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Bulldogs Host Hoyas Saturday at Noon

Wes Moyer. (photo by Kevin McCarthy)
Wes Moyer. (photo by Kevin McCarthy)


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NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The 139th season of Yale Football kicks off Saturday at noon with a well-tested Georgetown (2-0, 1-0 Patriot) team on Youth Day. The 97th season of play in Yale Bowl on the Class of '54 Field kicks off with the Bulldogs and Hoyas in a game that can be seen live on and heard on WELI (960 AM, Radio.

Yale has won all four meetings with the Patriot League's Hoyas. The first was a 28-14 game in 2007 in Yale's first trip to Washington, D.C. The Bulldogs opened the 2008 season at home with a 47-7 win before beating Georgetown 31-10 to open the 2009 campaign on the road. The Blue won 40-35 at New Haven last fall and have now outscored Georgetown by a combined 146-66.

The Hoyas, who have played Yale tough in almost every meeting, are two games (and wins) ahead of the Bulldogs heading into Saturday. This will be their first road game, but Georgetown came from behind last week against Lafayette to take a close one. The Hoyas' offense includes numerous threats with speed, including a QB who can hurt defenses with his feet. A group of very active Bulldog linebackers will be busy on Saturday. On the other side, Yale's balanced offense makes it difficult for opponents to key on stopping one thing.  

Patrick Witt (Wylie, Texas) completed 12 of 20 passes for 112 yards and one score as Yale outscored Dean College 24-7 in a scrimmage at Yale Bowl last Saturday. Witt, who hooked up with junior receiver Chris Smith (Midlothian, Va.) on a 28-yard scoring play for the day's final points, put the finishing touches on a day dominated by the Bulldogs on a sun-splashed Class of 1954 Field. Smith went up in traffic in the end zone and pulled the ball away from a defender while falling to the ground. The most exciting play of the day was the 65-yard punt return by senior Gio Christodoulou (Miami, Fla.), which followed a 47-yard field goal by junior Philippe Panico (Boston, Mass.). Witt's backup, sophomore John Whitelaw (Hinsdale, Ill.), saw action on two series in the third quarter. His first pass of the day was a pretty, long ball over the middle that should have been caught by a Yale receiver but the ball bounced off the Eli and into the hands of a Dean defensive back. Whitelaw really didn't get an opportunity to show his stuff. The Yale defense caused problems for Dean on all but one series, the one scoring drive that was capped off by a 67-yard TD reception. Senior DE Austin Pulsipher (Temecula, Calif.) had a pair of sacks while Haynes added one. The biggest hit of the day was delivered by sophomore Keith Coty (LaMirada, Calif.) after he caught a pass in the flat. The 223-pound tight end/h-back put his shoulder down along the Yale sideline and blasted a Dean defender. Another big hit came from junior CB Kurt Stottlemyer (Bothell, Wash.), who delivered a shot along the sideline while breaking up a pass play in the second quarter. Junior Mordecai Cargill (Cleveland, Ohio) got the start at running back and ran four times for 18 yards. Alex Thomas (Ansonia, Conn.), a senior, ran for 42 yards on five attempts, including a three-yard TD scamper.

1st Quarter
Y    :54    Philippe Panico 47-FG                    Yale 3-0

2nd Quarter
Y    14:24    Gio Christodoulou 65-yard punt return (Panico kick)         Yale 10-0
D    9:22    Robbie Jackson 67-pass from Erik Smith (Moriarity kick)    Yale 10-7
Y    2:52    Alex Thomas 3 run (Panico kick)                Yale 17-7

3rd Quarter
Y    10:21    Smith 28 pass from Patrick Witt (Parker Toms Kick)        Yale 24-7

Junior QB Isaiah Kempf  rushed and passed for a touchdown and sophomore RB Nick Campanella (13-82) rushed for three touchdowns as Georgetown defeated Davidson 40-16 in the season-opener on Sept. 3 at Multi-Sport Facility. It was the most points for a Hoyas team since 2003. Kempf completed 16-of-24 passes for 172 yards while running for 73 yards on 11 carries. Jeremy Grasso led the Hoyas defense with 3.5 sacks and a fumble recovery. Last week in D.C., Lafayette didn't allow Kempf to hurt them out of the pocket with his feet, but the Georgetown QB still threw for 196 yards in a come-from-behind, 14-13 win. Kempf connected with Max Waizenegger on two scoring passes including the game-winner with 6:09 left in the fourth.

