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Bulldogs Open Ivy Play at Cornell

Bulldogs Open Ivy Play at Cornell

Yale On Road Again This Week

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The 2012 Ivy League campaign kicks off for Yale (1-0, 0-0 Ivy) with a 1 p.m. start at Cornell (0-1, 0-0) this Saturday at Schoellkopf Field (25,597). The game at Ithaca airs live on NBC Sports Network, WELI Radio (AM-960, and on WHCU Radio (AM-870).   

Yale leads the series with Cornell 44-28-2 heading into the 75th meeting. The series began in 1889 with a 60-6 Bulldog win at New Haven. The schools have split the last four meetings.

Yale and Cornell combined for 520 passing yards in the 2011 Ivy League opener at Yale Bowl, but it was a 58-yard TD run by tailback Alex Thomas '12 that put the game out of reach in Yale's favor. The Bulldogs scored the first 17 points, but Cornell closed to within 23-17 in the third quarter. After a one-yard TD by quarterback Patrick Witt'12 extended the lead to 13, Thomas' run early in the fourth quarter provided the exclamation point for the 37-17 win.


Most expected mistakes from a young team opening on the road with a rookie quarterback against an undefeated team playing its third game. Yale, the team fitting that bill last week, overcame five turnovers to come from behind and capture a 24-21 win over Georgetown. The Bulldogs accumulated 447 yards of total offense and forced four turnovers to improve their all-time mark to 6-0 vs. the Hoyas.



Senior CB Collin Bibb (San Antonio, Texas) registered Yale's only interception of the season opener, and he saved it for the very end to clinch the win. A few plays after being called for a personal foul during an incomplete pass on Georgetown's final drive, Bibb leapt in the corner of the end zone to pull the ball away from a Hoya receiver.



The Yale defense allowed just one Hoya offensive TD on Saturday and limited them to 11 completions. However, Georgetown used six different players to accumulate 260 rushing yards, but could not break an opportunistic Eli defense that forced four turnovers.



Senior LB Will McHale (Old Greenwich, Conn.) fought off an injury and some very large Hoya linemen to lead the Blue with six solo and 13 overall tackles. McHale, who had Yale's only sack, made a number of key stops down the stretch on third and fourth downs. He was honored by for his day.



Yale freshman running back Tyler Varga (Kitchener, Ont.) earned the first Ivy League Rookie of the Week award today after galloping for a game-high 103 yards and two scores in a win at Georgetown on Sept. 15. He is the first freshman to run for triple digits in his Yale debut since Mike McLeod in 2005.  Varga, who played at the University of Western Ontario in 2011, scored the first points of the Yale season on a two-yard run in the first quarter before adding the winning points in the third with a nine-yard burst. The 5-foot-11, 220-pound back, who did not start but alternated series with senior Mordecai Cargill, also had 65 yards on kickoff returns and caught a six-yard pass.


Running back Mordecai Cargill (Cleveland, Ohio) came to pre-season camp lighter, stronger and more intent on being a leader. That evolved into winning the starting job, being voted game captain against Georgetown and averaging a team-best 4.8 yards per carry in the opener. Cargill has 1,132 career rushing yards, including a career-best 230 (4th best at Yale) against Columbia last fall in the snow.



The longest Yale play from scrimmage, a halfback option pass from RB Don Gesicki to WR Gary Fencik at Princeton in 1975, stood until last week. Junior WR Cameron Sandquist (Redmond, Wash.) connected with QB Eric Williams (Portland, Ore.) on a 98-yarder in the second quarter at Georgetown. After a Hoya fumble gave Yale the ball on its own two with under a minute left in the half, Williams fired a pass down the right sideline intended for Sandquuist. A Georgetown defender tipped the ball around the 40-yard line and Sandquist, who finished with nine catches for 187 yards (6th best at Yale), ran under it and went untouched the rest of the way.



