September 29, 2008

Bulldogs Host Crusaders Saturday at 12:30

Sept. 29, 2008

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Yale football team (1-1, 0-1 Ivy) hosts Holy Cross (1-2, 1-0 Patriot) this Saturday on Youth Day at Yale Bowl and the Class of 1954 Field. The 12:30 game can be heard live on WELI-AM 960 (960weli.com) and WYBC-AM 1340 (wybc.com).

THE SERIES

The Elis, who won 11 straight against the purple and white at one point, have a 26-4 advantage in the 105-year-old series. Holy Cross snapped the long skid with a 22-19 win at the Bowl in 2005, but the Blue answered with a 38-17 decision at Worcester last fall. Yale, 7-0 at Worcester, is 19-4 at New Haven against the Crusaders. The Bulldogs and Crusaders, who are coming off very different Saturdays, have worn out the scoreboard in recent times, combining for 353 points over the last seven meetings

LAST YEAR

Mike McLeod ran for a then school-record 256 yards and record-tying five touchdowns -- breaking the school career rushing touchdown mark in the process -- as No. 20/22 Yale beat Holy Cross 38-17 at Fitton Field. McLeod's effort was part of a 412-yard rushing day for the Yale offense, while the Yale defense limited the Crusaders to 45 rushing yards and picked off three passes.

TAIL OF THE SCALE

A Yale offensive line averaging 286 pounds has a 30-pound edge on a Holy Cross defensive front that weighs in at a 256-pound average. The 291-pound Crusader OL has 35 pounds on the Bulldogs' DL (256).

COACHES

Former Penn standout Tom Gilmore is 24-23 in his fifth season at Holy Cross and as a collegiate head coach. Gilmore is 1-1 against the Bulldogs. Jack Siedlecki (65-46 at Yale), the Joel E. Smilow '54 Head Coach of Football, is in his 21st season as a college head coach. He is 7-1 against the Crusaders.

SIEDLECKI SAYS

" Cornell made a lot of big plays. They forced us into a lot of long-yardage situations and turned us over. I thought they did a tremendous job controlling field position with their punt game. They kept us a long ways away virtually all day long. I thought our defense played their hearts out. We got down early, and when we got the punt return to come back to 14-7 - you kind of hope that's the spark. We didn't really take advantage of it, and Cornell came right back at us. You've got to give them credit for how they played. They did a great job against our offense."

RED ENDS SKID VS YALE

Cornell jumped out to a 14-0 halftime lead with a pair of short TD runs and held on for a 17-14 win over Yale before a homecoming day crowd of 13,142 at Schoellkopf Field in the Ivy League opener for both schools. The Elis scored on a 71-yard punt return by Gio Christodoulou (Miami, Fla.) and a seven-yard pass from Ryan Fodor (Madison, Conn.) to Jarrett Drake (Dolton, Ill.), which cut the deficit to three with 1:16 to play. Cornell, which beat Yale for the first time in four years, recovered the onside kick and ran out the clock.

CRUSADERS ROMP OVER HOYAS

Dominic Randolph completed 25 of 39 passes for 280 yards and three TDs as Holy Cross beat Georgetown 38-14 at Washington, D.C. last week. Randolph also rushed for a score, and finished the game with 294 yards of total offense. RB Terrance Gass rushed for 135 yards. The Crusader defense forced five turnovers while allowing just 199 yards of total offense. CB Kyle Mushaweh led the way with two interceptions, while LB Andrew Cialino had a team-best eight tackles.

ROAD STREAK ENDS AT 12

The Blue's road win streak ended at 12 games with a loss at Cornell. Yale had not lost away from the Bowl since Oct. 22, 2005, a 38-21 decision at Penn. The Bulldogs have not enjoyed that type of success on the road since the early days of the game. Yale had streaks of 14 and 37 wins in "road" (as opposed to neutral site) games but rarely played any quality opponents away from New Haven or larger cities. The 37-game streak ended in 1895 with a 6-6 tie at Brown.

IVY OPENER

Yale suffered its first Ivy opener loss since a 19-7 setback in 2004 at Cornell, the last time the Red had beat the Blue. The Elis have won six of their last eight league lidlifters and are 7-4 under Jack Siedlecki.

DEFENSIVE DAY

Despite having three starters injured and out some or nearly all of the game, the Yale defense kept the visitors in the game at Cornell. The Elis had two successful (made FG and missed FG) goal-line stands, eight tackles for lost yardage, an interception and stopped 15 of 20 Cornell third-down attempts. Yale held the home team to 55 yards of total offense and three points in the second half. The Red, which did not have a scoring drive over 59 yards, took advantage of Bulldog offensive miscues.

