Yale Football News Written By Former Bulldogs

Harvard Preview

The Yale Bulldogs host the Harvard Crimson on Saturday in the 137th playing of The Game. Kickoff is slated for noon and The Game will air on ESPNU.

Harvard enters the contest with a record of 7-2 following narrow losses to Princeton and Dartmouth. Had the Harvard-Princeton game been officiated correctly, Harvard would be 8-1 and playing for the Ivy League title this weekend. The Crimson possess the most talented roster in the conference and will be playing with a chip on their shoulder to avenge the wild overtime loss to the Bulldogs in 2019.

Harvard has started three different quarterbacks over the course of the season. Junior Luke Emge (6’2”, 205 lbs.) is the most likely candidate to start in this contest having started the last two games versus Columbia and Penn. Emge has completed 58.7% of his passes for 456 yards, 3 touchdowns and 1 interception in the four games that he has played. In last week’s Harvard-Penn contest, Emge was held to a 46.4% completion rate with 164 yards and no touchdowns. Emge could be on a short leash with Coach Murphy, so the Bulldogs will also have to prepare for the possibility of facing senior Jake Smith (6’0”, 181 lbs.) or sophomore Charlie Dean (6’1”, 210 lbs.). The Crimson’s rushing attack is the strength of their offense led by junior Aaron Shampklin (5’10”, 195 lbs.) and sophomore Aidan Borguet (5’10”, 211 lbs.). Shampklin averages 5.7 yards per carry while Borguet averages 5.3 yards per carry. Harvard’s running backs are very fast, can break tackles with ease and possess great vision. The Crimson’s offensive line has been outstanding in run blocking and above average in pass protection. Senior Spencer Rolland (6’6”, 285 lbs.) is the leader of the offensive line and was named to Phil Steele’s pre-season All-Ivy team. Junior WR Kym Wimberly (6’0”, 201 lbs.) is Harvard’s top pass-catching weapon with 31 receptions for 372 yards and 3 touchdowns. Senior WR BJ Watson (5’10”, 187 lbs.) is one of the most elusive receivers in the Ivy League and Harvard loves to get him the ball in space. Freshman WR Kaedyn Odermann (6’3”, 211 lbs.) has established himself as the future centerpiece of Harvard’s aerial attack with the size and speed to create difficult matchups for defenders. Sophomore TE Haven Montefalco (6’4”, 231 lbs.) is a solid all-around tight end with balanced skills in blocking and pass catching. The Yale defense will have their hands full this weekend trying to limit the rushing attack and forcing Harvard to rely on their passing game. Edge containment and angle tackling must improve drastically from last week to secure a victory.

Four-year starter and 1st Team All-Ivy linebacker Jordan Hill (6’1”, 240 lbs.) is the heart of a physical defensive unit for Harvard. Hill has dominated in his senior campaign with 62 tackles, 5 tackles for loss and a sack. Senior linebackers Jack McGowan (6’1”, 216 lbs.) and Andrew Irwin (6’1”, 223 lbs.) have combined for another 85 tackles as opposing offenses key on Hill. Junior safety James Herring (6’0”, 187 lbs.) leads the Crimson in total tackles with 63 and has also hauled in 2 interceptions. Junior defensive lineman Chris Smith (6’2”, 293 lbs.) has been the most productive member of a very strong defensive front with 34 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks and 2 forced fumbles. The Crimson have been adept at rushing the passer with junior Jacob Sykes (6’3”, 277 lbs.) recording 7 sacks, sophomore Nate Leskovec (6’3”, 251 lbs.) recording 5.5 sacks, and freshman Thor Griffith (6’2”, 303 lbs.) recording 4 sacks. In total, Harvard has sacked opposing quarterbacks 37 times this season. While Princeton relied on heavy blitzing to pressure Grooms, Harvard is able to generate similar pressure with just their four down linemen in a base defense. Opponents have found greater success throwing the ball versus running the ball averaging 222.6 passing yards per game and only 59.8 rushing yards per game. Our offense will face their toughest test of the season in attempting to establish the run game this week (with or without Dudek) as it would be disastrous to become one-dimensional.

Junior kicker Jonah Lipel has made 76.5% of his field goals attempts this season with a long of 42 yards. Junior punter Jon Sot averages 39.6 yards per punt and has punted the ball over 50 yards on 8 occasions. Junior WR Demarkes Stradford (5’10”, 179 lbs.) is a dangerous kick returner averaging 28.1 yards per return and returned one kick for an 89-yard touchdown.

Go Bulldogs!