Cameron Sandquist, honored by in its weekly awards, also made the Ivy's honor roll for his career-best outing against the Hoyas. Sandquist, who has five career TD grabs, scored on his first two collegiate receptions as a freshman in 2010 against Columbia.


Yale has won six straight season openers, all against the Hoyas… Freshman WR Sebastian Little (Cheshire, Conn.) was impressive in his collegiate debut with three catches for 19 yards but was injured when a player fell on his leg in the second quarter…Seven different Elis caught passes while two running backs had multiple rushing attempts.


This is the first campaign in eight years that has Yale on the road the first two weeks. The Elis opened 2004 with games at Dayton (24-17, W) and Cornell (19-7, L).

Tony Reno, the Joel E. Smilow'54 Head Coach of Yale football, is in his first head coaching position after cutting his teeth in the Ivy League the last nine seasons. He was a Bulldog assistant under Jack Siedlecki (2002-08) and coached for the Crimson the last three falls. This isn't the first time an Italian-American, former Bulldog assistant in his mid 30s took over the Yale program.  Carm Cozza did it in 1965 and amassed an Ivy record 179 wins 32 years later.

Yale players reported to campus on Aug. 15 and practice began two days later. The team had multiple Blue-White scrimmages and also competed with Brown at the Bowl on Sept. 1. The roster began at 111 players but has been slimmed to 96 during the Elis' most physically challenging pre-season camps in recent years.


Ancient Eight teams won five (Yale, Harvard, Brown, Dartmouth, Columbia) of eight games last week to open the season. Ivies were 2-3 vs. Patriot teams.



All of Yale's non-league games are against Patriot League squads this fall. The Blue beat Georgetown (2-1, 0-0) and have games remaining against Colgate and Lafayette. The Raiders beat Sacred Heart last week, while the Leopards knocked off Penn.


Freshman Eric Williams (Portland, Ore.) had an impressive collegiate debut at Georgetown with 19 completions and 250 yards against a strong defense. Williams, the brother of Yale football players Scott '13 and Sean '11, and the son of former NFL player, Larry (Browns, Patriots, Saints, Chargers), became Yale's first freshman starter behind center since Mike McClellan '01 in the 1997 season opener at home against Brown (McClellan was the first Eli rookie QB to start a varsity game since World War II). Williams was the starting QB at Jesuit High School in Portland for two years before his family moved, and he spent his senior campaign at St. Ignatius near Cleveland. One of the assistant coaches on the St. Ignatius team was former Yale captain Rory Hennessey '05.


Seven players saw action in the season opener, including one senior, three juniors, two sophomores and a freshman. The senior is RT Roy Collins (6-5, 266, Carbondale, Ill.). The juniors are LT Wes Gavin (6-6, 286, San Diego, Calif.), C John Oppenheimer (6-0, 264, Menlo Park, Calif.) and LT Kyle White (6-7, 268, Pompton Plains, NJ). The sophomores are RG Ben Carbery (6-5, 287, Oak Park, Ill.) and LG William Chism (6-3, 277, Ridgeland, Miss.), while the lone newcomer last week was RG Luke Longinotti (6-4, 265, Burlingame, Calif.). Gavin and Carbery combined to win freshman MVP honors the last two years.

There are an unprecedented eight (number could move up or down) freshmen on the Yale two-deep depth chart, including six on offense. Fifteen newcomers were on the travel squad last week, and at one time in the game there were four freshmen on offense.

Jeff Mathews completed 38 of 56 passes for 489 yards and three scores, but it wasn't enough to get Cornell a win over Fordham last week in the Bronx. The Rams had 480 total yards and held on for a 34-27 win.

Yale was picked fifth with 66 points and no first-place votes in the 2012 Ivy League Media Poll. Defending league champion Harvard holds the top spot with 112 points and 13 first-place votes. Penn and Cornell, each with a pair of top votes, follow the Crimson while Brown was slated fourth. Dartmouth, Columbia and Princeton were listed after the Bulldogs.

