The Bulldogs host the Princeton Tigers on Saturday at the Bowl. Kickoff is set for noon and the game will air on ESPN+. Yale alumni and guests can head to the hospitality village for complimentary food and beverage offerings beginning at 10 AM.
Princeton enters the contest with a perfect 8-0 record and has outscored opponents 239 to 91. Junior QB Blake Stenstrom (6’4”, 225 lbs.) appears to be on his way to a 1st Team All-Ivy season completing 69.7% of his passes for 2123 yards, 12 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. While Stenstrom truly excels as a passer, he’s a deceptively mobile quarterback in the running game at times. Freshman RB Ryan Butler (5’11”, 225 lbs.) averages 4.3 yards per carry and has racked up a whopping 10 rushing touchdowns on the season. Senior WR Andrei Iosivas (6’3”, 200 lbs.) is a potential NFL draft pick who has hauled in 55 catches for 826 yards and 6 touchdowns. Iosivas is complemented by senior WR Dylan Classi (6’1”, 200 lbs.) who racked up 106 yards versus the Bulldogs a year ago. Senior OL Henry Byrd (6’5”, 310 lbs.) leads a very talented offensive line for the Tigers that has dominated in pass protection for much of the season and opened huge holes in the running game for Butler. The offensive line averages 306 lbs. across the board with 3 seniors, a junior and sophomore. Princeton features the most talented offense that we have faced this season including Holy Cross. Tackling Butler in the running game, pressuring Stenstrom, and keying on Iosivas and Classi in the passing game will be critical this week.
Princeton’s defense has been equally as impressive as the offense. The Tigers have limited opponents to 11 touchdowns and under 35% efficiency on both 3rd and 4th downs. Junior LB Liam Johnson (6’0”, 220 lbs.) has racked up 64 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, a sack and an interception. Junior LB Ozzie Nicholas (6’1”, 225 lbs.) has had a stellar season as well with 51 tackles. Senior DB Michael Ruttlen Jr. (5’9”, 195 lbs.) has been a ball hawk this season with 3 interceptions and picked off Grooms in last season’s contest. Senior DB CJ Wall (6’0”, 205 lbs.) has started since his freshman season and is a former Honorable Mention All-Ivy performer. The defensive line is a veteran unit with 4 senior starters that have disrupted every offensive line that they have faced. Senior DL James Stagg (6’4”, 245 lbs.) leads the defensive line in productivity with 27 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and a forced fumble. Senior DE/OLB Matthew Jester (6’4”, 250 lbs.) and senior DL Uche Ndukwe (6’4”, 270 lbs.) lead Princeton in sacks with 3 apiece. Coach Surace will likely seek to employ the defensive strategies that worked well for the Tigers last year with aggressive blitz packages and a stacked box to force Grooms to unload passes in a hurry. Creative short to medium pass plays will be necessary to keep Princeton’s defense off balance.
Sophomore K Jeffery Sexton (6’1”, 175 lbs.) is 8 of 10 on field goal attempts with a long of 46 yards on the season. Senior P Will Powers (6’2”, 210 lbs.) is averaging 38.8 yards per punt and has pinned opponents in the red zone on 14 occasions. Sophomore WR AJ Barber (5’8”, 170 lbs.) is the preferred punt returner and kick returner averaging 7.8 yards and 21.6 yards respectively.
Go Bulldogs! Beat the Tigers!