October 9, 2006

Bulldogs Seek 4th Straight Win

Oct. 9, 2006

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Yale football team (3-1, 2-0 Ivy), which has won its last three games -- all on the road -- returns to Yale Bowl and the Class of 1954 Field this Saturday for the first time in a month when it hosts Lehigh (2-3) from the Patriot League. Kickoff is set for 12:30. Ron Vaccaro '04 and legendary Yale football coach Carm Cozza call the action on WELI (AM-960), while it can also be heard on WYBC (AM-1340). This game can be seen live on WFMZ-TV and on Fox College Sports Pacific.

How To Watch on TV

WFMZ-TV can be seen on regular systems in the Allentown, Pa., area and on cable in Western New Jersey and Philadelphia. Fox College Sports Pacific is available nationally on digital cable systems.

The Yale-Lehigh Series

The Bulldogs and Mountain Hawks have met 17 times with Yale holding a 12-5 lead. The Blue won the first dozen games, including six shutouts, while Lehigh has taken the last five. The last meeting was a 28-21 OT game at Bethlehem, while the last game at New Haven (2004) was a 30-24 thriller. The first meeting was a 33-17 Yale win in 1890.

Memorable Moments in Yale-Lehigh Series

2005: Lehigh scored the last 22 points before taking a 28-21 OT win... 1994: Lehigh QB Rob Aylsworth established Yale Bowl record with 454 passing yards in 36-32 win by visitors... 1989: QB Darin Kehler (186 yards rushing) engineers second half (20-0) comeback in 33-17 Yale win over the then named Engineers... 1976: RB John Pagliaro runs for 193 yards on just 17 attempts (11.4) in Yale's 21-6 win... 1964: Bulldogs break school record by averaging 8.0 yards per play and 7.0 per rush in a 54-0 win, Yale's 600th all-time.

The Coaches

Jack Siedlecki (Union '74), in his 10th season as the Joel E. Smilow '54 Head Coach of Football at Yale, won his 50th game with the Bulldogs last week. He is 106-65-2 as a collegiate head coach, 50-43 at Yale and 0-3 vs. Siedlecki has coached in four of the oldest rivalries in college football (Lehigh-Lafayette, Yale-Princeton, Yale-Harvard and Amherst-Williams). Lehigh. First-year Lehigh coach Andy Coen is 2-3 in his first head coaching job.

Bulldogs Keep Big Green Winless

Sophomore TB Mike McLeod ran for 198 yards and two touchdowns to power Yale to a 26-14 win over Dartmouth last Saturday at Memorial Field. The Bulldog defense limited Dartmouth to 98 yards on the ground and generated two big turnovers. WR Chandler Henley had a game-high eight grabs for 94 yards, while QB Matt Polhemus connected on 12 of 18 throws for 138 yards. Alan Kimball booted two field goals and FB Taylor Craig scored Yale's other TD in its third straight win. Identical twin brothers DB Larry (4-4-8) and LB Bobby Abare (6-2-8) and LB Chris Barry (4-4-8, int) led the Bulldog defense.

Lehigh Beats Georgetown

Sedale Threatt completed 13 of 19 passes including two TDs and Marques Thompson rambled for 122 yards and a pair of scores as Lehigh won at Georgetown 28-3 last Saturday. Frank Trovato and Troy Healion each snared TD passes as the visitors outgained the Hoyas 336 to 204 in total offense. Micah Greene (3-6-9) and Eric Rakus (3-5-8) led a Mountain Hawk defense that forced three Georgetown turnovers.

Siedlecki Said After Dartmouth Win

"In the first half we squandered some opportunities like we did last week. That could have come back to haunt us. We came out in the second half and scored right away, then after they scored a couple times to make it interesting, we were pinned back at our own 11-yard line. A lot of teams would have struggled with that, but we didn't. I thought that drive, for the final touchdown, was one of the greatest drives we've had."

