Notes on Princeton Game

With the four point win over Princeton on Saturday, Yale clinched at least a share of the Ivy League Championship.  This was a rivalry game for the ages featuring two potent offenses firing on all cylinders.

Coming into the contest, we had a feeling Kanoff was going to have a big game, but no one thought he would put up over 450 passing yards on the top defense.  Princeton WR Tiger Bech caught 6 passes for 175 yards, WR Jesper Horsted caught 6 passes for 128 yards and WR Stephen Carlson added another 74 yards receiving.  Despite the yardage, Kanoff’s completion percentage was a low 56% as the Yale defense affected his rhythm and Princeton wideouts dropped a few balls.   We bottled up Princeton’s running game by limiting Volker to just 29 yards.  Everything seemed to go wrong for our defense during the first half.  The pass rush was not generating enough pressure, the defensive backs were yards behind Princeton receivers, and tackling was downright atrocious.  TE Jaeden Graham’s 58 yard touchdown reception and Princeton’s fumble on their opening drive of the second half shifted the momentum in favor of the Bulldogs.

After the Princeton fumble, Rawlings threw a perfect 33 yard touchdown pass to Senior WR Ross Drwal to put the Elis within a field goal of the Tigers.  From that point on, the offense leaned on the bruisers up front to pave holes for Dudek and burn time off the clock.  Dudek was a workhorse running for 180 yards on 35 carries.  Rouse carried the ball twice for 26 yards including an electric 21 yard dash.  After the 24-7 start to the game, Rawlings went on to complete 15 of his next 16 passes to finish up 26 for 34 for 304 yards and two touchdowns.  Graham led the team in receiving yards with 87 followed by Williams-Lopez with 73.

The Bulldogs did not sack Kanoff once during the game, but Oplinger’s pressure on Princeton’s final offensive play caused an errant pass that wound up in Oluokun’s hands.  Oplinger finished the day with 10 total tackles followed by Hayden Carlson who had 8 tackles and two very important pass breakups.

Galland was perfect on extra points, but missed a tough 44 yard field goal in crunch time.  Kick coverage was poor once again and Princeton’s Tiger Bech had multiple opportunities to return kicks for touchdowns.

Congratulations to Yale players, coaches and parents on the championship run!

There’s just one more goal to accomplish: Beat Harvard!

Princeton Preview

Yale travels to Princeton, New Jersey this week to take on the 5-3 Princeton Tigers at 1 PM ET on Saturday.  You can catch the game on Eleven Sports or the Ivy League Network.

Trying to limit Princeton’s offense will be the toughest challenge our defense has faced all season.  Senior QB Chad Kanoff has completed over 74% of his passes for 2,576 yards, 22 touchdowns and only 7 interceptions.  Princeton’s offensive line is great in pass protection and Kanoff has had ample time to pick apart opposing defenses.  Kanoff prefers throwing to receivers running short and medium length routes.  WR Jesper Horsted has had a phenomenal year with 74 catches for 929 yards and 10 touchdowns.  Horsted’s fellow WR Stephen Carlson is a big target at 6-4, 225 lbs. and has 723 receiving yards on the season.  RB Charlie Volker hits the hole hard and fast, but lacks the vision to be an elite back in this conference.  Penn let Princeton get back into the game last week with turnovers and a botched punt that allowed the Tigers to start their drives in Quaker territory.  Princeton’s offense likes to march down the field methodically, so pinning them deep in their own territory will be crucial to winning this game.

Princeton’s defense has suffered through an injury-plagued season, but they still have the talent to stifle a stale offense.  Penn ripped Princeton’s defense last week completing 17 of 20 passes and had two backs rush for over 100 yards each.  Yale should be able to wear out this front seven and get the ball rolling in the ground game.  LB Thomas Johnson is a speedy defender that can run down plays on the backside and has racked up 70 tackles on the season.  DL Kurt Holuba is dominant along the defensive front for Princeton, but did not play last week at Penn.  Freshman CB CJ Wall leads the Tigers with 3 interceptions thus far.  Yale needs to score early and often on this Princeton defense to stay in the game.

Keys to the Game:

  • Bend, but don’t break on defense
  • Establish the running game to burn the clock
  • Key on Horsted and Carlson in pass coverage
  • Pin Princeton deep on special teams
  • Make Kanoff uncomfortable in the pocket

Notes on Brown Game

The Bulldogs rolled to a 34-7 victory over Brown at the Yale Bowl on Friday night claiming the top spot in the Ivy League race.

The offensive line did a fabulous job opening holes for RB Zane Dudek who finished with 165 yards and 3 touchdowns on only 13 rushes.  Melvin Rouse was also utilized as a running back early on (3 carries, 8 yards) and Michael Purvey came in to relieve Dudek.  Purvey had a few nice runs and nearly broke off a long touchdown as he gained 72 yards on the evening.  Unfortunately, OT Jon Bezney appeared to have injured his knee when a Brown defender fell on the side of his leg.  Freshman Cameron Warfield filled Bezney’s spot and did an excellent job.

