Sept. 17, 2005
San Diego, CA - The San Diego Toreros spoiled Yale's visit to California with a stunning 17-14 comeback win over the Bulldogs Saturday afternoon. The Elis mustered just 46 yards of offense in the second half as a 14-0 lead slipped away against a tenacious San Diego defense intent on pulling off the school's first-ever win over an Ivy League opponent. The loss was also Yale's first to a team from the Pioneer League.
The loss spoiled a great debut from freshman RB Mike McLeod, who ran for 102 yards on 18 carries and had 173 all-purpose yards with four receptions and three kick returns and a nine-yard TD run. Yale QB Jeff Mroz (18-32, 181 yards) drove the Bulldogs on two 77-yard drives to go up by a pair of TDs but the senior captain also threw two interceptions.
The Bulldogs controlled the ball for the majority of the first quarter but neither squad put any points on the board as offenses moved back and forth between the 40-yard lines. The scoreboard finally got some use on Yale's fourth possession of the game, three plays into the second quarter.
QB Mroz, on third and goal from the two yard line, rolled right and found TE David Miller alone in the end zone for the first score of 2005 with 13:15 on the clock. Sophomore PK Alan Kimball tallied his first collegiate point by connecting on the extra point to complete the 77-yard drive.
On the ensuing series, USD quarterback Joshua Johnson was hit by senior DT Andrew Ralph and the ball came free just inside Torero territory. When the pile of players was separated, junior LB Lee Driftmier came away with the ball. However, the Elis could not take advantage of the turnover, despite a pretty, 24-yard lead pass to junior WR Ashley Wright which put the ball on the one-yard line. Penalties and a stiff USD defensive front forced a 23-yard field goal attempt by Kimball that sailed wide left.
The Bulldogs survived a successful Torero fake punt across midfield to put their second TD on the board on the next possession. TB McLeod, who finished the half with 88 rushing yards and another 35 receiving, did all of the ground work and capped the 77-yard drive with his first collegiate score from nine yards out. Mroz (10-17, 142 yards in the first half) pitched the ball to the speedy rookie, who followed his blockers while heading toward the right sideline and then diving inside the pylon with :32 left in the half.
John Matthews returned the kickoff 61 yards to help the home team put three points on the board as time expired in the second quarter. Hutch Parker split the uprights from 29 yards out to make it 14-3.
The Toreros, playing their third game of the year, did the same thing to open the second half, but this time it was Parker from 34 yards out to cut the margin to 14-6. And a McLeod fumble on his own 38-yard line on Yale's first chance in the third quarter gave the star USD kicker his third of the day from 39 yards away to cut the lead to five with :31 seconds left in the third. That finished off a quarter dominated by the San Diego offense, which had 28 snaps compared to Yale's eight.
The Torero defense continued to shut down the Elis and came up with a big play when DB Adam Burke tipped a Mroz pass around midfield and DB Scott Cooper picked it off before making it all the way to the Yale 19. After a first and goal inside the five, the Bulldogs stopped two straight runs and then were called for a personal foul. That enabled Johnson to find RB J.T. Rogan from two yards out to put USD up 15-14 with 6:37 left. Johnson then hit WR Nick Garton over the middle for the two-point conversion and a 17-14 lead.
USD had a chance to increase the lead with 2:08 left but Parker missed from 34 yards out and Yale had it on the 20. Yale's final drive ended at the Eli 21 with 1:50 to play on an incomplete pass on fourth-and-nine. The Toreros then ran out the clock to spark a wild celebration from the home fans.
Yale hosts Cornell next weekend in its home opener.
Notes From San Diego
Defensively, senior DB Andrew Butler, playing before two dozen family and friends from the Los Angeles area, was all over the field for the Elis... DT Andrew Ralph, DE Brandon Dyches, DT Brandt Hollander and DT Jared Hamilton each had sacks... Junior WR/P Ashley Wright began his punting career with two impressive kicks. His first boot, aided by a returner who did not field the ball, bounced to the USD four yard line after going 64 yards. His second kick bounced inside the 10 before freshman DB Larry Abare made a nifty grab at the three to down it... Junior LB Lee Driftmier led the Bulldogs with 5 solo stops and 12 tackles, including most of the big hits on the day... Both teams had 311 yards in total offense but USD ran 13 more plays and had the ball for almost nine minutes more.
report by Steve Conn, Assistant AD/Sports Publicity Director