FCS Season Preview: Ivy League
By Craig Haley, FCS Executive Director
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
If there's any doubt Ivy League football is full of prime-time players and teams this season, consider this:
Each of the eight teams will play at night this season as the Ancient Eight gets a boost from the energy and enthusiastic that go with, well, Saturday Night Lights.
Two-time defending champion Penn leads the way with four 6 p.m. games to open its season. Brown and Princeton will play three times under the lights. Dartmouth will play in its first-ever night game.
Most of the games will occur in the first half of the season when colder weather in the Northeast likely isn't as much of a factor. Often the home team is matched against an opponent with a relatively short travel distance.
The change in scheduling likely couldn't occur in a better year.
Penn QB Billy Ragone is hoping to lead the Quakers to a third straight Ivy League championship, which hasn't happened since Dartmouth won the 1990-92 titles.
Each Ivy team returns its starting quarterback in what some have called the league's deepest class in two decades. Plus the league title race could be more than just Penn-Harvard, Harvard-Penn, because in addition to those perennial powers, Brown, Yale and Dartmouth are very much in the picture.
Scoring should be up across the league as the offensive-filled season will play out on Saturday evenings, not just Saturday afternoons, in the fall.
"I think with these night games, there's just an element of enthusiasm," Brown head coach Phil Estes said. "Playing at night, I think it brings them back to their high school days of playing Friday night games."
"There's no question that, number one, and most importantly, is that it increases attendance," Harvard coach Tim Murphy said. "We've had several night games with over 20,000 fans, and that's a great take at an Ivy League school."
Penn is seeking to become first team to win three straight Ivy League titles since Dartmouth claimed the 1990-92 crowns. Following is a team-by-team breakdown of the 2011 league race.
The Sports Network's predicted order of finish:
Offensive Player of the Year: Nick Schwieger, RB, Dartmouth
Defensive Player of the Year: Josue Ortiz, DT, Harvard
1. HARVARD CRIMSON (7-3 overall; 5-2 Ivy)
COACH: Tim Murphy (111-58 in 17 seasons at Harvard; 143-103-1 overall)
STARTERS RETURNING: 14 (6 offense/8 defense)
Harvard DT Josue Ortiz is anxious to shut down the many talented quarterbacks across the Ivy League.
OFFENSIVE STAR: QB Collier Winters, Sr. (86 of 141 for 892 yards, 5 TDs and 5 INTs; 32 carries, 36 yards, 3 TDs)
DEFENSIVE STAR: DT Josue Ortiz, Sr. (54 TT, 13.5 TFL, 7.5 sacks, 4 PBU, 5 QBH, 1 FR, 1 FF, 1 blocked kick)
OTHER KEY PLAYERS:
QB Colton Chapple, Jr. (36 of 76 for 439 yards, 3 TDs and 3 INTs)
TB/KR Treavor Scales, Jr. (87 carries, 520 yards, 3 TDs)
TB Rich Zajeski, Jr. (41 carries, 201 yards, 3 TDs)
WR Chris Lorditch, Sr. (5 receptions, 86 yards, 2 TDs; injured much of last season)
WR Adam Chrissis, Sr. (40 receptions, 481 yards, 1 TD)
WR Matt Brown, So. (8 receptions, 85 yards)
TE Kyle Juszczyk, Jr. (25 receptions, 234 yards, 4 TDs)
TE Cam Brate, So.
LT Kevin Murphy, Sr.
LG Nick Scheidler, Jr.
C Jack Holuba, Jr.
RG John Collins, Jr.
RT Matt McCarthy, Jr.
DE Ben Graeff, Sr. (25 TT, 6 TFL, 5 sacks, 1 FF)
DE/DT John Lyon, Jr.
DE Zach Hodges, Fr.
