Bulldogs Back in Ivy Play

Bulldogs Back in Ivy Play

Oct. 3, 2005

Complete Release in PDF Format
Download Free Acrobat Reader

The Yale football team is back in Ancient Eight play this weekend when Dartmouth College comes to the Bowl. The Bulldogs, coming off a non-league loss to Holy Cross at home, face former Big Green player and head coach Buddy Teevens, who returned to lead Dartmouth this year. This contest features the two teams with the most Ivy League titles, the Green with 16 and Yale with 13. 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-Dartmouth Series

This is the 89th meeting between the Elis and the Big Green with Yale leading the series 46-36-6. Dartmouth played at Yale Bowl for 46 consecutive years, from 1924-1970, because the crowds at New Haven made it more profitable. Twelve of the first 15 contests ended in shutouts for Yale, while Dartmouth has won 10 of the last 14 meetings. The Bulldogs took the last meeting at New Haven in 2003, 40-17. The Green has won six of the last eight at Memorial Field.

Late Charge Falls Short in Loss to Crusaders

Holy Cross cornerback Casey Gough had an interception, blocked an extra point and added a safety to help the Crusaders to a 22-19 win over Yale on Oct. 1. The Bulldogs put together a late comeback attempt, scoring 19 points in the final 10:09, but an 84-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Holy Cross' Steve Silva with four minutes to play put the game out of reach. The loss spoiled strong showings on offense by running back Mike McLeod (110 yards) and WR Ashley Wright (11 catches) and a fine effort by the Bulldog defense.

The Walter Camp Football Foundation is holding a toy drop at the Hospitality Village (E Field) Saturday. One free general admission ticket to the Dartmouth game will be given to individuals who donate a new toy.

Green Looking to End Two-Game Skid

Dartmouth, which opened with an upset of Colgate, has fallen the last two weeks against highly ranked New Hampshire and perennial power Penn. A week ago at Hanover, the Quakers booted four field goals and managed two short TD passes in a 26-9 win over the Green. Dartmouth, which used QBs Charlie Rittgers (13-24, 124) and Josh Cohen (9-17, 100, 1 TD), ran for just 16 yards on 33 carries. The two signal-callers helped the home team pick up nine more first downs than the visitors through the air. Mark Brogna caught a 10-yard scoring pass from Cohen for the Green's only TD. Jason Raiti (6-115) led all receivers while WR Ryan Fuselier, who had career-high eight catches for 90 yards vs. UNH, managed four catches last week. Also worth noting, CB Steve Jensen has been an important player so far with a team-high 12 solo tackles and 101 all-purpose yards per game.

Siedlecki Says After Holy Cross

"We didn't play the complete game we needed to play. Give Holy Cross credit ­ they got the lead and played hard. We had a lot of field position issues in the first half, but in the second half we were moving the ball. We were running it and throwing it, but they made us earn it. We knew that was going to be their style of play, and that 12-15 play drives are tough to come by. We're a young offensive team. We've got to gain consistency and be better next Saturday. I thought we played tremendously hard. After that first drive I thought we played really well on defense. We've got an opportunity to be 2-0 in the league. That's the only way we can look at it."

The Coaches

Jack Siedlecki earned his 100th win as a collegiate head coach against Cornell on Sept. 24. He is 100-62-2 as a collegiate head coach, 44-38 at Yale and 4-4 against Dartmouth. Big Green coach Buddy Teevens, 60-99-2 as a college coach, is 26-22-2 in five (1987-91) seasons at Hanover, including 2-3 against the Bulldogs.

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 19-17 in October and 13-14 in November.

Mroz Moving Up

Senior QB Jeff Mroz, the 2005 team captain who has 23 career TD passes and was coming off a five-TD day, had career-highs against Holy Cross with 33 completions, 56 attempts and 333 yards. His yardage total in that game ranks seventh at Yale, the 33 completions were fourth-best and his attempt total is the third most by a Bulldog (Joe Walland and Alvin Cowan had more). The Greensburg, Pa., native helped the Elis score 19 points in the fourth quarter with two long drives before the comeback effort fell short. Mroz earned his first (co) Ivy Offensive Player of the Week honors on Sept. 26 when he tied the school record for TD passes (Pete Doherty, vs. Columbia , Oct. 15, 1966). His 23 career TDs rank sixth at Yale, while his numbers for career yards (2585, 8th), completions (205, 6th) and attempts (364, 8th) are all among the top 10 despite just 11 starts.

McLeod Breaking (and Gaining) Ground

Freshman RB Mike McLeod had his second 100-yard rushing day in three outings this fall. Sharing time with junior Jordan Spence (31.7 ypg), McLeod leads the Elis with 92.7 yards per game and a 4.1 average per rush. In addition, he averages 19.0 on kick returns and has six receptions this year. The New Britain, Conn., native has broken new ground for rookie runners at Yale. He became the first Yale freshman runner to go over 100 rushing yards in his debut when he went for 102 at San Diego on Sept. 17. The Elis have not enjoyed this type of offensive weapon from the Nutmeg State since Rich Diana (Hamden) was the 1981 Ivy League MVP.

