A disastrous first quarter that led to a 21 point deficit for the Bulldogs was ultimately too much to overcome against a powerful Princeton team in a 59-43 loss at the Bowl. Yale dropped to 5-4 (3-3 Ivy) to set up a battle of 5-4 teams at Fenway for The Game.
On Princeton’s first play from scrimmage, running back Collin Eady raced 75 yards to put the Tigers up 7-0 just seconds into the contest. On Yale’s second offensive play, O’Connor threw the ball directly to a Princeton defender who returned it inside of the red zone. Eaddy made the score 14-0 as he knifed through Yale’s defense for a 17 yard score. O’Connor’s luck did not improve on Yale’s second drive as his pass was tipped in the backfield and intercepted by a Princeton linebacker. Princeton’s third string running back Ryan Quigly outran the Bulldogs on a 37 yard scoring play to put the Tigers up 21-0. Yale was able to put together a touchdown drive to begin the second quarter to make it 21-7, but defensive woes allowed Princeton to go into halftime with a 42-14 lead. Yale’s offense exploded in the second half, yet Princeton was able to add another 17 points to keep Yale at bay.
Freshman Griffin O’Connor threw for a record 465 yards with 3 touchdowns against a very stingy defense. His 4 interceptions, however, were crippling as the Yale defense could not slow down Princeton until well into the second half. The offensive line performed very well giving ample time for O’Connor to find open receivers and clearing the path for Lamar and Alston in the ground game. Lamar finished with over 100 yards rushing, while Alston averaged a respectable 4.8 yards per attempt. Klubnik was absolutely dominant with 8 catches for 234 yards. Shohfi had two long catches for 79 yards, Rouse had 4 catches for 62 yards, Howland had 3 catches for 53 yards and Lamar had 3 catches for 38 yards.
Princeton’s Bob Surace must have seen holes in Yale’s rush defense and decided to exploit the weaknesses as Princeton rushed for 489 yards. Second string running back Eaddy had 266 yards with 3 touchdowns, while third stringer Quigley added 113 yards with 2 touchdowns. If that wasn’t bad enough, Lovett tacked on another 110 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns. The Yale defensive line was not getting enough penetration or pushing back offensive linemen. Linebackers and safeties were not filling the gaps or getting off of blocks. When we did have defenders in position to make a play, we missed way too many tackles. Pass defense was much improved and corners were finally turning their heads to play the passes. Horsted’s long touchdown reception was an embarrassment though as he effortlessly ran through Bulldogs on his way to a 52 yard touchdown.
Penalties were cleaned up as Yale was cited for just one penalty for 10 yards. Galland was perfect on extra points and was only forced to punt once in the contest. Reno did a great job keeping the players motivated in the second half to claw back within 16 points.