Oct. 23, 2004
A pair of significant school career records fell at the Bowl, but it was the Yale football team that dropped the most important event of the day. The Bulldogs' Ivy championship hopes were dashed in a 17-7 loss to defending champion Penn before 17,737.
Yale tailback Robert Carr rushed for 167 yards to break Rashad Bartholomew's (class of '01) school yardage record with 3,047, while QB Alvin Cowan's (12-for-21, 149 yards) only TD pass of the day broke the career mark (36) previously held by Joe Walland '00. That and a Yale defense that refused to break - with an interception, a blocked punt and two sacks -- were the bright spots during a dark day at the Bowl.
If anyone from Yale (3-3, 1-2 Ivy) had been told that Penn would have a bad day punting, would be starting a new placekicker in his first game and the Quakers would manage just 17 points, they would have been pretty optimistic about Old Blue's chances. The problem was that the 5-1 Quakers, who have now won 18 straight league games, controlled the ball in the second half and ended up with 15 minutes more of possession time.
The Quakers (3-0 Ivy) got more first downs (27-12) and rushing yardage (221-164), while their QB Pat McDermott (21-for 35, 276) was very efficient. Tailback Sam Matthews hurt the Elis with 169 yards and a 6.8 average, while there seemed to be no answer to WR Dan Castles (8-131).
"We ran the ball well in the first half, and Rob [Carr] did a great job. But a big penalty on the first drive knocked us out," said Yale head coach Jack Siedlecki. "We had a couple of opportunities and we took it away from ourselves. I went into the half telling our players that we should have been ahead 21-7."
Matthews scored on a one-yard run at 7:55 of the first quarter to put Penn ahead 7-0 before Bulldog WR Chandler Henley made a diving, 20-yard catch in the back of the end zone with 45 seconds left in the opening frame to even things.
"Our kids played fabulously in the second half and really moved the chains," said Penn head coach Al Bagnoli. "They [Yale] have dangerous kids and we expected them to be a desperate team that would play real hard. This win is a tribute to our offensive line, our tight ends and our running backs."
Penn PK Peter Stine, playing his first varsity game, booted a 25-yard field goal at 10:35 of the third to break the tie and Matthews, who also added seven catches for 74 yards, added a four-yard TD run to make it 17-7 with 59 seconds left in the same quarter.
The Elis had the ball just twice in the fourth quarter and the last possession ended in a Ralph Plumb (7-89) fumble with 1:55 on the clock. That completion was just the fourth of the second half for Cowan, who was 0-for-2 throwing the ball in the second half until that final drive. The turnover marked the second week in a row that Yale fumbled in the two-minute offense.
Still, the Bulldog defense bent enough to stay in the game. Linebacker Cole Harris (4-8-12) had his first career interception and his starting partner Ben Breunig had a team-high seven solos and 15 overall stops. Defensive Back Andrew Butler also had seven solo tackles. In addition, the Yale special teams had another strong day. WR Ashley Wright made Yale's first blocked punt of the year in the second half, while punter Tyson Crawford averaged 34.9 yards on eight attempts.
"We are going to find out what we're made of this week," said Siedlecki. "We had some big expectations and we have not lived up to it."
report filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director