DT Nnamdi Obukwelu, Jr. (16 TT, 1.5 TFL, 2 QBH, 1 blocked kick)
OLB Blaise Deal, Jr. (27 TT, 1 TFL, 1 INT, 3 PBU)
MLB Alex Gedeon, Sr. (50 TT, 5 TFL, 2 INTs, 3 PBU, 1 QBH)
MLB Bobby Schneider, Jr. (40 TT, 2.5 TFL, 1 INT, 1 QBH, 1 FR)
OLB Alexander Norman, Jr. (36 TT, 4 TFL, 2 sacks, 2 INTs, 1 PBU)
OLB Josh Boyd, Jr. (22 TT, 2.5 sacks, 1 INT, 1 PBU, 1 QBH)
CB/RS Matthew Hanson, Sr. (41 TT, 1 INT, 6 PBU; 21-yard KO return average)
CB Brian Owusu, Jr. (injured last season)
SS Jonathan Mason, Jr. (27 TT, 2 PBU, 1 FR, 2 FF)
FS D.J. Monroe, Jr. (13 TT, 2 PBU; injured much of last season)
S Dan Minamide, Sr. (39 TT, 1 INT, 11 PBU, 1 FR, 1 FF)
PK David Mothander, So. (9 of 15 FG, 43 long; 34 of 35 PAT)
P/PK Jacob Dombrowski, Jr. (42 punts, 36.4 ypp)
OUTLOOK: Harvard's consistency is incredible: it has posted at least seven wins in each of the last 10 seasons - an unmatched run in Ivy history. The Crimson have beaten arch-rival Yale in nine of those seasons. But they haven't scaled Penn in each of the last two seasons, and second-place finishes don't sit well at Cambridge. This year's noticeable difference will be on defense, which could be the Ivy's best after ranking second to you-know-who last season. DT Ortiz might be the league's most unstoppable force and Gedeon leads an experienced linebackers unit. The secondary's key losses include standout safety Collin Zych, but CB Hanson is a four-year starter and CB Owusu and FS Monroe were projected starters who had injuries last season. Speaking of injuries, QB Winters made a surprise return in the second half of the season from a torn adductor muscle and labrum, and showed leadership that inspired teammates. He has passing options, but getting the ball to Scales, who has rushed for over 1,000 yards in his first two seasons, is his first plan of attack. LT Murphy (6-foot-7, 303 pounds) anchors the offensive line as a pro prospect. The home/away match-ups of Harvard's league schedule is more favorable than Penn's.
2. BROWN BEARS (6-4 overall; 5-2 Ivy)
COACH: Phil Estes (78-51 in 13 seasons at Brown)
STARTERS RETURNING: 11 (5 offense/6 defense)
OFFENSIVE STAR: QB Kyle Newhall-Caballero, Sr. (32 of 51 for 407 yards, 3 TDs and 2 INTs; injured much of last season)
DEFENSIVE STAR: CB/RS A.J. Cruz, Jr. (33 TT, 2 INTs, 8 PBU; 22.7-yard KO return average)
OTHER KEY PLAYERS:
QB Patrick Donnelly, Jr. (43 of 81 for 411 yards, 1 TD and 2 INTs; 18 carries, 114 yards)
TB/KR Mark Kachmer, Jr. (134 carries, 557 yards, 8 TDs; 25.6-yard KO return average)
FB Jackson Freeman, Jr. (3 carries, 9 yards)
WR Alex Tounkara, Sr. (61 receptions, 842 yards, 4 TDs)
Brown WR Alex Tounkara was second in the Ivy League in receptions (61) and receiving yards (842) last season.
WR Matthew Sudfeld, Sr. (injured last season)
WR Jimmy Saros, Sr. (42 receptions, 481 yards, 4 TDs; 6 carries, 29 yards, 1 TD)
WR Jonah Fay, Sr. (22 receptions, 204 yards, 1 TD)
WR Tellef Lundevall, Jr. (32 receptions, 370 yards, 2 TDs)
C Jack Geiger, Sr.
OG Luke Landers, Sr.
OG Evan Johnson, Sr.
OT Jack Templeton, Jr.
