Gridders Seek First Ivy Win With Trip to Hanover

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Oct. 5, 2004

The Yale football team (2-1, 0-1 Ivy) is back in Ancient Eight action this Saturday with a 12:30 p.m. game at Dartmouth. The Bulldogs rebounded from a loss at Cornell by stunning 11th ranked Colgate, 31-28, last Saturday at Yale Bowl. The Yale-Dartmouth game can be heard live on WELI (AM-960), WYBC (AM-1340) and www.yalebulldogs.com.

Bulldogs vs. Big Green This is the 89th meeting between the Elis and the Big Green with Yale leading the series 46-35-6. Dartmouth played at the 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 13 meetings and two of the last three. The Bulldogs took the 2003 game, 40-17 at Yale Bowl. The Green has won six of the last seven at Memorial Field.

The Coaches Jack Siedlecki, who has now led Yale to 14 victories in games that the Bulldogs 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. On the other side, John Lyons, who has beaten Yale nine times, is 59-62-1 overall in his 13th season at Hanover.

Bulldogs Stun Raiders A 37-yard field goal by Andrew Sullivan with seven seconds left gave Yale a 31-28 win over No. 11 Colgate on Oct. 2 at Yale Bowl. Sullivan's boot capped a comeback from a 28-14 deficit that saw Yale score 17 points in the last 4:47. Colgate (2-2) had its streak of six straight wins against Ivy opponents snapped. QB Alvin Cowan (19-for-31, 211 yards) threw TD passes to WR Chandler Henley (6-80), WR Ralph Plumb (6-71), TE Alex Faherty (1-14) and TE Ted Stem (2-23) and engineered the late comeback, which was made possible by a DB Matt Handlon (2-4-6) interception. TB Robert Carr (24-169) had a big game in the backfield and on kick returns (109 yards) and made a key block on the game-tying TD pass to Henley. LB Cole Harris led the Blue with six solo stops and 10 tackles as the Yale defense came up with the big plays, like making the Raiders go three-and-out to set up the winning drive. Colgate TB Jamaal Branch (31-130) averaged 4.2 yards per carry and had two scores, while QB Chris Brown (17-for-25, 194) fired two TD passes.

Dartmouth Falls at Penn QB Charlie Rittgers, who leads the league in total offense (252) and passing yards (268), completed 23 of 36 passes but Dartmouth fell at Penn last week, 35-0. Rittgers was picked off three times and sacked three times as the Green fell to 0-3 and 0-1 Ivy. RB Ray Rochester (14 -56), FB Charles Ganske (7 rec-12 yds) and DB Clayton Smith (7 solo, 3 asst.) were the Dartmouth stat leaders at Franklin Field.

Carr Named Ivy League Offensive Player of the Week Robert Carr (Baytown, Texas), who has gone over 100 yards in 10 collegiate games, owns the Yale single-game record with 235 yards against Cornell in 2002, but his best day as a Bulldog may have been last Saturday. He not only had 169 yards rushing (278 all-purpose), Carr carried for 87 yards and four first downs over the last nine minutes, which earned him Yale's first Ivy League Offensive Player of the Week honors. There is another reason why this game was so impressive. Prior to Colgate, Carr had rushed for 100 or better against eight teams (Dayton was the exception) that went on to finish in the bottom half of the Ivy or Patriot Leagues that season. Carr, who leads the Ivies with 196 all-purpose yards per game, averaged 7.0 per carry against the team that came within a game of the 2003 I-AA title. The 5-foot-9 sparkplug earned Walter Camp Yale Player of the Game honors with his all-around performance in the win at Dayton (37-172, 1 TD). He also had 50 return yards on three kickoffs and ran 55 yards to chase down a Flyer who had intercepted a Yale pass in the end zone. Carr narrowly escaped drowning in Connecticut's Candlewood Lake last 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, Texas, native, who owns the Yale record for 200-yard games in a season (2), has made a full recovery.

Cowan Has a First Senior QB Alvin Cowan (Austin, Texas) had his first four-touchdown performance last Saturday and became the first Bulldog to accomplish that since Jeff Mroz connected for four at Brown in 2002. The 2003 Payton Award finalist was banged up early in the game but managed to complete 19 passes for 211 yards while having positive (7) rushing yards for the first time this fall. Cowan, who was sacked 13 times in 2002, has been taken down five times in three games this season. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound QB, who owns 16 school records and is now second in three other categories, also engineered the comeback win at Dayton. He owns the Ivy record for total offense in a season (3,429) and broke 15 other school records last fall.

