Bulldogs Cruise Past Holy Cross, 41-16

Bulldogs Cruise Past Holy Cross, 41-16

Oct. 4, 2003

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The Yale defense limited Holy Cross to 268 total yards, picking up an interception and a fumble recovery to pace a 41-16 win in Worcester. The victory moves Yale's record to 3-0 on the year, the second straight season Yale has started out with three triumphs.

The Bulldogs had scored touchdowns on their opening drives of each of their first two games, and this one would prove to be no different. Four runs and a pass got the ball from the Eli 37 to the Crusader 35. From there QB Alvin Cowan rolled right and found a wide-open TE Derek Caracciola for a 20-yard gain. A 13-yard run by TB Robert Carr got the ball to the two, and Cowan then went into the endzone untouched for the early lead.

The Crusaders drove 46 yards in 11 plays for a 24-yard Mike DeSantis field goal early in the second quarter, but Yale responded with another touchdown drive. Two Carr runs for a total of 12 yards and a 10-yard pass to Caracciola brought Yale from its 35 to the Holy Cross 43. There remained one missing aspect to the Eli offense, however. Yale had not completed a pass to a wide receiver at all in the previous game, and had yet to find one in this game - until a wide receiver got the chance to throw. WR Ralph Plumb took the ball on a reverse from Carr and fired one to WR P.J. Collins for a 16-yard gain. On the next play Carr raced up the middle, then cut to the right sideline and into the endzone for a 14-3 lead.

DB Jonas Rodriguez played a key role in Yale's special teams effort (photo by Penny Cowan)

Two special teams plays then swung momentum back and forth. First, S Steve Ehikian blocked a Crusader punt at the Holy Cross 32. Five plays later, K John Troost delivered a 30-yard field goal. But on the ensuing kickoff, Crusader return man Scott MacDougall came up with a 46-yard return to set Holy Cross up at the Eli 34. After converting a fourth-and-two at the Yale 16, the Crusaders got into the endzone on a three-yard run by TB Steve Silva with 7:07 left before the half. DeSantis' extra point attempt hit the left upright and bounced out, leaving the score at 17-9 Yale.

Troost added a 36-yard field goal with 4:33 left. The Crusaders attempted to drive into scoring territory with time running out, but that drive ended with DE Brandon Dyches sacking Holy Cross QB John O'Neill for a seven-yard loss at the Eli 42.

The first Crusader drive of the second half also ended with a sack, this one by DE Brady Clegg. The Bulldogs continued to set the tone by driving 49 yards for a touchdown right after that. Cowan found WR Ron Benigno, who lost his man with a nifty post-corner move on his way to the endzone. The 16-yard scoring toss made the score 27-9, and the Yale defense was more than ready to keep that lead out of reach. The Crusaders went for it on fourth-and-three at the Yale seven, and O'Neill appeared to have a man open in TE Edward Lobb. But CB Andrew Butler was able to race over just in time to tip the pass away and give the ball back to the Eli offense.

The defense faced another test when Holy Cross blocked a Yale punt, recovering it at the Bulldog six. DL Adam Brown and DE Don Smith tackled Silva after a gain of just one on first down, and Silva picked up one more yard on second down. Ehikian then came up with another big play, dragging down Silva for a nine-yard loss on third down. DeSantis' 30-yard field goal attempt went wide left.

Still, Holy Cross could have gotten right back into the ballgame when the Crusaders picked up a Yale fumble at the Eli 24 just three plays later. But four plays after that, Smith stripped Silva of the ball and fell on it at the 15. The third quarter ended with Yale still holding a commanding 18-point lead.

The defense then set up Yale's next score, as O'Neill's pass for RB Tom Hoover bounced off the receiver's hands and was picked off by Eli LB Ben Breunig. Two plays later, Benigno got behind his man on a short slant pattern, Cowan got him the ball, and Benigno took off 20 yards into the endzone. On Yale's next drive the Bulldogs put the game even further out of reach, with TB David Knox racking up 48 yards on the ground -- the last two on a run into the endzone.

The Crusaders did add one more touchdown, with WR Nick Larsen catching a 13-yard scoring toss from QB Brian Schiller.

Yale hosts Dartmouth in an Ivy League game next week at 1:00 at the Yale Bowl.