There are 3,543 names of Yale football players listed on 345 stones in Jensen Plaza outside Yale Bowl. The names include the first Bulldog squad in 1872 through the class of 2012.

Senior Philippe Panico (Boston, Mass.) can throw the football 60 yards, but he is not one of the Yale QBs. The Bulldogs' top place kicker is strong-armed and can often be seen launching spirals on the practice field. Panico has handled almost all of the PK and kickoff duties the last two years. Kyle Cazzetta (Slate Hill, N.Y.) is in his second year as the starting punter.



Three Bulldogs were honored after week one of the season, one from the Ivy and the other from the website


Ivy League: RB Tyler Varga (Sept. 15), Rookie of the Week

CFPA: LB Will McHale, WR Cameron Sandquist (Sept. 15)

Yale Football has a new player lounge on the third floor of Ray Tompkins House replete with couches, tables, desks, games, TVs and life-sized images on the walls.

The Yale helmets have a slight "retro" look this fall with a change in the "Y" on the sides. Instead of having the "Y" outlined with a white line and then an outer blue edge, a thinner blue "Y" now stands alone, showcasing the look from the late 1960s through the 1980s.

For the second straight fall, the Elis host Dartmouth and play at Columbia. According to the league, the Ivy schedule format changed in 2008. In order to make the necessary changes and follow the scheduling parameters, these two game sites had to remain for a second straight year.

John Pagliaro Jr '11, a former Yale linebacker, played for the Ancona Dolphins (7-5) during the 2012 winter season, and then started at tailback and on special teams for the Italian National team in a tournament.  

Two former Yale receivers are coaches on the 2012 Vanderbilt University football squad. Bob Shoop '88, a 24-year veteran of college coaching, is the defensive coordinator. Chandler Henley '06, the captain of the 2006 Ivy Champions, is a graduate assistant coach.  A third Yale grad, Paul Rice '10 (2009 captain), is in the same region as a graduate assistant football coach at Georgia Tech.

The Yale JV has four games slated for this fall: Sept. 30 vs. Milford Academy; Oct. 28 vs. Bridgton Academy; Nov. 4 at Brown and Nov. 16 at Harvard. All games are 1 p.m., home contests are played at Clint Frank Field.

Blake Thomson '16 (Franklin, Tenn.) was busy last summer. In addition to starting, a web based company that helps college students find careers, he led a project ( to collect soccer equipment and clothes for an orphanage in Honduras. A week before reporting to Yale, he visited Honduras to complete the project. Thomson, who plans to major in biomedical engineering, delivered soccer balls, cleats, jerseys and other items to the 22 children of Hogar de Amor orphanage in La Ceiba.  Thomson toured the three-bedroom house where 22 children live and the Jungle School for 100 impoverished children. "I learned that over 40 percent of Honduras children suffer from abuse and many of these kids had to be removed from their homes. Many children walk an hour or more each way to attend the school. For many, it is their only meal of the day.  I look forward to returning and would love to take some of my teammates with me."

Dartmouth owns the most Ivy League titles since league play officially began in 1956. Yale and Harvard trail Penn by one for second.

No        Team                    Last Title
17        Dartmouth            1996
15        Penn                     2010
14        Yale                      2006
14        Harvard                2011
 9        Princeton               2006
 4        Brown                    2008
 3        Cornell                   1990
 1        Columbia               1961

Tony Reno, 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. 11 through Nov. 12) at noon for the Dick Galiette Yale Football Media Luncheon. This event is limited to media only. Please contact Yale Sports Publicity Director Steve Conn ( if you would like to attend.

Yale's marketing director Pat O'Neill is busy every home Saturday with special events:  Sept. 29 (Youth Day); Oct. 6 (Chamber of Commerce Day); Oct. 13 (Parent's Weekend); Oct. 20 (Heroes Day, Air Force fly-over); Nov. 10 (Fill The Bowl).