McLeod Earns 2nd Straight Ivy Player of Week Honor

Sophomore TB Mike McLeod, who has eight TDs in the last three games, ran for a career-high 198 yards (6th best at Yale) on 33 carries in the 26-14 win at Dartmouth, a performance that brought his second straight Ivy Offensive Player of the Week honor. McLeod, who also had a 25-yard pass play, finished the day with 223 yards of total offense and scored on runs of nine and 13 yards. The New Britain, Conn., native had 141 rushing yards after two quarters at Hanover. His Dartmouth game rushing total was the most by a Yale runner since Robert Carr '05 broke the school record with 235 at Cornell in 2002. McLeod, who has gone over the 100-yard mark three times in 2006, has improved his output each game this fall. He earned Ivy Offensive Player of the Week on Sept. 30 by running for 172 yards on 30 attempts against Lafayette. McLeod, who earned two (Cornell, Lafayette) Walter Camp Player of the Game honors, had two rushing TDs and one receiving score at Cornell. His first career TD catch was a 41-yarder off a screen pass at Ithaca. Before McLeod, the last Bulldog to score three TDs in consecutive games was John Pagliaro, who had three against Columbia and Penn in 1976. McLeod, who trails Harvard's Clifton Dawson (135 avg.) by a little more than a yard per game for the Ivy lead, now has five career games with more than 100 yards rushing. He has eight of Yale's 13 TDs this fall.

Polhemus Has Best Passing Day

Junior QB Matt Polhemus, who avoided an interception for the first time this fall, enjoyed his finest throwing day with 12 completions. He connected with five different receivers but only WR Chandler Henley had mutiple (8) catches. Polhemus also had six rushes for 33 yards, including a key, 18-yard scramble, while 11 rushing yards were taken away on the only sack he suffered at Dartmouth.

The Drive

The momentum had swung from a 19-0 Yale lead to 19-14 and Dartmouth was getting the crowd into the game, primed for a comeback. However, the Bulldogs marched 79 yards and used up over eight minutes (four passes and 10 runs) to put the game away on a nine-yard Mike McLeod TD run with 8:33 left.

Good Kicking Day

Junior PK Alan Kimball may have missed a FG and an extra point, but he and freshman punter Tom Mante had good showings at Dartmouth. Kimball, who has hit four of six field goals this fall and is third among Ivy kickers in FG percentage, split the uprights from 24 and 43 yards at Hanover while missing from 30 yards. Mante did not have nearly the amount of Kimball's work but managed a career-best, 51-yard punt that was downed on the Dartmouth four yard line late in the game.

Bulldogs Have Other Runners

Seniors FB Taylor Craig and TB Matt Murray have also made an impact this year. Craig, primarily a blocker for TB Mike McLeod, caught a two passes at Lafayette before scoring his first career TD on a one-yard plunge at Dartmouth. Murray, McLeod's backup, enjoyed his best outing at Yale with 40 rushing yards and a 5.0 average.

Long And Winding Road

The Bulldogs played three straight road games in consecutive seasons, and made it three straight victories away from Yale Bowl after falling in the season opener at home. Yale's last three-game win streak came in 2003 (Cornell, Holy Cross, Dartmouth), and the last time the Elis had a four-game string was 2000. The team's last three-game road win streak came in 1999, while the longest road streak in recent years was six games from the last contest of 1998 to the ninth game of 1999.

Leading the League

The Bulldogs lead the Ivies in rushing (193), third-down conversions (48.6%), fourth downs (33.3) and kickoff coverage net. Sophomore FS/KR Steve Santoro is tops with a 29.3 KOR average.

Abare Squared

Identical sophomore twins Bobby (6-2-8) and Larry Abare (4-4-8) had another big day for the Blue with a combined 10 solos and 16 total tackles at Dartmouth. The Abares, who combined for 19 total tackles, two for lost yardage and a fumble recovery at Lafayette, are starters on the Yale defense. Bobby is fourth among Ivy players in total tackles.

Turnovers Rule

The Bulldog defense has turned over its opponents six times in the last two weeks. Yale recovered three fumbles and got a FS Steve Santoro interception at Lafayette, while LB Chris Barry picked off a Dartmouth pass and CB Casey Gerald grabbed a fumble. The Elis have recovered a fumble in three of the last four games while forcing a fumble in each contest. Yale has had an interception in each of the last three outings.

Bulldog Bites

DE Brady Hart (1-4-5) made his first start at Dartmouth... LB Chris Barry (4-4-8) picked off a Big Green pass that was deflected by DE Kyle Hawari... The Bulldogs have increased their rushing yardage in each game this fall... Yale's non-league opponents this year have a combined 9-6 record (USD 5-0, Lafayette 2-3, Lehigh 2-3)... Yale's opponents thus far have combined for an 8-10 mark.

Santoro Cutting It

Sophomore Steve Santoro, who has started the last three games at free safety, leads the team with two interceptions (Cornell, Lafayette) and has 19 tackles. Santoro's first touch in a varsity game turned into a 94-yard kickoff return and Yale's first points of 2006 on Sept. 16 against USD. It was the sixth longest KOR in Yale history and the longest since David Knox went 96 yards in 2002 against Penn at the Bowl. Santoro had a 90-yard KOR against Dartmouth called back on a holding penalty.

