Mick Davis, Sr. (12 TT, 1.5 TFL)
DE Teddy Reed, Sr. (23 TT, 2.5 TFL, 2 PBU, 1 BK)
DT Martin Pomykala, Jr. (11 TT, 2.5 TFL)
NG Elliot Kastner, Sr.
SLB Eric Wickham, So.
MLB Michael Runger, Jr. (29 TT, 2 TFL)
CB Chai Reece, So.
CB/PR Chase Womack, Sr. (7 TT, 2 PBU in two games)
SS Cole Pembroke, Sr.
SS Mike Banaciski, Jr. (44 TT, 1.5 TFL, 4 PBU, 1 FR)
FS Garrett Waggoner, Sr. (9 TT in two games; injured last season)
PK Riley Lyons, So.
P Daniel Barstein, Jr. (50 punts, 37.4 ypp)
BIGGEST LOSS: RB Nick Schwieger (241 carries, 1,310 yards, 10 TD; 23 receptions, 119 yards)
OUTLOOK: The good news? The Big Green posted their highest finish in the league since 2003 by tying for second place last season. The bad news? They are returning a mere six starters from last season. The latter news would seem to make for a trying season, but the Big Green are getting back some key players who missed all or most of last season. It includes two of their three captains, LG Lahey, a 2010 starter, and FS Waggoner, the team's tackle leader in 2010. In addition, WR Reilly hopes to build on his 1,063 receiving yards and the secondary gets back CB Womack, who picked off four passes in 2010. Teevens has played a lot of players in recent seasons, so that will offset some of the personnel losses. The team's biggest hole would seem to be in the backfield, but Pierre, who has rushed for five yards per carry in his career, gets a chance to come out of Schwieger's shadow. It's imperative for the untested Park to settle in at quarterback. He was impressive in spring practice. On defense, Green had a breakout season at linebacker with at least nine tackles in seven of the 10 games. The Big Green will rotate home and away games throughout the schedule. It's hard to imagine them improving on last season.
Sept. 15 - vs. Butler
Sept. 22 - at Holy Cross
Sept. 29 - vs. Penn
Oct. 6 - at Yale
Oct. 13 - vs. Sacred Heart
Oct. 20 - at Columbia
Oct. 27 - vs. Harvard
Nov. 3 - at Cornell
Nov. 10 - vs. Brown
Nov. 17 - at Princeton
8. COLUMBIA LIONS (1-9 overall, 1-6 Ivy)
COACH: Pete Mangurian (first season at Columbia; 16-14 overall)
STARTERS RETURNING: 9 (5 offense/4 defense)
OFFENSIVE STAR: QB Sean Brackett, Sr. (156-of-315, 1,831 yards, 15 TD, 11 INT; 133 carries, 379 yards, 6 TD)
DEFENSIVE STAR: LB Josh Martin, Sr. (63 TT, 13 TFL, 7 sacks, 2 PBU, 4 QBH, 1 FF, 1 BK)
OTHER KEY PLAYERS: RB Griffin Lowry, Jr. (47 carries, 164 yards, 2 TD)
RB Marcorus Garrett, Jr. (83 carries, 232 yards, 2 TD; 10 receptions, 46 yards)
RB Nick Gerst, Sr. (27 carries, 143 yards, 2 TD in five games)
RB/KR Alec Fisher, So.
WR Louis DiNivo, Jr. (17 receptions, 190 yards)
WR Jake Wanamaker, So. (UTSA transfer)
WR Isaiah Gross, Fr.
WR Dan Slivka, So.
TE Hamilton Garner, Jr. (24 receptions, 339 yards, 6 TD)
LT Scott Ward, Sr.
LG Alec Kosminskas, Sr.
C/RT Jimmy Yukevich, Jr.
C Ryan Thomas, So.
RG Eric Walker, Sr.
OL Joe Ghergurovich, Jr.
OL Tom Callahan, So.
DE Wells Childress, Jr.
DE Nick Melka, Jr. (20 TT, 4 TFL, 2 QBH)
DE Seyi Adebayo, Sr. (24 TT, 7 TFL, 2 sacks, 2 FR, 1 FF)
DE Chad Washington, So.
NT Shad Sommers, Sr. (11 TT, 2 sacks, 1 PBU)
LB Mike Waller, Sr. (47 TT, 9 TFL, 2 sacks, 1 FR, 1 FF)
LB Ryan Murphy, Sr. (43 TT, 10 TFL, 5 sacks, 2 FR, 1 FF)
LB Ray Pesanello, So.
LB Zach Olinger, Jr. (51 TT, 2 TFL, 1 FR, 2 FF in seven games)
LB Brian East, Jr. (15 TT)
CB Brian DeVeau, Sr. (18 TT)
CB Brandon Blackshear, Fr.
SS Jeremy Mingo, Jr.
FS Steve Grassa, Sr. (19 TT, 1 PBU)
S Marquel Carter, Jr. (47 TT, 1 PBU, 2 FF)
DB Kevin McCarthy, Fr.
PK Luke Eddy, Jr. (2-of-5 FG, 25-of-29 PAT)
P Paul Delaney, Jr. 57 punts, 35.6 ypp)
BIGGEST LOSSES: WR Kurt Williams (44 receptions, 595 yards, 4 TD) and LT Jeff Adams
OUTLOOK: Mangurian, the Cornell coach from 1998-2000, returns to the Ivy League to jump-start a Lions program that had been respectable under Norries Wilson until it fell apart last season. He inherits a young lineup that has one of the league's best quarterbacks, Brackett, who played hurt last season. Brackett hopes to return to the production of his sophomore season in 2010, when he compiled a league-high 2,588 yards of total offense and was named to the All-Ivy first team. He will have a young group of wide receivers, although newcomers Wanamaker (a transfer) and Gross (a freshman) will provide a lift. One of his favorite targets is TE Garner, who hauled in six touchdowns as a sophomore. There's enough options at running back, but the offensive line has to step up its play after losing longtime leader Adams to graduation. Outside Brackett, the strength of the team is the front seven on defense. Pass-rushing LB Martin leads the aggressive group. Like the wide receivers, the retooling secondary will have a freshman influence, including the likes of Blackshear and McCarthy. The Lions gained their only win last year in their finale versus Brown. This year, they open the Mangurian era with three straight home games and six overall.
Sept. 15 - vs. Marist
Sept. 22 - vs. Fordham
Sept. 29 - vs. Princeton
Oct. 6 - at Lehigh
Oct. 13 - at Penn
Oct. 20 - vs. Dartmouth
Oct. 27 - vs. Yale
Nov. 3 - at Harvard
Nov. 10 - vs. Cornell
Nov. 17 - at Brown