2008 Ivy League Football Champions

Courtesy of Brown Sports Information and Harvard Athletic Communications

In two different games with similar frigid conditions, Brown and Harvard completed their championship seasons with wins to share the 2008 Ivy League Football title.

In the 125th edition of “The Game”, Harvard emerged with a 10-0 victory over Yale for the program’s 13th Ivy League Championship fighting through swirling winds, single-digit temperatures at Harvard Stadium.

Just over 50 miles away in Providence, R.I., Brown came away with a 41-10 victory over Columbia for its fourth Ivy Football title playing in sub-freezing temperatures on the frozen tundra at Brown Stadium.

For Harvard, the title is the Crimson’s second consecutive Ancient Eight Championship and its first title repeat since 1982-83. With the victory, Harvard (9-1, 6-1 Ivy) became just the eighth team in history to come back from a loss in its league opener and still win the championship.

Brown’s win gave the Bears (7-3, 6-1) their third Ivy title in the last 10 years and fourth-ever Ivy Football championship. The Bears had previously captured Ivy League titles in 1976, 1999 and 2005.

Conditions for “The Game” would have seemed to favor Yale (6-4, 4-3) with the nation’s top-defense in terms of points allowed to compliment All-Ivy running back senior Mike McLeod. Only it was Harvard with the staunch defense and game-breaking running attack that left its mark on the frozen turf of Harvard Stadium. The Crimson defense held McLeod to 65 yards on 21 rushing attempts and the Bulldog offense to just 90 total yards – the fewest Harvard has allowed since last year’s game, when Yale was held to 123 yards.

The Harvard offense, though it did not find the end zone more than once, moved the ball and controlled the clock throughout. The Crimson possessed the ball for 39:15 while netting 370 yards of offense, 261 of those coming on the ground.

Sophomore running back Gino Gordon led the ground attack with 39 touches for 177 yards and the lone touchdown. The 177 rushing yards by Gordon are the most a Harvard back has gained against Yale since 1998, when Eion Hu also racked up 177 yards on the ground via 40 carries en route to a 26-21 Harvard victory. Senior quarterback Chris Pizzotti, in his final game in a Crimson uniform, had an effective day in 30 mile-per-hour winds, finishing 12 of 21 passing for 109 yards. He also ran 16 times for 74 yards.

Brown’s fourth Ivy League Championship was especially sweet for its seniors. This year’s group of 21 seniors, Brown’s Class of 2009, became the first class in Brown football history to earn two Ivy League Championships.

The win over Columbia for the Ivy title further enhanced the coaching credentials of Bears’ head coach Phil Estes, who has now led Brown to three Ivy League Championships in his 11 years as head coach of the Bears. Brown had captured one Ivy League Championship in the previous 43 years.

The offensive hero for the Bears was senior quarterback Michael Dougherty, who braved the elements to throw three touchdowns on passes of 32, 21 and 13 yards, and run for another, a 22-yard touchdown scamper. He completed 18 of 35 passes for 261 yards in near impossible throwing conditions.

Senior running back Dereck Knight was a workhorse in the second half, running for a game high 87 yards, including 50 in the second half as the Bears ran out the clock.

Junior wide receivers Bobby Sewall and Buddy Farnham each caught six passes, Farnham for 76 yards and a 21-yard touchdown grab, and Sewall a 13-yard touchdown grab and a three-yard touchdown run

from: IvyLeagueSports.com

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