Bulldogs Open at San Diego

Bulldogs Open at San Diego

Sept. 13, 2005

New Haven, CT -

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The Yale football team kicks off its 2005 campaign by making its longest season-opening road trip on Sept. 17 with a 4:30 E.S.T. game at the University of San Diego at Torero Stadium. The game can be heard live on radio stations WELI (AM 960) and WYBC (AM 1340) as well as on yalebulldogs.com.

Blue Has Been True in Openers

Yale won its first 59 season openers before a scoreless tie with Bates in 1932. The first loss was to Columbia in 1934 by a 12-6 count. The Elis' overall record is 114-16-2 (with 76 shutouts), while they are 98-12-1 at home and 16-4-1 on the road. The Bulldogs have opened the year with Brown 26 times, by far the most meetings with any opponent. This is just the 12th time (but third in a row) in 133 years that Yale opens a season with a non-league contest. The San Diego game, which is the longest season-opeining road contest ever for the Bulldogs, is just the 22nd time the Blue has kicked off the season outside of New Haven..

The Series

Yale is 2-0 against USD and has outscored the Pioneer League squad by 66-20. The Bulldogs, on the way to an Ivy title, beat the Toreros 17-6 with backup QB Peter Lee starting for an injured Joe Walland in 1999 at Alcala Park. A great Eli defensive effort and some big catches by current NFL tight end Eric Johnson helped Yale squeeze past the underdog USD team in the first meeting. QB Alvin Cowan scored three TDs and threw three scoring passes as Yale won 49-14 at Yale Bowl in 2002 in the only other meeting.

Bulldogs and Tigers Scrimmage

For the third straight Labor Day Weekend Yale and Princeton squared off in a scrimmage. Running back Tyler Wells had two touchdowns, including a 65-yarder on a deflected pass, to highlight Yale's performance against the Tigers at Yale Bowl. The Bulldogs also got scoring from running back Mike McLeod (4-yard touchdown run), wide receiver Todd Feiereisen (30-yard reception) and kicker Alan Kimball (28-yard field goal). The Yale defense held Princeton to just two scores for 10 points. Wells' grab came when quarterback Ryan Fodor lofted a deep pass intended for tight end Mike Duvall, who had two defenders on him. It wound up bouncing right into the hands of Wells, who took off into the end zone to the delight of his teammates. It was a fitting moment in the sun for the senior who has spent most of the last three years behind the school's all-time leading rusher Robert Carr, who graduated last spring. Feiereisen's grab was also of highlight-reel quality, as he fought his way past several Tigers to get into the end zone after catching a pass from quarterback Jeff Mroz. Mroz, Yale's captain, finished the day 12-18 for 158 yards. McLeod had 38 yards on 7 carries, including a 20-yarder. Running back Jordan Spence added 8 carries for 32 yards. Safety Nick Solakian came up with the day's biggest play defensively, an interception with a 19-yard return to set up a Yale score just before the end of the first half. Cornerback Andrew Butler chipped in four solo tackles to lead the secondary, and the Bulldogs got a number of contributions from some new names - including two sacks from freshman defensive lineman Joe Hathaway.

The Coaches

Yale mentor Jack Siedlecki, looking for his 100th collegiate victory, is the Joel E. Smilow '54 Head Coach of Football. He has had 12 winning seasons in 17 years as a head coach. The Yale coach is 2-0 against the Toreros. Jim Harbaugh, a 1987 Michigan graduate and a 15-year NFL quarterback, is 8-4 in his second campaign as the USD leader.

Coach Siedlecki Says After the Scrimmage

"I was really pleased with the offense and we got what we wanted out of them today. We did some things we are not going to do in a game. You want to learn some things today not against San Diego or Cornell. The defense was a little sluggish at the start. In the second quarter we shut them down. We were more agressive and made the big plays. The big thing today wa that we came out of it healthy."

Siedlecki By Month

Jack Siedlecki, who coached in his first overtime game ever on Oct. 25, 2003, at Penn, is 11-6 in September games for Yale. He swept the opening month of play in three of the last four falls. The Bulldog leader is 19-16 in October and 13-14 in November.

The Matchup

Neither team knows what to expect from the other in this young, long-distance rivalry. This is USD's third game this fall and the opener for the Bulldogs. None of the Torero's first two games were broadcast on TV, and Yale has not seen them since 2002. In addition, Jim Harbaugh's squad includes many redshirt players and transfers, so this should be a very different look from what Yale saw three years ago.

Torero Tidbits

The University of San Diego is 2-0 and has outscored its 2005 opposition 81-6... San Diego was picked fourth in the coaches pre-season Pioneer League Poll behind Drake and Dayton... USD, looking for its first win over an Ivy school, travels to Princeton next week... The Torero roster includes just one New England player, freshman DL Aaron Levine (Weston, Mass.)... PK Hutch Parker was the PFL Player of the Week for Sept. 6 after connecting on three of four FGs in the opening win (30-6) over Azusa Pacific.

