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Princeton Notes

The Bulldogs cruised to a 51-14 victory over the Princeton Tigers on Saturday in one of the most dominant Yale performances in the history of the rivalry. Dartmouth fell to Cornell in a 20-17 thriller allowing Yale the chance at an Ivy League title with a win over Harvard (or losses by both Dartmouth and Yale).

Playing in their final road game together, Yale’s dynamic trio of Rawlings, Shohfi and Klubnik were spectacular. Rawlings finished the game with 338 yards passing and a mind-blowing 6 touchdowns against a strong Princeton defense. Shohfi caught 8 passes for 141 yards and 2 touchdowns. Klubnik hauled in 7 catches for 107 yards and 3 touchdowns. Tipton had a nice outing with 43 yards receiving, while Conte added an 18 yard touchdown reception. The offensive line manhandled the Tigers’ talented defensive linemen and linebackers.  Rawlings was only sacked once and the line opened big holes for Dudek to average 6.2 yards per carry.  We referred to the Princeton offense last week as the most explosive unit in the league and luckily we were way off in that assessment!  The Bulldogs exploded for 27 points in the second quarter in what was by far the most dominant quarter that Yale played all season.

The performance of the Yale defense nearly outshined the fireworks from Rawlings and company.  Burke led the Bulldogs in tackles with 8 and played a nearly perfect game outside of a holding penalty.  Matthaei, Kissel, Callender, Oso, Sampleton and Nickerson helped shutdown Princeton’s running attack and applied constant pressure on Davidson. The defensive tackle position could be an area of concern with the losses of Goodyear and Keeler.  Adam Raine played the majority of the snaps in their absence and Reno could always opt to slide one of our bigger defensive ends down to tackle this week to aid Raine.  The secondary really stepped up this week limiting Davidson to just 164 passing yards.  Ellis had a great interception while Dixon, Rouse, Benn, Hickey and Alburg played with a level of intensity we haven’t seen from them all season.

Tuckerman was perfect in the kicking game.  Bosman bombed one punt for 47 yards and averaged a solid 38.7 yards per punt.

Reno, Cahill and McGowan deserve all the credit in the world for the gameplan that they put together.  The pressure is on this week with Harvard coming to town and an Ivy League crown on the line.  Murphy will have the Crimson fired up as they would love nothing more than to spoil Yale’s remarkable season.  Expect the team that pounded Dartmouth for 58 minutes to show up in New Haven in a game that has all the makings of an epic clash.

Princeton Preview

The Bulldogs travel to Princeton this week to take on the Tigers in a 1 PM showdown on Saturday.  The game will be aired on ESPN+.

Princeton’s offense is lead by senior quarterback Kevin Davidson.  Davidson is a very efficient passer completing 68.6% of his passes this season for an average of 281 yards per game.  He has thrown 20 touchdowns with just 5 interceptions.  When Princeton’s offensive line has provided Davidson with ample time in the pocket, he has made opposing defenses pay with his arm strength and accuracy.  Davidson spreads the ball around to a number of talented receivers as 6 Tigers have over 100 yards receiving.  Junior wideout Jacob Birmelin is Davidson’s favorite target with 663 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns on the season.  Sophomore Dylan Classi and senior Andrew Griffin are having fantastic seasons averaging roughly 16 yards per reception.  Senior tight end Graham Adomitis (6’4”, 255 lbs.)  and sophomore tight end Carson Bobo (6’5”, 240 lbs.) are big targets that are effective at run blocking and pass catching.  Aside from Princeton’s games versus Harvard and Dartmouth, the offensive line has been dominant keeping defenders away from Davidson and paving the way for running backs Colin Eaddy and Ryan Quigley.  Eaddy has rushed for 547 yards (4.9 yards per carry) while Quigley has rushed for 353 yards (5.4 yards per carry).  From top to bottom, this is the most explosive offense in the Ivy League.

Princeton’s defense does not possess the sheer size and strength of Dartmouth’s defense, however, the Tigers are very fast, swarm to the ball, and blanket receivers.  Senior defensive lineman Joey DeMarco seems to be a lock for a 1st Team All-Ivy selection with 26 tackles, 8 tackles for loss, 5 sacks and 3 blocked kicks.  DeMarco’s fellow defense linemen Samuel Wright and Jake Strain are top-notch defenders that have combined for 11 tackles for loss and 7 sacks.  If Dartmouth’s Traynor did not return for his fifth year, the discussion for top linebacker in the league would center around Jeremiah Tyler and James Johnson.  Tyler has been a game-wrecker racking up 53 tackles, 16 tackles for loss and 5 sacks.  Johnson leads the team in total tackles with 58 drawing comparisons to his brother and former Tiger, Tom Johnson.  Senior safety TJ Floyd was an All-Ivy selection a year ago and has lived up to the high expectations for his final season.  Junior cornerback Delan Stallworth has shutdown the top receivers that he’s faced, although his hands will be full this week versus Shohfi and Klubnik. 

