The Bulldogs survived a shootout versus the Quakers on Saturday edging Penn 46-41.
Kurt Rawlings was in peak form throwing for 388 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing for 67 yards and two touchdowns. Klubnik and Shohfi were unstoppable hauling in a combined 20 receptions for 349 yards and two touchdowns. The offensive line had one of its better showings to date giving Rawlings time in the pocket, allowing only one sack and paving the way for Dudek to run for 97 yards. Strother was back in the lineup at center sporting an arm brace. Lamar had a quiet day out of the backfield, but did make a fantastic grab over his outside shoulder in the first half on a critical drive. The tight ends were a non-factor in the passing game, yet had key blocks on many of Dudek’s runs. This was the Yale offense that fans were salivating over in the pre-season and if we keep improving, it’s going to be tough for opposing defenses to slow us down.
While the offense was firing on all cylinders, the same could not be said for the defense. Penn QB Nick Robinson completed 30 passes for 395 yards and three touchdowns. Robinson had averaged just under 214 passing yards per game entering the contest, but he was able to exploit the soft coverages of Yale’s secondary in a career day. Yale’s pass rush was a huge improvement from what we saw over the last two weeks generating pressure and hard hits on Robinson. Robinson showed toughness in the pocket as he hung onto the ball as long as possible to give his receivers time to outrun our defensive backs. The run defense was strong limiting Penn’s star running back to just 72 yards on 20 carries. Reid Nickerson, Oso Ifesinachukwu, Josh Keeler, Tate Goodyear and Christian Sampleton were the standouts along the defensive line. Ryan Burke, John Dean and Micah Awodiran had solid outings at linebacker. Rodney Thomas was still out of the lineup with sophomore Brian Abraham filling his role. Abraham showed progression from his performance versus Richmond, but the potential return of Thomas will be crucial in our final two showdowns. The secondary with freshman Brandon Benn manning the free safety position struggled to contain Penn’s top two receiving threats in Cragun and Starkey. Cragun finished the day with 13 receptions for 208 yards, while Starkey added 5 catches for 93 yards and a touchdown. Shoring up the secondary over the final four games must be the focus of the Yale coaching staff to stay in the hunt for a title.
Tuckerman was four for five on extra point attempts, while Bosman averaged 35.5 yards per punt over four attempts. Rouse had an exciting 21 yard punt return showing off the elite quickness and agility that earned him the job.