Oct. 9, 2007
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The No. 16 Yale football team (4-0 overall, 2-0 Ivy) looks to go unbeaten in non-league play in 2007 as the Lehigh Mountain Hawks (3-2, 0-1 Patriot) come to the Bowl for a 12:36 kickoff. The game airs live on WFMZ-TV and on Fox College Sports Atlantic and can be heard live on WELI (960-AM), WYBC (1340-AM) and on 960weli.com and wybc.com.
WATCHING 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 Atlantic is available nationally on digital cable systems.
The Bulldogs and Mountain Hawks have met 18 times with Yale holding a 13-5 lead. The Blue won the first dozen games, including six shutouts, while Lehigh has taken five of the last six. The last meeting at Bethlehem was a 28-21 OT game, while last year's game at the Bowl was a 26-20 OT win for Yale. The last three meetings have been decided by no more than seven points and the last two have gone to OT. The first meeting was a 33-17 Yale win in 1890.
The Bulldogs moved up two places in the Sports Network Poll to No. 16 while moving up one spot to 17th in the FCS Coaches Poll. Yale has been ranked as high as No. 16 and as low as 25th in seven different FCS (formerly I-AA) polls this year. No Bulldog squad had ever been ranked in either of these polls during a season.
TALE OF THE SCALE
Yale's starting offensive line, which has paved the way for the FCS's No. 2 rushing attack, averages 279 pounds compared to a Mountain Hawk defensive front that goes at 267 (12 lb difference). The Bulldog defensive front (247 lbs) faces a 36-pound disadvantage against an experienced Lehigh OL (283 lbs) that has given up only six sacks in five games.
BLUE RUNS ON GREEN
Six different players scored TDs and the Bulldog defense held Dartmouth to 140 total yards as Yale won 50-10 last Saturday at the Bowl before 24,237. The Elis, on a steamy afternoon, scored on the ground, in the air, on defense and with a pair of field goals by junior PK Alan Kimball. Senior DT Jared Hamilton's sack and forced fumble gave Yale its first safety since 1992. The Big Green, which got its only TD on a blocked punt and a 33-yard return, collapsed under the pressure of the charging Bulldog defense that registered five sacks, recovered three fumbles and picked off a pass.
LEHIGH FALLS AT FORDHAM
The Mountain Hawks gained 438 yards of total offense, including 304 in the air, but Lehigh fell short in a late comeback attempt 28-18 at Fordham last Saturday. QB Sedale Threatt completed 19 passes but was picked off in the closing minutes on a play that resulted in the clinching TD. DB Tim Diamond led Lehigh with eight solo stops and 15 overall while DB Brannan Thomas broke up four passes.
Jack Siedlecki (Union `74), in his 11th season as the Joel E. Smilow `54 Head Coach of Football at Yale, is 115-66-2 as a collegiate head coach, 59-44 at Yale. Siedlecki, who is 1-3 against Lehigh, has coached in four of the oldest rivalries in college football (Lehigh-Lafayette, Yale-Princeton, Yale-Harvard and Amherst-Williams). Second-year Lehigh head coach Andy Coen is 0-1 vs. Yale and 9-7 overall at Bethlehem.
SIEDLECKI ON DARTMOUTH GAME
"I really like the way we're playing, how physical we are on both sides of the ball and our enthusiasm level. We have played three great football games in a row in terms of setting the tone physically. Some teams are focused and quiet. This is not a quiet team. They're always joking around and having a good time. We've got a long way to go, but this team is playing well. You really see the personality of this team on Friday [during the walkthrough]. They keep it loose. They know how hard it is on Tuesday. It's not fun. It's very hard, but we are a well-conditioned football team [because of it]. The reason we scored 50 is all the turnovers and field position. Today was defense, special teams and turnovers. We had a lot of short fields. We obviously wore them down, and our second team was very good when they got in there."
Yale has become the first team in the Ivy League's 51-year history to record a pair of 50-point games in one season, and it was done in back-to-back league games. The Elis beat Cornell 51-12 before taking Dartmouth 50-10.
BLUE IN RED
The Bulldogs put points on the board all seven times they reached the red zone against Dartmouth. The Elis have scored on 22 of 23 attempts this fall.
MANTE UP AND AWAY
Sophomore P Tom Mante had another strong day with a season-high 46.2 average and three boots inside the Dartmouth 20. His hang times for most punts last Saturday were over five seconds. He ranks sixth in the nation and No. 1 in the Ivy with a 44.0 average.
The Elis rank second nationally in rushing with 303.50 yards and are fourth in scoring at 41.75. Yale is second in the FCS with a 2.0 turnover margin, seventh in scoring defense (13.0) and eighth in total defense (285.0). Lehigh leads the nation in net punting (40.65).