Freshman punter Will Powers has shown incredible leg strength averaging 41.4 yards per punt with 2 punts over 50 yards.  Senior kicker Tavish Rice is just 3 for 6 on field goal attempts this season.  Birmelin is an above-average punt returner averaging 9.9 yards per punt return.  Sophomore Trey Gray is a serious threat at kick returner averaging 23.3 yards per return.   

Brown Notes

Yale improved to 7-1 on Saturday after beating the Brown Bears 59-35 in Providence.

The offense amassed 627 total yards with a balanced attack of 267 rushing yards and 360 passing yards.  Rawlings threw for a whopping 360 yards, 5 touchdowns and not a single interception.  Brown’s defensive backs often provided good coverage limiting Rawlings to a 50% completion rate, however coverage alone could not stop Shohfi and Klubnik from making highlight reel catches on nearly every possession.  Shohfi caught 10 passes for 166 yards and 4 touchdowns, while Klubnik had 87 yards on just 2 receptions.  Tipton added a nice 29 yard touchdown reception.  The offensive line including the tight ends manhandled Brown’s defensive line for the most part.  The left side of the offensive line in particular (Eiselen and Gargiulo) was stellar.  Gargiulo was routinely driving defenders out of bounds on running plays paving the way for Dudek to rack up 216 rushing yards and a touchdown.  Defenders keyed on Lamar once again, yet he still broke loose for 43 yards and a touchdown.  With defenses stacking the box every time Lamar sees the field, it’s created an opportunity over the next two weeks to fake the run to Lamar and hit a slot receiver or tight end for a big gain before the blitz destroys the pocket. 

Brown’s quarterback EJ Perry gave our defense fits through the air and on the ground.  Perry threw for 331 yards with 4 touchdowns and added 140 rushing yards with a touchdown.  For much of the contest, Brown was moving the ball at will and was only derailed by turnovers.  The defense was finally able to clamp down on Perry in the fourth quarter as our front seven had simply worn out the Brown offensive line.  Matthaei had a great performance at defensive tackle with 5 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 2 sacks and a forced fumble.  Awodiran was all over the field with 10 tackles, 1 tackle for loss and 1.5 sacks.  Benn has become a tackling machine, but is still just one step away from breaking up passes. 

Tuckerman was 3 for 5 on field goals, while Bosman averaged roughly 29 yards per punt.  The special teams units will have to improve to keep up the momentum over the next two weeks.

The Bulldogs travel to Princeton this week to take on the 7-1 Tigers.  Princeton’s high-powered offense was no match for Dartmouth’s stout defense as the Big Green prevailed 27-10 at Yankee Stadium.

Brown Preview

The Bulldogs travel to Providence this Saturday for a 12:30 PM contest versus the Brown Bears.  It will be the coldest game that Yale has played in so far this year with the temperature at kickoff slated to be 39 degrees.  The game will be aired on ESPN+.

Brown’s offense is led by the dynamic junior dual threat quarterback EJ Perry.  Perry has thrown for 1905 yards (272 yards per game), 14 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions behind a beleaguered offensive line.  When the pocket collapses, Perry is a fantastic runner who leads the Bears with 554 rushing yards (79 yards per game).  Sophomore running back Allen Smith is very quick out of the backfield and is averaging an impressive 4.7 yards per carry.  Senior wide receiver Jakob Prall has been the go-to wideout for years and while he’s no Buddy Farnham, he has the ability to get behind our secondary for big plays.  Senior wide receiver LJ Harriott torched our defense three years ago and will pose matchup problems for our defensive backs with his size, speed and strength.  The offensive line has been the main weakness for Brown all season, yet EJ Perry’s rare athletic ability has allowed the Brown offense to keep churning despite the lackluster play at the line of scrimmage.  Brown has improved tremendously from week one and narrowly lost to Cornell and Penn over the last two weeks.  Coach Perry has a very aggressive offensive strategy as Brown often declines to punt the ball on fourth down even in poor field position.

