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Ivy League preview

(Teams listed in predicted order of finish, based on preseason media poll.)

PENN — The Quakers look to become the first Ivy team to win four outright titles in a five-year span. The reigning league champions return 20 starters, including eight All-Ivy selections. The biggest return: quarterback Billy Ragone. The fifth-year senior (and two-time All-Ivy selection) dislocated his ankle in the final game of last season.

HARVARD Harvard hopes this trend continues: The team picked second in the Ivy preseason poll has won the title each of the last four seasons. The Crimson lost a lot of talent from last year’s team, including five All-Ivy selections on offense alone. Two players to watch: senior tight end Cameron Brate and junior defensive end Zach Hodges.

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BROWN — On offense, the Bears will rely on the senior tandem of quarterback Patrick Donnelly and wide receiver Tellef Lundevall. The two connected 72 times last season for 718 yards and three touchdowns. Donnelly, a Longmeadow native, looks to improve on an impressive junior campaign. He threw for 15 touchdowns and ran for four more.

DARTMOUTH — No. 1 story line: Who starts at quarterback? Alex Park (sidelined by injury midway through last season) and Dalyn Williams (who replaced Park, then won Ivy League Rookie of the Year) will battle in camp. Meanwhile, senior tailback Dominick Pierre needs 426 rushing yards to become the third Dartmouth player ever to reach the 2,000 mark.

PRINCETON — On defense, it’s all about senior defensive lineman Caraun Reid, who recorded 40 tackles (9.5 for losses) and 5.5 sacks last season. On offense, the Tigers have two capable quarterbacks in juniors Connor Michelsen and Quinn Epperly. Don’t be surprised to see them line up on the same play, perhaps in Wildcat formation.

CORNELL — At age 30, David Archer is the youngest Division 1 coach in America. On the field, all eyes are on senior quarterback Jeff Matthews, who has already generated NFL buzz. Matthews’s 8,331 career passing yards rank second all-time in Ivy League history (behind Brown’s Jamey Perry, with 9,294).

YALE — Yale had the Ivy’s most anemic offense last season, scoring just 14.3 points a game. The lone bright spot: running back Tyler Varga, the FCS’s top all-purpose runner with 194.25 yards per game. Varga returns, but there are questions at quarterback. The Bulldogs have a few options, including Clemson transfer Morgan Roberts.

COLUMBIA — The Lions added quarterback Brett Nottingham, a transfer from Stanford. Nottingham (who played in six games as Andrew Luck’s primary backup in 2011) has two years of eligibility remaining and should help an offense that ranked last in the Ivy last season in total yards. Columbia returns its top rusher, senior running back Marcorus Garrett.

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