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Ivy Opener Saturday at Cornell

Alan Lamar running at Worcester last week (John Coleman image)
Alan Lamar running at Worcester last week (John Coleman image)

3 p.m. Kick on ESPN+

The Yale Football Team, starting the season with consecutive road games for the first time in 14 years, opens Ivy League play Saturday with a 3 p.m. kickoff at Cornell. The game airs live on ESPN+ as well as ESPN Radio (AM 1300) and iHeart Radio.

Yale leads the series with Cornell 48-30-2 heading into the 81st meeting. The series began on Oct. 16, 1889, with Walter Camp coaching the Bulldogs to a 60-6 win at New Haven. The Elis, who traveled to Ithaca less than a month after the first encounter and notched a 70-0 win, have taken six of the last 10 meetings with the Big Red.

Zane Dudek had 173 yards on 16 carries and DeShawn Salter ran for 143 on 12 rushes in Yale's 49-24 win over Cornell at the Bowl last fall.

Yale opened the season by jumping out to a 21-0 lead at Holy Cross but gave up the game's final 17 points in a 31-28 OT loss.

Like the Bulldogs, Cornell opened up against a team playing its third game. Davy Lizana caught a scoring pass from Austin Holmes, but the Big Red fell at Delaware, 27-10.

Here are some highlights from the Yale-Cornell series: Morgan Roberts threw for 312 yards and tied a Yale single-game record by throwing five touchdowns. He also set a Yale single-game record for completion percentage, completing 26 of 30 passes in 2014… Tom Mante '10 tied the 104-year-old school record for longest field goal and broke the Ivy League record with a 54-yarder at the Bowl against the Big Red in 2009… Jeff Mroz '05 tied the school record with five TD passes in 2005; Ashley Wright '07 caught three Jeff Mroz passes that day to tie a Yale record… Robert Carr '05 rushed for a sophomore record 235 yards and four scores at Ithaca in 2002… Billy Brown '02 tied the Yale standard for TDs in a game with three in 2001… P.J. Collins '04 set the "modern" school mark with seven punt returns in 2001… Yale had a school record 214 kickoff return yards in 1990 on eight returns… Ken Hill '79 broke a 19-year-old Yale record with a 100-yard kickoff return in the 1978 game.

There are many leaders among the 2018 Bulldogs:

Captains of HS football team: 82
Captain of another sport in HS: 50
National Honor Society Members: 45
HS Class Presidents: 6
HS Class valedictorians: 2

Senior DL using 5th year of eligibility… 50 tackles, 6.5 TFL in 27 career games… Former Fairfield Prep star is 18th Yale football captain from CT, 2nd Milford native… Political Science major, Ezra Stiles College… Grew up attending Yale games and always wanted to be a Bulldog.

DL Charles Callender '20 – Second-Team 2017
DB Malcom Dixon '20 – Honorable Mention 2017
RB Zane Dudek '21 – First-Team 2017
OL Dieter Eiselen '20 – Honorable Mention 2017
P Alex Galland '19 – Second-Team 2017
QB Kurt Rawlings '20 – Honorable Mention 2017
OL Sterling Strother '20 – Second-Team 2017

The 2018 Yale football team represents 24 states and 4 countries (US, Canada, England, South Africa)... California has the most players with 14... Connecticut and Texas have the second most with 9, while New Jersey and Massachusetts both have 8... Kamsi Nwangwu, from Woodbridge, is the Bulldog whose home is closest to the campus... Dieter Eiselen, from Stellenbosch, South Africa, came the farthest to attend Yale (nearly 7800 miles)... The tallest players on the team are So. Grant Neagli and Jr. Jett Sexton, who stand at 6'7. Grant Neagli is also the heaviest player at 325 pounds… The average for Bulldog O-linemen is 6'4 3/4 and 290 pounds…. The average DL is 6'3 1/4 and 254 pounds.

A survey of the team produced some interesting anecdotal information about the Bulldogs.

