The 2-2 Lehigh Mountain Hawks visit the Yale Bowl Saturday at 1:30 PM ET. The game can be seen on One World Sports or the ILDN. After dropping its first two games to Monmouth and Villanova, Lehigh bounced back with two straight wins over Ivy League opponents Penn (49-28) and Princeton (42-28). Lehigh’s high powered offense has averaged 584.5 yards over the last two games and QB Nick Shafnisky leads the FCS in completion percentage (72.7%). The Bulldogs won 27-12 last year at Goodman Stadium, but Lehigh looks to be much improved from a season ago. Tre Moore will get the starting nod at QB this week and hopefully will be able to catch Lehigh off balance using his rushing and passing skills. Lehigh is susceptible to the run, so Harris and Salter should have the chance to rush for 100+ yards with a decent performance from the offensive line. Defensively, the Bulldogs will have to “bend not break” this week as Shafnisky and company can gain ground at will. The Bulldogs need to slow down RB Dom Bragalone who rushed for 124 yards last week against Princeton and force Shafnisky into obvious passing situations to come away with a win.
The first half at Cornell was a disaster on both sides of the ball. Offensively, Chapple was “ineffective” as the ILDN broadcasters put it and went 3/10 for 40 yards with 2 interceptions before being replaced by Tre Moore. Moore played decently aside from an ugly interception and a few misreads. On both second half scoring drives, Moore made smart decisions and showed off the accuracy coaches have been raving about since camp. Whenever momentum seemed to shift in Yale’s direction, it was disappointing that the offense continued to operate at the slow tempo pace allowing defenders to catch their breath. The RBs were not being effectively switched to keep defenses off balance trying to defend against Harris’ speed or the power of Salter/Rich. The O Line struggled to open running lanes and protect the QB once again. Center Karl Marback had a number of high snaps and Guard Jeho Chang blew two assignments resulting in a sack and a tackle for loss. The offensive line stepped up in the second half, but Yale just did not have the offensive gameplan in place to come back from the 24-3 halftime deficit.
Defensively, we witnessed the same struggles as we did a week ago against Colgate. The defensive line could not generate pressure on Cornell’s QB Dalton Banks in the first half leaving the secondary exposed. The corners and safeties were often a step too slow to break up the pass and had to settle for a touchdown saving tackle. The linebackers simply missed too many tackles to slow down the Big Red. It was nice to see Foye Oluokun out there playing OLB/Nickelback and he led the defense with 10 tackles, but appeared to suffer an injury in the fourth quarter so we hope he’s OK next week. CB Marquise Peggs also went down with an injury and Yale opted to move Alessi down to cornerback and bring in senior Brian Sykes at safety.
We have to give credit to Coach Paul Rice as the special teams units played solidly. With all of our talented receivers and backs, it might be time to give someone a shot at punt returning besides Alessi though. Alex Galland performed well and should have a great future here at Yale.
The Bulldogs will be on the road this week squaring off against the Big Red Saturday at 3 PM ET on the ILDN. Cornell enters the contest at 1-0 after defeating Bucknell last week 24-16. It took some heroics last year to pull off the 33-26 victory at home, but this is once again a very winnable game.
Cornell’s offense features an efficient QB, an above average offensive line, and a solid runningback. Cornell’s QB Dalton Banks went 17/24 for 160 yards passing last week and accounted for all three touchdowns (2 rushing, 1 passing). RB Chris Walker gained 141 yards on 17 rushes. Cornell’s defense was exploited by Bucknell’s rushing attack as Joey DeFloria ran for over 150 yards on the Big Red D. They also had no answer for Bucknell WR Will Carter who gained 122 yards on 9 receptions. Cornell was also only able to sack Bucknell QB Matt Muh once during the game. This bodes well for the Bulldog offense as we have the backs and receivers at our disposal to make life a nightmare for Cornell. If we can get the running game established with Harris/Salter and protect Chapple for a few seconds, our offense should get back on track this week. Defensively, the Bulldogs need to win at the line of scrimmage to slow down Walker and fluster the sophomore QB.
Coach Reno decided to start Rafe Chapple at QB, but also experimented with Tre Moore and Kurt Rawlings on Saturday. Moore’s series sputtered, while Rawlings series ended with a turnover on downs and an interception. It’s a shame the QB circus had to play out another week, but at least now we know who will be leading this team forward.
Dale Harris got the start at RB over Salter and Rich, but all three struggled against the stout Raiders front. The offensive line simply could not open the holes needed to get the run game going. Penalties by Friedline and Cannon were costly to drives and overall the line could not sustain pass blocks long enough to pick apart Colgate’s secondary.
Jake Melville and the Colgate receivers had their way with the Yale secondary. The defensive front could not generate an effective pass rush and often left corners Marquise Peggs and Jaelin Alburg in tough situations against the Patriot League’s top receiving corps. Clearly the defense is reeling from the losses of Spencer Rymiszewski and Copache Tyler. Even the experienced linebackers performed well below their capabilities in the season opener.
Yale’s next opponent, Cornell, beat Bucknell 24-16 on Saturday.
We are now just under 24 hours away from kickoff tomorrow at the Yale Bowl. The 2006 Ivy League Championship team will be regathering at the game to celebrate the ten year anniversary of their historic run. Unfortunately, we received terrible news that Isaiah DeLeon-Mares ’10 passed away suddenly this week. Isaiah saw varsity action against Columbia in his freshman year, but concussions derailed his promising football career. He was always a source of energy at practice as a student assistant and was beloved by not only the football team, but also by his Zeta Psi fraternity brothers and the fellow members of his secret society.
Be sure to check out the game tomorrow at 1:30 PM ET on One World Sports or the Ivy League Digital Network. Ron Vaccaro and Carm Cozza will be leading the radio broadcast on ESPN Radio AM 1300.
Coach Tony Reno has not announced the starter for Saturday’s contest and it still appears to be a three horse race with Moore, Chapple and Rawlings duking it out for the top spot.
WR Bo Hines has been ruled out of Saturday’s game. Hines’ string of injuries since his transfer has been disappointing for fans, but luckily we return veteran pass catchers such as Chris Williams-Lopez, Michael Siragusa Jr., Robert Clemons III, Myles Gaines, Sebastian Little and Leo Haenni among others to take the pressure off of our new QB.
Our beefed up O-Line will be looking to clear holes for the three-headed monster in our backfield. Rich, Harris and Salter are all at full strength and will be splitting carries this Saturday against a stingy front seven for the Colgate Raiders. Reno mentioned to the YDN that Salter is in the neighborhood of 230 pounds!
Vs. Milford Academy Sept. 25th
Vs. Brown Oct. 2nd
At Harvard Nov. 18th