Summer Camp Claims Some Elis

The 2005 pre-season may have been the most heartbreaking one for coach Jack Siedlecki at Yale. A trio of inspirational players who would have seen plenty of action suffered serious injuries. Junior DB Kevin Littleton, senior WR Chandler Henley and senior RB David Knox all went down with injuries that might prevent them from playing this fall. To honor Littleton, senior DE Brandon Etheridge wore the DB's No. 2 during some of the pre-season practices. Alex Faherty, a senior TE, did the same for Henley with his No. 8.

Captain Mroz

Senior QB Jeff Mroz, the 2005 team captain, will make his first start since Nov. 23, 2002, when he lines up behind center at San Diego. He has proven himself with 15 career TD passes and has shown the ability to lead the Bulldogs. Mroz, whose older brother played QB at Princeton and whose younger brother, Greg, is currently a sophomore Tiger signal-caller, could have a family QB showdown Nov. 12 at Old Nassau.

ESPY Award Winner to Address Bulldogs

Former Yale football and lacrosse player Jim MacLaren '85, who lettered for former head coach Carm Cozza from 1982-84, received an ESPY Award for courage last summer and will speak to the 2005 Bulldog football squad the night before the San Diego game. MacLaren, who survived one serious accident to become one of the world's top disabled athletes, suffered another accident that put him in a wheelchair. His work with disabled Africans brought him international acclaim and the ESPY honor. MacLaren is now a famous motivational speaker.

Holding His Own

Senior WR Craig Tomasino was looking for a way to get in the varsity lineup, and he knew that it might not be in his normal position. Tomasino, who was both a placekicker (4-for-4 his senior year) and a receiver, asked the coaches if he could be Alan Kimball's holder on the 2004 JV squad. When Kimball became the varsity kicker this season, it looked as if senior WR Chandler Henley would be the No. 1 holder until Yale's top receiver went down with a shoulder injury.

Common Names

Six sets of players share a last name and help confuse all who are trying to cover the Elis this fall. There are four sets of brothers and two other sets of players with the same name on the roster. The brothers Bobby (LB) and Larry (DB) Abare, Matt (RB) and Mike (OL) Cautero, John and Matt Coombs (both DBs) and Jordan (RB) and Rylan (DB) Spence. The Abares, who did not lose a high school game, are the only twins among the brothers. Ed (OL) and Kevin (DL) McCarthy and Ashley (WR) and Chris (DE) Wright are not related.

The 300 Club

Five Bulldogs, all offensive linemen, weigh at least 300 pounds. Junior Steve Bassermann (305), freshmen Darius Dale (300) and Davis Hammell (320), junior Ed McCarthy (302) and sophomore Tom Woznicki (300) all qualify for the 300 Club. Hammell is the heaviest player in the history of Yale football. Art Kalman '89, a three-year starting OL at 300 pounds for Carm Cozza, is believed to be the first Bulldog to tip the scale at the three century mark.

Round Numbers

The average weight of the Bulldog starting offensive line is 282.6 pounds... The starting defensive front comes in at 249 pounds.

The 78-Inch Club

Four Bulldogs qualify for the 78-inch club (6-foot-6), the tallest group on the Yale squad. Freshman OL Davis Hammell, the heaviest on the team, sophomore OL Louis Gresham, senior TE Pat Skahan and senior DL Juan Wheat, a former Yale hoopster, all reach that height.

Strong-Arm Tactics

Sophomore DL Steve Morse, whose bench press tops the Yale charts at 405 pounds, is one of three Elis to break the quadruple century mark. Junior OL Brett Crandall and sophomore DL Brandt Hollander (both at 400) are the others who have reached the mark. Senior DL Andrew Ralph has the team's top hang clean score with a 160, while Hollander has the best back squat (465).

Prognostications For Yale in the Ancient Eight

Poll Place

Ivy Media 4th

I-AA.org 4th

Athlon Sports 6th

Lindy's 5th

Street & Smith's 5th

Leaders Play for Yale

The Yale football team has always produced leaders of all types on and off the field and this year is no exception. The 2005 roster includes 67 players who captained their high school gridiron squads and 45 people who captained other teams. Eight members of this year's team were senior class valedictorians and two were salutatorians.