Most humorous: Spencer Matthei & Rodney Thomas
Most intelligent: Alex Galland
Most vocal: J. Hunter Roman
Most likely to become president: JP Shohfi
Most interesting extracurricular: Alex Galland (plays in Yale Band)
Best singer: Kamsi Nwangwu
Strongest (pound-for-pound): Alan Lamar, Melvin Rouse II
Most involved in community: John Lager

When you win, schools come calling. Three coaches from the championship team left Yale last winter. OC Joe Conlin became Fordham's head coach and took DB coach Paul Rice with him. TE coach Chandler Henley went to the NFL with Titans.

New Members: Matt Cerins (TE, intern on Yale staff 2017), Ben Olson (DL, at Colgate in 2017, brother of Jake Olson, Chief of Staff), Al Netter (OL, at Michigan in 2017).

Changes: Kevin Cahill went from Pass-Game Coordinator to Offensive Coordinator; Art Asselta (WR) is now Pass-Game Coordinator; Jordan Stevens went from DL in 2017 to co-Defensive Coordinator and LB coach.

Zane Dudek became the first Yale back to go over the 200-yard mark and not score a TD last week… Sophomore QB Patrick Conte threw his first collegiate TD pass when he connected with JJ Howland in the first half at Holy Cross… Melvin Rouse's 100-yard KOR not only tied the school record for longest return but was the first time in Yale history that an Eli scored on a kick on the season's first play… Steven Santoro, in the 2006 opener at home against San Diego, took his first collegiate kickoff back for a TD, but that did not start the game… Yale is now 123-20-2 (.861) in season openers… The Holy Cross game was the first Yale opener to go into OT.

Three Yale seniors from the 2017 championship team were on NFL rosters over the summer and made it to the final cut. Foyesade Oluokun made the 53-man Atlanta Falcons roster, while Jaeden Graham is currently on the Falcons' practice squad. In addition, Matthew Oplinger played in multiple exhibition games and turned some heads.

3 Yale Stars Make NFL Mark:
•    Foyesade Oluokun (LB, Atlanta, drafted), Two-time All-Ivy League Selection
•    Jaeden Graham (TE, Atlanta, FA), 2017 First-Team All-Ivy League Pick
•    Matthew Oplinger (LB, Arizona, FA), 2nd Team All-American and 2017 Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year

Yale University will celebrate the life of Hall of Fame football head coach Carmen L. Cozza on Nov. 10 prior to the game against Princeton at the Bowl. The ceremony begins at 9:30 a.m. inside Coxe Cage. Cozza, who coached the Bulldogs to 10 Ivy titles in 32 seasons, passed away on Jan. 4, 2018. The Elis are wearing a patch on their jerseys this season to honor the college football legend.

All 10 games air live on AM (960 WELI or 1300 ESPN) as well as iHeart Radio with Ron Vaccaro '04 and former Yale Football Head Coach Jack Siedlecki providing the call.

All of Yale's home games as well as Ivy road games in 2018 are on ESPN. Most of them are on ESPN+, a subscription based (Watch ESPN) streaming platform, but the Bulldogs will be on TV three times (Dartmouth, Penn, Harvard) this fall. Links will be available on for each streamed game. International viewers who cannot get ESPN+ may watch on the Yale portal presented by Stretch Internet.

Yale and Harvard have never played each other at a professional sports venue, so this year's edition of The Game is truly unique. The Nov. 17 contest takes place at Fenway Park with a noon kick on one of the ESPN networks. The 135th meeting of Yale and Harvard is also unique because it sold out in a few days last spring. That's the earliest tickets have ever gone on sale and the fastest the tickets have been sold.  The New York Post recently came out with "The 20 Best Experiences College Football Has to Offer" and The Game ranked No. 5 behind Clemson (Howard's Rock), Army-Navy, Notre Dame (TD Jesus) and Wisconsin's "Jump Around."

Sept. 15: Zane Dudek (Ivy HRoll); Ryan Burke (Ivy HRoll)

Five games and five different promotions for 2018:
Sept. 29 (Youth Day)
Oct. 5 (Employee Night)
Oct. 13 (Heroes' Day)
Nov. 3 (Community Day)
Nov. 10  (Fill the Bowl)



by Steve Conn, Yale Associate AD/Sports Publicity