It's no surprise that the media prediction for the 2011 Ivy League football season is almost the exact order of finish from the 2010 standings. Yale, which received one first-place vote, is third behind Penn (12) and Harvard (2) in the 2011 Ivy League Football Preseason Media Poll. The Bulldogs, picked fourth last fall by the Ancient Eight media, are coming off a 7-3 campaign and a second-place tie with the Crimson (5-2). Brown (6-4, 5-2) rounded out the top half of the poll in fourth with the remaining two first-place votes, followed by Dartmouth (6-4, 3-4) and Columbia (4-6, 2-5). Cornell (2-8, 1-6) and Princeton (1-9, 0-7) were tied for seventh.

Senior WR Gio Christodoulou (Miami, Fla.) and junior WR Chris Smith (Midlothian, Va.) are among the best return men in the history of Yale football. Christodoulou has 35 punt returns for 605 yards (2 TDs), which ranks third at Yale. He also has 23 kickoff returns for 553 yards (just shy of 10th). Smith, the first player in Ivy history to run back a pair of kickoffs for TDs in the same game (last year at Brown, span of 2:23), ranks fourth in Yale career KOR yards with 988. His 732 yards in 2010 are a single season record. Smith is also the only Yale player with two career kickoffs for TDs.

Senior Geoff Dunham (Dallas, Texas), one of the largest DBs in the Ivy League at 6-foot-3, 233 pounds, started every game at FS last year and was third on the team with 31 solo tackles and 47 overall. His best day was 7-2-9 vs. Penn in 2010, and he scored the first TD of his football career on a fumble return against Princeton. A biomechanical engineering major, Dunham interned in cancer research at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in 2007 and 2008 and spent some of a summer at Scripps Research Institute in Jupiter, Fla., doing the same thing. He stayed on the Yale campus last summer to take organic chemistry class.
Alex Thomas (Ansonia, Conn.), nicknamed "Train," is Yale's active career rushing leader. Despite working within a rotation of backs for the last two seasons, Thomas has accumulated 997 yards on 236 carries with four 100-yard games in his career. His career-high is 137 (best day for a Yalie in 2010) yards on 19 runs (7.2), including a 42-yard TD, against Columbia. He is also Yale's active career receiving leader (41) among the RBs. His 47-yard run at Cornell was the longest run by a Bulldog last fall. Thomas, a former Ansonia High School star, is the most prolific (8,279 yards, 114 TDs) runner in Connecticut High School history. The nickname stems from his "train" tattoo, a word based on scripture verses that refer to training both physically and spiritually.

That's the 2011 team slogan and what is printed on the backs of the team t-shirts this fall.

DE Austin Pulsipher (Temecula, Calif.) has accomplished more than the average college senior. After playing on the 2006 JV team, he spent two full years (2007, 2008) in greater Taipei, Taiwan on a Mormon mission where he became fluent in Mandarin Chinese and served in many leadership roles. Pulsipher, whose father played football at BYU, organized and taught a drug rehabilitation program while managing the finances of over 150 missionaries. He is also the only married member of the Yale football team; he arrived a few days late for football this summer because of the wedding (Aug. 13th in Newport Beach, Calif.). Sebastian Swett '09, was one of the groomsmen and the honeymoon was in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Pulsipher, 23, the oldest player on the roster, had 10 tackles as backup last year with his first varsity letter.