Spence On Their Minds

Many of the Yale players spoke about senior WR/KOR Jordan Spence, who was injured last Thursday at practice and may miss the rest of the year, after the Dartmouth win. Spence, voted the hardest worker on the team, is an inspiration to his teammates on or off the field as a backup WR (1 catch) and the starter on both kickoff units (10 returns, 18.0 avg.).

Henley Snares and Wears Eight

Senior WR and captain Chandler Henley caught his uniform number last week, which was a game-high eight catches for 94 yards and earned Walter Camp Yale Player of the Game honors. Henley had a number of key grabs in big situations while returing two punts. The eight catches are the most by a Bulldog this fall and tied his career high (Brown in 2004). The captain leads the team with 19 catches after sitting out the 2005 season with an injury. Yale's leader also earned Walter Camp honors against USD with six catches for 69 yards and is now fourth among Ivy receivers with 4.75 catches per game.

Wright Not Always The Target

Senior WR Ashley Wright can't garner too much focus from opposition defenses this year with Chandler Henley lining up next to or opposite him. Wright had just one grab at Dartmouth (18 straight games with a catch) a week after piling up 151 yards on four catches. Wright has TD catches of 43 and 63 yards this fall. The Mobile, Ala., native was first-team All-New England and All-Ivy while catching 61 passes for 795 yards and 10 scores in 2005.

Kenney To Be Honored by Ivy Football Association

Jerome P. Kenney '63 is one of eight former Ancient Eight football players who will be honored at the 2007 Ivy Football Association Dinner at New York City's Waldorf Astoria Hotel on Jan. 25. Reggie Williams (Dartmouth '63), Brian Dennehy (Columbia '66), Thomas F. Stephenson (Harvard '64), Patrick T. Harker (Penn '81), Redmond C.S. Finney (Princeton '51), Louis J. Conti (Cornell '41) and Donald L. Carcieri (Brown '65) are the other honorees.

Around the Ivies

Clifton Dawson rushed for 97 yards and returned a kickoff 93 yards in unbeaten Harvard's 33-23 win over Cornell... QB Jeff Terrell scored in OT and Princeton's defense came up with a stop on Colgate's two-point conversion to take a 27-26 decision... Columbia got its first shutout in eight years and completed its first unbeaten non-league slate in 10 years with a 24-0 win over Iona... Robert Irvin threw for 303 yards as Penn increased its unbeaten streak against Patriot League teams to 10 games in the Quakers' 34-24 win over Bucknell... Brown QB Joe DiGiacomo threw the ball 51 times and had 401 yards but Holy Cross won the game 35-30.

Yank Townsend 1895 Trophy

Yank Towsend, the only Connecticut native in Lehigh's class of 1895, became a famous New Haven architect and engineer and devotee to both Lehigh and Yale football. His family decided to honor him postumously by awarding the winner of the Bulldog-Mountain Hawks game the Yank Townsend 1895 Trophy, which will be at the Bowl Saturday and presented for the first time.

Nutmeg State Connection

Connecticut has always provided talented athletes for the Yale football team with offensive stars such as Rich Diana (Hamden) and John Pagliaro (Derby), but historians would be challenged to find a Bulldog squad with more in-state accolades than the 2006 team. QBs Ryan Fodor (Madison) and Matt Kelleher (Southington) both earned state player of the year honors as seniors. RB Mike McLeod (New Britain) was the New Haven Register's player of the year while OT Ed McCarthy (Fairfield) and DE Brendan Sponheimer (Orange) were all-state players before coming to Yale.

Looking Ahead

Yale hosts Penn at Yale Bowl on the Class of 1954 Field next Saturday at 12:30 in a game to be broadcast live on Comcast's CN8. The Quakers are 3-1 overall and 1-0 in Ivy play and host Columbia this week.

Bulldogs Love The Tube

Six of the 10 Yale games in 2006 will air live on TV, including five of the last six. The Buldogs are on YES twice and appear on WLVI/WGN, Comcast CN8 and CSTV.

Cornering The Rookie Market

RB Mike McLeod became Yale's second Ivy League Rookie of the Year in three seasons when he earned the 2005 honor. The Bulldogs have had three since DB Todd Tomich became the school's first in 1997. The league began selecting its top rookies in 1981 but an Eli was not selected until 1997. Yale has two newcomers (DB Paul Rice, P Tom Mante) on the current two-deep depth chart and both of them played in the first three games. Rice, playing for a banged up Kevin Littleton the last two weeks, has 5-4-9 and a PBU over that span. Mante had a 51-yard punt at Dartmouth and has pinned opponents inside their 20 four times this fall.