DE Clay McGrath, Sr. (42 TT, 13.5 TFL, 6 sacks, 1 PBU, 2 QBH)
DE Patxi Colbern, Jr. (11 TT, 3.5 TFL, 2 sacks)
DT Joseph Rettig, Sr. (29 TT, 3.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks, 1 QBH)
DT Stephen Fox, Jr. (17 TT, 1.5 sacks, 3 PBU, 2 QBH, 1 FR)
ILB Matt O'Donnell, Sr. (24 TT, 2 TFL, 1 INT, 1 PBU)
ILB Brett Wyman, Sr. (14 TT, 1 PBU, 1 FF)
OLB Shane Cooney, Sr. (12 TT, 3 PBU)
OLB Daniel Smithwick, Sr. (15 TT)
CB Mel Farr, Sr. (19 TT, 1 INT, 2 PBU)
S Steve Peyton, Sr. (79 TT, 2 INTs, 4 PBU, 1 FR)
PK Alex Norocea, So. (15 of 21 FG, 45 long; 26 of 27 PAT)
P Nate Lovett, Sr. (33 punts, 42.1 ypp)
OUTLOOK: No Ivy team is happier about getting its quarterback back (Newhall- Caballero) than Brown and no signal-caller has more weapons on the perimeter than Newhall-Caballero. Yes, the ball will be flying at Brown. Newhall- Caballero was the first-team all-league QB in 2009, when he ranked second in the FCS with 25.9 completions per game, but was injured for most of last season. Tounkara leads the deep receivers unit which gets Sudfeld back from injury. Also, TB Kachmer is coming off a breakout season. The once-maligned defense has improved in recent years and this season the defensive line is the strength, full of excellent pass rushers led by McGrath (tied Harvard's Josue Ortiz for a league-high 13.5 TFL). The excellent secondary, led by shutdown CB Cruz and physical FS Peton, is a necessity in the Ivy's year of the quarterback. At linebacker, the Bears are replacing all three starters. Still, the pieces are there. Can Estes put them together for his fourth Ivy title?
3. PENN QUAKERS (9-1 overall; 7-0 Ivy)
COACH: Al Bagnoli (131-57 in 19 seasons at Penn)
STARTERS RETURNING: 7 (3 offense/4 defense)
OFFENSIVE STAR: QB Billy Ragone, Jr. (70 of 123 for 834 yards, 6 TDs and 5 INTs; 87 carries, 548 yards, 7 TDs)
DEFENSIVE STARS: DT Brandon Copeland, Jr. (45 TT, 10 TFL, 3 sacks, 1 INT, 1 PBU, 1 FF) and LB Erik Rask, Sr. (65 TT, 8 TFL, 3.5 sacks, 4 PBU, 1 FR, 1 blocked kick)
OTHER KEY PLAYERS:
QB Ryan Becker, So. (44 of 76 for 548 yards, 2 TDs and 4 INTs)
RB Brandon Colavita, Jr. (125 carries, 728 yards, 12 TDs)
RB Lyle Marsh, Jr. (22 carries, 108 yards, 1 TD; injured much of last season)
RB Jeff Jack, Jr. (104 carries, 466 yards, 2 TDs; 4 receptions, 44 yards, 2 TDs)
FB Greg Schuster, Jr. (6 carries, 41 yards, 1 TD)
WR Conner Scott, So. (10 receptions, 106 yards, 1 TD)
WR Joe Holder, Sr. (2 receptions, 52 yards; injured much of last season)
WR/RS Ryan Calvert, Sr. (6 receptions, 65 yards)
TE Luke Nawrocki, Sr. (18 receptions, 184 yards)
LT Greg Van Roten, Sr.
LG Garrett Moore, Jr.
C Sam Graham, Jr.
C Chris Bush, So.
RG Mike Pinciotti, Jr.
RT Alec Smith, Sr.
DE Kameron Jones, Sr. (5 TT, 1.5 TFL)
DE Brian Giesecke, Sr. (9 TT, 1.5 TFL)
NG Joe Silberzweig, Sr. (10 TT, 2 TFL)
DT Jared Sholly, Jr. (injured last season)
LB Steve Lias, Jr. (24 TT, 3.5 TFL, 2.5 sacks)
CB/KR Matt Hamscher, Sr. (48 TT, 7 TFL, 4.5 sacks, 1 INT, 3 PBU, 1 FF; 28-yard
KO return average)
CB Justyn Williams, Jr. (28 TT, 2 TFL, 3 PBU)
CB Anthony Marino, Jr.
