Randall Breaks Career Receptions Record
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The top offense in the FCS was at it again in a crucial Ivy League contest. On a day when its captain became the school's career receptions leader, the Yale football team rolled to a 43-21 win over Penn at Yale Bowl.
The Bulldogs (5-1, 2-1 Ivy) amassed 605 yards of total offense and 28 first downs while never trailing in the contest.
Deon Randall, Yale's senior wide receiver and the nation's leader in receptions per game, caught a nine-yard pass early in the third quarter that gave him 196 career catches, one more than Ralph Plumb '05. The school's new pass-catching king snared seven on the day for 78 yards while notching his 16th career touchdown reception, good for third place on the Yale list.
"It's awesome to accomplish that record. But I'm more satisfied with the wins and how the team is playing," said Randall, whose unit tops the FCS in scoring average and total offense. "This offense is pretty dynamic. I think guys like playing in this offense because you never know when your number is going to get called."
Randall and his offensive mates were helping the Elis score the most points against Penn since a 44-22 win under Carm Cozza in 1967, but no receiver had a bigger day than senior Grant Wallace. Yale's second-most popular target this season led the team with 10 catches for 173 while scoring on pass plays of 18 and 10 yards.
"They were throwing a lot of different coverages at us. I just trusted my quarterback, and knew he would make the right reads. It's a lot of fun to be in an offense that's clicking. The scoring and the points will take care of themselves … seeing the growth is something that's really fun," said Wallace.
The Eli offense was clicking from the start. On their first possession, after the Yale defense forced a 3-and-out, senior tailback Tyler Varga took off with a fourth-and-one carry that resulted in a 23-yard touchdown run. Rather than kick the point after, Logan Scott connected with freshman linebacker Matthew Oplinger for the two points and an 8-0 lead.
On the next Penn possession the Quakers moved the ball to within striking distance for one of the league's best kickers, who had his 31-yard field goal attempt blocked by senior linebacker Charles Cook.
Oplinger seemed to be all over the place in the first half. In addition to catching the conversion pass, he returned the blocked kick 48 yards while making a few key stops on defense.
Varga, who finished the day with 23 carries for 140 yards and two scores, enjoyed his 13th triple-digit outing in just his 20th collegiate game while enabling the Elis to register over 600 yards of offense for the fourth time this season. The 5-foot-11, 224 pound runner now has 849 yards and a 6.8 average per carry.
Meanwhile, junior quarterback Morgan Roberts was breaking his own record for completion percentage in a game. He connected on 26 of 29 passes for 346 yards and four scores. Roberts had established a new standard by completing 26 of 30 (.866) passes at Cornell earlier this fall.
The Yale QB connected with three different receivers on scoring plays, including a 28-yard pass to sophomore tailback Candler Rich.
"We're closing in on what I thought we could do. I we there's a lot of room for growth. The potential of this offense is very high," said Tony Reno, Yale's Joel E. Smilow '54 Head Coach. "Deon [Randall] presents a tough matchup in the slot. He's as good with the ball in his hands as anyone I've seen in this league."
The offense seems to get all the accolades with its prolific campaign, but the defense came up big today as well. The Elis, who kept coming with blitzes, sacked Penn QB Alek Torgersen (23-41, 286, 3 TDs) three times and forced many rushed passes while limiting the Quakers' ground game to 47 yards. Nineteen different Bulldogs made solo tackles as almost everyone got into the game on a sunny and cool day in the Bowl.
Sophomore DB Spencer Rymiszewski suffered an injury late in the first half and had to be taken off the field on a stretcher. He was taken to the hospital for evaluation and no other information was available back at the Bowl… Six different Yale tailbacks got carries today including the first varsity snaps for LJ Hunt… Senior WR Nick LaTesta came back from an injury to make his first two varsity receptions…. Junior QB Logan Scott played most of the fourth quarter but did not attempt a pass other than his two-point conversion in the opening quarter… Morgan Roberts now has 17 TD passes in 2014 which ranks fifth on the school's single-season chart. The record is 22 shared by Jeff Mroz (2005) and Alvin Cowan (2003)... Yale presented a parting gift to Penn head coach Al Bagnoli during a pre-game ceremony to honor him during his 23rd and final season in Philly.
filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director
Deon Randall photo by Steve Musco