JUNIOR DAY

Three juniors equaled or surpassed their 2007 tackle totals against Cornell. DE Travis Henry (Lauderdale Lakes, Fla.), who stepped in for an injured Brady Hart (State College, Pa.), had a career-high 1-5-6 against the Red. He had 1-3-4 in all of 2007. DE Justin Oplinger (Summit, N.J.) had 2-3-5 Saturday after totaling five stops last fall. DT Tom McCarthy (Chester, N.J.), who had four tackles in 2007, went 2-2-4 last week. In addition, DT Matt Kelleher (Southington, Conn.), who is a converted QB, had a career-best 2-2-4.

SANTORO CLIMBING

Senior FS Steven Santoro (Airmont, N.Y.) leads the team with two interceptions this fall. His pick at Cornell was the 10th of his career and put him tied for fourth on the Yale all-time list and fifth among active FCS players. Santoro is currently eighth on the school's KOR career list with 610 yards.

RETURN VALUE

Sophomore DB Gio Christodoulou (Miami, Fla.) now has two punt returns for TDs for Yale in the last two Ivy games. He scored the only points for the Blue with an 87-yard return last November against Harvard and then had a 71-yarder at Cornell last week. Christodoulou is the first Eli to run back two punts for scores since Ralph Wisz '58E had 74 and 73-yard returns in 1955 and 1956 respectively.

MANTE UP

PK/P Tom Mante (Westwood, Mass.) had another busy day last Saturday. After putting his foot on the ball 16 times against Georgetown, the junior had 15 kicks (9 punts, 3 KO, 2 PAT, 1 FG attempt) at Cornell. Mante averaged 40.3 yards per punt and connected on both PATs but had a 42-yard FG attempt blocked in the second quarter.

FIRSTS FOR BULLDOGS

Sophomore TE Chris Blohm (San Francisco, Calif.) and senior WR Patrick Sedden (Dallas, Texas) both hauled in their first collegiate passes in the first half at Ithaca.

OFFENSIVE WOES

Yale, which had 0 net rushing yards at Cornell, suffered five sacks and lost 49 rushing yards just on those plays. That was the lowest rushing output for the Blue since Connecticut held Yale to -8 (65 total offense) in 1984, a 20-0 Huskies win.

CAPTAIN BLUE

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, had 5-5-10 at Cornell and leads the team with 12-5-17 this fall. He 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.

QB X 2

The combination of senior righty Ryan Fodor (Madison, Conn.) and sophomore lefty Brook Hart (State College, Pa.) did not produce anything close to what it did in the opener against Georgetown (361 passing yards, 4 TD passes). Fodor (15-28, 169 yards) and Hart (3-8, 40) combined for 209 yards and one score against the Red. Both QBs lost fumbles and held the ball too long (5 sacks) while Fodor threw an interception.

McLEOD SLOWED

Senior TB Mike McLeod (New Britain, Conn.), a Payton Award candidate and 2007 All-American, was held to 57 yards by Cornell after Georgetown allowed the Bulldog just 78 in week one. Last Saturday marked the third straight game McLeod 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 (3,807).

KENNEY FAMILY

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.

GRAND ENTRANCE

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.

35 SENIORS

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. Twenty-one seniors are listed on the Yale (2-deep) depth chart.

CASEY IN POINT

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. Gerald has 2-1-3 and one PBU this fall.

TELLING THE SCORE

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. The previous scoreboard (circa 1958) was named after longtime scoreboard operator Bobby Hertz and cost $6,000.

GOLDEN STATE OF YALE

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.

DOG TESTING

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).

BULLDOGS LOVE BOWL

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.

BOWLing FOR PROMOS

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.

YALE ON YES

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.

VERSUS HAS IVY

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.

COACHING PUPS

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.

STILL LEAD THE NATION

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.

YOUTH DAY

Yale Youth Day is this Saturday 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.

IT'S JUST PRACTICE

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.

OH BROTHER

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, Wisc.).

CONNECTICUT CONNECTION

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.

GALIETTE MEDIA LUNCHEON

This Tuesday at noon, Yale head coach Jack Siedlecki will be joined by an Eli offensive and defensive player. 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.

FATHER OF FOOTBALL

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. Sophomore 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. Senior SS Larry Abare (Acton, Mass.) was WCPG after leading the team with 12 (5-7) tackles and a PBU at Cornell.

ELIS ON ELI

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 that includes Vaccaro and Yale Sports Publicity Director Steve Conn.

MUST SEE TV

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 ALSO AIRS

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.

NETCASTS

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.

Release filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director

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