FS Jason Schmucker, Jr. (18 TT, 1 sack, 1 INT, 3 PBU)
SS Evan Jackson, So. (3 TT, 2 PBU)
PK Dan Lipschutz, Sr.
PK Connor Loftus, Fr.
P Scott Lopano, Jr. (35 punts, 38.7 ypp)
OUTLOOK: The fact Penn didn't lead in any of the Ivy's major individual statistical categories last season but in most of the major team categories reflects the type of program the Quakers have under Bagnoli, the Ivy's dean of head coaches. But considering the Quakers have the fewest returning starters in the league, they will be hard-pressed to run the table like they have in winning back-to-back Ivy titles (the streak stands at 15 games). The Quakers will have the league's most balanced running game, starting with elusive QB Ragone and including three junior running backs (Colavita, Marsh and Jack) who have all rushed for at least 466 yards in a season. As a sophomore, Ragone was the All-Ivy first-team QB along with Columbia's Sean Brackett. LT Van Roten is an all-league talent on a rebuilt offensive line. The league's stingiest defense - especially against the run - won't take a big step back despite its many losses. Sholly is back from injury to combine with Copeland as dominant defensive tackles, Rask will fly around at linebacker and the Quakers have an experienced secondary. There's no replacing Andrew Samson, the program's all- time leading scorer, but Loftus is the future at place-kicker. Penn was the favorite in the league's preseason poll, but a tricky game at Dartmouth on Oct. 1 could turn the league race upside down.
4. YALE BULLDOGS (7-3 overall; 5-2 Ivy)
COACH: Tom Williams (11-9 in two seasons at Yale)
STARTERS RETURNING: 20 (11 offense/9 defense)
OFFENSIVE STAR: QB Patrick Witt, Sr. (212 of 351 for 2,216 yards, 12 TDs and 12 INTs)
DEFENSIVE STAR: LB Jordan Haynes, Sr. (102 TT, 8.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks, 2 INTs, 1 PBU, 3 FR)
OTHER KEY PLAYERS:
TB Alex Thomas, Sr. (163 carries, 710 yards, 9 TDs; 27 receptions, 247 yards, 1 TD)
TB/WR/RS Deon Randall, So. (13 carries, 80 yards; 29 receptions, 154 yards; 27.4-yard KO return average)
TB Mordecai Cargill, Jr. (59 carries, 290 yards; 7 carries, 66 yards)
Yale QB Patrick Witt threw for an Ivy League-best 2,216 yards in 2010.
FB Elijah Thomas, So. (14 carries, 26 yards)
WR Allen Harris, Jr. (14 receptions, 108 yards, 2 TDs)
WR/PR Gio Christodoulou, Sr. (38 receptions, 563 yards, 1 TD; 11.5-yard punt return average)
WR/KR Chris Smith, Jr. (46 receptions, 452 yards, 1 TD; 27.1-yard KO return average, 2 TDs)
WR Cameron Sandquist, So. (3 receptions, 29 yards, 2 TDs)
LG Colin Kruger, Sr.
RT Wes Gavin, So.
RG Gabe Fernandez, Sr.
C John Oppenheimer, So.
OL Roy Collins, Jr.
DT Pat Moran, Sr. (injured last season)
DT Jake Stoller, Sr. (21 TT, 3.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks)
DT Reed Spiller, Sr. (11 TT, 3.5 TFL, 2 sacks)
DT Chris Dooley, Jr. (16 TT, 1.5 TFL, 1 blocked kick)
DE Matt Battaglia, Sr. (6 TT, 2 TFL, 2 PBU)
DE Cliff Foreman, Sr. (3 TT, 1 PBU)
DE/LB Austin Pulsipher, Sr. (10 TT, 2 TFL, 2 PBU)
LB Will McHale, Jr. (55 TT, 2.5 TFL, 2 INTs)
LB Wes Moyer, Sr. (11 TT, 2.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks)
CB Drew Baldwin, Sr. (25 TT, 5 PBU)
CB Colin Bibb, Jr.