The heart of the Brown defense is senior defensive tackle Michael Hoecht.  Hoecht has been dominant since his freshman season and is on pace for an All-Ivy year with 32 tackles, 6 tackles for loss, and 2 sacks.  Brown’s linebacking corps suffered a setback when their 265 lb. middle linebacker Kingsley Ejiogu-Dike was injured earlier in the season.  Sophomore linebacker Jason Medeiros has helped fill the void leading the team in tackles with 37.  Senior linebacker Brendan Pyne has been solid as well racking up 36 tackles.  Coach Perry has played a number of freshmen extensively in this rebuilding season and defensive back Cooper Deveau could be the most talented of the bunch accumulating 28 tackles, 5 pass breakups and 1 fumble recovery.  Brown’s secondary has struggled against strong aerial attacks giving up 101 first downs through the air and allowing opposing quarterbacks to average 337 passing yards.

Kicker Dawson Goepferich has made 4 of 7 field goal attempts this season, but just 1 of 4 attempts beyond 30 yards.  Goepferich is also Brown’s starting punter averaging just under 40 yards per punt with 7 punts placed inside opponents’ redzones.  Brown’s punt return and kick return units have been below average for the Ivy League averaging 4.5 yards and 18.7 yards respectively.

Brown is a quality opponent that cannot be overlooked this week.  Most importantly, this is the last opportunity for the Bulldogs to improve before difficult contests versus the Tigers and Crimson.  We need Princeton to knock off Dartmouth this week to stay in the hunt for an Ivy title after Harvard’s last minute blunder versus Dartmouth last week.

Go Bulldogs!

Columbia Notes

The Bulldogs dominated the Lions on Saturday in a 45-10 contest.

Kurt Rawlings was magical once again throwing for 390 yards and two touchdowns with just a single interception. Rawlings showed his elusiveness in the ground game rushing for 33 yards and two touchdowns. Shohfi and Klubnik put on a clinic with Shohfi hauling in 9 passes for 189 yards and a touchdown and Klubnik hauling in 4 passes for 98 yards. Carrington added 73 yards and a touchdown, but appeared to be injured late in the contest. Dudek had a solid game rushing for 55 yards on just 6 attempts and catching 2 passes for 19 yards. The Columbia defense seemed to key on Lamar whenever he entered the game limiting him to just 12 yards on 8 carries. The offensive line was stellar in pass blocking, yet did allow too much penetration on running downs.

The return of Rodney Thomas was key to shutting down Columbia’s offensive attack. Columbia’s top wideout and playmaker, Wainwright, did not suit up for the Lions giving a leg up to the Bulldogs before play had even commenced. The front seven pounded the Lions all game limiting their rushing attack to 28 yards on 29 attempts and racking up 4 sacks. Nickerson, Matthaei, Ifesinachukwu, Goodyear, Callender, and Kissel were all standouts along the defensive line. Thomas and Awodiran were the heart of the linebacking corps combining for 12 tackles and 1.5 tackles for losses. Columbia wideouts were still beating Yale defensive backs in coverage, although the pass rush was able to minimize Lenhart’s effectiveness in delivering the ball. Hickey played sparingly and was seen in the second half leaving the field with a grimace on his face. Freshman Brandon Benn saw the majority of the snaps tying Thomas for a game high 8 tackles. Rouse is improving every week at corner and made a number of crucial tackles. Dixon was ejected for targeting after a controversial penalty.

The punt team struggled allowing Columbia’s Roussos to return a punt 29 yards. Bosman averaged just 29.7 yards per punt. Tuckerman nailed a 38 yard field goal attempt in the 3rd quarter.

One of the highlights off the field was watching two anti-Vicky Chun protestors walk right in front of Chun after halftime.

Yale will travel to Providence to take on the Brown Bears this weekend in what many have described as a trap game.

Columbia Preview

Ivy League coaching legend Al Bagnoli and his Columbia Lions travel to the Bowl this Saturday for a showdown at noon.  The game will be aired on ESPN+.  It will be perfect fall football weather at the Bowl with a temperature of 50 degrees at kickoff.

