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Yale hosts surprising Lions, as Bulldogs look to gain edge in Ivy title chase

Yale hosts the undefeated Columbia Lions on Saturday.

The Yale Bulldogs have a chance to make a serious statement about their Ivy League title hopes when the unbeaten Columbia Lions invade the Yale Bowl.

Coach Tony Reno’s Bulldogs, 5-1 (2-1 Ivy), bid to remain in the 2017 title hunt continues with an important showdown against Coach Al Bagnoli’s surprising Lions 6-0 (3-0).

Last week, the Bulldogs staged a dramatic fourth quarter comeback that allowed them to defeat the Penn Quakers 24-19 in Philadelphia. Yale quarterback Kurt Rawlings found Christopher Williams-Lopez in the end zone with less than five minutes left in regulation to secure the comeback. Yale freshman running back Zane Dudek rushed for 103 yards and one touchdown in the Bulldogs win.

The Bulldogs defense was led by senior linebacker Foyesade Oluokun. Oluokun had a monster game in the Penn win with 10 tackles, two sacks and one forced fumble. The last time Yale came away from Franklin Field with a win was in 2007.

Columbia enters the Yale Bowl in lofty territory as it is the first time in program history that the Lions are in sole possession of first-place, after defeating Dartmouth 5-1 (2-1), 22-17, in last week’s showdown of the two undefeated teams.

A win by Columbia this week would give the Lions not only their first-ever 4-0 start in Ivy League play, but also their third 7-0 start in program history and first since 1932. Columbia’s seven-game win streak, dating back to last season, is the longest since 1934-35. Another win would match the Lions’ longest winning streak in program history, previously set twice, most recently from 1933-34.

Yale, which has won 12 of the last 14 games with the Lions, leads the series 70-20-2.

The game will air (1:00 p.m.) on the Yale Football Radio Network (ESPN Radio AM-1300 in New Haven). The game can be seen on the ILN and SNY. Ron Vaccaro and Carm Cozza have the call on radio.

PREDICTION:

The Bulldogs will burst the Lions Cinderella bubble.

FINAL: Yale 28, Columbia 10

Next week: Brown invades the Yale Bowl on Friday night, November 3 for an 8 p.m. kickoff (NBCSN).

BULLDOG BITES and MORE

There are a few other Ivy League matchups to watch this weekend, all critical to the teams who expect to remain in the hunt for a title. A pair of 2-1 Ivy teams in Cornell (2-4) and Princeton (5-1) square off on Saturday night (NBCSN), while Harvard 3-3 (1-2) hopes to remain in the title chase, as it hosts Dartmouth 5-1 (2-1).

Yale’s Oluokun earned his third career Ivy League weekly award and second Defensive Player of the Week honor, as he was Rookie and Defensive Player of the Week in 2013. Team mate Dudek earned his second Rookie of the Week award of the season (Sept. 25) while the freshman phenom had his name placed on the Rice Award Watch List.

Princeton senior quarterback Chad Kanoff completed all 20 of his first-half passes and finished 31-of-35 for an astounding 88.6 completion percentage as the Tigers overwhelmed Harvard 52-17. Kanoff completed his first 21 passes and finished just shy of the FCS single-game completion percentage record of 88.9. Kanoff totaled 421 yards, eighth-best in Princeton history, and moved from 21st to 15th on the all-time Ivy League passing list.

Dartmouth’s upcoming matchup with Brown on Friday, Nov. 10, will be held in historic Fenway Park.

Looking way ahead to a game that may have Ivy League title implications, Yale will host Harvard in THE GAME on Nov. 18.

Follow Bob for all the Yale football game highlights, features and more: @WhitneyBob

(Compiled from various Ivy League media outlets)

Bob Whitney

Bob Whitney

Bob is a college basketball columnist here at DoubleGSports.com. He also covers Yale football and the Connecticut Sun of the WNBA.
Bob Whitney
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