Yale Football Blog

Yale Football News Written By Former Bulldogs

Ivy Awards

Yale 6-1, Ivy League Champion

Penn 5-2

Princeton 5-2

Harvard 4-3

Columbia 3-4

Cornell 2-5

Dartmouth 2-5

Brown 1-6

Rookie of the Year – Joshua Pitsenberger

Coach of the Year – Tony Reno

First Team All-Ivy

Nick Gargiulo, OL

Kiran Amegajdie, OL

Nolan Grooms, QB

Joshua Pitsenberger, RB

Wande Owens, DB

Jack Bosman, K

Second Team All-Ivy

Jackson Hawes, TE

Reid Nickerson, DL

Clay Patterson, DL

Hamilton Moore, LB

Honorable Mention All-Ivy

Jonathan Mendoza, OL

Cubby Schuller, OL

Tre Peterson, RB

Mason Tipton, WR

Ryan Lindley, WR

Alvin Gulley, DL

Adam Raine, DL

Joseph Vaughn, LB

Kyle Ellis, DB

Harvard Preview

The Yale Bulldogs travel to Cambridge this weekend for The Game with the Ivy League Championship on the line. Kickoff is slated for noon and the game will air on ESPNU.

Harvard enters the contest with a 6-3 record following losses to Holy Cross, Princeton, and Columbia. The Crimson bounced back from their defeat against the Lions with a dominating 37-14 win over the Quakers last week. Senior QB Charlie Dean (6’1”, 210 lbs.) leads Harvard’s offense and is a mobile quarterback with good accuracy. Dean has completed 61.1% of his passes this season for 1872 yards, 16 touchdowns and only 3 interceptions. Harvard utilized passing plays to the outside and crossing routes over the middle to pick apart Penn’s secondary for 316 passing yards and 4 passing touchdowns. Senior WR Kym Wimberly (6’0”, 201 lbs.) is Dean’s favorite target with 51 receptions for 703 yards and 4 touchdowns on the season. Wimberly was hurt on Harvard’s first offensive play last week and did not return, but we fully expect to see him starting tomorrow. Sophomore WR Ledger Hatch (6’4”, 190 lbs.) is a very tall target with blazing speed averaging 21.7 yards per reception. The Crimson have tremendous depth at wide receiver with seniors Jack Bill (6’0”, 209 lbs.) and Joe Young (6’3”, 208 lbs.), junior Kaedyn Odermann (6’3”, 211 lbs.), and sophomore Scott Woods (5’8”, 176 lbs.) all possessing enough talent to start anywhere in the Ivy League outside of Yale or Princeton. Senior RB Aidan Borguet (5’10”, 211 lbs.) ripped Yale for 269 rushing yards as a freshman in 2019 and is well on his way to becoming 1st Team All-Ivy with 1120 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns over 9 games. Senior RB Sone Ntoh (5’11”, 229 lbs.) is a load to tackle when relieving Borguet. Harvard’s offensive line is very talented displaying superior run blocking skills to Princeton’s offensive line but is a slight notch below Princeton’s line in terms of pass protection. The Crimson average 293.8 lbs. across the board and manhandled the Quakers’ front a week ago. Junior TE Tyler Neville (6’4”, 235 lbs.) could be the most dangerous pass catching tight end in the Ivy League while junior H Back Haven Montefalco (6’4”, 231 lbs.) gives Harvard an easy mismatch against smaller linebackers and safeties.

Harvard’s defensive line is the strength of the team. Senior DE Truman Jones (6’4”, 242 lbs.) has dominated opposing offensive linemen racking up 30 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, and 6 sacks. Junior DT Thor Griffith (6’2”, 305 lbs.) is very stout at the point of attack and displays great pursuit skills with 38 tackles, 11 tackles for loss and 5 sacks. Junior LB Matt Hudson (6’3”, 230 lbs.) has had a highly productive season as a first-time starter with 45 tackles, 6 tackles for loss, 2 sacks and a forced fumble. Senior LB Jack McGowan (6’1”, 216 lbs.) was a 1st Team All-Ivy defender last season and continues to impress with 38 tackles on the season. Penn had opportunities to exploit Harvard’s secondary but drops by receivers and inaccurate passes plagued the Quakers. Senior S James Herring (6’0”, 187 lbs.) is tied for the team lead in tackles with 45. Senior CB Alex Washington (6’2”, 192 lbs.) is the most talented member of the secondary and leads the team with 2 interceptions. Harvard has a very fast defense overall and defenders flow well to the ball which makes gaining yardage on short screens difficult.

