Brown Preview

The Bulldogs travel to Providence this Saturday to take on the Brown Bears at 12:30 PM ET.  Even in down years, the Bears can knock off nearly any opponent in the Ivy League.  Last week, Brown limited Penn to only 21 points in 21-14 loss to the Quakers.  This is a well coached football team with a talented QB (Thomas Linta) and dangerous receivers such as Alex Jette and Garrett Swanky.  The defensive unit for Brown lacks star players, but plays cohesively and forces turnovers.  Special teams have been a disaster for Brown all year and Galland’s strong leg gives a huge advantage to Yale in a close game.

To win this game, Yale needs to execute offensively and limit big pass plays defensively.  Look for the Brown Bears to put heat on Freshman QB Kurt Rawlings who has emerged as the starter after last week’s stellar performance against Columbia.  Our offensive line needs to bounce back after last week’s horrific display of run blocking to get Lamar and Salter moving on the ground.  If the secondary stays healthy this week and the defensive line can pressure Linta, the Bulldogs should emerge victorious.

Columbia Preview

The Bulldogs travel to the Big Apple on Friday to take on the Columbia Lions.  Al Bagnoli has his troops fired up after a 9-7 win over Dartmouth last week.  Interestingly enough, Columbia is 2-0 when they do not score a touchdown.  Aside from the Penn and Princeton contests, Columbia’s defense has been rather stingy.  Their special teams units have also played well all season, but it’s been the anemic Columbia offense that has plagued the Lions.  Columbia’s offense has only averaged 11.6 points per game this season and in terms of total offense, Columbia is ranked 111th out of 122 FCS squads.  RB Alan Watson ran for 74 yards last week on 17 carries, while QB Anders Hill ran for 30 yards on 15 carries.  Hill only managed 123 yards threw the air against Dartmouth, but look for his numbers to improve against the Yale secondary especially if Oluokun is still injured.

The Bulldogs will have to establish the run game early on, while also taking deep shots down the field to keep defenders from keying on Lamar every play.  We’d like to see Tre Moore target our talented tight ends more often and get into a rhythm early on.  Coach Paul Rice will need to match Columbia’s intensity on special teams, while Coaches Steve Vashel and Sean McGowan need a great performance from the defense to keep the Yale faithful from pillaging their offices over the weekend.

Tune into the game on NBCSN at 7:00 PM ET this Friday.

Analysis on the Blowout Loss

The Bulldogs needed to play mistake-free football to beat Penn and clearly that was not the case last night.  Tre Moore fumbled while rushing the ball on the first drive and from that point on, Conlin abandoned the QB runs all together.  Moore had a few wildly inaccurate passes and the boneheaded interception, yet there were a number of good balls dropped.  Myles Gaines, Leo Haenni, Reed Klubnik and Alan Lamar dropped crucial passes that were necessary to keep drives alive.  Klubnik seems to think he can haul in every pass by sticking out one hand.  When Oluokun went down with an injury, all hell broke loose in the secondary.  Penn keyed on his replacement, Brian Sykes, and continuously threw bombs to Watson and company until the game was out of hand.  Sykes appeared to be benched in the second half, but Yale had no chance of a comeback by that point.  The tackling was atrocious all evening with the lowlight of Alessi getting run over by QB Alek Torgersen.  It’s not politically correct to say anymore, but if a QB wants to run up the middle, inflict brain damage on the poor fellow.

The positives from the game were limited.  RB Alan Lamar did as well as he could rushing the ball given the poor blocking.  WR JP Shohfi had a few nice grabs.  S Hayden Carlson and LB Victor Egu delivered big hits.

Penn Preview

The Bulldogs will have to shut down Penn QB Alek Torgersen, RB Tre Solomon, and WR Justin Watson this week to pull off a victory in the “Night at the Bowl.”  Penn dominated Columbia in a 35-10 contest last week and each of their three offensive stars put up huge numbers.  QB Torgersen went 17/27 with 241 yards, 3 touchdowns and one interception, while WR Watson caught six of those passes for 114 yards.  RB Solomon rushed for 127 yards on the day including a long 32 yard burst.  Torgersen did not have a great day rushing last week, but look for Head Coach Ray Priore to try to establish Torgersen as a dual threat early on as Penn did against Dartmouth.

The Penn defense has been improving each week, but their games against Lehigh, Fordham, and Dartmouth exposed glaring holes both in their run defense and pass defense.  In fact, Dartmouth RB Miles Smith averaged over 18 yards per carry in Dartmouth’s 37-24 loss to Penn.  If our group of RBs can combine to put up over 200 yards and Tre Moore protects the rock, we can control the clock and wear down the Penn defense.  Hopefully Alan Lamar and Deshawn Salter are ready to go this week as Dale Harris is needed in the secondary.  The Bulldogs moved the ball at will last season against Penn, but ultimately bad decisions in the redzone sealed our fate.

Tune into the game Friday at 7 PM ET on NBCSN.

Ivy Standings

With the brutal non-conference schedule behind us, it’s time to focus exclusively on Ivy League opponents.  Here are the current standings:

Harvard 2-0

Princeton 2-0

Penn 2-0

Cornell 1-1

Yale 1-1

Dartmouth 0-2

Brown 0-2

Columbia 0-2

Yale plays Penn this Friday at 7 PM ET on NBCSN

Fordham Preview

The Bulldogs will travel to The Bronx this weekend to take on the Fordham Rams at 1 PM ET.  The Rams beat Lafayette 58-34 last week and handled Penn 31-17 earlier in the season.  Fordham’s RB Chase Edmonds ran for 359 yards on 17 carries last week with 4 touchdowns setting an FCS record for rushing yards per attempt.  The Rams’ QB Kevin Anderson is no slouch either as he led the Patriot League last season in passing touchdowns and passing efficiency.  Fordham’s defense was gashed this season by Navy, Monmouth and Lafayette, but stepped up in the Penn contest limiting dual threat QB Alek Torgersen to only 125 yards passing and 31 yards rushing on the day.  Fordham has been one of the toughest foes to beat in the FCS at home since 2012 and presents a huge test for our revamped defense.

Keys to the game:

Slow down RB Chase Edmonds

Protect Tre Moore and get him into a rhythm early

Establish the running game with Lamar and Rich (or Salter if healthy)

Keep the Fordham defense off balance with screens, short passes, and deep bombs to our talented wideouts and tight ends

Continue to improve upon last week’s performance in the secondary