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Ivy Campaign Opens Saturday at Cornell

Chris Smith. (photo by Ron Waite, Photosportacular)
Chris Smith. (photo by Ron Waite, Photosportacular)


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NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Yale football team, which kicked off the new season with a 40-35 win over Georgetown last Saturday at home, begins Ivy League play with a 12:30 game this Saturday at Cornell. The Big Red, looking for their first win under new head coach Kent Austin in his home debut, opened up 2010 with a loss at Wagner. Saturday's game at Ithaca airs as a live video stream (pay per view) on Audio is available on WELI Radio (AM-960), and

Yale leads the series with Cornell 42-28-2 heading into the 73rd meeting. The series began in 1889 with a 60-6 Bulldog win at New Haven. Cornell has taken the last two meetings including a 14-12 win at the Bowl in 2009.

Cornell scored on an 81-yard pass play to open the game and then held on for the 14-12 win. The Bulldog defense proceeded to shut the Big Red down (85 yards of total offense) the rest of the way. The Yale offense found itself in a position to tie the game after a 1-yard touchdown run by Patrick Witt with no time left on the clock in the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs could not complete the two-point conversion, and Cornell came away with the win in the Ivy League opener for both teams.

QB Patrick Witt plowed over the goal line from one-yard out on the game's final play as Yale opened the 2010 season with a 40-35 win over Georgetown at Yale Bowl and the Class of 1954 Field. Witt's game-winning score capped a 10-play, 64-yard drive over the last 1:27 to give the Bulldogs the comeback victory over the Hoyas (2-1). The junior QB, who completed 35 of 55 passes for 407 yards and two scores, went 4-for-6 with 46 yards on the final drive. WR Gio Christodoulou, who had a game and career-high nine grabs for 124 yards, had three catches for 29 yards on the winning drive. "We repped this in practice all pre-season and were confident in our two-minute drill," said Christodoulou, who also returned two punts. "We did it like we always do in practice." Yale RB Alex Thomas gained three important first downs on the final possession. He finished with three TDS, two rushing and one receiving, while totaling 161 yards. Thomas caught six passes for 71 yards and ran for 90 more. The Elis, who had two field goals blocked and botched the hold on a PAT, outgained the Hoyas 543 to 443 in total yards while converting 10 of 18 third downs. Yale had 12 more first downs than Georgetown, which was led by Scott Darby's impressive (24-for-47, 340 yards) passing day. Darby connected with receiver Keerome Lawrence eight times for 129 yards. Yale junior LB Jordan Haynes, who returned a fumble four yards for a TD, led all tacklers with 10 solos, but the biggest defensive play in the game came from sophomore LB Will McHale in the fourth quarter. The Hoyas were deep in Yale territory when McHale stepped in front of a third-down Darby pass at the three yard line to keep the Bulldogs within reach. The home team took a 27-14 lead into the half but Jeremy Moore took the second-half kickoff 85 yards for a TD to cut the lead to six before Jayah Kaisamba picked off a Witt pass. Lawrence's two-yard run at 12:48 of the third quarter put the visitors ahead until the game's last snap.

Patrick Witt was named Ivy League co-Player of the Week after he became just the sixth Yale QB to throw for 400 yards in a game. He connected on 35 of 55 passes for 407 and two scores in the 40-35 win over Georgetown. Witt, who dove into the end zone from a yard out on the game's final play, hit seven different receivers while becoming the first Bulldog thrower to top 400 yards since Alvin Cowan in 2004. A backup at Nebraska in 2008, Witt made his first collegiate start against the Hoyas in 2009 and completed 22 of 27 passes for 216 yards and two scores. The junior from Wylie, Texas,  started six games in 2009 and led the team with 1,449 yards and eight TDs.

Junior LB Jordan Haynes (10-1-11), who earned Ivy League Honor Roll status, led all tacklers with 10 solos and scored Yale's first TD of the year on a four-yard fumble return late in the first quarter. His fumble return was the first for a TD by a Yale player since Steven Santoro in 2006 at Harvard.

Wagner knocked off Cornell 41-7 in the Big Red coaching debut of Kent Austin last week. Three newcomers had the most productive days for Cornell. RB Grant Gellatly rushed for 87 yards on just seven carries, including a 63-yard scamper. QB Jeff Mathews was 7-of-15 passing for 97 yards, and Brian Gee notched 12 tackles to pace the defense. Marcus Hendren scored the lone touchdown for Cornell, going in from 1-yard out in the fourth quarter.

