September 21, 2004

Bulldogs Open Ivy Gridiron Season at Cornell

Sept. 21, 2004

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The Yale football team, which survived a big scare in its season opener at Dayton last Saturday, begins Ancient Eight play this weekend at Cornell. The 1 p.m. game can be heard live in Connecticut on WELI (AM-960) and WYBC (AM-1340).

Bulldogs vs. Big Red The Blue and Red have faced off 66 times since the first game in 1889. Yale leads 39-25-2 and has won five of the last six, including 21-7 last year at New Haven.

Yale Clips Flyers Yale football's first trip to the state of Ohio was a scary one, but the Bulldogs managed to survive and win the 2004 season opener. Junior WR Chandler Henley (7-112) had two TD catches and senior running back Robert Carr rushed for 172 yards and a score as the Elis beat Dayton 24-17 before 6,178 at Welcome Stadium. The game was not in hand until Dayton QB Brandon Staley fumbled at the Yale 15-yard line and Bulldog senior DB Fred Jelks recovered it as time expired. But the Flyers never would have had the opportunity if the visitors could have converted a fourth-and-three play deep in Dayton territory. Dayton (2-1) took the opening kickoff and marched 80 yards in 11 plays to grab the early lead. Staley broke a tackle and went six yards at the 9:45 mark to make it 7-0. Yale answered with a score of its own on a spectacular grab by Henley, which capped a 72-yard drive. Senior QB Alvin Cowan, who connected on 14 of 26 attempts for 176 yards and two scores, scrambled out of the pocket and sent the ball towards the end zone where both Henley and tight end Alex Faherty were ready to leap for it. Henley got both hands on it and held on as the two players collided for a 31-yard connection at 7:13 of the first quarter. The Bulldogs grabbed their first lead on a 27-yard Andrew Sullivan field goal, his first varsity three-pointer, at 8:58 of the second. That lead did not last long as Dayton split end Willy Will went high to haul in a 37-yard pass from Staley at 6:26, which sent the Flyers into halftime with a 14-10 advantage. The Blue outgained Dayton 208 to 162 in the first 30 minutes but could not take control. Two Cowan interceptions, including one just before intermission in the end zone (which bounced off WR Ralph Plumb's shoulder) as Yale was about to take the lead, did not help. The Elis got the lead back again early in the third when Cowan rolled left and hit Henley around the five-yard line before the speedy receiver turned it up field and dove into the end zone. The 21-yard pass play came at 8:30 and was Henley's second score of the day. UD, which owns an .847 winning percentage at home, tied it up again (17-17) with a Jason Resch 25-yard field goal late in the third, but the fans wearing red did not get into enjoy it for long. Yale earned its third lead of the day by playing power football. Carr finished off a 90-yard, 13-play drive with a two-yard scamper with 10:45 left. The Bulldogs, using their superior size on the offensive line, attempted just one pass on the series, and Carr and sophomore backup Jordan Spence got all the work. Yale, which outgained UD 373-300 in total offense, was led on defense by linebackers Ken Estrera (13 total tackles, 1 solo) and Ben Breunig (4-6-10).

Bison Come Back to Beat Cornell Daris Wilson scored on a one-yard run with 3:40 left in the game as Bucknell came from behind to beat Cornell last week at Lewisburg, 15-9. Andre Hardaway (2-yard run) and A.J. Weitsman (28 FG) had the Big Red points as the Bison outgained the visitors 408 to 279. Cornell QB D.J. Busch (38-19-0, 193) connected with Chad Nice and Brian Romney six times each, while Hardaway led the team with 40 rushing yards. Joel Sussman, who led the Big Red with nine total tackles, blocked a pair of field goals in the first half to keep the Big Red within striking distance. He became the first Cornell player to block a pair of field goals in one game, getting his hands on a 42-yard effort followed by a 41-yard kick in a span of 8:05 in the second quarter.

Elis Ride Carr to Victory Senior RB Robert Carr earned Walter Camp Yale Player of the Game honors with his all-around performance in the win at Dayton. Carr rushed 37 times for 172 yards and had a two-yard TD run. He also had 70 return yards between one punt and three kickoffs and ran 55 yards to chase down a Flyer who had intercepted a Yale pass in the end zone. The Bulldogs survived a scare at Dayton last week but that pales in comparison to the scare Carr had two months ago. He narrowly escaped drowning in Connecticut's Candlewood Lake in July. His saviors turned out to be brave on-lookers who wanted to help when Carr's friends were unable to find him. Carr, who had stopped breathing, was pulled from the lake by Brandon Roy before Nick Nunally resuscitated him. This story was featured on ESPN over the summer and in USA Today on Sept. 16. The Baytown, Tex., native, who owns the Yale records for rushing yards in a game (235) and 200-yard rushing games in a season (2), has made a full recovery.