LATHAN ON ROLE
Sophomore WR Reid Lathan began as the backup to senior WR Chris Denny-Brown as the punt return man and was listed as one of the three kickoff return guys. Lathan has now taken over the PR duties and had a season-best 26-yard return against the Green. He also had a season-high 29-yard KOR last week.
The Bulldogs have won nine straight road games dating to the middle of the 2005 campaign, a 38-21 loss to Penn at Franklin Field. Yale's longest road unbeaten streak was 11 games (10-0-1) from 1968 to 1970. The longest road win streak prior to the current one was 37 games that spanned 1887 to 1895.
Yale junior RB Mike McLeod, "held" to 155 yards and one TD by the Big Green, now has 2,772 career rushing yards, which ranks fourth at Yale. His school-record 38 rushing TDs are seventh on the Ivy career list, one behind sixth-place Michael Malan (39, 1999-01) of Brown. McLeod, who is third in the FCS and No. 1 in the Ivy with 179.75 yards per game, was held in check through his first 11 carries with a 2.5 average against Dartmouth before finishing the first half with 80 yards. The Bulldog star ranks second in the nation with 19 points per game.
FUCCILLO GAINS ATTENTION
Senior FB Joe Fuccillo is arguably the most punishing blocker on the Yale team and currently leads the team with 34 knockdowns. He got his first carry of 2007 against Dartmouth and scored from a yard out on a play that had been called for Mike McLeod but was changed in the huddle by both QB Matt Polhemus and McLeod. It was Fuccillo's first career touchdown.
POLHEMUS HAS GOOD DAY
Yale senior QB Matt Polhemus ran for a score and threw a TD pass in the win over Dartmouth. Polhemus, 12-2 as the Eli starter, averages 5.3 per rush and has completed 52.2 percent of his passes.
ABARE NOT SQUARED
The junior Abare twins (LB Bobby, DE Larry) have been separated on the field by Larry's season-ending knee injury against Cornell, but the name Abare is still heard often on the PA system. Bobby leads the team with 22 solos and 33 overall and five TFLs. He has six career interceptions. Both brothers earned 2006 All-Ivy recognition.
Junior backup QB Ryan Fodor did not have a game snap in 2006, but he has seen significant action already this fall in three outings. Fodor, the former Connecticut State Player of the Year at Daniel Hand High School, completed his first varsity pass against Cornell and rushed three times for 15 yards at Holy Cross.
Last fall Mike McLeod had 297 of Yale's 429 rushing attempts. He has 129 of the team's 217 this year but other TBs are getting plenty of experience. Sophomore RB Ricardo Galvez has taken advantage of his touches as McLeod's backup. Galvez has 38 carries for 220 yards (5.8) with two TDs. Sophomore TD Jordan Farrell (9-51) has also shown promise.
Yale had 22 more plays than Dartmouth last Saturday... The Blue has outscored its opponents 46-0 in the first quarter this year and 167-53 overall... The Elis have scored 19 rushing TDs in 2007 but have allowed just one... Yale has 10 sacks and has given up a pair... The Blue has an interception in every game this fall... Junior DB Casey Gerald's five pass breakups are a team-high... Yale has had five rushing TDs the last two weeks but there is a big difference between the two games. Mike McLeod had all five against Holy Cross while five different players found the end zone against Dartmouth... Yale has had nine straight games with a sack and an interception... The Elis are third in the nation in time of possession with a 34:22 average.
2006: Mike McLeod scored from a yard out in OT to give the Blue a 26-20 win at Yale Bowl... 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.
PARTING WAYS IN JERSEY
Saturday's game is a New Jersey reunion for two players on each side. Lehigh's Brian Jackson and Yale's Chris Solga teamed up at Bergen Catholic High School, while Troy Healion (Lehigh) and David Silberstein (Yale) played on the same team at Ramapo High School.
Yale and Lehigh share four opponents this fall: Princeton (Lehigh loss), Harvard (Lehigh win), Holy Cross (Yale win), Georgetown (Yale win).
Senior PK Alan Kimball, who worked for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Washington, D.C., last summer, is 13th in the FCS and leads the Ivy League with 1.5 FG per game. He put his foot on the ball an amazing 19 times on Sept. 22 against Cornell. He split the uprights on all three FG attempts and all six PATs while booting 10 kickoffs. His three FGs (at Columbia, 2005) equaled a career-high and his 15 points surpassed another. He now has 23 FGs, which is 13 behind career leader Mike Murawczyk (36). Kimball is 6-for-7 on FGs and has connected on all 21 PATs this fall.
The Yale team poll revealed some interesting facts about the Bulldogs. QB Richie Scudellari and LB Bobby Abare are considered the hardest working players. DT Stephen Schmalhofer is the funniest, DE Matt Plummer the smartest and TB Mike McLeod the most athletic. The best leader other than the captain is QB Matt Polhemus, while captain Brandt Hollander was voted the strongest. Bobby Abare has been named the toughest. WR Jarren Simmons (most musical), RB Dave Silberstein (community service) and DB Tim Handlon (most likely to be U.S. President) also were listed the most.