Tom Williams, the Joel E. Smilow '54 Head Coach of Football at Yale, is in his second season at Yale and his second as a head coach overall. Williams is 0-1 against Cornell and 5-6 overall with the Bulldogs. He came to New Haven after two seasons as an assistant with the Jacksonville Jaguars and is in his 13th season of college coaching. Williams has worked at his alma mater, Stanford, Hawaii, Washington and San Jose State. He has been part of four Bowl Game appearances and two Bowl victories.

Junior Alex Thomas (Ansonia, Conn.), who added 15 pounds of muscle over the summer, began the 2010 campaign with 161 all-purpose yards last Saturday. Thomas ran for 90 and caught six passes for 71 yards while finding the end zone three times. He ended the 2009 season with a 124-yard rushing game against Harvard, becoming the 14th Yale player ever to run for triple digits against the Crimson.

Sophomore Chris Smith (Midlothian, Va.) led all Bulldogs with 167 all-purpose yards. He snared five passes for 66 yards and returned five kickoffs for 101 more on his way to Ivy League Honor Roll status.

Senior Jesse Reising (Decatur, Ill.) made six solo stops and broke up two passes in his first varsity start. Juniors CB Drew Baldwin (Alexandria, Va.) and FS Geoff Dunham combined for 11 solo tackles, while junior DT Reed Spiller (Portsmouth, NH) and senior DE Sean Williams (Portland, Ore.) had sacks.

Senior TE Chris Blohm (San Francisco, Calif.) played in every 2009 game but did not make a catch. He entered this fall with one career reception but caught four passes for 50 yards and a 10-yard TD against the Hoyas.

Senior WR Gio Christodoulou (Miami, Fla.) had a career-best nine catches
(124 yards) last Saturday, which were four more than he had in any other season. He has two career punt returns for TDs and ranks among the top 10 at Yale in career punt (408, 4th) and kickoff return (553, 10th) yardage.

For the second straight year Yale was picked fourth in the pre-season Ivy League Media Poll. The Bulldogs, with one first-place vote and 83 points, were slated behind Harvard (10, 128), defending champion Penn (6, 124) and Brown (95). Columbia, Princeton, Dartmouth and Cornell rounded out the bottom half of the predicted finish.  The Elis went 4-6 last fall and finished tied for sixth (2-5) after being picked fourth in the 2009 Ivy Media Poll.

High on the facility wish list of Tom Williams was moving his team from multiple rooms at the Smilow Field Center to one large locker area. That wish came to fruition in the form of the Carm Cozza Complex. A dressing area designed by ProZone Lockers and meeting rooms for coaches and players highlight the complex that will also include a shrine to the hall of fame former Yale head coach.

Two seniors and three juniors got the starts last week on the offensive line. RT Jeff Fell (Garden City, N.Y., 6-5, 286) and LG Colin Kruger (Sarasota, Fla., 6-3, 300) made their first starts. Senior center Jake Koury (Dublin, Ohio, 6-2, 270), junior RG Gabe Fernandez (Honolulu, HI, 6-0, 273) and senior LT Alex Golubiewski (Green Bay, Wis., 6-6, 280) all started games in 2009.

Tom McCarthy '10 (Chester, N.J.) has been one of the leaders on the defensive line the last two years. The second-team All-Ivy pick last fall was Yale's MVP of the defensive line. McCarthy registered four sacks and eight tackles for loss. He earned a medical hardship from his freshman year and is now the fifth Yale captain since 2001 who has taken a fifth year of eligibility.

Senior P/PK Alex Barnes (Chesterfield, Mo.) had a 38.5 average on six punts with two inside the 20. He connected on all four PATs but had both (36, 18) field goal attempts blocked. Senior Bryan Farris (Derry, N.H.) is the top kickoff man.

Won their first two games of 2009 (Bucknell, Yale) but lost its last eight… Gave up over 1,000 yards more than it gained in total offense…. Lost starters QB Ben Ganter, RB Randy Barbour and leading WR Bryan Walters to graduation… Have a new head coach in Kent Austin, who lived in Connecticut as a kid and was the offensive coordinator for Mississippi in 2009…  Saw former Cornell coach Jim Knowles resign to become Duke's defensive coordinator… Have new offensive and defensive coordinators with a combined  73 years of coaching experience…  Have four Connecticut natives on their roster: So. OL John Begley (Shelton, CT/Shelton HS), Fr. LB Justin Strid (Avon, CT/Northwest Catholic HS), Fr. WR Nick Baccile (Greenwich, CT/The Brunswick School) and So. WR Kurt Ondash (New Canaan, CT/New Canaan HS).