Columbia enters the contest with a 2-4 record, however, the Lions dominated Penn in a 44-6 beatdown and played very well defensively versus Princeton in a 21-10 loss.  Bagnoli’s squads at Penn and Columbia have historically been difficult for the Elis to beat.  In a battle of injury plagued teams last season, Columbia prevailed in a 17-10 victory as the Bulldogs struggled to tackle and couldn’t move the ball effectively on offense.  Sophomore quarterback Ty Lenhart commands the Columbia offense, although junior quarterback Josh Bean played extensively earlier in the season.  Lenhart has completed 64.9% of his passes for 518 yards, 3 touchdowns and 4 interceptions.  He is also a threat in the ground game as he averages 4.0 yards per carry and has scored 3 rushing touchdowns.  Sophomore running back Ryan Young (5’9”, 225 lbs.) leads the team in rushing yards and was tough for the Bulldogs to bring down last season with his deadly combination of size and speed.  Senior wide receiver Josh Wainwright is a dangerous playmaker that possess more talent than any wideout we have faced this season including Dartmouth’s Estrada.  The Lions’ offensive line play has been up and down all season struggling versus Dartmouth (as most teams including Yale have as well), but clearly overpowering Penn’s defensive line.  Tight end Rory Schlagerty hasn’t been a huge factor for the Columbia offense with just 12 receptions, but we expect to see Bagnoli try to get him more touches as the Bulldogs focus on shutting down Wainwright.

Columbia’s defense is likely the third best unit in the league behind Dartmouth and Princeton.  Senior defensive end Daniel Delorenzi was a headache for our offensive line last year and has only improved this season posting 4 tackles for losses and 3 sacks.  Senior outside linebacker Michael Murphy is a solid tackler with a knack for finding the ball.  Senior middle linebacker Jalen Williams is a physical defender that has really stepped up this season in place of the injured Justin Woodley.  Junior safety Ben Mathiasmeier leads the defense in total tackles with 40.  Preseason 1st Team All-Ivy cornerback Will Allen is a shutdown defensive back that can play on an island.  This is a game that will be won or lost in the trenches, so we will need tremendous intensity out of our offensive line for the full sixty minutes.  If Rawlings absorbs hits like he did against Richmond, it will spell doom for the Elis.

Freshman kicker Alex Felkins is 5 for 8 on field goal attempts this season with two successful attempts over 50 yards.  Punter Drew Schmid averages 37.4 yards per punt and has placed 9 punts inside opponents’ 20 yard line.  Punt returner and kick returner Mike Roussos has been a momentum changer for the Lions averaging 19.4 yards per punt return and 23.1 yards per kickoff return.  Roussos is currently ranked second nationally in yards per punt return.

Go Bulldogs!

Penn Notes

The Bulldogs survived a shootout versus the Quakers on Saturday edging Penn 46-41.

Kurt Rawlings was in peak form throwing for 388 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing for 67 yards and two touchdowns.  Klubnik and Shohfi were unstoppable hauling in a combined 20 receptions for 349 yards and two touchdowns.  The offensive line had one of its better showings to date giving Rawlings time in the pocket, allowing only one sack and paving the way for Dudek to run for 97 yards.  Strother was back in the lineup at center sporting an arm brace.  Lamar had a quiet day out of the backfield, but did make a fantastic grab over his outside shoulder in the first half on a critical drive.  The tight ends were a non-factor in the passing game, yet had key blocks on many of Dudek’s runs.  This was the Yale offense that fans were salivating over in the pre-season and if we keep improving, it’s going to be tough for opposing defenses to slow us down.

While the offense was firing on all cylinders, the same could not be said for the defense.  Penn QB Nick Robinson completed 30 passes for 395 yards and three touchdowns.  Robinson had averaged just under 214 passing yards per game entering the contest, but he was able to exploit the soft coverages of Yale’s secondary in a career day.  Yale’s pass rush was a huge improvement from what we saw over the last two weeks generating pressure and hard hits on Robinson.  Robinson showed toughness in the pocket as he hung onto the ball as long as possible to give his receivers time to outrun our defensive backs.  The run defense was strong limiting Penn’s star running back to just 72 yards on 20 carries.  Reid Nickerson, Oso Ifesinachukwu, Josh Keeler, Tate Goodyear and Christian Sampleton were the standouts along the defensive line.  Ryan Burke, John Dean and Micah Awodiran had solid outings at linebacker.  Rodney Thomas was still out of the lineup with sophomore Brian Abraham filling his role.  Abraham showed progression from his performance versus Richmond, but the potential return of Thomas will be crucial in our final two showdowns.  The secondary with freshman Brandon Benn manning the free safety position struggled to contain Penn’s top two receiving threats in Cragun and Starkey.  Cragun finished the day with 13 receptions for 208 yards, while Starkey added 5 catches for 93 yards and a touchdown.  Shoring up the secondary over the final four games must be the focus of the Yale coaching staff to stay in the hunt for a title.

Tuckerman was four for five on extra point attempts, while Bosman averaged 35.5 yards per punt over four attempts.  Rouse had an exciting 21 yard punt return showing off the elite quickness and agility that earned him the job.