Rawlings was deadly accurate in the contest going 17 for 25 for 294 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Shohfi led the wideouts this week with 107 yards and 2 touchdowns.  With Shohfi’s blend of size, speed and catching ability, he will likely be the #1 WR for the Bulldogs next season.  TE Jaeden Graham had another fine outing hauling in 5 catches for 82 yards.

The defensive line and linebackers dominated Brown’s offense limiting them to only 235 yards in the contest.  Brown was just 2 of 16 on third down conversions.  QB Thomas Linta took a beating from our defenders and although he was only sacked twice, the hits led to interceptions, poor throws and an intentional grounding penalty.  Players such as Keeler, Oluokun, Rymiszewski, Mullen, Chism, Roman and others smashed Linta.  WR Jakob Prall was one of the lone bright spots for Brown as he had 4 catches for 84 yards.  The young defensive back collection of Henson, Dixon, Peggs and Alburg played well despite a few blown coverages.  Rymiszewski and Alessi both had interceptions that were demoralizing for Brown’s offense.  Oluokun was all over the field and Carlson continues to impress us every week with his playmaking abilities.

Our luck on two point conversions could not last forever.  Johnson’s attempt to catch Brown sleeping after the opening score was clearly an error.  It’s hard to surprise a team with a two point conversion attempt after displaying it on film multiple times.  Galland had a solid day kicking and punting the ball.  Alessi made two questionable decisions during punt returns.  On one punt, he decided not to fair catch the ball and it bounced for twenty extra yards and on another play, he called for a fair catch inside of the 10 yard line.  We can beat Brown with these little mistakes, but to beat Princeton and Harvard we need to clean things up this week in practice.

Brown Preview

Yale hosts the Brown Bears tomorrow night at 8 PM ET at the Bowl.  You can watch the game live on television on NBC Sports Network.

Brown enters the contest at 2-5 overall and 0-4 in the Ivy League as the sole Ivy League squad that has been mathematically eliminated from earning a share of the title.  Last week, Brown dropped a home game to Penn 17-7, but was able to find success on defense in the second half.  On Penn’s first offensive play of the game, Brown committed a cardinal sin as they did not cover Justin Watson.  Watson snagged the ball and ran untouched all the way to pay dirt.  Midway through the first period, Watson would score again to make it 14-0.  From that point on, Brown played stingy defense and outscored Penn 7-3, yet it was not enough to mount a comeback.

Nicholas Duncan started at QB for the Bears last week and went 13/25 for a paltry 89 yards.  Connecticut native Thomas Linta is slated to start this week and leads the Bears in total passing for the season with 59 completions for 677 yards and 5 touchdowns.  Linta was able to move the ball effectively on the Elis last year in a sloppy loss to Brown.  Freshman Darius Daies leads Brown’s rushing attack and has gained 244 yards on just 48 rushes.  Jakob Prall and Jaelon Blandburg are sure-handed wideouts that have 383 yards and 213 yards receiving respectively for the season.  LJ Harriott is a talented athlete that can play Wildcat QB, RB or WR.  Harriott torched us last year on a long run, so containing him will be an emphasis this week.  Brown utilizes a fast paced spread offense with various trick plays to keep defenses honest.  Screens, reverses, double passes and fake field goals should be expected.  With Phil Estes on the hot seat currently, expect him to pull out all the stops to try to beat Yale.

On defense, DE Dewey Jarvis is the star of the show.  Jarvis has 49 tackles, 6 sacks, and 4 forced fumbles on the season.  The defensive line is solid all around with DT Michael Hoecht (25 tackles, 2 sacks) and DE Keegan O’Hern (17 tackles, 4 sacks) constantly disrupting plays.  Connor Coughlin is a talented free safety, but overall the linebackers and defensive backs should be exploited by the high-powered Yale offense.  This is a Brown defense that gave up 45 points to Harvard, 53 points to Princeton and 34 points to Cornell.  The recent defensive success versus Penn cannot be overlooked, but Reno needs to find the weak spots and get the offense rolling early against Brown.

Keys to the Game:

  • Contain Dewey Jarvis
  • Continue dominating on the defensive front
  • Play sound defense in the secondary with an eye out for gimmick plays
  • Get Rawlings in rhythm early
  • Convert on field goals and extra points

 

 

Notes on Columbia Game

The Bulldogs utilized a lethal rushing attack and a swarming defense to stuff the Lions 23-6 at the Bowl on Saturday.

The defensive line and linebackers punished Columbia’s offense all day.  Defensive Coordinator Sean McGowan used creative blitzes to constantly bring pressure against Anders Hill.  Hill was a beaten and battered man by the end of the game.  Even after scoring a touchdown following a rough goal line series, one could tell from Hill’s body language that he looked defeated.  Oplinger added 1.5 sacks to his season total, Callender notched one sack and Roman was credited with half a sack.  The interior defensive linemen were the unsung heroes of the game as they ran stunts to perfection to free up the ends and linebackers.  Rymiszewski did not play, but the youngsters Henson, Dixon and Alburg stepped up to fill the void.  The defensive backfield did not have their best performance of the season with receivers beating us deep and numerous pass interference penalties.  Columbia simply could not capitalize on the mistakes made in the secondary to keep the game close.