SS Nick Okano, So. (7 TT)
FS Geoff Dunham, Sr. (47 TT, 2 INTs, 5 PBU, 1 FR)
S John Powers, Jr. (14 TT)
PK Philippe Panico, Jr. (6 of 14 FG, 39 long; 17 of 18 PAT)
P Greg Carlsen, So. (27 punts, 34.9 ypp)
OUTLOOK: The Bulldogs have their most Ivy championship-level team in a while, but they have to get over the Harvard and Penn hump, having been swept by the two powers in the last three seasons. Their title thoughts center around the offense. QB Witt, in his third season since transferring in from Nebraska, should set some Yale records this season and can go to a host of excellent receivers, led by Christodoulou and Smith, who are both return specialists as well. Hard-running Alex Thomas might be a 1,000-yard rusher behind the Bulldogs' experienced offensive line, although Cargill is deserving of carries, too. The defense has not been its old stout self in recent seasons. The linebackers, led by Haynes, and secondary, led by Baldwin, are the strengths of the defense. Although the special teams are excellent, PK Panico was 0-for-8 on field-goal attempts of at least 40 yards. All three of last year's losses were by a touchdown or less. With an experienced team that is in its third season under Williams, the Bulldogs are ready to turn the close losses into wins.
5. DARTMOUTH BIG GREEN (6-4 overall; 3-4 Ivy)
COACH: Buddy Teevens (41-67-2 in 11 seasons at Dartmouth)
STARTERS RETURNING: 18 (9 offense/9 defense)
OFFENSIVE STAR: TB Nick Schwieger, Sr. (242 carries, 1,133 yards, 14 TDs; 28 receptions, 210 yards)
DEFENSIVE STAR: CB/RS Shawn Abuhoff, Sr. (45 TT, 4 TFL, 10 PBU, 1 FF; 26.4- yard KO return average; 17.2-yard punt return average, 3 TDs)
OTHER KEY PLAYERS:
QB Connor Kempe, Sr. (137 of 253 for 1,647 yards, 8 TDs and 12 INTs; 41 carries, 53 yards, 2 TDs)
QB Alex Park, R-Fr. (New Hampshire transfer)
QB Dan Rooney, Sr. (2 of 3 for 70 yards and 1 TD)
TB Dominick Pierre, So. (71 carries, 362 yards, 4 TDs; 7 receptions, 31 yards)
WR Tim McManus, Sr. (38 receptions, 528 yards, 2 TDs; 12 carries, 64 yards)
WR Garrett Babb, Sr. (2 receptions, 1 yard)
WR Bo Patterson, Fr.
TE John Gallagher, Sr. (16 receptions, 133 yards, 3 TDs)
LT Kyle Cook, Sr.
LG Ryan O'Neill, Sr.
C Austen Fletcher, Sr.
RG Patrick Lahey, Sr.
RT Grant Palmer, Sr.
DE Matt Oh, Sr. (17 TT)
DE Connor Phillips, Sr. (18 TT, 2.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks, 1 PBU, 1 FR)
DE Teddy Reed, Jr. (19 TT, 1.5 TFL)
DT Eddie Smith, Sr. (40 TT, 8 TFL, 4 sacks, 4 PBU, 2 FR)
NG Mark Dwyer, Sr. (30 TT, 3 TFL)
NG Royce Egeolu, Sr. (9 TT, 3 TFL, 2 sacks)
MLB Garrett Wymore, Jr. (27 TT, 1 PBU)
OLB Luke Hussey, Sr. (48 TT, 2 TFL, 1 INT, 1 PBU, 1 FR)
OLB Bronson Green, So.
OLB Tyler Melancon, Sr.
LB Miles Gay, Jr.