Bare Foot Senior PK Andrew Sullivan (Minneapolis, Minn.), who had served as the kickoff man the last two years and backed up John Troost on placekicks, moved up to the top job when his kicking partner took a leave of absence for personal reasons this fall. Sullivan has responded by connecting on all eight PAT tries and both field goal attempts. The bare-footed kicker earned Walter Camp Yale Player of the Game honors by splitting the uprights from 37 yards with seven seconds to beat Colgate. It was Yale's first game-winning kick with under a minute left since Justin Davis beat Holy Cross (23-22) at Worcester in 2001, Sullivan's freshman year. The last time a Bulldog booted a game-winning three-pointer in the last seconds at Yale Bowl was in 1989 when Ed Perks hit a 28-yarder with 10 ticks remaining.

First Catch Club Senior TE Ted Stem (Greensburg, Pa.), who snared a seven-yard TD pass against the Raiders, was one of three Elis who picked up their first career reception last Saturday. Stem had a pair of grabs for 23 yards while sophomore TE Dave Miller (Cincinnati, Ohio) had one for three yards. Sophomore TB Jordan Spence (Colleyville, Texas) also had his first.

Defense Has Strong Start The Yale defense has made 20 tackles for lost yardage in three games, including five -- by five different players -- against the Raiders last week. DE Brandon Dyches (Chapin, S.C.) leads the team with six (and three sacks), while DE Don Smith (New Fairfield, Conn.) and LB Ben Breunig (Dallas, Texas) have four and three, respectively. In the fourth quarter, the Blue defense forced a Colgate interception after two plays and then made them go three-and-out, which may have been the biggest stops of the year. Thirteen Bulldogs were in on TFLs at Cornell on Sept. 25 that helped halt numerous drives in the red zone, while five of Cornell's 14 possessions began on the Yale side of the field in a 19-7 Red victory. DB Barton Simmons (Nashville, Tenn.) and LB Cole Harris (Morrilton, Ark.) lead the team with a dozen solo stops each, while Breunig has the overall team-high with 27 (11-16).

Captain America Rory Hennessey (Strongsville, Ohio), a 2003 All-America selection who has an American flag tattoo 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, who has been the team's offensive lineman of the week twice this fall, has not allowed a sack during his collegiate career. He and his linemates protected Alvin Cowan well enough last week for the senior to throw four TD passes, while Robert Carr averaged seven yards per carry.

Estrera Lost Senior LB Ken Estrera (Dallas, Texas), who suffered a season-ending leg injury at Cornell after making four solo stops and 11 overall, took last semester off so he could finish his varsity eligibility this fall with the football squad. He was named Yale MVP by the New Haven Register for the Cornell game. Estrera, who had gained a medical hardship waiver after breaking his leg prior to the start of his sophomore season, was playing alongside high school and college pal Ben Breunig (Dallas, Texas).

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 '68 (baseball). John Kerry '66 (lacrosse, hockey, soccer), who shared the Yale campus with his opposition for two 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 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), D B 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. Estrera suffered a season-ending injury at Cornell in game No. 2.

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, Texas), who wore Barton Simmons' (Nashville, Tenn.) No. 3 while the senior DB was recovering from surgery last fall, has No. 20 this fall.

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 822) but have since been overtaken by Michigan (835).

Elis on the Tube Yale has 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. QB Alvin Cowan and DL Andrew Ralph (New Braunfels, Texas) join the coach this week, while Dartmouth head coach John Lyons 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.

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 swept the opening month of play in three of the last four falls. The Bulldog leader is 17-14 in October and 12-12 in November.

Siedlecki Says... "Without question, this was one of the best team wins we've ever had. We always talk about never quitting, and today it showed. It was the offense, the defense and the kicking game in the fourth quarter. For us to come back and win shows a lot of character. There was a lot of publicity about their tailback, and I wanted our guys to gain more than their guys. That's exactly what happened -- Robert Carr had more yards than their back, and Chandler Henley and Ralph Plumb had more yards than their receivers. Our skill guys had to match up and step up, and they made some big plays in the game. We needed to get some confidence. If we don't have it now, we'll never get it."

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 352-178-22 (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. The Yale-Colgate game last week drew 17,089 on Youth Day.

Bulldog Bites The win over Colgate is believed to be the first Yale win over a nationally ranked I-AA opponent... Dartmouth leads the league in kickoff return average at 25.2 yards, Yale is second at 23.1... The Blue is +4 in turnover margin while the Green is -5... Tyson Crawford, in his first season as the Yale punter, is averaging 36.4 yards with four boots inside the 20.

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 one LB (it was two before Estrera got injured) 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 leads the 49ers with 28 catches for 298 yards and one score... 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, has moved around between the Bucs and the Eagles pratice rosters since then.

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 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.

WCYPG 2004 Game Player Pos. Stats Dayton Carr RB/KOR 172 rush, 50 return Cornell Estrera LB 4-7-11 (injured during game) Colgate Sullivan PK Game-winning FG, 4-4 PATs

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.

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