The Bulldogs will be traveling to the Bronx this weekend to take on the Fordham Rams (1-3) at 6 PM ET on Saturday. You can catch the game for free on the Patriot League Network assuming that the network does not crash as it did during the Lehigh contest.
Fordham is coming off of a 45-40 loss to Bryant (a team beaten by Brown two weeks ago), but was without All-American runningback Chase Edmonds. Rams QB Kevin Anderson threw for five touchdowns last week, the same number of touchdowns he threw against Yale last year. Yale lost that game 44-37 despite having more offensive yards and first downs as turnovers proved costly.
This will be a high scoring affair and the last team that has the ball could win. Kevin Anderson has several receiving weapons including TE Isaiah Searight (133 yards, 2 TDs vs. Bryant), WR Corey Caddle (82 yards, 1 TD vs. Bryant), and WR Andrew Prince (52 yards, 2 TDs vs. Bryant). Freshman runningback Zach Davis, who is filling in for the injured Edmonds, rushed for 119 yards on 21 carries. Since 2012, Fordham has scored more than 40 points on 25 occasions. If Chase Edmonds plays this week, his dynamic abilities could tip the scale in Fordham’s favor.
Keys to Victory:
- Win the turnover battle
- Burn the clock with Salter/Dudek
- Keep the pressure on Anderson
- Disrupt passing lanes
With the brutal Ivy schedule ahead of us, it may prove more important to stay healthy than to dominate this contest.
Things did not start out smoothly for the Bulldogs on Saturday in the home opener at the Bowl. Cornell came out fired up and Dalton Banks was able to drive down the field after numerous Yale mistakes. Yale missed key tackles and the secondary looked flat-footed until slowing down the Big Red in the red zone limiting them to just a field goal. Our offense was pushed around on the first series with unblocked defenders causing havoc in the backfield. Just as the situation seemed dire, our defense came alive causing a turnover on a tipped pass. Yale was truly a different team in the second half featuring a punishing defense and a balanced offense. Mullen, Tyler, Callender, Kissel and Crowle played well along the defensive front. By the end of the game, fans were unsure if Banks would even be able to stand up after all the hits he endured. One particular hit on Banks from Oplinger drew a flag from the officials, but seemed to be clean in real time. Agbeyegbe was tossed in the second half for a controversial targeting penalty and will be ineligible to play in the first half of next week’s game. Salter and Dudek both rushed for over 100 yards each, while Klubnik was the difference maker at receiver this week. Rawlings had a rough day throwing the ball as he went 10 for 17 for only 123 yards with a touchdown and interception. Williams-Lopez hauled in only two receptions for 30 yards and had a costly fumble. The offensive line struggled early on, but was able to make adjustments and wear out Cornell’s front seven by the third quarter.
- Limit the mental mistakes
Yale did not look like a team playing its first game of the season last Saturday, but that isn’t to say the team didn’t make any mistakes. From sloppy special teams play to secondary breakdowns, there were major flaws that could be exposed by a smarter opponent such as Cornell. This is a contest that could be decided by a missed field goal or a dropped punt. Coach Paul Rice will have to clean things up with his special teams outfits this week to secure a victory. The secondary is a talented bunch, yet we often see opposing receivers darting downfield with no Yale defender in sight. This all boils down to communication and understanding the schemes, so we should see a marked improvement from week one to week two.
- Fluster Dalton Banks
Banks threw for 306 yards and two touchdowns on the Bulldogs in our loss last season. The defensive line could not generate enough pressure to limit Banks’ effectiveness. The defensive line this year is a whole different beast and each position has 2-3 players capable of starting. Tyler, Callender, and company dominated the line of scrimmage last week and a similar level of performance will cripple Cornell’s offense.
- Keep Cornell Guessing
Cornell always seems to have a solid gameplan in place when they face Yale. Last season, Cornell shut down our offense (in the pre-Rawlings era) and found enough holes in our defense to beat us 27-13. With three great runningbacks and a receiving corps that could be the deepest in recent Bulldog history, Reno can keep Cornell’s defense guessing by utilizing the deep roster at these positions, changing personnel packages, and playing with a faster tempo. Look for Cornell to key on Williams-Lopez leaving Siragusa, Rouse, or Graham open. The one-two punch of Salter’s power and Dudek’s cutback ability will eat yards and burn the clock. If Cornell brings an extra defender into the box, Rawlings should be able to beat them over the top.
