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Stan Becton | | October 21, 2021

Undefeated Ivy League teams No. 16 Harvard and No. 17 Princeton meet in Week 8's FCS game of the week

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For this week's FCS game of the week, take a look at the Ivy League, where No. 16 Harvard visits No. 17 Princeton in one of six Week 8 top 25 matchups.

The Ivy League rivals are two of three undefeated Ivy League teams, the other being Dartmouth. In total, the Ivy League has three of the six unbeaten teams remaining in the FCS. 

Week 8 will mark the 113th all-time meeting between Harvard and Princeton. Entering the contest, the Crimson and Tigers are both 5-0.

FCS game of the week: No. 16 Harvard at No. 17 Princeton

No. 16 Harvard at No. 17 Princeton | 1 p.m. ET | ESPN+

Harvard is 5-0 for the first time since 2015. The undefeated start offensively has been led by a two-headed rushing attack from running backs Aaron Shampklin and Aidan Borguet. Through five games, Shampklin is fourth in rushing yards per game (117.0) and fifth in yards per carry (7.2). Meanwhile, Borguet ran for 169 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries last week. The backfield tandem had 39 carries in Harvard’s lone ranked win over then-No. 24 Holy Cross.

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Harvard’s defense has been dominant to start the season, ranking in the top 10 of nearly every team defensive category. The Crimson rank first in rushing defense (45.6 yards per game), second in scoring defense (10.40 points per game), second in sacks per game (4), and third in defensive passing efficiency (97.75). Last week, Harvard had its most dominant performance this season, tying a program record with nine sacks while holding Lafayette to -24 rushing yards. If the Crimson can put forth a similar defensive effort in Week 8 against Princeton, they may be able to take over the game.

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Princeton’s offense is the fifth-best scoring offense in the country, led by quarterback Cole Smith. After biding his time behind All-American and record-breaking quarterbacks, Smith has been efficient in his first year as a starter, completing 69.74% of his passes with a 10-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Joining Smith in the backfield is running back Collin Eaddy, who ranks fourth in FCS rushing touchdowns with 10 through five games. In Princeton’s last top 25 matchup against then-No. 25 Monmouth, Eaddy scored three second-half touchdowns to lead a Tigers comeback from a 15-point deficit.

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On defense, Princeton is led by linebacker Jeremiah Tyler. Tyler leads all Tigers in tackles, highlighted by a 10-tackle outing last week against Brown. Tyler is one of four Tigers with at least four tackles for loss this season, a sign of a dominant front seven. Also up front, defensive linemen Uche Ndukwe and Samuel Wright II lead the seventh-best scoring defense in the FCS in sacks. However, the Tigers have allowed 28 and 42 points, respectively, in their last two games; that’s 10 times as many points scored on the Tigers defense in their first three games. Against Harvard, Princeton’s defense will look to get back to its early season ways.

Both Harvard and Princeton rank in the top 10 of FCS scoring defenses. Yet, with an average of 57.6 combined points across the Crimson and Tigers’ last three meetings, 2021’s game has the potential to be a high-scoring affair. In Week 8, look for Harvard and Princeton to once again bring excitement to the Ivy League.

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