Ten Targets, Five Career Days

Senior WR Todd Feiereisen, who played QB for the first three years of his collegiate career, is one of 10 Yale players who have caught passes in 2005. Only nine Bulldogs caught balls in all of 2004. The top three receivers, Ashley Wright (21 catches, 3 TDs), Feiereisen (13, 2) and Chris Denny-Brown (11, 1) are all wideouts who had career-best outings against Holy Cross on Oct. 1. Wright led the way with 11 grabs while Feiereisen had eight and Denny-Brown seven. Senior Will Blodgett (3) and junior DJ Shooter (3) also had career-high catching numbers against the Crusaders.

Defense Only Bending To a Point

Defensive Coordinator Rick Flanders' tackling corps deserved a better fate against the Crusaders. While the Bulldogs allowed 22 points, Holy Cross returned a kick for a TD and also tallied a safety, so the Yale defense was only responsible for 13 of those. The Elis are giving up 342 yards per game but are holding opponents under 19 points while allowing just one scoring pass this fall.

Spreading the Sacks

Seven Bulldogs have taken the QB down behind the line, but only senior DE Brandon Dyches (Chapin, SC) has multiple (2) sacks.

Linebackers Lead Interception Competition

Three different Elis have picked off one pass with two coming from the linebacking crew of Chris Barry (Dallas, Tex.) and Lee Driftmier (Bellevue, Wash.). DB Nick Solakian (Santa Barbara, Calif.) has the other. Only Barry (24 yards) has any return yardage on the picks.

Wright On

Junior WR Ashley Wright (Mobile, Ala.), who had a career-high seven grabs for 198 yards and three TDs against Cornell, topped his catch mark with 11 against Holy Cross. The three scores (9, 31 and 70 yards) on Sept. 24 tied the school record that he now shares with eight others. He leads the team with 21 catches and ranks first in the Ivy League and ninth in I-AA with 7.0 catches per game, while his 118 yards per outing are an Ivy best and fourth in the nation. Wright, who is third in the Ivy League with a 35.6 punting average, had the longest reception (70 yards vs. Cornell) since Alvin Cowan threw to P.J. Collins for 73 in 2003. Wright had seven catches in all of 2004.

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 are 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 (Acton-Boxboro streak ended at 52 on 9/23/05), 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.

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.

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 (845).

The Rankings Are in

The latest Sports Network's I-AA Poll includes Yale opponents Lehigh (11th), Harvard (15th), Penn (28 votes), Princeton (15) and Brown (14).

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. The opposing head coach is also available via speakerphone.

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 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.

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, leads the team in rushing with 92 yards per game. 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.). Dale got his first start last week when starter Brice Wilkinson was injured. Everyone but Hart saw action in the first three games.

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 351-184-21 (556 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 114-72-3 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 No. 7 on List of Greatest Programs

The Yale football program was ranked seventh on Street & Smith's list of "50 Greatest Football Programs of All-Time." Notre Dame is first followed by Southern Cal, Oklahoma, Alabama, Nebraska and Michigan. The next highest ranked Ivy school is Princeton at No. 10 with Harvard (22) and Penn (41) as the other Ancient Eight schools on the list that will be published as part of a book available this fall.

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. 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

The last time Yale had two graduates on the same NFL team OT Bill Schuler '47 and end Paul Walker '46 both played 12 games for the New York Giants at Yankee Stadium. Fifty-eight years later there are two Bulldogs playing for the San Francisco 49ers, though one is out with an injury. 49er TE Eric Johnson '01 will miss the entire 2005 NFL season with a foot injury that kept him out of the pre-season. Johnson, who played WR at Yale, has had two excellent NFL seasons. Chris Hetherington '96 was released by Oakland and picked up by the 49ers just before opening day and is a FB and special teams player wearing No. 41... 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. Junior WR/P Ashley Wright was the winner on Oct. 1 with 11 receptions for 115 yards and a 36.4 punting average. Freshman RB Mike McLeod earned the nod at USD with 173 all-purpose yards, while the second went to QB Jeff Mroz (5 TD passes). RB Robert Carr '05 had the most WCYPG honors last fall with three.

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).

Bulldog Bites

Ashley Wright, who leads the team with 21 catches and ranks first in the Ivy League and ninth in I-AA with 7.0 catches per game, leads the league with 118 yards per outing (4th in the nation). Wright, Yale's Walter Camp Player of the Game last week, is also third in the Ivy League with a 35.6 punting average... The last time Yale lost its first two non-league games was in 1996 when the Elis fell to Connecticut and Army on the second and third weeks of the season... Freshman QB Ryan Fodor connected with classmate WR Ken Ebeling for a 60-yard TD pass in last Sunday's JV Game against Bridgton Academy.

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. Co-sports directors Tai Eyer and Marshall Shaffer anchor 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.