Harvard vs. Princeton: Ivy League Rivals Battle for First Place in Conference

Mark BatorAnalyst IIOctober 19, 2012

The lead in the Big East is up for grabs this weekend in Princeton.
The lead in the Big East is up for grabs this weekend in Princeton.Elsa/Getty Images

This season, the Princeton Tigers are playing with a new confidence and appear to have bought into the program laid out by head coach Bob Surace. But, extending back to last season, Harvard has won 14 straight games.

Given the recent history between the two teams, many would mark the upcoming game against Princeton as win No. 15.

In what will be the 105th meeting between the two schools, Princeton currently leads in the series, 52-45-7 historically, but the Tigers have found it difficult to defeat the Crimson in recent years.

Harvard is currently riding a winning streak of five straight against Princeton and have won 14 of the last 16 games against the Tigers.

"We've been on a pretty good run," said Harvard head coach Tim Murphy (as reported by Peter May of the New York Times on NYTimes.com). "As a team, we're focused on what we always do: be successful on and off the field."

Last year's game was a forgettable one for Surace, who saw Harvard throw for more than 400 yards and five touchdowns on their way to a 56-39 win. But this season appears to be different for the Tigers, who are currently riding a three-game winning streak of their own.

Harvard is coming off a 35-7 victory over Bucknell last weekend, while Princeton's home fans delighted in a shutout of Brown, 17-0.

The game will tax the Princeton defense, as Harvard's senior QB Colton Chapple (94-of-141 for 1,371 yards and 13 TDs) is expected to sling the ball around the field this weekend, when he's not busy handing off to dynamic running back Treavor Scales (516 yards and 7 TDs).

Coach Surace calls (as quoted by Jay Greenberg on PrincetonTigersFootball.com)  the senior running back simply, "the best running back I have seen on film."


Princeton has had success this year with a stingy defense and a balanced offensive attack that has gelled with the use of a two-quarterback system. Starter Connor Michelsen has led the aerial attack from the quarterback position, while Quinn Epperly has been more of the runner. Running could be difficult this week against Harvard, which currently ranks No. 1 in rushing defense in the FCS.

"You won't run the ball on us," said DE Zach Hodges (per Peter May of the New York Times). "We won't let that happen."

The league-leading Harvard defense will be without DB Colton Lynch this weekend, due to a rule violation. Lynch was suspended (in accordance with Rule 9, Section 6, Article 2 of the 2011-2012 NCAA Football Rules) for a helmet-to-helmet hit last weekend during the victory over Bucknell.

Game Time: 1pm, Oct. 20, Princeton Stadium, Princeton, N.J. Television:  ESPN3