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Senior running back Jonathan Mulatu runs the ball down the field during the game against Harvard at Franklin Field on Nov. 12. Credit: William Bartoc

Penn football’s chances at a share of the Ivy League title looked promising entering the Quakers’ final home game of the season. The Red and Blue were one of three teams with a chance at an outright Ivy League title.

Two of those teams, Harvard and Penn, entered Saturday with a 4-1 conference record, and the other, Princeton, entered as the conference’s top team at 5-0. The fourth team in the Ivy’s top four, Harvard, also entered Saturday with a 4-1 conference record. Princeton was the lone team to control its own destiny with an outright title, while Penn and Yale could each guarantee a share of the title by winning their final two games. 

The Bulldogs upset Princeton early Saturday afternoon, ending the Tigers’ undefeated season and moving to the top of the Ivy League standings. After Yale’s win — and thanks to Penn’s 20-13 Homecoming victory over the Bulldogs — Penn controlled its own destiny in the Ivy League. With a win on Saturday over Harvard, as well as a road victory in Princeton next week, Penn could have claimed its first outright Ivy League title since 2012. 

The Quakers were not able to do their part on Saturday, however, falling to Harvard 37-14 at Franklin Field. While Penn’s Ivy League chances weren’t totally dashed, the Red and Blue can no longer claim an outright Ivy title. They can, however, still claim a quarter of it. 

As it currently stands, the Quakers sit tied with Harvard for third place in the Ivy League at 4-2, just one game behind Yale and Princeton, who are both 5-1. Penn travels to Princeton this Saturday, while Harvard hosts Yale.

These two matchups yield four possible outcomes. First, if Yale and Penn win, Penn will finish at 5-2 and end up tied for second place with Princeton, with Yale finishing as champions with a 6-1 record. If Yale and Princeton win, they end up sharing the title and Penn will finish tied for third. If Harvard and Princeton win, Princeton will finish as Ivy League champions, with Penn finishing in fourth place.

The final scenario, the only one in which Penn can win the Ivy League title, occurs if both Harvard and Penn win on the road against their chief rivals. In that case, there will be a four-way tie for the Ivy League Championship, with Penn, Yale, Harvard, and Princeton all taking a share of the title. This would mark the first time in Ivy League history that the football championship is split in a four-way tie. There have been four times in history that there has been a three-way tie for the title, most recently in 2015, when Penn, Harvard, and Dartmouth all took a share of the title.  

Despite Penn’s slim chances of taking a share of the title, it's not out just yet.