Special Teams Have Great Start PK Andrew Sullivan (Minneapolis, Minn.) and P Tyson Crawford (Dallas, Texas) enjoyed fine opening-day performances. Sullivan connected from 27 yards out on his first varsity attempt, made all three PATs and had two kickoffs go for touchbacks. Crawford, getting his first varsity punting action, had a 36.7 average on six kicks and had two go inside the 20-yard line.

Un-Cowan-like Outing Senior QB Alvin Cowan had his least productive day (not including game No. 2 of 2002 when he was injured) as an Eli starter last week at Dayton, Despite throwing for two TDs and bringing the Blue back to victory, Cowan tied a career-high with two interceptions (Penn '03) and had -3 yards rushing and 173 yards of total offense, both career-lows. In addition, his streak of 200-yard passing days came to an end at eight games. The 2003 New England I-AA MVP and Payton Award Finalist averaged 300 yards passing and 342 yards of total offense last fall.

Defense Takes Control The Bulldog defense forced four fumbles and disrupted numerous other Dayton plays, including six tackles for lost yardage. Yale caused the Flyers to miss eight of their 13 third-down attempts. Senior DB Barton Simmons (Nashville, Tenn.) returned to the lineup after missing 2003 with an injury and made a big impact with six tackles and a fumble recovery.

Captain America Rory Hennessey (Strongsville, Ohio), a 2003All-America selection who has an American flag tatoo on one of his biceps, is the top professional football prospect on the Yale team based on the inquiries from NFL scouts. The 6-foot-4, 300-pound offensive left tackle has not allowed a sack during his collegiate career.

Youth Day at Yale Bowl Where else can a child, attending a game at a national historic landmark, participate in a famous tradition with a world famous band at halftime of one of the most storied programs in college football? On Youth Day at Yale Bowl, which happens on Oct. 2 this fall, children from New Haven taking part in the day's events take the field with the Yale Band to form the human "Y" as the musicians play "March Down the Field." Other Youth Day festivities include youth football games, sports clinics (350 chiildren will participate) with Yale players and coaches and an educational youth festival that is open to everyone. "It's an amazing sight when you see the look on a kid's face when he or she has a lacrosse or a hockey stick in their hands for the first time," said Youth Day Chairman Donald Scharf `55.

Hail to The Bulldogs For the first time since the U.S. Presidential election process came down to Republicans vs. Democrats, candidates from the same undergraduate institution oppose each other. Since a Yale man (graduate school included) will occupy the White House for the fifth straight term - and both of the current candidates were athletes - we surveyed the largest Bulldog team to see who was getting the most support. The 2004 Yale Football team leans to the right with 62 players voting for George Bush `65 (baseball). John Kerry `66 (lacrosse, hockey, soccer), who shared the Yale campus with his opposition for three years as an undergraduate, got 27 votes while 11 players said they were undecided. The current Bulldogs were also asked who on their team is most likely to become president of the U.S. The clear-cut choice is senior OL Dickey Shanor (Cheyenne, Wyo.), who hails from the same state as current V.P. Dick Cheney.

The Rest of the Voting Yale players were also surveyed for other impressions of their teammates. OL Steve Bassermann (Branford, Conn.) was voted the most humorous, OL Matt Lesniak (Boca Raton, Fla.) and LB Ken Estrera (Dallas, Tex.) were named the most intelligent, while RB Robert Carr (Baytown, Tex.) and Alvin Cowan (Austin, Tex.) were voted the most vocal leaders other than the captain.

Leaders Play for Yale Seventy-six Yale football players captained their high school gridiron squads and 58 Bulldogs captained sports other than football (primarily baseball and basketball) before coming to New Haven. Seventy-four Elis were National Honor Society members, while amongst them were five valedictorians, three salutatorians, five student body presidents and four class presidents.

Name the Confusion The 2004 Yale football roster includes two linemen named McCarthy, Ed (Fairfield, Conn.), an OL who was 2003 Ivy League Rookie of the Year, and Kevin (Chester, N.J.), a freshman DL. The Elis have a pair of Wrights in Ashley (Mobile, Ala.), a WR, and Chris (Signal Mountain, Tenn.), the long snapper and a DB. There is a Harris on defense, senior LB Cole (Morilton, Ark.), and a Harris on offense, freshman QB Ruben (New York, NY). The only players with the same name who are related are defensive back brothers John and Matt Coombs (Bellevue, Wash.). John is a freshman while Matt is a sophomore who transferred from the University of Washington but has four years of eligibility.