When RB Deon Randall (San Diego, Calif.) touched the ball (29 carries, 13 catches) last year as a freshman, he averaged nearly six yards. His 5.3 average per carry was a team-high. The 5-foot-8, 185-pound athlete also returns kickoffs and punts.

QB Patrick Witt surged over the goal line on a QB sneak as time expired to cap a 40-35 come-from-behind win over Georgetown for Yale at the Yale Bowl, Class of 1954 Field. Witt's one-yard dive topped off a day that belonged to the offenses, as the two teams combined for 986 total yards. Witt threw for 407 yards, including a pair of touchdowns. TB Alex Thomas, who caught one of those TDs, added two rushing scores as part of his 161-yard day (90 rushing, 71 receiving). Thomas set up the game-winner with a nine-yard run to the Georgetown one. He stretched out his arm trying to get the ball over the goal line but came up just short, leaving very little time for Yale to make the decisive play call. The Elis trailed by just one point and had a timeout left as the clock ticked down under 10 seconds, but decided to have Witt try to run the ball in rather than going for the field goal.

Junior Philippe Panico (pronounced pa-NEE-ko) is Yale's starter at PK. The Boston native connected on 17 of 18 PATs and six of 14 field goals in his first year of varsity kicking. His three-pointer with no time left at Dartmouth was the game-winner, while his 36-yard boot in the fourth quarter at Brown gave the Elis a three-point win. Panico, who had a 47-yard FG in the pre-season scrimmage, also swings a golf club well, playing for the Yale team as a freshman and leading his foursome to the lowest score at Yale Football Association Golf Outing in August.

Senior captain Jordan Haynes led (102) the Elis and was second among Ivy players in tackles from his linebacker position last fall. The 2010 first-team All-Ivy and All-New England pick has 132 career tackles. The National Football Foundation High School Scholar-Athlete from Folsom, Calif., is the first Yale captain from the Golden State in 56 years. Haynes scored Yale's first TD of 2010 on a four-yard fumble return late in the first quarter on Sept. 18 against Georgetown.

Senior QB Patrick Witt (Wylie, Texas), who has two seasons as Yale's starter, is on pace to break all of the school's major passing records. He is already fourth in all-time completions (350), fifth in attempts (592), sixth in passing yards (3665) and eighth in passing touchdowns (20). Witt is currently the most accurate (59.1 percent) passer in Yale history. He was a 2010 second-team All-Ivy selection who led the league in passing yards (2,216), yards/game (246.2), completions (212) and attempts (351) and was the only QB to complete more than 60% of his passes (60.4%). Witt, the largest starting signal caller in the Ivy League, was seventh in the FCS in completions/game (23.56) and 15th nationally in passing yards/game (246.22) last year. Elected to the team's Leadership Council, Witt became the first transfer (Nebraska) student at Yale to start immediately at QB since World War II (when transfers were common). He is also an outstanding student (3.91 GPA) who has written for the Yale Daily News, is a member of the Intercultural Affairs Council and has done some prison ministry work. He also won the Francis Gordon Brown Prize, one of the school's highest undergraduate accolades,  awarded to the student in the junior class in Yale College who most closely approaches the standards of intellectual ability, high manhood, capacity for leadership and service to the University set by Francis Gordon Brown, who captained Yale Football's "Team of the Century" in 1900.
QB Patrick Witt and LB Jordan Haynes were honorable mention selections on the Consensus Draft Services 2011 FCS Pre-Season All-America team. They were also selected as a preseason All-American by the FCS Senior Scout Bowl committee.  Haynes was a first-team North squad pick while Witt was HM. The FCS Senior Scout Bowl is a post-season all-star game showcasing senior players from the FCS.  This game, presented by the Collegiate Development Football League (, is held Dec. 1 in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Thirty-one members of Yale's Class of 2015 joined the Bulldogs this summer. The newcomers, representing 15 different states, include 15 defensive players, 16 on offense and a number who have played on both sides during their high school careers. The offensive linemen and defensive backs (6 each) outnumber any other position recruited in this class. The Class of 2015 is spread evenly across the U.S. with California (4) having the most. Connecticut has three, which does not include the Elis who attended Choate Rosemary Hall after growing up outside the Nutmeg State.

