September 20, 2005

Bulldogs Open Ivy Campaign by Hosting Cornell Saturday

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Sept. 20, 2005

The Bulldogs, smarting from an upset loss to San Diego a week ago during a coast-to-coast weekend, look to rebound from the bad start by taking their Ivy League opener at home. Yale (0-1) hosts Cornell (1-0) in a 1 p.m. game at Yale Bowl this Saturday. The game can be heard live on radio stations WELI (AM 960) and WYBC (AM 1340) as well as on yalebulldogs.com and 960WELI.com.

The Yale-Cornell Series

The Blue and Red have faced off 67 times since the first game in 1889. Yale leads 39-26-2 and has won five of the last seven, including 21-7 the last time they met at New Haven. Cornell took a 19-7 decision a year ago at Ithaca.

Toreros Slice Bulldogs

The San Diego Toreros spoiled Yale's visit to California with a stunning 17-14 comeback win over the Bulldogs on Sept. 17. 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 visitors controlled the first half on the scoreboard and in time of possession but the second half was the exact opposite; USD had the ball for 22 of the 30 minutes in the last half. The loss spoiled the sensational debut of freshman running back Mike McLeod who rushed for 102 yards on 18 carries and had 173 all-purpose yards. Despite a third-quarter fumble that turned into three points for the home team, the New Britain, Conn., native lived up to his billing with a nine-yard TD run, four catches for 38 yards and 33 yards of kickoff returns to earn Yale's Walter Camp Player of the Game. Senior QB Jeff Mroz (32-18-2, 181 yards, 1 TD), who led the Elis on a pair of 77-yard drives to go up by two TDs, was not happy with his overall performance. "That loss was my fault. We didn't win because I didn't play well. I didn't give our receivers a chance to make plays," said Mroz, who started his first game since 2002. Junior LB Lee Driftmier (2 TFL, 1 FR) lled Yale with five solo tackles and 12 overall, but he and his defensive mates were on the field too long in the second half on a hot day.

Big Red Blast Bucknell

QB Ryan Kuhn rushed for 151 yards and two TDs as Cornell opened its season with a 24-7 win over Bucknelll last Saturday at Ithaca. The Red, which outrushed the Bison 293-157, completed just six of eight passes but still cruised to a 24-0 intermission lead. Kuhn connected with TB Luke Siwula four times for 18 yards to lead all receivers in the game. Cornell FS Kevin Rex led the team with 12 solo stops and 16 overall.

The Coaches

Yale mentor Jack Siedlecki (5-3 vs. the Red), 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. Jim Knowles, a 1987 Cornell graduate in his second year as the Roger J. Weiss '61 Coach of Football, is 5-6 overall and 1-0 against the Elis.

Rare Start

The loss at USD was the first for the Elis in a season opener since the 25-24 loss to Brown at New Haven in 1999. The good news for the Bulldogs is that Yale squad went on to win nine straight and share the Ivy title.

Siedlecki Says After San Diego

"We had plenty of opportunities in the first half, and I know you can say we didn't do anything in the second half, but every part of the game counts. You've got to put a team away on the road. You can't let that happen. You saw what happened when the crowd started getting into the game in the second half. We made a couple of big mistakes in the kicking game and those things came back to haunt us. Our defense played their tails off, but we did some stupid things like the personal foul penalty. This [loss] was all on our offense and we know it. We seemed to be out of sync, forcing balls. We did not execute, which is the key to throwing the football. When that happens, a team will load up on the run against you. We've got to correct it and be ready for Cornell."

Siedlecki By Month

Jack Siedlecki, who coached in his first overtime game ever on Oct. 25, 2003, at Penn, is 11-7 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

Cornell has given the Yale offense major problems the last two years, holding a talented group to a combined average of 115 passing yards, 13.5 first downs and 14 points in victories by each home team. The Bulldogs need to prove they can put the ball in the air with success against the Big Red before they can set up the run game against a defensive unit that has shown they will stack the box. On the other side, the Red has been running a "Utah" style offense that features the shotgun with a spread, lots of motion and the option. That offense featured a number of QB rushing attempts last week and a few short tosses. Yale might need to cut off the lanes and stop the run while forcing the pass game to look further down field.

Captain Mroz

Senior QB Jeff Mroz, the 2005 team captain who has 16 career TD passes, completed 18 of 32 passes for 181 yards and one TD last week. He was picked off twice and sacked once. "It [loss at USD] was 100 percent my fault, I played like crap. I tried to make some plays. When I had open guys, I missed them and just didn't get the job done. When I go back over the film I am going to see that everybody played well except me which is OK because I won't do that again."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.

