The Bulldogs played Friday night and beat Brown, extending their record to 7-1 overall and more importantly their Ivy League record to 4-1. So the team got a chance to kick back and keep an eye on the other three league games on Saturday, and they weren't disappointed. Harvard (5-3, 3-2) helped the cause by knocking Columbia (6-2, 3-2) down another notch — and now Yale is alone atop the Ivy League with just two weeks remaining.
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Of course, two weeks from today the Bulldogs will get back to despising their rivals, the Crimson, in 'The Game'. But for now? Thanks for the help, Harvard. Yale now controls its own destiny when it comes to securing its first Ivy League championship trophy since 2006. Keep this in mind, too — the Bulldogs' previous four Ivy titles (2006, 1999, 1989 and 1981) have all been shared. If Yale beats Princeton on the road next week and Harvard at home in the finale, it'll have the Ivy League title to itself for the first time since 1980.
Yep, 37 years.
So Saturday's Harvard win over Columbia and even Dartmouth's win over Cornell were big.
Dartmouth (6-3, 3-2) is the lone loss for Yale (by one point), but already has two conference losses. The Big Green went pure shutout on Cornell, 10-0, to stay in contention for the league championship. Four teams now sit at 3-2 in league play — the Big Green, Cornell, Harvard and Columbia. They can all get back into the title picture with a solid finish, if Yale falters of course.
That doesn't look likely.
So how is Yale doing it? Staunch defense that is Top 15 nationally in six categories — topped by its redzone defense, scoring defense and run defense. Offensively the team is producing 462 yards per game with 230 per game coming on the ground, led by freshman Zane Dudek. Yale had HERO Sports' No. 5 recruiting class in the FCS in February, and in 2016 the class was ranked No. 2 in the FCS. Along with stout senior and junior classes, the last two recruiting classes have been solid contributors for head coach Tony Reno this year — and obviously things don't look they'll change much over the next few years.
For the record, here's a quote current Yale sophomore starting lineman Sterling Strother gave HERO Sports' Brian McLaughlin after he chose Yale:
"I don't predict wins, losses and championships. I only have one prediction: This class will outwork any other class in the Ivy League … Our class definitely has a number of really high-caliber players but, more importantly, I feel that nobody is a prima donna and nobody believes they are entitled to anything."
Two weeks to go.
AROUND THE FCS:
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