Class of 2004.5 Five seniors on the 2004 Yale team were granted a medical waiver to take their final year of eligibility this fall. DL Bryant Dieffenbacher (Ashtabula, Ohio), DB Barton Simmons (Nashville, Tenn.), QB Alvin Cowan (Austin, Tex.), LB Ken Estrera (Dallas, Tex.) and DL Tim Barrett (S. Windsor, Conn.) had injuries at different times over the last four years. They each have red shirts with "Class of 2004.5" on the front.

Top Trio of Ancient Eight Picks Street & Smith's: 1. Yale; 2. Harvard; 3. Penn Athlon's: 1. Yale; 2. Harvard; 3. Penn Lindy's: 1. Penn; 2. Brown; 3. Harvard Ivy Media: 1. Penn; 2. Harvard; 3. Yale

Single Digits Are More Aerodynamic Starting linebackers and Dallas natives Ken Estrera (94 to 7) and Ben Breunig (93 to 5) switched their numbers to single digits as did Alex Faherty (New York, NY) who went from 40 to No. 1. None of the three care to explain why they made the changes, but Breunig did say, "Speed. I think we all shaved at least two tenths of a second off our forty times by switching to single digits." Sophomore TB Jordan Spence (Colleyville, Tex.), who wore Barton Simmons' (Nashville, Tenn.) number three while the senior DB was recovering from surgery last fall, has No. 20 this fall.

Commissioner Says Tailgating Began at Yale Joe Cahn, the self-proclaimed "commissioner of tailgating," travels the country in his motor home making tailgating stops at all the major sports party spots. Cahn and his TV production people say that this form of pre-game dining began 100 years ago at Yale. That is why Cahn - replete with two grills, tents, his vehicle and lots of food -- and the cameras were parked outside the Bowl one day in August providing spots to 27 different TV stations around the country.

Records in Jeapordy Since 1999, Yale football teams have regularly done major alterations on the school record books. Here are some significant records on the line this fall.

Career Rushing Yardage Name Years Att. Yards R.Bartholomew 1998-00 643 3015 Dick Jauron 1970-72 515 2947 Rich Diana 1979-81 534 2576 John Pagliaro 1975-77 473 2476 Robert Carr 2001-Pres 523 2417 Career Rushing TDs Name Years TDs John Pagliaro 1975-77 34 Dick Jauron 1970-72 27 R.Bartholomew 1998-00 25 Rudy Green 1972-74 24 Robert Carr 2001-Pres. 24

Career Passing Yards Name Years Yards Joe Walland 1997-99 4832 Kelly Ryan 1985-87 4309 Peter Lee 1999-01 3713 Alvin Cowan 2000-Pres. 3517

Other Career Records That Could Go Name Record Stats Rank Need to tie Cowan Total Offense 4063 3rd 1545 Cowan TD passes 27 4th 8 Cowan Pass Attempts 644 3rd 143 Carr Rush Attempts 523 3rd 120 Carr All Purpose 3094 6th 684 Plumb Career Catches 122 2nd 59 Plumb Career Yards 1516 3rd 628

It's Been 95 Years... Since Yale won a national football title (Helms Foundation) in 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 821) but have since been overtaken by Michigan (834).

Elis on the Tube Yale have six TV games this fall, including five live broadcasts and three home game telecasts. Here is the breakdown:

Game Producing Broadcast Other Information Dayton Time Warner (W. Ohio) no satellite available Lehigh Fox Sports Net (Pittsburgh) available on satellite Penn Comcast CN8 viewable on internet Brown Cox3 Satellite available Princeton YES Network - (tape delay) Satellite available/4 p.m. showing Harvard WLVI (Boston) also WGN (Chicago), other Tribune stations

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. DT Bryant Dieffenbacher (Ashtabula, Ohio) and TB Robert Carr (Baytown, Texas) will join the coach this week, while Cornell's new head coach Jim Knowles will be available for questions via speaker phone. Practice Makes Perfect 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 before 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.

Battle of the Brains Yale head coach Jack Siedlecki, in his eighth year at Yale, owns a 39-31 mark at New Haven and a 95-53-2 mark in 16+ college football seasons as a head coach. Cornell mentor Jim Knowles (Cornell '87), who was an assistant at Ole Miss last fall, is 0-1 in his first year as a head coach. Siedlecki, who has led Yale to 13 victories in games that he trailed in the fourth quarter, is the Joel E. Smilow '54 Head Coach of Football. Twelve of his 16 seasons as a college head coach have been winning efforts, including five of seven in New Haven. Twenty-one Elis have earned first-team All-Ivy since Siedlecki arrived at Yale, while almost every school offensive record has been broken during that time.

Siedlecki By Month Jack Siedlecki, who coached in his first overtime game ever on Oct. 25, 2003, at Penn, is 11-5 in September games for Yale. He has swept the opening month of play the last three falls. The Bulldog leader is 16-14 in October and 12-12 in November.