All Yale staff, faculty and retirees are invited to Yale's 15th annual Employee Day on Sept. 24 when the Bulldogs take on Cornell to open Ivy play. Complimentary food will be served in the Yale Hospitality Village (near Gate E) prior to kickoff.

The left side of the offensive line includes sophomore T Wes Gavin (San Diego, Calif., 6-5, 275) and G Colin Kruger (Sarasota, Fla., 6-3, 300). G Gabe Fernandez (Honolulu, HI, 6-0, 273) and T Roy Collins (Carbondale, Ill., 6-5, 260) are on the right. John Oppenheimer (Menlo Park, Calif., 6-0, 265) played DT as a freshman last fall before switching to center in the spring.

Gavin's father, Bob, ran the two-mile event at the Missouri High School State Championships and the marathon during the 1975 Kansas Relays. Both of the 6-foot-5 lineman's parents are under 5-foot-8. He was named scholar-athlete by the San Diego chapter of the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame while also throwing the shot and discus in high school… Kruger might be the strongest guy on the team.  He had offers to play at FCS schools including Stanford… Fernandez, a mechanical engineering major who transferred from UCLA after his first year, was a very good soccer player in high school. His brother played offensive guard at Harvard… Oppenheimer played both sides of the line in high school. His father, Peter Oppenheimer, is Apple's senior vice president and Chief Financial Officer… Collins, who was a prep star up the road from New Haven at Choate Rosemary Hall, came to Yale as a TE.   

Junior WR Allen Harris (Detroit, Mich.) and senior receiver Gio Christodoulou (Miami, Fla.) combined for five receptions against Dean… Newcomer Wynston Bouknight (Upper Marlboro, Md.) had the final few scrimmage carries for the Elis… Freshman Kyle Cazzetta (Slate Hill, N.Y.) made an impressive debut with three excellent punts, including a 51-yarder… Senior DE Cliff Foreman (Washington, DC) had a TFL and a PBU… Dr. Ken Burkus '75 is being inducted into the New Haven Gridiron Club Hall of Fame on Sept. 22 at Cascade in Hamden... Will McHale is a third generation Division I linebacker. His father, John McHale (Executive VP of Major League Baseball), and grandfather played at Notre Dame.

Yale's combined margin of victory for its seven wins was 30 points. The Elis had a pair of one-point victories, while three came by three points. Twice the winning points were scored with no time left on the clock. Yale's three losses were by a combined 17 points.

Two former Bulldogs are coaching in the NFL this season. Dick Jauron, who has spent 33 years in the NFL, playing and coaching, is the new defensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns. Last year he coached the Philadelphia Eagles' defensive backs. Jauron was the 2001 AP Coach of the Year with the Chicago Bears and his most recent head coaching gig was at Buffalo. Pat Graham '01, a former Yale tight end and defensive lineman, is a defensive assistant coach for the New England Patriots. Graham, a Waterbury, Conn., native, was a member of Yale's 1999 Ivy title team.

Patrick Graham '01, a coaching assistant with the New England Patriots the last two years, was named linebackers coach for 2011 by head coach Bill Belichick. Graham served as a defensive assistant coach last season. After a playing on the defensive line at Yale, he served as a graduate assistant at Wagner (2002-03) and then spent three seasons at Richmond, serving as the defensive line coach in 2004 and the tight ends coach in 2005 and 2006. He was a graduate assistant at Notre Dame in 2007 and 2008 prior to joining the Patriots.

For the 14th 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 seventh season together. WELI's broadcasts can now also be accessed for free via the "iheartradio" application available on most "smart phones". It can be downloaded either by typing into your phone's browser or by typing "iheartradio" in the app search field on your phone and is free of charge.

