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Opening Day Streak Ends at 9

Williams-Lopez gave Yale an early lead (Jack Warhola image)
Williams-Lopez gave Yale an early lead (Jack Warhola image)

Ranked Raiders Take Game at Bowl


NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Tony Reno, Yale's Joel E. Smilow '54 Head Coach, said during the week leading up to the season opener that Colgate could easily be the best team on the 2016 schedule. The Raiders did nothing to disprove that in a 55-13 win over the Bulldogs that ended Yale's season-opener win streak at nine games.

"We experimented with a few different things today," said Reno, who was coaching against a team that had won two NCAA Playoff games last winter and had opened up 2016 at Syracuse. "We tried to look at a few things in all three phases, and I think film will tell on that. This (game) helps us grow."

The Elis, who made a late, big comeback last year at Hamilton to escape with a 29-28 win, began the same way today. On Colgate's first series with the ball, sophomore defensive back Marquise Peggs got a hand on a Jake Melville pass that ended up in the arms of Yale junior safety Hayden Carlson in the home end of the field. A nifty Carlson return brought the ball 48 yards the other way and helped set up a touchdown pass to take a 7-0 lead.

On his first pass attempt of 2016, junior quarterback Rafe Chapple hit junior wide receiver Christopher Williams-Lopez for an 11-yard strike. It was Chapple's first career touchdown pass, connecting with the guy who led the Blue last year in receptions with 60.

The prosperity was short lived. The Raiders (1-1) rattled off 21 straight points before sophomore kicker Alex Galland booted the first two (37, 36) field goals of his collegiate career to cut the margin to 21-13.

That was as close as the home team could get against the No. 23 ranked Raiders, who played four more games than any Ivy school last season.

They used to be called the Red Raiders, and they were red hot today as they tried to avenge the home loss last September. Melville, in particular, was on fire with five TD throws and 315 yards, helping his team rack up 558 total yards.

Meanwhile, Reno had three relatively equal choices at Yale QB heading into the season, and he got looks at all three today. Chapple completed 18 passes for 145 yards and the score. Freshman Kurt Rawlings (3-6, 29 yards) had a few sets of downs as did sophomore Tre Moore (1-5, 2).

Senior receiver Robert Clemons led all Bulldogs with six catches, while junior Michael Siragusa's 61 receiving yards were a team-high.

Carlson led the Blue with 10 solos and 14 overall stops. He recovered a fumble on a kickoff that also led to Yale points.   

"They were a very good football team," said Reno. "They are a veteran team that had success last season. Colgate capitalized (on everything). You have to tip your hats to them."

The Elis can erase the memories of opening day with a good performance next week at Cornell. The start of league play is Saturday at 3 p.m. on the Ithaca campus.

"I am telling the team to get ready for next week and learn from our mistakes… and eliminate them," said Yale captain and linebacker Manora.

The last time Yale dropped a season opener, in 2006 (vs. San Diego), the Bulldogs won eight of the last nine and took a piece of the Ivy League championship.




Filed by Steve Conn, Yale Associate AD & Sports Publicity Director –