- Slow down the trio of Lovett, Horsted and Carlson
The Bulldogs must find a way to slow down Princeton’s quarterback John Lovett and wide receivers Jesper Horsted and Stephen Carlson on Saturday. Lovett is the Ivy League’s version of Tim Tebow as he is a bruising runner who also possesses the passing skills to make collegiate secondaries look foolish. Horsted and Carlson are both 6’4″ targets that are nearly impossible to jam at the line of scrimmage. They have excellent leaping abilities to grab passes at the highest points. Dartmouth had success stopping Lovett’s rushes as he averaged just 2.4 yards per attempt, but he still managed to score two rushing touchdowns and was a very efficient passer despite one interception. Carlson had a quiet day versus the Big Green, yet Horsted exploded for 9 catches for 88 yards. Princeton has so many weapons on offense that a defense can’t shut down all of the threats. Yale must create penetration with the defensive line to give the linebackers clean shots on Lovett when he opts to run the ball. Once Lovett gets past the linebacking corps, it will be very difficult for our smaller defensive backs to tackle him. Defensive backs have to stay over the top of Carlson and Horsted as well as turn their heads to play the ball. Horsted catches the ball every time a defender tries to face guard him.
- Clean up the penalties
Yale was cited for 12 penalties for 131 yards last week versus Brown. In the loss to Holy Cross, the Bulldogs were called for 11 penalties for 77 yards. Yale had 6 more penalties than Dartmouth in the loss to the Big Green, two of which wiped away touchdowns. In each of Yale’s losses this season, we have had more penalties than the opponent. Princeton will capitalize on penalties and make us pay dearly for these mental mistakes. College football is a game of momentum and nothing deflates a team like having a touchdown erased for a holding penalty. Scoring opportunities against Princeton will be few and far between, so we cannot squander any chances.
- Convert on third downs
Dartmouth was only able to convert on 3 of 12 third downs, while Harvard converted on just 8 of 17 attempts. You have to wonder what these contests would have looked like if these offenses had been able to convert on third downs more often to keep the Princeton offense off of the field for an extra possession or two. Princeton’s defense is not going to give up yards easily and Surace will likely look to bring heat against our first year quarterback with blitzers such as Fossati. The Bulldogs need to utilize passing plays that develop quickly, so that O’Connor can find Shohfi, Klubnik, Howland and others before the pressure reaches him. If Princeton opts to play conservatively on defense, Lamar and Alston will have chances to scamper downfield as Harvard and Dartmouth’s top running backs each averaged 5 yards or more per carry. The priority this week is to keep Lovett, Horsted and Carlson off of the field entirely with long Bulldog drives.