The Bulldogs remain in the hunt for a share of the Ivy League Championship following Saturday’s thrilling 36-28 victory over Princeton in double overtime. Yale improved to 6-3 on the season (4-2 Ivy) heading into the 139th playing of The Game. Princeton was officially eliminated from championship contention with the loss, while Harvard secured at least a share of the crown with a triple overtime win over Penn. Dartmouth could also share the championship with a win on Saturday plus a Harvard loss.
Grooms was spectacular versus the Tigers completing 76.7% of his passes for 232 yards, a touchdown, and no interceptions. In the ground game, Grooms rushed for 45 yards including a 24-yard touchdown scamper on the first drive of the game to put Yale up 7-0. Pitsenberger put together the top performance of his season with 131 rushing yards on 28 carries (4.7 yards per carry) and added 3 touchdowns including the game winner in overtime. Alston appeared to be back in peak form racking up 5.3 yards per carry. After his strong performance last week, Peterson struggled with just 1.3 yards per carry and had a costly fumble that limited his playing time. The offensive line welcomed back Durand into the starting lineup and the physicality at the line of scrimmage allowed the running backs to gash Princeton in the running game. Princeton’s aggressive defense did notch two sacks on Grooms, but the offensive line deserves much of the credit for posting 36 points on the top scoring defense in the nation. Tipton dominated the defensive backs for the Tigers with 10 catches for 130 yards. Pantelis had crucial catches throughout including a potential season-saving grab on an errant pass over the middle that did not appear to be intended for him. With Nenad out of the lineup and Shipp potentially injured on the first play of the contest, Felton saw additional playing time hauling in the only touchdown reception of the afternoon for the Elis.
Princeton entered the contest with a very talented offensive roster that had failed to produce due to turnovers, penalties, and costly errors. The Tigers played a relatively clean game without any turnovers, yet the Bulldogs were up to the task of limiting Stenstrom and company for much of the contest including overtime. Yale did fall victim to the trick plays that were expected including a botched passing play from Barber that he converted into a 25-yard rushing play and the flea flicker to Colella for a touchdown. Vaughn was unstoppable on his way to weekly Ivy League honors with 12 tackles, 5 tackles for a loss, and a pass breakup. Our defensive front really stepped up the intensity in pass rushing in this contest sacking Stenstrom 3 times. Larry racked up 2 sacks and narrowly missed on a third, while Tyler added another sack for a 9-yard Princeton loss. Yale’s rushing defense was far from perfect with Volker averaging 6.4 yards per carry, however, the toll of running up the middle against the Bulldogs caught up with him eventually as he was knocked out of the contest with a concussion. The loss of Volker was a tremendous blow to the Tigers, especially in overtime as they became one dimensional. Owens was burned on the flea flicker play (along with the safeties) but more than made up for the error with two crucial pass breakups in overtime to seal the win. Guyton was targeted heavily by Princeton and struggled for the second week in a row.
Bosman missed a game winning field goal in overtime and had a 23-yard punt in the 1st quarter that gave Princeton great field position on their first scoring drive. The punt return squad had a special outing as they blocked two punts (one by Dayne and the other by Belk) and gave Lindley room for a 17-yard punt return. It’s been great to see a dedicated senior like Dayne shine on special teams over the last few weeks.
The coaching staff clearly had a very productive week of preparation and showed the kind of offensive and defensive creativity that’s needed to win Ivy matchups.