Senior K Jonah Lipel (6’0”, 189 lbs.) has made 62.5% of his field goal attempts with a long of 42 yards. 2 of Lipel’s field goals have been blocked this season. Woods and Bill are top notch returners that have made undisciplined opponents pay with long returns. The Bulldogs will need to be crisp on the punting team as Harvard aggressively seeks to block every punt.

Go Bulldogs! Beat Harvard!

Princeton Notes

The Yale Bulldogs held on to defeat the Princeton Tigers on Saturday at the Bowl in a 24-20 contest. The dire weather predictions earlier in the week likely impacted attendance, but the 7,500 faithful fans in the stands were treated to a win for the ages.

Yale’s offensive line paved the way for 297 rushing yards against the top-ranked Ivy League defense. Mendoza was still out with an injury at tackle, but Session stepped up the past two weeks to keep the offensive line stable. Grooms was electrifying as he racked up 152 rushing yards (7.6 yards per carry) and a touchdown on the ground. Through the air, Grooms completed 9 of 19 passes for 1 touchdown and 1 interception. Grooms’ sole touchdown pass came on a beautifully designed play in which Grooms rolled out to his left, planted his feet, and threw the ball across the field to Nenad who outmaneuvered a Tiger defender in tight coverage for the score. The coaches were able to use Princeton’s aggressiveness against them with convincing fakes to Pitsenberger and Peterson that gave Grooms just enough space to make them pay in the running game. With much of the talk this season surrounding Princeton’s Ryan Butler as Rookie of the Year, Pitsenberger made a strong case for the award with 20 carries for 108 yards and a touchdown. Nenad led in receiving yards with 14 while Lindley led in receptions with 3. Tipton was out of the sling and back in action although he was injured again at one point. The wideouts were fantastic in run blocking but will need to eliminate the dropped balls by Brunelle and others this week. Hawes hauled in 2 receptions and was able to bounce back from a brutal hit that dislodged his helmet.

The Bulldogs forced the Tigers to become one dimensional with the complete destruction of their running attack. Princeton managed to gain just 76 rushing yards on 23 rushes for an average of 3.3 yards per rush. Outside of quarterback rushes, the Tigers gained just 13 yards with heralded freshman RB Butler held to .8 yards per carry. Stenstrom was able to pick apart the secondary at times with 367 passing yards and 3 touchdowns, but the corners and safeties were largely able to keep Princeton’s talented receivers in front of them and limit the big scoring plays that plagued Princeton’s previous foes. Vaughn had another stellar game leading all Yale defenders with 9 tackles and providing coverage on the last play of the game. The defensive line dominated at the point of attack in the running game and disrupted Stenstrom at times in the passing game. Gulley and Patterson each notched a sack in the contest. Egodogbare looked like a seasoned veteran at defensive tackle before suffering a serious knee injury. The starting secondary of Owens, Guyton, Ellis and Oldacre held their own against future NFL talent. The coaches continue to gain trust in Gonzales at cornerback with the freshman guarding Classi and Iosivas in some packages. If there were a statistic for momentum swinging plays per snap, surely Brandon Benn would be the team leader in the category. Benn intercepted Stenstrom twice in addition to 4 tackles and a tackle for loss.

Bosman nailed a critical 44-yard field goal and averaged 38.5 yards per punt with 2 punts traveling over 50 yards. Raine blocked an extra point attempt that forced Princeton to try to score a touchdown in the waning seconds rather than taking the easy chip shot of a field goal.

The focus now turns to winning The Game with the Ivy League Championship on the line.

Next up: Harvard

Princeton Preview

The Bulldogs host the Princeton Tigers on Saturday at the Bowl. Kickoff is set for noon and the game will air on ESPN+. Yale alumni and guests can head to the hospitality village for complimentary food and beverage offerings beginning at 10 AM.

