Bulldogs Open Ivy Season at Cornell

Bulldogs Open Ivy Season at Cornell

Sept. 23, 2008

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Yale football team begins the 2008 Ivy League campaign this Saturday with a 1 p.m. kickoff at Cornell's Schoellkopf Field on Homecoming Weekend. The Bulldogs and Big Red (1-0, 0-0 Ivy) can be heard live on WELI-AM 960 (960weli.com) and WYBC-AM 1340 (wybc.com). Free live video of the game can be viewed at IBNSports.com.


Yale leads the series with Cornell 42-26-2 heading into the 71st meeting. The series began in 1889 with a 60-6 Bulldog win at New Haven. The Blue has won three straight since a 19-7 Big Red win in 2004 at Ithaca. Yale is 14-14-2 at Cornell.


Everything was clicking for the Bulldogs, who picked off three passes and wreaked havoc on the Big Red offense, while four different players scored TDs in Yale's 51-12 win before 15,427 at the Bowl. Yale, which jumped out to a 16-0 intermission lead, quickly answered both Cornell scores on the way to a 35-point second half. TB Mike McLeod (31-151) scored three times and led a Blue offense that racked up 436 yards of total offense, including 293 on the ground. LB Bobby Abare (6-3-9) and FS Nick Solakian (7-1-8) led the Eli defense.


Eight Bulldogs were involved in their first collegiate scores and the Yale offense reeled off 498 yards in a 47-7 win over Georgetown last Saturday. The Elis defense, which picked off three passes, held Georgetown to 46 net rushing yards. Sophomore WR Jordan Forney (Bloomington, Ind.) caught TD passes from two different QBs to earn Walter Camp Yale Player of the Game honors.


Graham Rihn blocked a PAT in the fourth quarter and the Big Red held on for a 21-20 win at Bucknell last Saturday. QB Nathan Ford completed 21 of 26 passes for 207 yards and two of the three Cornell TDs while RB Randy Barbour had 114 yards rushing and the other score. Tim Bax (4-8-12) led a Red defense that limited the Bison (2-1) to 46 net rushing yards and forced four fumbles (two recovered).


Cornell's offensive line (292) averages 33 pounds more than the Yale defensive front (259), while the Bulldog OL (286) enters the game with a 31-pound advantage over the Big Red DL (255).


Jim Knowles, who graduated from Cornell in 1987, is the Roger J. Weiss '61 Coach of Football and is 20-21 in his fifth season as Big Red head coach. He is 1-3 against Yale. Jack Siedlecki (65-45 at Yale), the Joel E. Smilow '54 Head Coach of Football, enters his 21st season as a college head coach. He is 8-3 against Cornell.


"This was the way you'd like an opening game to go. We had a lot of guys play and got to look at a lot of people and a lot of things. We didn't really run all that well, but the defense made it easy for us in the second half with all the turnovers and field position. We played a lot of guys on the defensive front and they played well. We've got to build off of that and get ready for Cornell. Offensively we had a lot of production. We threw the ball well. Overall, we can get better, I know that."


Yale senior captain and LB Bobby Abare (Acton, Mass.), a candidate for the 2008 Buchannan Award for the top defensive player in FCS, is a two-time first-team all-league pick who was honorable mention All-America last fall. Abare, who led the Blue with seven solo stops against Georgetown, has six career interceptions, including two for scores. He and Harvard captain Matt Curtis threw out first pitches on Sept. 2 at Fenway Park before a Red Sox game to promote the 125th playing of The Game this November at Boston.


Senior DT Joe Hathaway enjoyed a career day against Georgetown with three sacks, 3.5 TFL, six tackles overall and a forced fumble. His three sacks are the most by a Bulldog in a game since Mark Patterson '03 had three at Cornell in 2002.


Yale's point total against Georgetown was the most by an Eli squad in a season opener since a 62-28 win over Towson at the Bowl in 2003.


Yale's 24 pass completions were eight more than the Blue had in any 2007 game and the most by a Bulldog offense since Nov. 5, 2005 when Jeff Mroz completed 25 of 38 passes against Brown in a 38-21 loss.


Junior PK/P Tom Mante (Westford, Mass.), who was Yale's special teams MVP last week, put his foot on the ball (in the game) 16 times Saturday. He booted six kickoffs, connected on two (39, 29) of three field goals, split the uprights on three of four PATs and launched three punts (52.0 avg., long of 71) on his first day as the starter at both P and PK. The field goals were the first of his collegiate career. Mante, whose 41.2 average was the best at Yale since 1955, was the starting P the last three seasons.