The Players Have Voted

A survey was conducted for the players on the day they returned to New Haven. Here is what we found out. For the second straight year, junior OL Steve Bassermann was voted funniest player on the team. Other Bulldogs singled out were junior RB Jordan Spence (most intelligent), sophomore DB Kevin Littleton (best volunteer and most likely to become president of the U.S.), senior QB Jeff Mroz (hardest worker), senior WR Chandler Henley (best athlete), senior TE Alex Faherty (best leader other than captain) and senior DE Brandon Dyches (most unusual hobbies).

Yale Still Leads the Nation

Yale has not won a national football title since 1909, but the Bulldogs still have more championships (12) than any other school in the country. Notre Dame is second with 11 national titles. In addition, the Elis were the first collegiate football team to win 800 games (now 826) but have since been overtaken by Michigan (843).

The Rankings Are in

The latest ESPN/USA Today I-AA Poll includes Yale opponents Lehigh (14th), Harvard (18th) and Penn which has 47 votes. Last year, Yale beat 20th ranked Colgate but lost to No. 18 Lehigh, No. 25 Penn and No. 10 Harvard.

Elis on the Tube

Yale has four live TV games this fall and they all come over the last five Saturdays. The Elis take on Penn at Franklin Field in a game that can be seen live on Comcast's CN8. When Brown comes to the Bowl on Nov. 5, it will be the Ivy League Game of the Week on the YES Network. The following week at Princeton, CN8 is back to cover the oldest rivalry in the Ancient Eight. The season finale against Harvard airs live on Tribune Company stations WGN (Chicago), WLVI (Boston) and possibly others around New England.

Class Breakdown

The 2005 Yale roster includes 23 seniors, 29 juniors, 28 sophomores and 36 newcomers.

Lunching on the Third Hole of the Course

Every Tuesday at noon at the Golf Course at Yale Coach Siedlecki and Yale players are available for questions at the football media luncheon, which is held in the Garden Room overlooking the third and fourth holes. Captain Jeff Mroz joins the coach this week, while USD head coach Jim Harbaugh will be available for questions via speaker phone.

Catching Bulldogs At Practice

There is no practice on Mondays, and normal practice time from Tuesday through Friday is 4:15 to 6:15. Note that Friday times could be altered on travel days. Practice is held on the fields behind the baseball stadium and inside the outdoor track. Inclement weather could bring the team inside to either Coxe Cage or the Lanman Center. Players might be available for interviews befre practice around the Smilow Center or out on the fields or after practice. It is best to email Steve Conn to arrange a meeting at least a day before you would like to speak with a player.

Frosh Impact

Five members of the class of 2009 appear on the two-deep chart, and all of them are currently backups. TB Mike McLeod (New Britain, Conn.), RT Darius Dale (Seattle, Wash.), MG Joe Hathaway (Clifton, N.J.), LB Bobby Abare (Acton, Mass.) and PK Brady Hart (State College, Pa.) have earned spots behind starters.

91st Season in Yale Bowl

Since opening the national historic landmark in 1914 with a 36-0 loss to Harvard before a full house, the Bulldogs have gone 350-183-21 (554 games) in Yale Bowl. In recent times the Blue has had five home and five away games each fall, but the average for the 90 seasons is 6.2 home contests per year. Since formal Ivy play began in 1956, the Elis are 113-72-3 vs. Ancient Eight foes at home. Many famous people have played against Yale at the Bowl, including Heisman Trophy winners Dick Kazmaier (Princeton), Glen Davis (Army), Tom Harmon (Michigan) and Doug Flutie (Boston College).

Yale Bowl Renovations

The restoration of Yale Bowl, a project which was approved by the Yale Corporation, is well under way. Substantial completion is projected by the fall of 2006. The initial phase of the project, the installation of an iron picket fence with brick columns along Yale Avenue and Chapel Street, has already been completed. Work will continue with the rebuilding of the interior and exterior walls, the repair or replacement of 17 miles of wood seats and upgrading of all drainage and utilities. The 30 tunnels including the entrances and wing walls at the exits will also be totally refurbished. "We are very excited about restoring the Bowl. Tackling a national historic landmark is a daunting task. The efforts to rebuild and preserve this grand facility will stand as a fitting tribute to the hundreds of young men who have competed for Yale." said Yale Athletics Director Tom Beckett. Each portal at the Bowl will be named to honor a class, team or individual. Gifts have already been made to name more than 20 of the 30 portals, while the playing surface has been named the Class of '54 Field to honor the majority gift in the Yale Bowl project.

Golden Look On Roster

There are 10 players from California on the Yale roster including four starters: DB Andrew Butler (Los Angeles), WR/KR Chris Denny-Brown (Burlingame), WR Todd Feireisen (Westlake Village) and DB Nick Solakian (Santa Barbara).

