After the Crimson’s 34-14 victory over Columbia on Nov. 7, only one obstacle still stands in the way of the Harvard football team’s third consecutive Ivy League Championship. That obstacle resides in Philadelphia.
In a fight for Ancient Eight supremacy, the Penn Quakers and Harvard Crimson will battle on Nov. 13 at Harvard Stadium, with the winner claiming at least a share of the Ivy League title.
Penn is “by far the best team we’ve played,” said Harvard coach Tim Murphy. “They are ranked number one in the Ivy League in every single defensive statistical category, which is not something I’ve seen before. They are exceptional.”
Although Penn’s defensive credentials are impressive, statistically the Crimson match up well, since they have the league’s second-highest scoring offense in addition to the second-best defense.
The parallels between the teams are striking. Both come into this matchup boasting 6-2 (5-0 Ivy League) records, each has won five of the past 10 games in the rivalry, and each is vying for its 14th Ivy title.
Although a Harvard win would mark the first time in program history that the Crimson have won three straight championships, even with a loss they could still earn a share of the title with a win at Yale and a Penn loss against Cornell on Nov. 21.
“You’ve got to play your best to beat the best, and if you don’t do that against a team like Penn, you’re simply not going” to win a championship, said Murphy.