Defense Responds

The Yale defense, facing a USD squad that scored 81 points in its first two games, held the Toreros to three points in the first 30 minutes. The Bulldog tacklers did not agree with Jeff Mroz's assesment of the game. "That's [Mroz taking the blame] just Jeff being a good leader. Jeff can't blame himself [for the loss], we all had a part of this," said senior DT Andrew Ralph. He, DE Brandon Dyches, DT Brandt Hollander and DT Jared Hamilton each had one sack.

Best Rookie Debut Earns Ivy Rookie Honors

Freshman RB Mike McLeod, the Ivy League's Rookie of the Week, had the most productive day for an Eli runner in a rookie debut by scampering for 102 yards on the ground and amassing 173 all-purpose yards. The last freshman Yale runner to go over the century mark in a game was Robert Carr in 2001 against Dartmouth, but no rookie has ever gone over that mark in his inaugural outing. "Even though I had some success, it means nothing with a loss. I wouldn't even call it success because I fumbled. I should have secured the ball. We missed a lot of assignments and had opportunities but could not capitalize on them."

Yale Has Corner On TEs

With senior Alex Faherty, junior Dave Miller and sophomore Langston Johnson, a talented threesome averaging over 250 pounds, the Bulldogs might have the best tight end group in the league. Faherty, the active career receptions leader with 24, was the highest rated Yale player in EA Sports NCAA Football 2005. Miller, who got his first start when Faherty was nursing an injury last week, caught two passes including a two-yard TD snare in the opener. Miller worked in the Yale Facilities Office last summer and had some work with the Yale Bowl restoration. Johnson got a few snaps last week and has played some special teams.

Catching Up With the Record Breakers

This fall you probably won't see any Elis catching up to these three Yale stats record breakers from the class of 2005, but it's worth taking a look at what 2005 graduates RB Robert Carr, QB Alvin Cowan and WR Ralph Plumb are currently up to. Carr is working for Merrill Lynch in New York but has not given up on the idea of playing again, Plumb is in the real estate business and working for former Bulldog Than Merrill after being cut by the Oakland Raiders last spring and Cowan is home in Texas and considering Arena Football and law school. Another classmate, two-time All-America OL, Rory Hennessey (signed with Lions last spring but was cut) is working for Soundview Capital in New Haven and preparing for another shot at the NFL as a center.

Looking For Success in the Last 30

In Yale's last seven games, dating to the Oct. 16, 2004, Lehigh game, Yale has scored a total of 10 points in the second half. That's one touchdown and one field goal, which means the Bulldogs have been blanked in five of the last seven second halves.

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 Jonas Maciunas is the leader of the 500-and-over squat club with a team-best 525. Senior DL Andrew Ralph (505) and sophomore DL Stephen Schmalhofer (500) are also in the small club.

Prognostications For Yale in the Ancient Eight

As the Ivy season kicks off this week, here is a look at the picks for 2005. Poll/Place: Ivy Media/ 4th; I-AA.org/4th; Athlon Sports/ 6th; Lindy's/5th; Street & Smith's/5th

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 (844).

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.

Weekly Media Lunch

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 Cornell head coach Jim Knowles 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.), who may not start but has become a featured back, rushed for 102 yards and had 173 all-purpose yards. The others are 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. Everyone but Hart saw action at USD last week.

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.

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.

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.

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. Freshman RB Mike McLeod earned the nod at USD with 173 all-purpose yards. 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.

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).

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.

Bulldog Bites

This Saturday's game is the first on the playing surface of the Bowl now named the Class of '54 Field. A large sign with the name has been placed near the scoreboard... There were no serious injuries in the USD game... FB Taylor Craig not only caught his first collegiate pass but had three on the day... The Abares, Bobby and Larry, experienced their first loss as football players since Sept. 15, 2001, their first game as high school varsity players. They went undefeated over the last 50 games with Acton-Boxboro. Larry made a great play to snag an Ashley Wright punt on the three-yard line at USD... Wright's first collegiate punt went for 64 yards thanks to a return man who did not want to field the kick. Wright also made a diving grab on a 24-yard pass play... Assistant coach Larry Ciotti was honored last summer at the Connecticut vs. Rhode Island High School Football All-Star Game when the MVP honors were named after him... 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 spoke to the Bulldog football squad the night before the San Diego game.

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 Tai Eyer anchors the coverage this fall. All 10 Yale games this fall can be heard live on the internet at www.960WELI.com and 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.

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