The combination of senior Ryan Fodor (Madison, Conn.) and sophomore Brook Hart (State College, Pa.) behind center helped the Blue outgain the Hoyas 498 to 230 yards. Fodor (10-15, 185 yards, 1 TD) connected with WR Jordan Forney on a 61-yard pass play on Yale's first offensive play of 2008. A few plays later, Fodor hit Forney for a 21-yard scoring play, the first collegiate TDs for both players. Hart's first collegiate snap was a 41-yard pass to Forney before he finished 14-for-18 with 176 yards and three TDs. Hart's first run came on a fourth-down, successful 13-yard scamper. Neither QB suffered an interception though Fodor lost two fumbles. The two QBs connected with 10 different receivers.


The following were collegiate firsts for Yale offensive players: Junior TE A.J. Haase (Boone Terre, Mo.) caught a 17-yard pass; senior FB Shebby Swett (Bow, N.H.) had a five-yard catch for TD; junior TB Ricardo Galvez (Los Angeles, Calif.) hauled in the first four passes of his career; sophomore FB Shane Bannon (Southbury, Conn.) caught his first pass and scored from five yards out; sophomore QB turned WR Peter Balsam (Orland Park, Ill.) had a 30-yard reception and second-year PK Alex Barnes (Chesterfield, Mo.) connected on his first two career PATs in the fourth quarter.


The Eli defense also had some firsts on Saturday. Sophomore CB Adam Money (Whiteland, Ind.) picked off his first pass in the flat and went 60 yards with it and junior DT Tom McCarthy (Chester, N.J.) registered his first sack. Money had Yale's first interception return for TD since current captain and LB Bobby Abare scored against Brown in 2006.


Senior TB Mike McLeod (New Britain, Conn.), a Payton Award candidate and 2007 All-American, was held to 78 yards on 22 carries by an aggressive Hoyas defense. McLeod was also held back by an aggressive officiating crew that called back three of his runs which chopped about 50 yards from his net. The one that hurt most was a 28-yard TD scamper in the first quarter that came back with a holding call. Last Saturday marked the second straight game McLeod, who had 157 yards and four TDs at Georgetown a year ago, was held under 100 yards. He is second among active FCS players with 19 career 100-yard games. The 5-foot-11, 200-pound RB, who was the 2007 Ivy League MVP, already owns all the major Yale career rushing records including TDs (49) and rushing yards (3,750). He has gone over 100 yards 18 times, second among active FCS runners.


Junior backup TB Ricardo Galvez was a busy back last Saturday with nine carries for a game-best 4.1 average and four catches for 28 yards.


The Elis returned three interceptions against the Hoyas for 104 yards and one score. The Yale record for return yards on picks is 163 vs. Princeton on Nov. 14, 1998. CB Adam Money had a 60-yarder for six points, senior LB Jay Pilkerton (Nashville, Tenn.) went 12 yards and senior FS Steven Santoro (Airmont, N.Y.), who ranks eighth on Yale's career KOR yardage list, scampered 32 yards with his ninth career interception which moved him into the school's career top 10 list.


Senior OT Darius Dale (Seattle, Wash.) earned OL player of the game honors after the coaches reviewed the film. Sophomore WR Jordan Forney (Bloomington, Ind.) took offensive back honors with136 receiving yards and two TDs. Senior DT Joe Hathaway (Clifton, N.J.) had two sacks and six overall tackles to earn DL honors. Sophomore CB Adam Money (Whiteland, Ind.), who had a 60-yard TD off a pick, was the DB of the game. Junior P/PK Tom Mante (Westford, Mass.) was the special teams MVP, while senior WR Jarrett Drake (Dolton, Ill.) and Jesse Reising (Decatur, Ill.) shared the hammer award for big hits on the Hoyas... Cornell has two Connecticut kids including former Amity (Woodbridge) and Choate standout DL Ricky Ballou.


Players from Yale and Cornell have nine different high schools in common, including five from State College (Pa.) Area HS (Yale's Hart brothers and three Red players)... Twenty-seven different Bulldogs made solo tackles against the Hoyas... The crowd of 12,771 at the Bowl was 10,097 more than the announced attendance for last year's opener at Georgetown... Yale, which had the ball almost seven minutes more than the visitors, had three drives over 70 yards last week... Senior Ryan Fodor (Madison, CT) is the first Yale starting QB from the Nutmeg State since ex-NFL fullback Chris Hetherington lined up behind center for the 1995 Elis. The Bulldogs started Connecticut QBs for four straight seasons (Steve Mills, 1992-93, Hetherington, 1994-95).