Patrick Witt has two career TD runs and both came with no time left on the clock in the fourth quarter. His one yard run won the game last week, but his one-yard score against Cornell in 2009 brought the Elis to within a two-point conversion of OT… Yale opens the 2011 and 2012 seasons at home with Georgetown… The Carm Cozza Complex (Yale football locker room) will be dedicated on Nov. 13 prior to the game against Princeton… The 35 points allowed last Saturday were the most by a Yale team on opening day since the Elis gave up 43 against San Diego in 2006… RB Deon Randall (3-24) and DT John Oppenheimer (1-0-1) were the only newcomers to register stats… Rookie OL Wes Gavin (San Diego, Calif) may have earned a start this week after a good performance in a backup role last week...PK Bryan Farris (Derry, N.H.) made a TD saving tackle on a kick return... The "Y" painted on the center of the Class of '54 Field measures 60 x 60 feet.

A few Bulldogs who have their names called often on the public address system are wearing different shirts this fall. QB Patrick Witt wore No. 10 last year but asked about getting his old number from high school. Witt now wears No. 11 along with junior starting FS Geoff Dunham (Dallas, Texas), who was No. 46 last year… WR/KR Chris Smith (Midlothian, Va.) broke in with the Bulldogs as No. 4 last year but grabbed 3 this fall, which he shares with senior PK/P Alex Barnes (Chesterfield, Mo.).

Captain Tom McCarthy is not alone in coming back this fall. DT Tim Penna was the first captain (2001) in recent times to use the fifth year of eligibility. QB Alvin Cowan captained the 2003 Bulldogs and then used a medical hardship to play in 2004. QB Jeff Mroz '05 was out of school for a year but returned to become captain in 2005. WR Chandler Henley lost his true senior season to a pre-season injury in 2005 but became captain in 2006 and led the Blue to a championship. The first fifth-year captain since World War II was John Smoot, who led the 1975 Elis.  In the early years of the Ivy League, if you missed playing for any reason except military service, you were out of luck.

Smith is the most common surname in America, so it's no surprise that Yale has three (Caleb, Chris, McConnell) from different classes on its roster. All three are on offense, two are WRs (Chris, McConnell) and Caleb is an end.

Dick Jauron '73, who has spent 32 years in the NFL playing and coaching, is the secondary coach for the Philadelphia Eagles… TE Nate Lawrie '04, who played with UFL Sacramento last year, signed with the Eagles on Aug. 9 but was released on Sept. 3... Jeff Mroz '05 played QB in one 2010 game for the AFL Alabama Vipers… Pat Graham '01 is an assistant coach for the New England Patriots… Michael McDaniel '06 is an assistant in the UFL for San Francisco.

For the 13th consecutive season, all 10 Yale Football games can be heard live on New Haven's News/Talk 960 WELI-AM and free online at Ron Vaccaro '04 (play-by-play) and Carm Cozza (color) have the call, which can be heard on AM radio throughout Connecticut and across Long Island Sound, for their sixth season together.

Every third quarter this season, a different former Yale player will join the WELI Radio broadcast this fall. The 2010 lineup began with former receiver P.J. Collins '04 doing the Georgetown game. Rick Fehling '74, a former middle guard, share his thoughts on the broadcast at Ithaca this week.  

All six home games this season will be video streamed live (pay per view) on through Yale's All Access with Vaccaro and Cozza providing the call.

Three of Yale's seven league games will air live on TV. Yale on YES is back for 2010 with three (Fordham, Penn, Columbia) straight home games that can be seen live on many cable systems as well as DirecTV, AT&T U-verse and Verizon FiOS. The Yale-Harvard game on Nov. 20 at Boston is the Ivy League Game of the Week on Versus, the national sports cable TV company.

The Bulldogs, off on Mondays, are on the field at 7:30 a.m. (until approx. 9:30) Tuesday and Thursdays, and 7:00 on Wednesdays behind the baseball stadium. Fridays are walk-through days either at Yale Bowl or on the road and times vary. Players and coaches are available for interviews with working media following the practice if there are no class conflicts.

Broadcasts of Yale football, along with several other sports during the year, are available on the Yale student station, WYBC, and can be heard free on-line at Sports director LeRoy Cole '12 heads each broadcast.

Yale's all-time September record is 109-34-2 while the opening day mark is 117-20-2. The Elis have won four straight openers since falling to San Diego in 2006. This was the fourth straight year the Blue opened the season with Georgetown.

Tom Williams, the Joel E. Smilow '54 Head Coach of Yale Football, and some of his players are at the world famous Mory's (306 York Street) every Tuesday (Sept. 14 through Nov. 16) at 2 p.m. for the Dick Galiette Yale Football Press Conference. This event is limited to media only. Please contact Yale Sports Publicity Director Steve Conn ( if you would like to attend. QB Patrick Witt and DE Matt Battaglia (Simsbury, Conn.) will join Williams this Tuesday.

