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Senior linebacker Adam Conyer fights through a block during the game against Columbia at Franklin Field on Oct. 15. Credit: Anna Vazhaeparambil

With the Ivy League season reaching its midpoint and non-conference play coming to a close, it's time to reevaluate where each team stacks up in the Ancient Eight.

1. Princeton (5-0, 2-0 Ivy) 

The defending co-champions have had a dominant start to the season — both defensively and offensively. The Tigers have shut down their opponents on defense with a scoring average of less than 12 points per game to their 30. In the squad’s contest against Lafayette on Oct. 8, Princeton won 23-2 after the Tigers forced four turnovers. As expected, junior quarterback Blake Strenstrom has been a powerhouse on offense, throwing seven touchdowns and just two interceptions so far this season. 

As far as the Ivy League, the Tigers have beaten both Brown and Columbia, 35-19 and 24-6, respectively. In the Tigers' most recent game versus Brown, Strenstrom threw 258 yards and three touchdowns passes. Princeton also has a breakout star in the backfield — freshman running back Ryan Butler — who's plowed for eight touchdowns and has won Ivy League Rookie of the Week three times so far this season. 

2. Harvard (4-1, 2-0) 

Currently ranked third in the Ivy League standings, the Crimson’s only loss has been to Holy Cross in a non-conference game. Harvard’s defense isn’t as strong as Princeton’s, as the Crimson have allowed an average of 26.4 points per game. In the Ivy League, Harvard has played Brown and Cornell, beating both teams by a 35-28 score. Senior running back Aidan Borguet has been a key component of Harvard’s offense, scoring seven touchdowns. Last season, Harvard narrowly missed out on the Ivy League title, placing third, and this go-around the Crimson seem to be in strong standing heading into their second half of the season. 

3. Penn (5-0, 2-0) 

After a tough finish last year with a 3-7 record and placing sixth in the Ivy League, the Red and Blue have turned it around this season. Penn’s two Ivy League wins came after a dominant 34-14 drubbing of Columbia and a 23-17 double overtime nail-biter against reigning Ivy League co-champion Dartmouth. Currently seated first in the standings, the Quakers have put up a strong front on both sides of the ball — scoring an average of 30 points per game while holding their opponents at bay with 14.6 points. Sophomore quarterback Aidan Sayin has played an important role in driving the team's success after throwing 11 touchdowns over the first five games. The Quakers’ toughest challenge of the season so far is coming up Saturday, when they'll face the Yale Bulldogs.

4. Yale (4-1, 2-0)

The Bulldogs have had a strong start to their season with two Ivy League wins versus Cornell (38-14) and Dartmouth (24-21) and their lone loss coming against Holy Cross in their first game of the season. Scoring an average of 27.8 points per game and allowing their opponents to score 21.6 points, the squad is performing weaker defensively than some of the other teams in the Ivy League. Offensively, Yale has a particularly strong rushing attack, averaging 241 yards on the ground per game. Junior quarterback Nolan Grooms has also been dominant this season, throwing five touchdowns so far while notching a completion percentage of 60.68%. 

5. Columbia (3-2, 0-2) 

Currently seated fifth in the Ivy League, the Lions have lost to both Penn (34-14) and Princeton (24-6). On Sept. 24, the Lions secured a dominant win versus Georgetown, beating the Hoyas 42-6. Junior quarterback Joe Green has thrown seven of the team's nine touchdowns the team thus far this season, with senior backup Caden Bell tossing two in the second half of Columbia's matchup on Saturday at Penn. Sophomore wide receiver Bryson Canty has also been a key contributor to the Lions' wins, with a total of 450 receiving yards so far this season. Columbia's next matchup is against Dartmouth at home on Saturday. 

6. Cornell (3-2, 0-2) 

The Big Red is currently ranked sixth in the Ivy League standings due to the team’s most recent losses against Yale (38-14) and Harvard (35-28). The squad’s most recent win was a tight 19-15 contest against Lehigh University this past Saturday, bringing the team’s record in non-conference play to 3-0. The Big Red are led by sophomore quarterback Jameson Wang, who paces Cornell in rushing touchdowns with four on the season, and fifth year Richie Kenny, who has scored five touchdowns thus far.

7. Brown (2-3, 0-2)

The Bears are currently ranked seventh in the Ivy League standings and have lost all but two games this season. In Ivy League play, the squad has lost to both Harvard and Princeton, two high-seeded teams. Brown has given up a total of 934 yards this season and has only gained 616. On a good note, the Bears have outperformed their opponents in receiving yards thus far. The Bears are led by junior quarterback Jake Willcox, who has thrown all 10 of the team's receiving touchdowns this season. Brown looks to come back from its most recent loss versus Princeton in its upcoming game against Cornell on Saturday.

8. Dartmouth (1-4, 0-2) 

Despite coming off an Ivy League co-championship in 2021, the Big Green have taken a turn for the worst with four losses thus far this season. The team only had three returning starters on the defensive end from last year, and it shows: Dartmouth has allowed its opponents to score an average of 22 points per game, and it isn’t getting made up for on the offensive end, either. The team is led by senior quarterback Nick Howard, who has a passing rating of 112.01 so far but has only thrown one touchdown this season. The squad's only win was Sept. 17 against Valparaiso University in Week 1. The Big Green's four-game losing streak will be tested this weekend against Columbia.