Siedlecki Says... "Dayton defended us well and we didn't react to it well. This [Dayton] team is used to winning, and they played an excited game of football. The crowd really got into it, and we had some communication problems. We didn't seem to be connecting on anything in the passing game. I was really pleased with our defense other than the first and last drive. Brandon Dyches put tremendous pressure on the quarterback all day. I thought on the first drive we were overexcited and missed some assignments, but once we settled in we were pretty good. I was disappointed in the last drive, when we made it too easy for them to go 75 yards. Our kickers did a good job. Andrew Sullivan made them all and had some good kickoffs, and Tyson Crawford punted the ball well. We definitely had some wild things go against us, such as the punt that wound up bouncing for 73 yards. We also made some mistakes, such as the penalties and an ill-timed run out of bounds when we were trying to run down the clock. Overall, though, a win is a win."

90th 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 351-178-22 (551 games) in Yale Bowl. In recent times the Blue has had five home and five away games each fall, but the average for the 89 seasons is 6.2 home contests per year. Since formal Ivy play began in 1956, the Elis are 111-71-3 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 Work has begun on the restoration project that will include among other things a plaza area, upgraded pressbox, new seating, exterior wall & portal work, new perimeter fencing with iron gates and a new drainage system.

Bowl is Half Full Yale, for the first time since 1985, led Division I-AA in attendance last fall with 23,578 per game over five dates. The Elis have been ranked among the top 30 schools in attendance the last dozen years.

Bulldog Bites Yale is now 114-16-2 in season openers... The Elis put points on the board in all four quarters at Dayton in a game where the lead changed five times... DE Brandon Dyches (Chapin, S.C.) and Ben Breunig (Dallas, Texas) had the two Yale sacks. Breunig's hit on QB Kevin Hoyng knocked the Dayton player out of the game in the second half... The Nov. 13 Princeton game time has been moved back 30 minutes to a 12:30 kickoff.

When Opportunity Knocks For as long as the Yale coaches can remember, the long and short snaps for the kick game have been handled by either Dan Searle or Jesus Salinas, both of whom have graudated. Yale was fortunate that sophomore DB Chris Wright (Signal Mountain, Tenn.), who is 6-foot-2, 190 pounds, stumbled onto this skill years ago. "I was messing around with the ball before practice one day in ninth grade and my coach saw me snap one of my good ones," said Wright, " Yale's current long snapper. "He had another coach (who snapped in the pros) fine tune me. From the first day, it came pretty naturally to me. Of course, snapping in high school is much easier than snapping in college. Here you can't just snap it and watch it go through your legs. You actually have to block someone."

New Defensive Perspective There have been some changes in coaching assignments since last fall, and the defense did most of the shuffling. Coordinator Rick Flanders, who had handled the defensive backs since coming to Yale in 1997, took over the linebackers last spring from Kevin Cretella, who is no longer on the staff. Anthony Reno now has the DBs after working with Yale wide receivers his first fall. Matt Dence, formerly head of the tight ends (now Kyle Metzler's responsibility), moved into the receiver mentorship and also handles the special teams.

Lone Star Dominance Less than a dozen Texas natives played for Yale from the mid 60's to the middle of the 90's. Nineteen players from the Lone Star State are on this year's roster -- a team-high -- and eight of them showed up on the initial two-deep depth chart. Texas, now recruited by assistant coach Matt Dence, forms the core of the Yale lineup for the second straight year. The starting QB, TB and both LBs all come from the land of the big. There are seven players from Dallas.

Bulldogs Impact the NFL Eric Johnson '01 missed the 2003 NFL season with an injury after having a sensational (36-catch) rookie season in 2002 with San Francisco. He was a receiver at Yale but is now a TE who caught eight passes for 86 yards and a TD on opening day for the 49ers... Dick Jauron '73, an Ivy League star runner and former NFL special teams All-Pro, was the head coach of Chicago for five seasons before being fired last winter. He is now the defensive coordinator for the Detroit Lions, who beat the Bears on opening day... Chris Hetherington '96, who has played eight seasons (Colts, Panthers, Rams, Raiders) in the NFL as a running back and special teams player, was cut by Oakland a week before the 2004 campaign... Nate Lawrie '04, drafted by Tampa Bay, was cut by the Bucs two weeks prior to the start of this pro season and is now with Philadelphia on the practice squad.

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 32nd season as the voice of the Elis, provide the call of the action. 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 Alex Goot 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 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. Robert Carr earned the first honors with 172 yards rushing, 70 return yards and touchdown-saving tackle and fumble recovery.

Weekly Yale Awards Each Sunday, the Yale coaching staff breaks down the film and comes up with the following award winners:

Award Offensive Back Offensive Line Defensive Back Defensive Line Hammer Special Teams Dayton Carr Hennessey Butler Ralph Simmons Sullivan Faherty Estrera Crawford