Sophomore QB Dez Duron (Shreveport, La.) has been singing since he was two. He and his siblings sang for preaching tapes mailed by their father. Their mom wrote Christian songs with videos and tapes for kids called "Best Buddies." Duron, at 11, and his siblings were signed to a Christian recording label. They toured and made a CD. Duron got more involved in sports and stopped singing with his family. He recently began making his own music, including the recording of two songs that can be heard on Myspace. There are also two youtube videos.

Junior CB Drew Baldwin (Alexandria, Va.), co-chair of the Yale Black Men's Union Community Outreach Committee, is in his third year of outreach work. Baldwin is responsible for creating the lesson plans and the calendar of events, working to promote personal growth and development through educational activities. "We try to do this through exposing the mentees to new ideas and experiences and, most importantly, through building lasting relationships between mentor and mentee.  We work toward trying to help these high school kids become young men.  In the Black Men's Union we measure success by how many lives we impact.  Because our mentoring program puts us in a position to impact lives to a great extent, we take that responsibility very seriously," said Baldwin (31-8-39 last year with two interceptions), who has mentored over 30 kids.

Here's the JV schedule for this fall. All home games are played at Clint Frank Field.

Date          Opponent                     Time
Oct. 3        Milford Academy            Noon
Oct. 31      Bridgton Academy         Noon
Nov. 7       Army                              Noon
Nov. 19     at Harvard                     1:00

Senior OLB Jesse Reising (Decatur, Ill.), who started at one of the LB spots in the scrimmage, was home for the summer taking classes to get his flight license before he completes Marine Corps Officer Candidate School next year. The class valedictorian at Eisenhower High School, he participated in various community outreach activities through his Yale fraternity, including events to raise money to fight prostate cancer, Relay for Life, and making care packages for Navy SEALs in Afghanistan. Reising (3.75 GPA, economics/political science), Yale's candidate for the National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete Award, recently spent time in Washington, DC, working closely with veterans' service organizations such as the Wounded Warrior Project, American Legion and Disabled American Veterans.

This season marks the 50th anniversary of Yale's last perfect football squad. The 1960 Elis, who shared the Lambert Trophy with Navy, were Ivy champions and ranked 14th in the final Associated Press poll, went 9-0. They will be honored during the weekend of the Princeton game at the Bowl.

The Yale coaching staff selected its top players after the opening day win:

Offense:        QB Patrick Witt, WR Gio Christoudoulo, RB Alex Thomas, OL Wes Gavin, TE Chris Blohm

Defense:        DT Reed Spiller, DE Sean Williams, LB Jordan Haynes

Special Teams:    P/PK Alex Barnes

The annual survey of Bulldogs produced the anticipated results; Yale is a team full of leaders who produced as much off the field as they did on it. Here is the 201 breakdown.

81     players were captains of their high school football team
55     players were captains of another sport in high school
57     players were a national honors society member
 8     players were class president at their high school
 8     players were student body president at their high school
11     players were class valedictorian at their high school
 2     players were class salutatorian at their high school

The following Yalies have distinguished themselves according to a vote by their teammates.

DB Josh Grizzard (Jr, Zebulon, N.C.):     most humorous
DB Geoff Dunham (Jr, Dallas, Texas):     most intelligent
DB Adam Money (Sr, Whiteland, Ind.):     most vocal leader (not captain)
LB Jesse Reising (Sr, Decatur, Ill.):        most likely to be U.S. President
QB Dez Duron (So, Shreveport, La.):    most interesting activity (musician)
                                                             best singer
RB Alex Thomas (Jr, Ansonia, Conn.):    strongest player (pound-for-pound)
WR Jordan Forney (Sr, Bloomington, Ind.):     most involved in community outreach

"Hawaiian Fridays" are the rule in the Yale Football Office. Show up without a Hawaiian shirt and you risk a fine. Three coaches (Tom Williams, Ikaika Malloe, Doug Semones) have worked in high school, college or pro football on the island while three players, Gabe Fernandez (Honolulu), Kolu Buck (Kaneole) and Jake Semones (Haleiwa), grew up there.

Yale recently added a West Campus (Orange/West Haven) to its expanding list of real estate. A "North [football] Campus" has begun to form in Middletown, Conn., at Wesleyan University. Jack Siedlecki, Yale's head football coach for 12 (1997-2008) years is the Cardinals' new offensive coordinator. He brought former Yale assistant coach Jeff McDonald and ex-Bulldog playerTyler Wells '06 to the 2010 coaching staff. The Cardinals open at Middlebury on Saturday.

The Yale Bowl may be in West Haven, but the press box has a taste of New Haven with Yorkside Pizza & Restaurant serving slices and salad on home Saturdays. Rather than interrupting your work with a lunch at halftime, the food is now served on its arrival before kickoff.

filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director