Every third quarter this season, a different former Yale player joins the WELI Radio broadcast.  Yale All-America OL Ed McCarthy '07 is in the booth this Saturday.

Tom Williams, the Joel E. Smilow '54 Head Coach of Football at Yale, is in his third season at Yale and his third as a head coach overall. Williams is 11-9 overall with the Bulldogs and 2-0 against the Hoyas. He came to New Haven after two seasons as an assistant with the Jacksonville Jaguars and is in his 14th 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.

Dartmouth owns the most Ivy League titles since league play officially began in 1956. Yale trails Penn by one for second, one championship in front of Harvard.

No    Team            Last Title
17    Dartmouth    1996
15    Penn             2010
14    Yale              2006
13    Harvard        2008
 9    Princeton       2006
 4    Brown            2008
 3    Cornell           1990
 1    Columbia       1961

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. 13 through Nov. 15) 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.

All five home games this season are video streamed (pay per view) on through Yale's All Access with Ron Vaccaro and Carm Cozza providing the call.

The Bulldogs, off on Mondays, are on the field at 7:30 a.m. (until approx. 9:30) Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 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. All schedules are subject to change.

Yale on YES includes three broadcasts this fall on the YES Network. The YES games are Saturday, Oct. 29 (Yale at Columbia), Saturday, Nov. 5 (Brown at Yale) and Saturday, Nov. 12 (Yale at Princeton). All three games begin at noon ET. This is the fourth straight fall the Bulldogs appear on the network home for New York Yankees baseball. YES broadcaster Chris Shearn handles the play-by-play, with color commentary coming from former Ivy League and National Football League lineman Ross Tucker and former Yale defensive back Jack Ford '72, a well-known author and TV personality.

Yale football airs live on VERSUS three times this fall. The five-game 2011 Ivy League TV schedule was announced by the league office today. The first game on VERSUS features the Bulldogs hosting Cornell in the Sept. 24 league opener for both schools. Yale travels to Franklin Field to take on defending Ivy champions Penn on Oct. 22. Yale Bowl on Nov. 19 is the setting for the final VERSUS telecast and the 128th edition of The Game. All three contests are noon kickoffs. Randy Moss, a new member of NBC's award-winning horse racing team and contributor to NFL Network, will serve as the play-by-play announcer for all VERSUS Ivy League games and will be joined in the booth by Ross Tucker as lead analyst. Carolyn Manno, sports reporter for Comcast SportsNet New England, will serve as in-game reporter.

Senior DT Reed Spiller, nicknamed "Speed Riller" because he so fast for a 290-pounder, works with a program called Ready, Set, Launch, which helps underprivileged kids and guides them on the college application process… Alex Thomas (Ansonia, Conn.) and Ansonia native John Coughlin (Yale Football Office) have visited the Boys and Girls Club of the Lower Naugatuck Valley's Joel E. Smilow Clubhouse in Ansonia to help kids learn the importance of eating healthy and staying fit. They have also visited schools in the valley... Senior CB Drew Baldwin (Alexandria, Va.), co-chair of the Yale Black Men's Union Community Outreach Committee, is in his fourth 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. Classmate Jordan Haynes works closely with Baldwin on the project.

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.
77         players were captains of their high school football team
52        players were captains of another sport in high school
62         players were a national honors society member
 8         players were class president at their high school
 9       players were student body president at their high school
 9       players were class valedictorian at their high school
 4      players were class salutatorian at their high school

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

DB Josh Grizzard (Sr, Zebulon, N.C.)… most humorous
DB Geoff Dunham (Sr, Dallas, Texas)… most intelligent
DL Jake Stoller (Sr, Shaker Heights, OH)… most vocal leader (not captain)
DL Pat Moran (Sr, Alexandria, Va.)… most likely to be U.S. President
DB Dez Duron (Jr, Shreveport, La.)… most interesting activity (musician) & best singer
RB Alex Thomas (Sr, Ansonia, Conn.)… strongest player (pound-for-pound)
DB Drew Baldwin (Sr, Alexandria, Va.)… 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.