The Bulldogs are sitting at 1-0 after cruising to a 56-28 win over Lehigh on Saturday. QB Kurt Rawlings looked fantastic throwing the ball in tight windows and finding open receivers all day. The RB trio of Salter, Dudek, and Grinde exceeded all expectations after it was announced last week that Lamar was out for the season. The WR corps is as dominant as ever and Melvin Rouse had a breakout performance. The front seven on defense is a formidable group with depth and talent. DT Copache Tyler and DE Charles Callender wreaked havoc on Lehigh’s offensive line. Areas of concern are still the offensive line and the secondary. The offensive line held up for most of the game, but did not seem as crisp in the second half. As others noted, Lucas Tribble was playing guard in place of Dieter Eiselen. The secondary has improved from last year, yet there were still lapses in communications that left Lehigh receivers streaking downfield without a white jersey in sight. Reno has no hesitation playing freshmen as Dudek, Grinde, Rouse, Carrington, and Dean saw their first action of their careers.
Get ready for the Big Red this week!
A depth chart surfaced yesterday showcasing Yale’s two-deep for the Lehigh game. The defensive line will feature Chism and Mullen at the defensive end spots and Herubin and Crowle at the defensive tackle positions. Several former players were shocked that Copache Tyler is not starting and there was also no mention of the disruptive Julian Fraser. Oplinger, Burke and Oluokun will be the starting linebackers with Jordan Carey, Blake Hill and Quintin Herbert backing them up. Hopefully Foye has learned from his mistakes at linebacker early last season before he was switched back to safety. No reference of Awodiran, but Hill and Carey performed well in camp to earn the back-up spots. Rymiszewski and Marquise Peggs will hold down the corner spots with Alessi and Carlson as safeties. Freshman Deonte Henson will back up Peggs at corner and could be thrown into the fire early with any injuries.
The offensive line had no surprises in personnel, but perhaps in position choices with Bezney at right tackle, Huizenga at right guard, Strother at center, Eiselen at left guard, and Marback at left tackle. We were expecting to see Marback at center and Strother at tackle. Rawlings will start at quarterback with Salter joining him in the backfield as the starting runningback. Dudek and Grinde will relieve Salter. Jaeden Graham earned the starting nod at tight end after a solid camp. The starting receiving corps had one surprise with Drwal as the third wideout. Williams-Lopez and Siragusa will be the top two receivers, but expect talented players such as Klubnik, Shohfi and Locke to rotate in regularly.
- Limit Brad Mayes
In last year’s contest, Mayes threw for over 500 yards and 6 touchdowns in back-up duty. Now as the full time starter this season, Mayes has thrown for over 300 yards in both contests. Keeping Mayes under 300 yards passing will be a tall task for Rymiszewski and company. The defense will have to employ a bend, but not break mentality. We can give up the short passes and let them burn the clock, but if Lehigh’s receivers beat our corners and safeties over the top, it will be a grueling day for the Bulldogs.
- Slow down Bragalone
Bragalone is a strong, patient runner that keeps defenses off balance. Yale will not be able to stack the box to stop Bragalone as this will leave the secondary exposed. We will have to rely on determined play from our defensive line and linebackers to fill the running lanes.
- Establish a rhythm offensively
This will be Lehigh’s third contest of the season and we can expect their offense to be crisp. We will experience some early mental mistakes by the Bulldogs in their first contest, but if Rawlings can get in rhythm with talented wideouts like Williams-Lopez, we can put up points on Lehigh’s leaky defense. The best defense is a good offense and we need to focus on methodical drives to keep the ball away from Lehigh. If Lamar is still out with an injury, Salter and Dudek will have to step up to keep our offense from becoming one dimensional. Many have compared Dudek to Lehigh’s Bragalone due to their high school roots, so it will be interesting to see how they compare on the same field of play.
- Execute on the offensive line
Yale has the most talented receiving corps in the Ivy League, but if we can’t protect Rawlings, there will be no hope of stretching plays downfield. The team that can win in the trenches will win this game. Diagnosing blitzes and communicating along the line can give Rawlings enough time to pick apart Lehigh’s secondary.
The Bulldogs will travel to Bethlehem, PA this weekend to take on the 0-2 Lehigh Mountain Hawks. Lehigh played two very tough opponents over the last few weeks in Villanova and Monmouth, so don’t count them out just yet. Lehigh pounded us 63-35 last season behind their backup quarterback at the Bowl. This game presents a fantastic opportunity for Tony Reno and his staff to show the improvements made from a year ago.
Kickoff will be at 12:30 PM ET on Saturday and the game can be seen on the Patriot League Network. A more detailed preview will follow in the coming days.