CB J.B. Andreassi, Jr. (7 TT, 1 TFL, 1 PBU)
CB Chase Womack, Jr. (27 TT, 4 INTs, 1 PBU)
CB A.J. Dettorre, Sr. (15 TT, 1 INT, 3 PBU)
SS Joey Casey, Sr. (58 TT, 1 PBU)
FS Garrett Waggoner, Jr. (61 TT, 2 TFL, 2 PBU)
PK Foley Schmidt, Sr. (7 of 11 FG, 45 long; 33 of 35 PAT)
P Daniel Barstein, So. (43 punts, 37.6 ypp)
OUTLOOK: The Big Green are hoping to build off their first winning season since 1996, and three of the four losses were tight affairs. They should be considered the darkhorse in the title race, but probably will have to open league play with a win over Penn and later face Yale, Harvard and Brown on the road. The Big Green have a new offensive coordinator for the third straight season in Keith Clark and it's possible the offense will start only seniors. The leading role goes to two-time Ivy rushing leader Schwieger, who shared the league's 2010 player of the year award with Harvard RB Gino Gordon. QB Kempe was reinstated from an offseason suspension and is highly experienced, but needs to cut down on interceptions. McManus is a dynamic player on the perimeter, but the loss of speedy WR Michael Reilly to academics set the offense back. Defensively, the Big Green, once the league's worst unit, have developed an aggressive, pass-rushing unit. The secondary is among the league's best, featuring CB Abuhoff and last year's tackler leaders, safeties Waggoner and Casey. Abuhoff is an All-America punt returner as well.
6. Princeton Tigers (1-9 overall; 0-7 Ivy)
COACH: Bob Surace (1-9 in one season at Princeton; 19-12 overall)
STARTERS RETURNING: 13 (5 offense/8 defense)
OFFENSIVE STAR: QB Tommy Wornham, Sr. (107 of 187 for 1,104 yards, 5 TDs and 5 INTs; 29 carries, 76 yards, 2 TDs; injured half of last season)
DEFENSIVE STAR: LB Steven Cody, Sr. (12 TT, 1 TFL; injured much of last season)
OTHER KEY PLAYERS:
QB Drew Ellis, Sr. (60 of 121 for 610 yards, 4 TDs and 5 INTs)
RB Akil Sharp, Jr. (28 carries, 124 yards)
RB Brian Mills, So. (45 carries, 131 yards, 1 TD; 5 receptions, 14 yards)
FB Jason Ray, So.
WR Isaac Serwanga, Sr. (15 receptions, 160 yards)
WR Shane Wilkinson, Jr. (11 receptions, 144 yards)
WR Connor Kelley, So. (44 carries, 95 yards as RB last season)
LT Kevin Mill, Jr. (injured last season)
LT Taylor Pearson, So.
LG Matt Allen, Sr.
C Joe Goss, So.
RT Kevin DeMaio, Sr.
RG Chris Grous, Sr.
DE Mike Catapano, Sr. (37 TT, 2.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks, 2 PBU, 1 QBH, 2 FR, 1 FF)
DE Dan Fitzsimmons, Sr. (32 TT, 4 TFL, 2 sacks, 1 INT)
DE Matt Landry, Jr. (10 TT, 1 sack, 2 PBU, 1 FF)
DT Caraun Reid, Jr. (injured last season)
DT Adam Shippey, Sr.
DL Brandon Glyck, Sr. (7 TT)
LB Andrew Starks, Jr. (89 TT, 7 TFL, 2 INTs, 2 PBU, 1 FR)
LB Tim Kingsbury, Jr. (72 TT, 3 TFL, 1 PBU, 2 FR)
LB Ryan Gallagher, Sr. (14 TT, 2 TFL, 1 PBU)
CB Blake Clemons, Sr. (47 TT, 1.5 TFL, 2 INTs, 2 PBU)
CB Phillip Bhaya, So. (20 TT, 3 PBU)
CB Taylor James, So.
CB Trocon Davis, So.