Princeton enters the contest with a perfect 8-0 record and has outscored opponents 239 to 91. Junior QB Blake Stenstrom (6’4”, 225 lbs.) appears to be on his way to a 1st Team All-Ivy season completing 69.7% of his passes for 2123 yards, 12 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. While Stenstrom truly excels as a passer, he’s a deceptively mobile quarterback in the running game at times. Freshman RB Ryan Butler (5’11”, 225 lbs.) averages 4.3 yards per carry and has racked up a whopping 10 rushing touchdowns on the season. Senior WR Andrei Iosivas (6’3”, 200 lbs.) is a potential NFL draft pick who has hauled in 55 catches for 826 yards and 6 touchdowns. Iosivas is complemented by senior WR Dylan Classi (6’1”, 200 lbs.) who racked up 106 yards versus the Bulldogs a year ago. Senior OL Henry Byrd (6’5”, 310 lbs.) leads a very talented offensive line for the Tigers that has dominated in pass protection for much of the season and opened huge holes in the running game for Butler. The offensive line averages 306 lbs. across the board with 3 seniors, a junior and sophomore. Princeton features the most talented offense that we have faced this season including Holy Cross. Tackling Butler in the running game, pressuring Stenstrom, and keying on Iosivas and Classi in the passing game will be critical this week.

Princeton’s defense has been equally as impressive as the offense. The Tigers have limited opponents to 11 touchdowns and under 35% efficiency on both 3rd and 4th downs. Junior LB Liam Johnson (6’0”, 220 lbs.) has racked up 64 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, a sack and an interception. Junior LB Ozzie Nicholas (6’1”, 225 lbs.) has had a stellar season as well with 51 tackles. Senior DB Michael Ruttlen Jr. (5’9”, 195 lbs.) has been a ball hawk this season with 3 interceptions and picked off Grooms in last season’s contest. Senior DB CJ Wall (6’0”, 205 lbs.) has started since his freshman season and is a former Honorable Mention All-Ivy performer. The defensive line is a veteran unit with 4 senior starters that have disrupted every offensive line that they have faced. Senior DL James Stagg (6’4”, 245 lbs.) leads the defensive line in productivity with 27 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and a forced fumble. Senior DE/OLB Matthew Jester (6’4”, 250 lbs.) and senior DL Uche Ndukwe (6’4”, 270 lbs.) lead Princeton in sacks with 3 apiece. Coach Surace will likely seek to employ the defensive strategies that worked well for the Tigers last year with aggressive blitz packages and a stacked box to force Grooms to unload passes in a hurry. Creative short to medium pass plays will be necessary to keep Princeton’s defense off balance.

Sophomore K Jeffery Sexton (6’1”, 175 lbs.) is 8 of 10 on field goal attempts with a long of 46 yards on the season. Senior P Will Powers (6’2”, 210 lbs.) is averaging 38.8 yards per punt and has pinned opponents in the red zone on 14 occasions. Sophomore WR AJ Barber (5’8”, 170 lbs.) is the preferred punt returner and kick returner averaging 7.8 yards and 21.6 yards respectively.  

Go Bulldogs! Beat the Tigers!

Brown Notes

The Elis improved to 6-2 on the season with a 69-17 rout of the Brown Bears. The Bulldogs led by an astonishing score of 52-3 at the break in quite possibly the most dominant first half of football ever played at the Bowl.

The Yale offense built on the momentum established in the 2nd half of the Columbia contest and was firing on all cylinders on Saturday. Aside from a potential pick six that was dropped by Brown, Grooms was nearly flawless completing 12 of 16 passes for 205 yards and 3 touchdowns. The offensive line did not allow a sack and paved the way for 340 rushing yards for an eye-opening 7.4 yards per carry. Session filled in for a possibly dinged up Mendoza at tackle. Peterson rushed 9 times for 108 yards and 2 touchdowns while Pitsenberger added another 93 yards and a touchdown. Pitsenberger was named Ivy League Rookie of the Week following his performance against the Bears. Tutas got in on the action in the 3rd and 4th quarters completing his only pass and rushing for 45 yards and a touchdown. Brunelle led in receiving yards with 64 yards and a touchdown. Hawes had a highlight reel catch and run bowling over multiple defenders as he finished with 2 catches for 47 yards and a touchdown. Brown struggled to contain Pantelis and Lindley who combined for another 7 catches for 71 yards and a touchdown. It was a magical day for the Yale offense and hopefully the immense firepower will prove too dangerous for Princeton.

