Williams-Lopez Catches 13 Passes For 154 Yards In Win
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Behind a 24-point third quarter, the Yale football team got back in the win column with its most dominating performance of the season, routing Brown 41-14, on Saturday afternoon on Heroes Day at the Yale Bowl.
With a three-point lead at halftime, the Bulldogs (5-3, 2-3 Ivy) controlled the entire second half, earning a 24-0 scoring advantage and holding Brown's offense to less than 100 total yards, while forcing three turnovers and keeping the Bears scoreless. Brown did not score on its final nine possessions of the game.
Sophomore RB Deshawn Salter's three rushing touchdowns helped to pace Yale's scoring, while sophomore wide-out Christopher Williams-Lopez had career-highs in receptions (13) and yards (154). Senior quarterback Morgan Roberts went 28-of-41 for 267 yards in the win, completing passes to nine different players.
"This game showed the culture we have at Yale. Our commitment is to excellence and we never quit," said Joel E. Smilow '54 head coach Tony Reno. "I challenged them at halftime to play a cleaner game because penalties kept Brown in the game. In the second half, we stepped up our game."
Yale dug deep into its depth chart, using a multitude of different players throughout the game who contributed in different ways. Junior Dale Harris was the biggest example, who took snaps at running back (normally a defensive back) for the first time since his days at St. Paul's School in Maryland. He led Yale in rushing, with 12 carries for 71 yards and a touchdown.
Brown quarterback Marcus Fuller, who entered the game averaging more than 300 passing yards, threw for just 165 against the Yale secondary, while throwing three interceptions.
Junior Spencer Rymiszewski returned his third-quarter interception 24 yards for a touchdown, adding to Yale's three-possession lead at the time. Sophomores Jason Alessi and Keefer Johnson picked-off the other two passes.
"Brown's offense came in averaging over 30 points a game. Our defense is predicated on not giving up big plays and being very physical. I thought our guys did a great job of that," said Reno.
The 27-point margin of victory is the largest for Yale against Brown since a 30-0 win for the Elis back in 1996, which was legendary head coach Carm Cozza's final season.
The fourth quarter was merely maintenance after Yale's offensive explosion in the third quarter. Both of Brown's possessions in the final quarter ended in interceptions – one by Alessi and one by Johnson.
The Elis caused four Brown turnovers in the game, while scoring 14 points off those miscues by the Bears. They also held their Ivy rival to just 50 rushing yards on 24 attempts, an average of just 2.1 yards per carry.
Yale's dominant third-quarter performance sealed the game, as the Bulldogs scored 24 unanswered points - including three scoring drives, an interception returned for a touchdown, and holding Brown's offense to -13 yards of total offense.
In arguably the best-played quarter of the season for Yale, rushing touchdowns by Salter and Harris, along with the touchdown return by Rymiszewski, gave the Elis a healthy 41-14 advantage heading to the fourth.
The Bulldog offense possessed the ball for 10:57 in the third, allowing Brown just 12 offensive snaps, while the defense held the Bears to negative total yardage.
Holmes knocked through a 20-yard field goal on Yale's opening drive of the half, capping off an 11-play, 71-yard drive. Harris had runs of 12 and 11 yards.
"Coach came to me about switching to running back. I have the mentality of anything I can do to help the team, I'm going to do it," said Harris, who played in his first collegiate game at tailback. "I played in high school, so I had background knowledge…The offensive line was great today – they really helped me."
Salter ran for his third score of the game on the next possession, pounding his way into the end zone from the one-yard line. Facing a 3rd-and-12 on the Brown 15, Williams-Lopez kept the drive going with a 14-yard reception, which set-up Salter's run.
"Chris had a lot of opportunities today and he did an incredible job of getting yards after the catch, which we haven't been doing well with," said Roberts about Williams-Lopez, who missed the first four games of the season. "He has worked so hard for us, especially after his injury early in the season."
Not only did Brown's offense struggle, but special teams suffered a blunder as well. Attempting a punt late in the quarter, Brown punter Grant Senne dropped the snap and was called down when he put his knee on the field when picking up the ball. Yale took over on the Brown 6.
Harris scampered in for a three-yard score after the Brown mistake, pushing the Bulldog lead to 34-17, going up by three possessions.
On the first play of the next possession, Fuller threw an interception to Rymiszewski on the left sideline, who returned it for a touchdown, giving Yale a commanding 41-14 lead. It was Yale's first interception returned for a touchdown since Adam Money against Brown on Nov. 7, 2009.
As instrumental as Yale's offense was in getting the Bulldogs a 17-14 lead at halftime, the defense was just as responsible. The Elis held Brown to 171 yards of offense in the first half, while allowing it just 47 yards on the ground.
Defense ruled in the second quarter, as both offenses combined for five punts and one turnover on downs. Yale's points came on a 27-yard field goal by Holmes in the waning seconds, putting Yale up 17-14 at the intermission.
A key stop for the Bulldogs came deep in their own territory when the Bears' offense was on the move. With a 4th-and-1 on the Yale 3, Brown tried a run up the middle and was turned away by the Elis' stout defensive line.
Brown scored on its first possession of the quarter when Doles ran in from two yards out, following his own 43-yard reception from Fuller that put the Bears inside the Yale 5. The game was tied, 14-14, at the 11:41 mark.
After missing the Columbia game due to injury, Salter wasted no time in his return. He ran for two touchdowns in the first quarter, capping off scoring drives on Yale's first two possessions.
"After not scoring offensively last week, you want to get on the scoreboard as quickly as possible to remember what it feels like," joked Roberts. "Penalties really stalled some of our drives in the first half, but we recognized it and cleaned it up in the second half."
Yale's first score came just five plays after Brown returner Alexander Jette fumbled the opening kickoff, which was recovered by Harris on special teams at the Brown 21. Salter scored on a pitch from Roberts to the left side just 1:20 into the game.
A lengthier drive followed in the first quarter, as the Elis orchestrated a nine-play, 70-yard scoring drive that Salter finished-off with an 11-yard touchdown run, putting Yale ahead 14-7.
The Elis nearly doubled the Bears in time of possession on Saturday, having the ball for 39:12 to Brown's 20:48.
The win snaps Yale's two-game losing skid and gives the Bulldogs momentum heading into their final road game of the season at Princeton next Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. and the game can be seen on the Ivy League Digital Network.
Filed by Steve Lewis, Yale Sports Publicity