SS Mandela Sheaffer, Jr. (60 TT, 2 PBU, 1 FF)
FS Jaiye Falusi, Sr. (33 TT, 1 INT, 1 PBU)
PK Patrick Jacob, Sr. (14 of 18 FG, 43 long; 13 of 14 PAT)
P Joe Cloud, Sr. (34 punts, 42.7 ypp)
OUTLOOK: Year 2 of the Surace era deserves better luck. The Tigers were devastated by injuries last season, especially to their standout players (QB Wornham, OL Mill, LB Cody and DT Reid), who are back again this season. The league's worst defense (441.9 ypg, 33.4 ppg) should rebound in a big way. The Tigers have a superb set of linebackers, with Cody, Starks and Kingsbury. Rising DE Catapano is a force up front. Safeties Sheaffer and Falusi have good size, which works in well with Surace's desire for the team to be more physical. The offense wasn't the same without Wornham after he hurt his throwing shoulder at midseason last year. In his third season as the starting quarterback, Wornham was ranked 12th in the FCS in total offense at the time of the injury. Although Wornham took well to the new spread offense and the Tigers have a veteran offensive line, anchored by the returning Mill, the skills position players are stepping into bigger roles. WR Trey Peacock is their biggest loss. On special teams, the kicking game (PK Jacob and P Cloud) may be the best in the league. Although the Tigers are set for a improved season, their league schedule doesn't fall right this season with trips to Brown, Harvard, Penn and Dartmouth.
7. COLUMBIA LIONS (4-6 overall; 2-5 Ivy)
COACH: Norries Wilson (16-34 in five seasons at Columbia)
STARTERS RETURNING: 9 (5 offense/4 defense)
OFFENSIVE STARS: LT Jeff Adams, Sr. and QB Sean Brackett, Jr. (166 of 287 for 19 TDs and 6 INTs; 142 carries, 516 yards, 3 TDs)
DEFENSIVE STAR: DE Josh Martin, Jr. (27 TT, 5 TFL, 4 sacks, 7 QBH, 3 FR)
OTHER KEY PLAYERS:
QB Jerry Bell, Sr. (5 of 20 for 11 yards and 2 INTs)
RB Nick Gerst, Jr. (69 carries, 350 yards, 2 TDs; 13 receptions, 74 yards)
RB Marcorus Garrett, So. (8 carries, 63 yards)
FB Nico Papas, Sr.
WR Kurt Williams, Sr. (27 receptions, 400 yards, 2 TDs)
WR Paul Havas, Sr. (1 reception, 7 yards)
TE Kevin Lenehan, Sr.
TE Sean Coffinger, Fr.
C Bob Hauschildt, Jr.
C Kyle Stupi, Jr.
RG Joe Ghergurovich, So.
RT Jimmy Yukevich, So.
DE Seyi Adebayo, Jr. (11 TT, 1 QBH, 1 FR)
DE Owen Fraser, Sr. (injured most of last two seasons)
DT Ben Popeck, Sr. (42 TT, 3 TFL, 2 sacks, 3 PBU, 2 FR, 1 FF)
DT Chris Groth, Sr. (13 TT, 2 sacks)
LB Ryan Haslett, Sr. (2 TT)
LB Zach Olinger, So. (16 TT, 4 TFL)
LB Nick Mistretta, Sr. (24 TT, 2 TFL, 1 FR, 1 FF)
LB Ryan Murphy, Jr. (26 TT, 6 TFL, 4 sacks, 3 PBU, 2 QBH, 1 FR, 1 FF)
LB Evan Miller, Sr. (8 TT, 1 FF)
CB/SS Kalasi Huggins, Sr. (12 TT, 1 FF)
CB A.J. Maddox, Sr. (18 TT, 3 TFL, 1 PBU)
SS Neil Schuster, Sr. (55 TT, 1 PBU, 2 FR)
FS Steven Grassa, Jr. (16 TT)
DB Ross Morand, Sr. (17 TT, 2 PBU, 1 FF)
PK Luke Eddy, So. (6 of 9 FG, 48 long; 27 of 28 PAT)
P Greg Guttas, Jr. (53 punts, 37.2 ypp)
OUTLOOK: While Wilson has built the Lions into a more respectable program than years' past, it will be a tough year for them to make a considerable move in the league standings. This despite the return of QB Brackett, who made the all-league first team alongside Penn's Billy Ragone last year. He doesn't have the type of offensive weapons that surround some of the other league's other top QBs. LT Adams is considered by many to be the league's top offensive lineman and seeks a third straight season on the all-league first team. Like the offense, the defense is overcoming some big losses, but new defensive coordinator Chris Woods will get his players moving around. The Lions are more of a no-name unit. They lost MLB Alex Gross, the league's tackle leader in 2008 and last year, but are switching to a 3-4 base alignment from a 4-3. The D-line features veterans in DE Martin and DT Popeck, and former standout DE Fraser hopes to get back on track after two injury-plagued seasons. The Lions play six of their 10 games at home, and within the league the games are against Penn, Yale, Harvard and Brown.