The offensive line of Strother, Marback, Eiselen, Huizenga, and Bezney bulldozed the Columbia front seven leading to 251 rushing yards on the day.  Dudek rushed 25 times for 173 yards, Salter rushed 12 times for 60 yards and Rawlings added another 16 yards.  Dudek made Columbia’s safeties and linebackers look silly in the open field.  Salter appeared to go down with an arm or shoulder injury in the fourth quarter after being driven into the turf.  Williams-Lopez and Dudek led the team in receiving yards with 60 yards and 45 yards respectively.  Rawlings managed the game to perfection, but his throws were off for most of the contest in the strong wind present at the Bowl.  Rawlings finished just 10/27 for 127 yards, one touchdown and one interception.  The interception was an underthrown ball to Graham who had a step on the defender.  The receiving corps aside from Williams-Lopez did not have a strong game as they ran sloppy routes and dropped passes.

Andrew Johnson made another terrific call on the fake field goal and did his best Tim Tebow impersonation to rush up field and deliver a perfect touchdown pass to Graham.  The two blocked field goals were ugly and kick coverage still remains shaky.

Yale has a short week to prepare for the Friday night contest versus the Brown Bears on NBCSN at 8 PM ET.

Columbia Preview

The Columbia Lions will travel to New Haven this week for a 1 PM game against our Bulldogs.  You can catch the game on the Ivy League Network or SNY TV.

Al Bagnoli has turned Columbia around in just two years and the Lions are vying for their first Ivy League title since 1961.  This is a must win game for Yale as a loss will make it difficult (although not impossible) to win the Ivy League Championship.

This Columbia squad is not composed of world beaters and top recruits as elated Columbia fans will try to tell you.  They have a great coaching staff, a solid quarterback, fast wideouts and a stingy defense, yet they do have chinks in the armor.  Senior QB Anders Hill and Sophomore WR Josh Wainwright are the top playmakers for the Lions.  Hill has completed 66% of his passes and averages roughly 277 passing yards per game.  Wainwright has 46 receptions for 637 yards and fellow WR Ronald Smith has 418 yards on the season, but did not play last week.  Dartmouth was not able to register a single sack on Hill.  That will change with the pressure the Elis will bring.  Columbia has not been particularly effective at running the ball with a net of only 738 rushing yards on the season.

Senior Defensive Back Ryan Gilbert leads the Columbia defense with 52 total tackles and his fellow classmate and DB Landon Baty has racked up 48 tackles.  That is a total of 100 tackles between two defensive backs with only 1 interception combined.  The defensive backs are clearly coming up for run support and hoping that their corners can lockdown their opponent’s top wide receiver.  They haven’t faced a well rounded receiving corps such as Yale’s that also features a deadly rushing attack.  Columbia has only accumulated 6 sacks on the season or 1 per game, so Rawlings should have ample time to read the defense and deliver a strike.

Keys to the game:

  • Hit Anders Hill
  • Key on Wainwright
  • Get the ground game going to open the passing game
  • Secure the football
  • Cut down on penalties
  • Execute on special teams

Notes on Penn Game

When Tre Solomon scored on the Bulldogs with 9:03 left in the 4th quarter, most of us had flashbacks of the Dartmouth game slipping away.  Rawlings and company were able to come alive and drive down the field to score, while the defense stuffed the Quakers effectively ending any hopes of another Ivy title in Philadelphia.

Penalties and turnovers crippled Yale all day.  Rawlings, Rouse and Dudek fumbled during the game and each turnover seemed to change the momentum of the contest.  Yale was penalized 9 times for 86 yards on Saturday with a questionable celebration call on Crowle leading to points and other offensive penalties stalling drives from the start.

The defensive line and linebackers played up to expectations.  DE Hunter Roman had his best performance of the season with 1.5 sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss.  DT Copache Tyler and DE Kyle Mullen were unblockable as usual.  Herubin, Matthaei, Crowle, Chism and Keeler all excelled as well.  Oluokun and Oplinger were typically the constants at linebacker, while Meder, Dean, Balter, and Burke rotated in.  Oluokun had a huge day with 10 tackles, a forced fumble, 2 sacks and 3 tackles for loss.  Alessi, Carlson and Rymiszewski looked solid in the secondary.  Dixon and Henson were torched at times by Justin Watson, but showed grit to hang in there and improve as the game went on.  Deep passes are still an area of concern as Penn dropped 1-2 touchdowns that could have swayed the outcome of the game.

There was penetration into the backfield at times and a few big hits were put on Rawlings, but fans seemed to be pleased with the performance of the offensive line overall.  Penn only notched 2 sacks all day and we were able to shut down DE Vecchio for most of the game.  Rawlings seemed to force a few balls into bad spots early on, yet didn’t throw an interception and marched the Elis downfield for victory when it mattered.  Shohfi led the wideouts with 4 catches for 68 yards.  Dudek and Salter ran for 103 yards and 77 yards respectively.  Rawlings added another 37 yards on the ground most of which came in critical situations.

Galland had another solid outing with a 35 yard field goal.  Coach Reno and Coach Rice need to be commended for that gutsy two point conversation call!