Bulldogs on Sundays

Eric Johnson '01 is nursing a foot injury that kept him out of the pre-season action with the San Francisco 49ers, but he could be back any time. Johnson, who played WR at Yale, has had two excellent NFL seasons as a TE and missed another with a shoulder injury... Chris Hetherington '96 was released by Oakland and picked up by the 49ers just before opening day and will be a FB and special teams player... Nate Lawrie '04 is in his second season at a Tampa Bay TE... Dick Jauron '73, an Ivy League star runner and former NFL special teams All-Pro, was the head coach of Chicago for five seasons. He is now in his second season as the defensive coordinator for the Detroit Lions.

Radio, Internet, Home Page and Hotline

NEWS/TALK 960 WELI broadcasts Yale football this fall on 960-AM. Yale football coaching legend Carm Cozza and Dick Galiette, in his 33rd season as the voice of the Elis, provide the call of the action. Ron Vaccaro '04 provides the perspective from the sideline. If you are not within listening range of WELI, you can call TEAMLINE at 1-800-846-4700 and enter Yale's four-digit code of 5682. WELI's Jerry Kristafer begins home game coverage from the Bowl with a half-hour tailgate party, then Galiette and Cozza take over for the pre-game show, which features interviews with head coach Jack Siedlecki and a Yale player. Engineer Tom Ivanovich adds the finishing touches on the broadcasts.WYBC (1340-AM), the Yale student station, also covers each game and has a 30-minute pre-game show that includes an interview with Eli head coach Jack Siedlecki. Sports Director Ty Ayer anchors the coverage this fall. All 10 Yale games this fall can be heard live on the internet at www.yalebulldogs.com. Information on all of Yale's 35 varsity sports, including football, is available on the Yale Athletics Home Page. The address is: www.yalebulldogs.com. The football home page is maintained by Sam Rubin '95 and the Yale Sports Publicity Office. Information about upcoming games in addition to historical data and many photos of the past and present are also featured. The latest scores and game information from Yale varsity athletics are available by calling 432-YALE. The Yale Sports Hotline is sponsored by Barnes & Noble at Yale University, which is located on Broadway. Call 1-888-730-YALE for a copy of the store's fall catalog.

Walter Camp Yale Players of the Game

For the seventh straight season, the Walter Camp Football Foundation honors Yale's game MVP as the Walter Camp Yale Player of the Game. This award is handed out both at home and on the road. RB Robert Carr '05 had the most WCYPG honors last fall with three.

Bulldogs in OT

Yale's only two extra-session games since the NCAA adopted the OT rule came last fall. Yale fell 34-31 at Penn and beat Princeton 27-24 (2 OT) on the road. The Bulldogs have yet to play overtime at Yale Bowl.

Army Rivalry To Resume

They first met 112 years ago and more than half of the 45 contests pitted two squads looking to establish national prominence. Yale Athletics Director Tom Beckett announced last summer that the historic football rivalry between Yale and Army will be renewed with a pair of games at West Point's Michie Stadium. The Bulldogs will travel to Army on Oct. 2, 2010, and Sept. 29, 2012. It is possible that the Cadets will come to the renovated Yale Bowl at some point after. "The Yale-Army series has a glamorous tradition and we are thrilled to have it back," said Beckett. "This renewal is great for both schools and for college football. The opportunity to play Army at West Point will be an incredible experience for our students and fans. As we look to expand this series, we are hopeful the Cadets will visit our venerable Yale Bowl." The rivalry has included three Heisman Trophy winners (Yale's Clint Frank and Larry Kelley, Army's Glenn Davis), performances like Albie Booth scoring every point in a 21-13 Bulldog win in 1929 and Yale Bowl crowds averaging better than 70,000. Much of the history of the game in the first half of the 20th century, including five Heisman Trophies, was shaped by these storied programs.

Beinecke Among Five To Receive Bush Leadership Award

William S. Beinecke '36, a former member of the Yale football team and chairman of the board for the Sperry & Hutchinson Company, is one of five graduates who will be honored with a George H.W. Bush Lifetime of Leadership Award at the Nov. 18 Blue Leadership Ball at the William K. Lanman Center inside Payne Whitney Gymnasium the night before the 122nd gridiron edition of Yale and Harvard. This is the third of the bi-annual Blue Leadership Balls. The class of 2005 Bush Award winners also include: former Bulldog hockey player Roland W. Betts `68, a member of the Yale Corporation who was the majority owner of the Texas Rangers Baseball Club and is currently chairman of Chelsea Piers L.P; Edgar M. Cullman `40, former chairman of General Cigar and a managing partner of Culbro Corporation; Kristaps Jurriss Keggi, M.D. `55, a Yale fencer who became one of the world's most renowned orthopedic surgeons and teaches at Yale; and Susan D. Wellington `81, an All-American swimmer who became president of U.S. Beverage, the Quaker Oats Company division of Pepsi.