No Ivy schools cracked the top 25 of The Sports Network's FCS poll though Harvard had 331 votes and Yale had 251. Yale received three votes (16 less than Harvard) in the latest FCS Coaches Poll.


The Ivy League Pre-Season Media Poll had Harvard and Yale tied at first with 124 points and eight first-place votes. The rest of the poll included 3. Brown (99), 4. Penn (85), 5. Princeton (58), 6. Cornell (54), 7. Dartmouth (47), 8. Columbia (21).


The construction that will occur around the press box and halftime room is the start of the Kenney Family Field Center, which will include team meeting rooms, an alumni room with views of the field and a rooftop terrace.


Coming soon to the Bowl area is the Jensen Plaza, the grand entrance to the venue that will have names of every student-athlete who suited up for the gridiron Bulldogs.


The Yale Football class of 2009 is the largest group of seniors Jack Siedlecki has ever had. Considering that Yale had 30 spots for recruits when this class arrived, this is an impressive number.


Senior Casey Gerald (Dallas, Texas), who is a Gates Scholar with a 3.68 GPA in political science, has been nominated for the National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete Award. Gerald, who is applying for a Rhodes Scholarship (interested in philosophy and development studies), has already been admitted to Harvard Business School (MBA). He received the 2008 Levi Jackson (former Yale captain) Scholarship for character, intellect, achievement and leadership.


The Bowl's old (unable to confirm its age) scoreboard was replaced in early September with a custom-made LED unit from Ad Art that will make following the game much easier on the eyes and ears.


Members of the 2008 Yale team come from 24 different states and the District of Columbia. California has the most with 12 while Connecticut, Texas, New Jersey and Ohio each have nine.


The 2008 Elis were tested the day after returning to campus. Here are some of the best-conditioned Dogs: FB Shebby Swett (hang clean, 379.5 lbs.); DB Marcus Wallace (pull-ups, 29); OL Steve Morse (bench press, 475 lbs.); DE Jesse Reising (vertical jump, 35.5 inches) and RB Brandon Scott (dips, 48).


Since opening the national historic landmark in 1914, the Blue has gone 360-188-21 (569 games) at home. Since formal Ivy play began in 1956, the Elis are 120-75-3 vs. Ancient Eight foes at home.


Each 2008 Yale home game is a special day at the Bowl. The season opener was Yale Employee Day. Holy Cross comes to New Haven on Oct. 4 on Yale Youth Day. Three weeks later it's Parents Weekend with the Penn Quakers playing on the Class of 1954 Field. Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce Day is Nov. 1 with Columbia in town, while the "Fill the Bowl" promotion highlights the Nov. 15 Princeton game. Contact Yale Assistant AD for Marketing Pat O'Neill (Patrick.oneill@yale.edu) or intern Bob Coppola (sports.marketing@yale.edu) for more details.


The 2008 Yale Football Team will have three straight Ivy League contests broadcast live on the YES Network as part of a package called Yale on YES. The YES games are Oct. 25 (Penn at Yale), Nov. 1 (Columbia at Yale) and Nov. 8 (Yale at Brown). All three telecasts begin at 12:30 p.m.


The Ivy League has an agreement with VERSUS for a 2008 football TV package. VERSUS (73 million homes) will televise five Ancient Eight games as the Ivy League Game of the Week, Presented by TIAA-CREF. This is the first time since the early 1990s that Ivy football has been packaged together nationally. Here are the TV games on Versus: Oct. 11 - Cornell at Harvard (noon); Oct. 25 - Dartmouth at Columbia (4:00); Nov. 1 - Brown at Penn (noon); Nov. 15: Princeton at Yale (noon); Nov. 22: Yale at Harvard (noon). Versus also airs Pac-10, Big-12 and Mountain West games.


The Bulldogs have four former players and current undergraduates who are serving as student coaches this fall: Mike Cautero '09; John Coombs '09; Isaiah DeLeon-Mares '10 and Vedant Seeam '10.