Numbers Don't Lie

Yale Strength & Conditioning Coach Emil Johnson put the Elis to the test the first two days of practice and there were some interesting results. The following players topped the charts: DT Brandt Hollander (hang clean, 368.5 1bs); FB Stephen Morse (bench, 445 lbs); WR Jarrett Drake (vertical jump, 35.5"); LB Jason Palumbo (40-yard, 4.6 sec.); Mike McLeod (dips, 52); and Jimmy Lewis (pullups, 32).

Survey Says...

Yale players were surveyed about each other the day they returned to campus and here are the results: Hardest Working (Jordan Spence followed by Brandt Hollander); Funniest (Steve Bassermann for the 3rd straight year); Smartest (Ed McCarthy, Jimmy Lewis); Most Athletic (Mike McLeod, Ashley Wright); Best Leader other than captain (Ed McCarthy, Kevin Littleton); Strongest (Brandt Hollander by landslide); Toughest (Larry Abare, Brandt Hollander); Best Musician (Mike McGinity); and Most Likely to Become U.S. President (Steve Bassermann, Kevin Littleton).

Yale Still Leads 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 collegiate football team to win 800 games but have since been overtaken by Michigan.

All In The Family

Senior Ed McCarthy (Fairfield, Conn.) was Yale's OL MVP eight times last year and took week No. 1 honors this season. McCarthy, the 2003 Ivy Rookie of the Year as an OG and a second-team all-league center in 2004, was first-team All-Ivy at LT last fall. He is a pre-season All-America pick who has been getting looked at by pro scouts this fall. McCarthy's father, Rick, and uncle, Ed, played for the Bulldogs. He is the only offensive lineman in league history to earn rookie of the year honors.

Catching Bulldogs At Practice

The normal practice week is from Tuesday through Friday, 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/after practice around the Smilow Center or out on the fields. It is best to email Steve Conn to arrange a meeting at least a day before you would like to speak with a player.

Home Cooking in the Bowl

Since opening the national historic landmark in 1914 with a 36-0 loss to Harvard before a full house, the Bulldogs have gone 352-186-21 (559 games) in Yale Bowl. Since formal Ivy play began in 1956, the Elis are 115-73-3 vs. Ancient Eight foes at home.

Galiette Luncheon at Yale Golf Course

The weekly Dick Galiette Football Media Luncheon was named last fall to honor the late voice of Yale Football. This Tuesday at noon, Yale head coach Jack Siedlecki will be joined by DT Jared Hamilton and RT Ed McCarthy. The Galiette Luncheon interviews can be heard on Don Boyle's sportingnewsct.com.

Yale Bowl Restoration

The restoration of Yale Bowl is nearly complete with a number of additions planned in the near future. The playing surface has been named the Class of '54 Field to honor the majority gift for the project from former Yale football player Charlie Johnson and his class. One of the additions will be the Jensen Family Plaza, which will be located on the walkway to the Bowl from Central Avenue, and honors the Jensen brothers: Irving '54, Colin '57, Erik '63 and Mark '67. The welcoming plaza will serve as the perfect place for fans to gather before and after games. The Kenney Family Field Center, which includes renovations to the exisiting field center and halftime room and additional special event space, will also be completed in the next phase of Bowl renovations. It honors the Kenney brothers: Jerry P. '63, Brian R. '60, Robert D. '67 and Richard L. '71, and a son, Jeffrey S. '93.

Father of American Football

For the eighth 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 and captain Chandler Henley earned the honor against USD (six catches) and Dartmouth (eight). Mike McLeod took week No. 2 honors with three TDs at Cornell and week three also with 172 rushing yards and three more scores. Walter Camp (class of 1880), commonly known as the father of American football, captained two Yale teams and coached five others.

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 2006 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.

Radio, Internet, Home Page and Hotline

NEWS/TALK 960 WELI broadcasts Yale football this fall on 960-AM. You can also listen on TEAMLINE by calling 800-846-4700 and entering Yale's code (5682). WELI's Jerry Kristafer begins home game coverage from the Bowl with a half-hour tailgate party. 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 Coordinator Anthony Brooks and Director of Football Broadcasts Bob Heussler lead a talented student staff. Yale games can be heard live on the internet at www.960WELI.com and www.wybc.com. 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.

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