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.

The Ivy League is sometimes referred to as the "Ancient Eight" because its members are among the oldest schools in the country. The nicknames within the league include four animals (Bulldogs, Lions, Tigers, Bears), three colors (Red, Green, Crimson) and the Quakers.  Yale teams also use the nickname Elis (original benefactor Elihu Yale).

Soon, everyone coming to the Bowl will know Yale's primary (Bulldogs) nickname.  A three-and-a half foot tall, 600-pound bronze statue of Handsome Dan will be placed outside in the Jensen Plaza and serve as the top spot to have photos taken around the famous venue. A slightly smaller bronze dog, which first appeared in 2010 in the Kenney Center where Yale players could touch it before heading to the field, now sits in the lobby of Payne Whitney Gym.

Yale was the first football team of any type to reach 800 wins when it beat Dayton 42-6 on Sept. 16, 2000. It wasn't hard for Michigan (886) to catch up playing three or four games more than Yale (864) each season.

The Yale Junior Varsity has six games, all at home, slated for the fall. The Elis play on Clint Frank Field across Derby Avenue from Yale Bowl.

Date       Opponent        Time
Sept. 11  Hamilton College        2:00
Sept. 18  Dean College        1:00
Sept. 25  Army             1:00
Oct. 9      Milford Academy        2:00
Oct. 30    Bridgton Academy    1:00
Nov. 18   Harvard            1:00

Nate Lawrie '04 (49ers), Shane Bannon '11 (Chiefs), Tom McCarthy '11 (Falcons) and Chris Blohm '11 (49ers) were in NFL camps this summer. All but Blohm saw action in exhibition games. Bannon, an HB who was drafted by Kansas City in the seventh round, had the first and final carry of the opening pre-season contest in August. McCarthy, a free agent DL in the Atlanta Falcons camp, made two tackles in a pre-season game. Lawrie, a TE who has NFL experience but played in the UFL the last two years, signed with the 49ers in August and made a catch in their last exhibition game.

Jesse Reising '11, a starting LB for Yale last fall who was seriously injured at Harvard in the 2010 season finale, is still recovering from a collision with Crimson TB Gino Gordon that left the Bulldog with arm nerve damage. Reising's U.S. Marine Corps career is on hold, but the licensed pilot is still serving his country. He is currently in Afghanistan working as a contractor while he plans a non-profit organization with Yale classmate Nick Rugoff. "Operation Opportunity" will provide personalized prepatory services for the children of fallen service members.  "It's the means by which I hope to redirect the outpouring of support I have gotten since my injury towards the service members who are now serving in my place. I have been thinking, since all the e-mails and all the support started pouring in, how could I harness this support for some greater good."

Yale, which last played in the Golden State in 2005 at the University of San Diego, has another trip to California planned. On Oct. 5, 2013, the Bulldogs will play against Cal Poly Tech at San Luis Obispo. The only two games the Blue has played on the West Coast were against USD.

The Ivy League Office is launching a weekly online radio show, "Inside Ivy League Football," which premiers Sept. 14 at 7 p.m. "IILF" will take an in-depth look at the action and the news and notes surrounding Ivy football. The 10-episode show airs Wednesdays at 7 p.m. on ( It will be available on-demand via BlogTalkRadio and Fans and alumni will be able to interact with "Inside" via its social media platforms -- Facebook (Inside Ivy League Football) and Twitter (@insideivyfb) -- as well as provide ideas and content for the show's 'Twitter Talk/Facebook Fodder' segment. Selected episodes will feature Ivy football trivia with chances to win Ivy League-branded merchandise or a gift certificate to the League's official online store at The show will be hosted by two veteran Ivy broadcasters, Dan Loney and Brian Seltzer.  

filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director