Yale has not won a national football title since 1927, but the Bulldogs still have more championships (26) than any other school in the country. Notre Dame is second with 11 national titles. In addition, the Elis were the first football team of any kind to win 800 games but have since been overtaken by Michigan.


The normal practice week is from Tuesday through Friday, 4:15 to 6:15. (Friday times could be altered on travel days) Practice is held on the fields behind the baseball stadium (Yale Field) and inside the outdoor track. Inclement weather could bring the team inside to either Coxe Cage or the Lanman Center (back of Payne Whitney Gym). Players might be available for interviews before/after practice around the Smilow Center or out on the fields. It is best to email Steve Conn (steven.conn@yale.edu) to arrange a meeting at least a day before you would like to speak with a player or coach.


There are three sets of brothers on the 2008 Yale roster: LB Bobby and SS Larry Abare (Acton, Mass.); DE Brady and QB Brook Hart (State College, Pa.) and FB Jack and DB Marcus Wallace (Germantown, Wis).


Connecticut has always provided talented athletes for the Yale football team with offensive stars such as Rich Diana (Hamden High) and John Pagliaro (Derby High), and 2008 is no exception. Two current starters are from the Nutmeg State. QB Ryan Fodor (Hand of Madison) was the Coca-Cola Player of the Year in Connecticut while RB Mike McLeod (New Britain High) was the New Haven Register's Player of the Year. Pagliaro's son, John III, is a sophomore backup DB.


This Tuesday at noon, Yale head coach Jack Siedlecki will be joined by seniors RT Bryan Kana (Bedford, N.H.) and DE Brady Hart (State College, Pa.). The Galiette Luncheon interviews can be seen live on Don Boyle's sportingnewsct.com. Yale's weekly media luncheon was named after legendary play-by-play announcer Dick Galiette, who called Yale Football for 33 seasons until his death in 2005 and will be inducted into the National Football Foundation's College Hall of Fame this December.


For the 10th 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. Walter Camp (class of 1880), commonly known as the father of American football, captained two Yale teams and coached five others. He compiled a 67-2-0 record and won three national titles as coach. So WR Jordan Forney (Bloomington, Ind.) had a career day in the season opener to earn the award. On the first Yale offensive play in 2008, Forney (see Jack Warhola's photo) caught a 61-yard pass. He finished with four grabs for a game-high 136 yards and two scores.


NEWS/TALK 960 WELI will broadcast all 10 Yale football games this fall on 960-AM and online at 960WELI.com. Ron Vaccaro '04, who was part of NBC's Olympic coverage this past summer, is in his third year as play-by-play announcer. Yale football coaching legend Carm Cozza, a 2003 College Football Hall of Fame inductee, is in his 11th season as color commentator. WELI's George DeMaio begins home game coverage from the Bowl with a half-hour tailgate party broadcast.


The Bulldogs have six games on live TV this year. After playing at Dartmouth on NESN, "Yale on YES" airs three straight Ivy games before Versus covers the Princeton and Harvard tilts with the last of a five-game Ivy League Game of the Week package.


WYBC (1340-AM) also covers each game and has a 30-minute pre-game show. Bob Heussler, WYBC's Director of Football Radio Broadcasts, and Anthony Brooks, the station's sports coordinator, lead a talented group of Yale student broadcasters who can also be heard on wybc.com. WYBC also broadcasts Yale Sports Monday from 8-8:30pm, a show that wraps up each Yale football game and includes interviews with Jack Siedlecki, Yale's Joel E. Smilow `54 Head Coach of Football. The show is hosted by Anthony Brooks, Sam Purdy and Alex Jenson.


Designed to keep Yale Athletics fans and alumni informed and entertained, the voice of the Elis, Ron Vaccaro `04 hosts a series of netcasts available via Apple iTunesU. This series will feature season previews, event coverage, and commentary from coaches, players, and analysts, while also taking the fan inside special events such as the Blue Leadership Ball. You can download from iTunesU at yalebulldogs.com (see Yale Athletics Netcasts on right side of front page). New this year are video netcasts which are taped at Mory's and available for viewing each week at yalebulldogs.com.


Yale Youth Day is Saturday, Oct. 4, the day the Blue takes on Holy Cross at the Bowl. Included in the day are New Haven school children taking part in clinics with Yale coaches and student-athletes. There is also a youth fair and youth football teams (Wexler Grant vs. Roberto Clemente at 9 a.m., Branford vs. Old Saybrook after Yale game) play on the Class of 1954 Field.

Release filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director