All five home games this season are video streamed on through Yale's All Access with Ron Vaccaro (follow @yalevoice on Twitter for Yale football updates)
and Carm Cozza providing the call for both All Access and WELI Radio. All home games are live broadcasts except for Penn on Oct. 20 (NBC Sports Network).


The Bulldogs, off on Mondays, are on the field from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday through 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 is no student-athlete scheduling conflicts. All schedules are subject to change.

Yale on YES includes three broadcasts this fall on the YES Network. The YES games are Columbia, Brown and Princeton. This is the fifth 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 Yale defensive back Jack Ford '72, a well-known author and TV personality, and ex-National Football League and Princeton lineman Ross Tucker.

Yale football airs live on NBC Sports Network three times this fall. The Cornell, Penn and Harvard games will be shown by the TV group previously branded as VERSUS. The studio team of Liam McHugh, Doug Flutie and Hines Ward provide pre- and post-game coverage on NBC and/or NBC Sports Network every Saturday of the college football season. The NBC Sports Network has televised 17 Ivy League football matchups featuring all eight schools over the past four (2008-11) seasons.

The Yale Bowl press box has a taste of New Haven with Yorkside Pizza & Restaurant serving slices, pasta and salad to the media on home Saturdays.

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 (896 wins) to catch up playing three or four games more than Yale each season. The Bulldogs are second with 870 victories.

Shane Bannon '11 (Chiefs) and Jake Stoller '12 (Steelers) were in NFL Camps right up to the start of the 2012 regular season. Bannon, an H-Back on the Kansas City practice squad in 2011, suffered an injury midway through this year's camp before being released. Stoller, a defensive lineman, made it all the way to the final day of teams reporting their regular-season rosters.

Three former Bulldogs are coaching in the NFL this season. Dick Jauron '73, who has spent 34 years in the NFL as a player (25 interceptions, Detroit & Cincinnati) and coach, is in his second year as the defensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns. He has also coached in Jacksonville, Green Bay, Chicago, Detroit, Buffalo and Philadelphia. Jauron, the 2001 AP Coach of the Year with the Bears, was an NFL head coach three times, most recently with the Bills (2006-09). Pat Graham '01, a former Yale tight end and defensive lineman, is a defensive assistant coach for the New England Patriots. He is in his fourth season at Foxboro. Graham, a Waterbury, Conn., native, was a member of Yale's 1999 Ivy title team. Michael McDaniel '05 is in his sixth NFL campaign and second with the Washington Redskins. He also coached the Houston Texans and Denver Broncos.

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 Bulldogs open their home slate with Colgate coming to the Bowl for a noon kickoff.

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 2012 breakdown.
50         players were captains of their high school football team
35         players were captains of another sport in high school
41         players were a national honors society member
 4        players were class president at their high school
 4         players were student body president at their high school
 5         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.

OL William Chism (So, Ridgeland, Miss.)… most humorous
TE Michael Leunen (Jr, Portland, Ore.)… most intelligent
TB Mordecai Cargill (Sr, Cleveland, Ohio)… most vocal leader (not captain)
DB John Powers (Sr, Hamden, Conn.)… most likely to be U.S. President
DE Beau Palin (Jr, Oconomowoc, Wis.)… most interesting activity (Capt. America, water skiing)  
DE Allen Davis (Sr, Grand Praire, Texas)… best singer
DB Collin Bibb (Sr, San Antonio, Texas)… strongest player (pound-for-pound)
DE Beau Palin (Jr, Oconomowoc, Wis.)… most involved in community outreach

"Inside Ivy League Football" runs all 10 Wednesdays of the season at 7 p.m. on ( ivyleaguefootball). It will be available on-demand via BlogTalkRadio and Fans and alumni can 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.  

Be the first to know what's going on with the Bulldogs -- Follow @YaleAthletics on Twitter, become a fan of Yale Athletics on Facebook!. For more information on following specific Yale Athletics teams visit us online at


filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director


Roy Collins image by Jack Warhola