The Bulldogs travel to Princeton, New Jersey this weekend to face the 7-1 Princeton Tigers. Kickoff is slated for 1 PM and the game will air on ESPN+.
The Tigers were dominated by the Big Green in a Friday night contest in Hanover losing 31-7. Dartmouth’s defensive line manhandled Princeton’s offensive line generating 6 sacks. Senior quarterback Cole Smith looked flustered under pressure and was never able to settle into a rhythm. Senior running back and captain Collin Eaddy suffered a season-ending injury in the first quarter which seemed to shell shock the Tigers. Dartmouth’s Derek Kyler had his way with the Princeton secondary completing 84.2% of his passes for 3 touchdowns. Princeton led the contest in both first downs and time of possession but was only able to score on 1 of 4 trips to the redzone and threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown. Coach Surace will surely correct the mental errors and fortify the Tigers’ offensive strategy with an extra day of preparation before facing the Elis.
Senior quarterback Cole Smith (6’1”, 210 lbs.) is currently second in the Ivy League in passing yards completing 66.4% of his passes for 2,083 yards, 11 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. Smith was dominant through the first five weeks of the season before throwing 4 interceptions versus Harvard. In the Harvard and Dartmouth contests, Smith failed to throw a touchdown pass and was intercepted a combined 5 times. Smith’s performance largely depends on the play of his offensive line. Senior tackle Reily Radosevich (6’3”, 270 lbs.) is the leader of the offensive line and a former 1st Team All-Ivy selection. The offensive line features 5 seniors all of whom have prior starting experience (2 with All-Ivy awards) and averages 288 lbs. across the board. Harvard was able to expose cracks along Princeton’s offensive front, while Dartmouth fully exploited the weaknesses. With Collin Eaddy out with an injury, Princeton will likely lean on freshman running back John Volker (5’10”, 200 lbs.) for the bulk of the carries. Volker had a solid outing at Dartmouth scoring a touchdown and averaging 5.0 yards per carry. The Tigers possess several receiving threats that will challenge our secondary. Senior WR Jacob Birmelin (5’9”, 170 lbs.) leads Princeton in receiving yards with 52 catches for 669 yards and 2 touchdowns. Junior WR Andrei Iosivas (6’3”, 200 lbs.) is the top scoring threat with 31 catches for 583 yards and 5 touchdowns. Rounding out the receiving corps is senior Dylan Classi (6’1”, 200 lbs.) who has hauled in 27 catches for 475 yards and 2 touchdowns. Senior tight end Carson Bobo (6’5”, 255 lbs.) is a well-rounded tight end that can block or stretch the secondary.
Senior linebacker Jeremiah Tyler (6’1”, 225 lbs.) is the leader of the Tigers’ defense and the most talented player on the roster. Tyler was a 1st Team All-Ivy selection in 2019 as well as a finalist for the Bushnell Cup. Senior LB James Johnson (5’10”, 210 lbs.) was an Honorable Mention All-Ivy selection in 2019 and has played well this season posting 44 tackles and 5.5 tackles for loss. Senior CB Delan Stallworth (5’11”, 180) has not played in two games this season due to injury but when he’s healthy, he’s one of the top defenders in the Ivy League. Princeton will be without senior safety Trevor Forbes (6’0”, 205 lbs.) for the first half of the contest as he was ejected for targeting in the second half of Princeton’s loss to Dartmouth. The Bulldogs will need to challenge the Tigers’ secondary early on to capitalize on the absence of Forbes. Senior defensive end Samuel Wright (6’0”, 255 lbs.) has had his way with opposing offensive linemen en route to 27 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, and 7.5 sacks on the season. Junior defensive lineman Uche Ndukwe (6’4”, 270 lbs.) and junior OLB Cole Aubrey (6’2”, 215 lbs.) have combined for another 11 sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss. Overall, Princeton is very stout on defense and is likely the second-best unit we have faced this season.
Freshman kicker Jeffrey Sexton has made 76.5% of his field goal attempts this season and has not missed a field goal beyond 40 yards. Pantelis should have an opportunity to flash his skill set on kickoff returns as Sexton has only generated 14 touchbacks on 50 kickoffs. Junior punter Will Powers seems to be on his way to another All-Ivy selection averaging 44.6 yards per punt with a long of 75 yards.