The Bulldogs were able to limit Brown’s high-flying offense to just 274 total yards on the afternoon. The Bears were only able to convert on 5 of 16 third downs and did not convert on their only 4th down attempt in the first half. Guyton had his best performance of the season tying Ellis for the lead in tackles with 8 and ripping away a possible reception for an interception. Ellis was a monster once again in run support and forced a fumble. Nickerson forced another fumble on his sack that Moore returned for a touchdown. Vaughn intercepted a Brown pass and returned it 35 yards for a touchdown before half. Raine bullied the interior of Brown’s offensive line racking up 5 tackles, 1.5 sacks and 2 pass breakups. It was odd that the starting secondary remained in for so long into the second half with Oldacre potentially getting banged up on a rough collision. McDonough and Frommer were impressive in second half play. This was exactly the type of defensive performance we needed heading into the most challenging game of the season versus Princeton.

Bosman earned Ivy League Special Teams Player of the Week with two 40+ yard field goals, 9 PATs, and 38.3 yards per punt.

Next up: Princeton

Brown Preview

The Yale Bulldogs host the Brown Bears on Saturday at the Bowl. Kickoff is slated for noon and the game will air on ESPN+ and NESN.

The Bears enter the contest with a 3-4 record following a shocking upset of Penn in Providence last week. Brown dominated the first half versus Penn to go up 24-7 before Penn clawed back into the contest and took a 4-point lead with 6 minutes left. Brown answered with a touchdown pass with just 1:19 remaining to secure a 34-31 win over the previously unbeaten Quakers. Junior QB Jake Willcox (6’2”, 195 lbs.) started the Penn contest for Brown but left the game with an injured finger. Senior QB Aidan Gilman (6’3”, 220 lbs.) took control of the offense and performed very well completing 22 of 38 passes for 245 yards, 2 touchdowns and no interceptions. Brown features an explosive offense with various attack strategies from traditional runs, wildcat QB runs, quick passes to the outside, passes to the running backs, and deeper slants and post routes. Senior RB Allen Smith (5’11”, 205 lbs.) leads the Bears in rushing with 222 yards and 7 touchdowns on the ground. Sophomore RB Jordan DeLucia (5’11”, 215 lbs.) is a tough back to bring down and leads Brown in yards per carry at 4.6. Brown likely has the third best receiving corps in the Ivy League behind Princeton and Yale. Senior WR Wes Rocket (6’0”, 185 lbs.) was a 2nd Team All-Ivy performer last season and has hauled in 31 receptions for 396 yards and 2 touchdowns. Senior WR Hayes Sutton (6’1”, 200 lbs.) led the Bears in receptions last season and remains Brown’s favorite target this season with 39 receptions for 363 yards and 3 touchdowns. Rounding out the receiving corps is junior Graham Walker (6’3”, 215 lbs.) who was named a Sophomore All-American last season by HERO Sports. The Brown offensive line averages 291 lbs. across the board and has improved tremendously from previous seasons. The Bears’ line is an experienced unit with 4 starters seeing action in 2021. Penn was able to sack Brown quarterbacks 4 times and limited the rushing attack to just 1.9 yards per carry, however, the quick passes that Brown utilizes effectively neutralized the pass rush in most cases. This will be the toughest challenge for our secondary since Week 1 at Holy Cross.

Coach Perry has upgraded the Brown defense, but the Bears have not been consistent enough to shut down offenses for two halves. Penn was limited to just 7 first half points a week ago before posting 24 points in the second half to turn the potential rout into a thriller. The strength of the Bears’ defense lies in the secondary. Senior DB Cooper DeVeau (6’0”, 190 lbs.) and sophomore DB Isaiah Reed (6’0”, 180 lbs.) lead the Ivy League in passes defended with 1.17 per game and 1.14 per game respectively. Reed also leads the team in tackles with 36 total tackles and 2 tackles for loss. Junior LB Isaiah Gamble (6’2”, 230 lbs.) leads the linebackers with 32 tackles but did not participate in the Penn contest. Senior LB Malcom Brunson (6’1”, 225 lbs.) and sophomore LB Kaleb Ross (6’0”, 225 lbs.) have played well combining for 38 total tackles. Senior OLB Junior Gafa (5’10”, 220 lbs.) was a 2nd Team All-Ivy performer in 2021 who returned from an injury last week to rack up 4 tackles and a sack versus Penn. Brown’s defensive line could be the weakest unit of the team allowing 5.3 yards per rush and only sacking opposing quarterbacks 9 times. Controlling the clock and creating holes for Peterson and Pitsenberger will be crucial to success this week.