8. CORNELL BIG RED (2-8 overall; 1-6 Ivy)
COACH: Kent Austin (2-8 in one season at Cornell)
STARTERS RETURNING: 17 (9 offense/8 defense)
OFFENSIVE STAR: QB Jeff Mathews, So. (172 of 314 for 1,723 yards, 7 TDs and 7 INTs)
DEFENSIVE STAR: DE Zack Imhoff, Sr. (84 TT, 5 TFL, 3 sacks, 2 PBU, 1 QBH, 1 FF as a MLB last season)
OTHER KEY PLAYERS:
QB Beau Sweeney, Sr. (California transfer)
TB Grant Gellatly, So. (96 carries, 437 yards; 15 receptions, 82 yards)
TB Troy Lewis, Sr. (14 carries, 85 yards)
FB Nick Mlady, Jr. (11 carries, 11 yards; 3 receptions, 27 yards)
WR Shane Savage, Sr. (46 receptions, 550 yards)
WR/PR Luke Tasker, Jr. (39 receptions, 448 yards, 1 TD; 35-yard KO return average)
WR Kurt Ondash, Jr. (11 receptions, 62 yards, 1 TD)
TE Ryan Houska, Sr. (27 receptions, 268 yards, 2 TDs; 27 carries, 106 yards, 1 TD)
LT J.C. Tretter, Jr.
LG Drew McGowan, Sr.
C Bob Bullington, Jr.
RG Josh Grider, So.
RT Tucker Maggio, So.
DE Justin Harris, So. (14 TT)
DT Emile Chang, Sr. (25 TT, 5.5 TFL, 2 sacks)
DT Hugh Stewart, Jr. (11 TT, 1.5 TFL)
DT Jack Campbell, Sr. (26 TT, 1 sack, 1 PBU)
OLB Brandon Lainhart, Sr. (75 TT, 3.5 TFL, 2 sacks, 1 PBU)
OLB Mike Spooner, Sr. (16 TT, 1.5 TFL, 1 blocked kick)
MLB Brett Buehler, So. (23 TT, 3.5 TFL)
MLB Cody Roberts, Jr. (20 TT, 3.5 TFL, 1 PBU, 1 FF)
CB/KR Rashad Campbell, Sr. (22.5-yard KO return average)
CB Max Martinez, Jr.
CB Nick Booker-Tandy, Sr. (67 carries, 242 yards, 1 TD as a RB last season)
SS Brian Gee, So. (40 TT, 1.5 TFL, 2 PBU)
SS Michael Hernandez, Jr. (34 TT, 1.5 TFL, 1 INT, 3 PBU)
FS Kevin Laird, So. (12 TT)
FS Robert Gurley, Sr. (Mississippi State transfer)
S Josh Barut, So. (UCLA transfer)
S Andrew Brown, Jr. (22 TT, 1 FF)
PK Brad Greenway, Sr. (4 of 45 FG, 49 long; 14 of 15 PAT)
am Wood, Fr.
OUTLOOK: With three of their first four games at home, Cornell needs to make Schoellkopf Field an advantage again. The Big Red are 4-11 there over the past three seasons after being 13-3 over the prior three years. With last year's young team much more experienced, and they hope healthier, the Big Red figure to be improved in Austin's second season at the helm. The team features QB Mathews, the 2010 Ivy League Rookie of the Year whom Austin calls the best pure passer in the league. Mathews should get the offense headed in the right direction after it finished last in the league in scoring offense (12.4 ppg) and total offense (253.1 ppg). Incredibly, Big Red QBs were sacked 49 times and the team punted 81 times in 10 games last season. RB Gellatly also is coming off an excellent freshman campaign and WRs Savage and Tasker are true possession receivers. Defensively, the Big Red were punished by opposing ball- carriers, so Imhoff, last year's tackler leader at middle linebacker, has been moved up to defensive end. Expect improvement all around with the Big Red.