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.
With the brutal non-conference schedule behind us, it’s time to focus exclusively on Ivy League opponents. Here are the current standings:
Yale plays Penn this Friday at 7 PM ET on NBCSN
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
Tre Moore’s ball security issues are a concern, but his passing seems to improve each week.
Freshman WR Reed Klubnik had a fantastic one-handed TD grab before the half that was truly a game changer. Myles Gaines made a number of difficult catches to keep drives alive. Williams-Lopez continued to shine.
The left side of the offensive line was anchored by Freshmen Dieter Eiselen and Sterling Strother who both played admirably in the first starts.
Freshman RB Alan Lamar exploded on Saturday with 23 carries for 180 yards and 2 touchdowns. Candler Rich also ran nicely with 57 yards and Dale Harris made an appearance on the offensive side averaging 4.5 yards over two carries.
The defense stepped up when it mattered the most. The game would not have been won without the interceptions by Carlson and Oluokun. Dale Harris played well at cornerback making a touchdown saving tackle and delivering big hits. Oluokun looked natural at safety and punished receivers every chance he could. Freshman CB Malcom Dixon saw action and should supply quality depth to the secondary. Captain LB Darius Manora was all over the field. DT Nicholas Crowle played well on the defensive line and it was nice to see effective stunts up front with the defensive tackles and ends. Freshman DL Julian Fraser made an impact and could shore up this line in the years to come.
The 2-1 Big Green will visit the Yale Bowl at 1 PM ET on Saturday and the game can be viewed on the ILDN. Dartmouth enters the contest after a 37-24 loss to Penn last Friday. Penn was able to put significant pressure on QB Jack Heneghan forcing two ugly interceptions from the junior signal caller. Sophomore RB Miles Smith ran for 95 yards on just 5 carries last week, so the Bulldogs will need to limit his big play ability to stay in control of the game. Most importantly for Yale, we must cover WRs Hunter Hagdorn and Drew Hunnicutt to derail Teevens’ offensive plans. We’re hoping to see Marquise Peggs and Dale Harris out there in the secondary this week, but haven’t received confirmation if they are both ready to go. Teevens is the type of coach that cannot adequately make in-game adjustments, so punching Dartmouth in the mouth early on can set the Elis up for a huge victory.
Defensively, the Big Green were gashed all day by Penn QB Torgersen and Penn RB Solomon. Salter, Rich and Moore should be able to pound the ball against this defense and make Yale’s former defensive line coach Duane Brooks wish he had never left New Haven. If Tre Moore can limit his mistakes passing the ball and the offensive line can keep defenders at bay, we can put up 28+ points on this defense. This Dartmouth team is not the same unit that handled the Bulldogs 35-3 last year.
The Good: Yale fought back to make it a 28-35 game at one point. Tre Moore and Deshawn Salter had great days rushing the ball. Alessi ran back a punt for a TD. The run defense stepped up on a couple of series. Williams-Lopez had another solid performance.
The Bad: 2nd String Lehigh QB Brad Mayes threw for 524 yards and 6 touchdowns on the Bulldogs’ defense. The defensive line did not put enough pressure on Mayes to disrupt his throws. Holding penalties on the secondary and offensive line killed us all day. Tre Moore’s two interceptions were both balls that should not have been thrown into tight coverage. The offensive line offered poor pass protection to Moore.
The Ugly: The secondary simply had no answers for Lehigh’s wideouts. Debner and Alburg were constantly targeted by Mayes and had little to no safety support from Carlson and Sykes. Defensive Coordinator Vashel never got creative in an attempt to pressure Lehigh until the game was out of hand. A penalty for roughing the punter negated a rare defensive stand.