Sophomore K Austin Alley (5’10”, 165 lbs.) saw his first collegiate action versus Penn and connected on both field goal attempts of 35 and 27 yards. Senior P Michael Walsh (6’2”, 215 lbs.) is averaging just 32.8 yards per punt on the season yet boomed one punt against Penn for 52 yards. Felton and Lindley should have opportunities for big returns as Penn returned a kickoff for a 97-yard touchdown.

Go Bulldogs! Beat the Bears!

Columbia Notes

The Yale Bulldogs defeated the Columbia Lions 41-16 on Friday in New York City. The Elis improved to 5-2 on the season and are tied for 2nd place in the Ivy League heading into a difficult 3 game stretch.

After a disappointing performance versus Penn, the Yale offense exploded for 441 yards. Columbia’s strong run defense limited Yale to 95 rushing yards, but Yale was able to capitalize on opportunities in the passing game to put the contest out of reach. Grooms threw for 346 yards, 4 touchdowns and no interceptions. Although Grooms’ completion percentage was under 50%, several perfectly placed passes were dropped and Grooms made good decisions to throw the ball away under heat. With Tipton out with an injury, the return of Nenad could not have come at a better time. Nenad raced past defenders for 117 yards and a touchdown on 3 receptions. Lindley put on a clinic with 6 receptions for 100 yards and 2 touchdowns. Pantelis and Brunelle each hauled in a pass for 33 yards to make up for previous drops in the contest. Grooms did a great job distributing the ball as Hawes, Pitsenberger, Peterson and Shipp all hauled in receptions. Creativity of the play calling was much improved from a week ago especially in the 2nd half. One example of this was a play in which Grooms sprinted to the side to threaten a run and threw the ball to Peterson on the outside for an 11-yard gain. The offensive line struggled to open holes against Columbia’s 8 men in the box but did slightly improve in this regard as the game went on. Pass blocking was up and down with a mix of clean pockets and collapsing pockets for Grooms. Columbia did not record a sack, yet Grooms was often under pressure and barely escaped 3-4 potential sacks.

The performance on defense was a tale of two halves. Columbia was able to drive downfield with a mix of runs and passes to take a 2-point lead early in the 2nd quarter and then found a wide-open receiver for a 64-yard touchdown reception with 8:03 remaining in the 2nd quarter. Leading up to that point in the contest, coverage was poor and tackling left much to be desired. That all changed in the 2nd half with the defensive line asserting dominance and improved play from the linebackers and secondary. Vaughn led the defense in tackles with 6 and had his best performance of the season. Ellis and Oldacre were huge contributors in the run defense especially as Columbia got closer to the goal line. Owens bounced back from being roasted in the 1st half to blanketing receivers in the 2nd half. Guyton continued to improve and flashed more on film in the Columbia contest than any other previous game. Freshman DT Egodogbare led the defensive line in tackles with 4. Nickerson and Mauney were highly disruptive from their defensive end positions combining for 4 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, a sack and a forced fumble. Frommer and Shaffer made solid plays at linebacker. Freshman CB Da’Quan Gonzales added another 2 tackles to his productive first year campaign and appears to be a future mainstay in the defense. Jaylan Granberry made a fantastic play on a short Columbia pass to the outside but was unfortunately the victim of friendly fire and left the field with what appeared to be a serious knee injury.

The performance of our special teams units was nothing short of magical and swung the momentum of the game. Frommer and Belk blocked punts on back-to-back drives against former Yale captain Paul Rice’s punting unit. Bosman was 2 for 3 on field goal attempts and nailed a 41-yarder in the 2nd quarter.

Next up: Brown