Defense Has Big Night
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – In what was basically an elimination game in the race for the 2018 Ivy League Championship, the Bulldogs ran for 244 yards while holding Penn to just 14 in a 23-10 win at Franklin Field.
The Yale Football Team (4-2, 2-1 Ivy) got 179 rushing yards and two touchdowns from junior running back Alan Lamar to beat the Quakers (4-2, 1-2) for a second straight year at Philadelphia.
While the Elis moved the ball up and down the field behind its powerful offensive line, the Bulldog defense had its best outing of the season. First-year linebacker Noah Pope had a team-best 10 overall tackles and a sack. The Elis registered three sacks and broke up six passes on the night.
"We were just physical. We were physical to the ball, being the more physical team, and you could see that," said Pope, who had five solo stops in the best game of his young career. "I just happened to be in the right spot at the right time to make big plays. Honestly, we were just the more physical team up front and it allowed us to be able to mix our plays... This a defense where we just love playing with each other and getting after it."
Yale junior quarterback Kurt Rawlings had a productive (11-of-14, 137 yards) day cut short by a third-quarter injury that brought sophomore Jimmy Check off the sideline. Check completed five of eight passes and ran for 10 yards to help the visitors close out the win.
"It's always a great feeling to win, especially in the Ivy League, since every game is like a playoff here," said Lamar, who ended up a yard shy of his career best output. "To come here and pull out a win and further our chances in the Ivy League race is a great feeling."
Lamar, who had 139 yards in the first half, had a pair of 47-yard runs as Yale scored on its first two possessions. The first set up a four-yard TD run by Rawlings that was followed by a two-point conversion pass from Patrick Conte to Quinn Dawson. Lamar's second long run, made possible by a Rawlings to JP Shohfi third-down conversion, went for a score. Lamar burst through the line and broke it outside along the left sideline. He dove inside the pylon with 3:37 left.
"I bounced it outside and just went, I gave a move and outran the defenders," said Lamar. "The offensive line has done a great job this whole season of opening up holes and getting me to the second level. Once we get to the second level, Coach [Derrick] Lett tells us to win our one-on-ones and today I did."
The Quakers came close to answering Yale's first TD with six, but a Jordan Carey pass-breakup in the end zone forced the home team to settle for a field goal.
Lamar, capping off a great half, ran up the middle for a two-yard TD run with 44 seconds left to make it 21-3. Alex Galland's point-after kick was blocked.
Rawlings led a long drive on Yale's first possession but was injured on a run when he gained a first down to the Penn nine-yard line. Check completed a pass to Reed Klubnik at the one-yard line to set up a fourth and goal, but Lamar lost control of the ball as he tried to dive into the end zone on fourth down. The Quakers took the ball on the one and drove it 99 yards to reach the end zone for the only time all night. Yale's only points of the second half came on a home team mistake. Penn's second botched snap of the game sailed over the head of QB Ryan Glover, who recovered the ball in the end zone where he was tackled for a safety with 1:11 left to make it 23-10.
Yale's defense, which gave up just one first down in the quarter, came up with big plays every time they were needed.
JP Shohfi and Reed Klubnik each had 6 catches… Junior DB Malcolm Dixon had five solos… Juniors LB Ryan Burke and DE Charles Callender also had sacks… The last time the Blue won consecutive games at Franklin Field was in 1974 and 1976.
SEE Tony Reno's opening statement in the press conference following the win.
By Steve Conn, Yale Associate AD/Sports Publicity