MORE FUN STUFF
DE Joe Hathaway was named the player with the most unique hobbies (Star Wars trivia knowledge, WWE fanaticism)... LBs Shebby Swett and Jay Pilkerton were voted the guys most players would want their sisters to date... Seventy percent of the team lives on campus... No player owns a bulldog but 91 percent of the team prefers dogs over cats... The favorite New Haven restaurant among the Elis is Yorkside Pizza & Restaurant... Carmen Anthony (Steak House) came in second.
After sitting out the opener with an injury, Yale captain and DT Brandt Hollander has been a terror for opposing offensive lines. He had a sack against Holy Cross and has been clearing paths for his LBs to get into the offensive backfield by taking up two blockers. Hollander was voted by the players as the strongest (bench press of 480, hang clean 368) guy on the team. He is a senior from Indianapolis.
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.
IT'S JUST 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 (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 to arrange a meeting at least a day before you would like to speak with a player or coach.
FORMER BLUE ON SUNDAYS
Eric Johnson '01, starting TE for the 0-4 New Orleans Saints, opened the season with eight catches for 57 yards against the Colts and then added three and a fumble recovery against Tampa Bay. Johnson, who has Drew Brees throwing balls to him, is second on the team with 21 catches behind Marques Colston (22)... Nate Lawrie '04 is listed as the third-string TE for the offensive-minded Cincinnati Bengals (1-3), who opened with a win over Baltimore before losing a shootout with Cleveland and then falling to Seattle... Dick Jauron '73 is in his second season as head coach of the Buffalo Bills (1-4)... Mike McDaniel '05, a former Yale WR, is an offensive assistant with the 3-2 Houston Texans.
BULLDOGS LOVE BOWL
Despite suffering both 2006 losses on the Class of '54 Field, the Yale Bowl has been a happy place for Bulldogs. Since opening the national historic landmark in 1914 with a 36-0 loss to Harvard, the Blue has gone 357-187-21 (565 games) at home. Since formal Ivy play began in 1956, the Elis are 119-74-3 vs. Ancient Eight foes at home. Yale's win margin at the Bowl this season is 39.5 compared to 17.5 on the road.
There are five sets of brothers on the 2007 Yale roster: LB Bobby and DE Larry Abare; DBs Matt and John Coombs; DE Eric and OL Louis Gresham; DE Brady and QB Brook Hart; FB Jack and DB Marcus Wallace and student assistant coach Kevin and DL Tom McCarthy. LB Tim Handlon, DB Rylan Spence and student assistant coach Mike Cautero had brothers that used to play football at Yale.
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 2007 is no exception. QBs Ryan Fodor (Hand of Madison) and Matt Kelleher (Southington High) both earned state player of the year honors as seniors. In addition, RB Mike McLeod (New Britain High) was the New Haven Register's player of the year. Pagliaro's son, John III, came to Yale this fall from Maryland.
GALIETTE MEDIA LUNCHEON
This Tuesday at noon, Yale head coach Jack Siedlecki will be joined by senior TE Langston Johnson and sophomore P Tom Mante. The Galiette Luncheon interviews can be heard (usually posted by Wednesday) 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.
PHASE 1 AND DONE
Phase 1 restoration of Yale Bowl and the Class of '54 Field has been completed and a dedication event is scheduled for the Nov. 17 Harvard game. Phase 2, which begins next spring, includes 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 existing 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 (who will be honored by the Ivy Football Association in January), Brian R. `60, Robert D. `67 and Richard L. `71, and a son, Jeffrey S. `93.
FATHER OF FOOTBALL
For the ninth 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. DT Jared Hamilton earned the nod with two sacks and five solo stops against Dartmouth. Mike McLeod took the award vs. Georgetown with four TDs and 157 rushing yards, while he grabbed it in game No. 3 with 256 yards and five scores. PK Alan Kimball earned the nod against Cornell with three FGs and six PATs. 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.
BLUE LEADERSHIP BALL HIGHLIGHTS FINAL WEEKEND
As always, there are numerous activities centered around The Game on Nov. 17. One of the highlights is the handing out of the George H.W. Bush Lifetime of Leadership Awards at the Blue Leadership Ball (Nov. 16). The honorees include Richard P. Cooley '44, Charles B. Johnson '54, Anne F. Keating '77, James McNerney '71 and Kurt L. Schmoke '71. Johnson and Schmoke played football at Yale. This year, Yale also celebrates the completion of phase one of the Yale Bowl, Class of '54 Field restoration with a dedication ceremony. In addition, there are many alumni functions.
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 returns for his second year as play-by-play announcer. Yale football coaching legend Carm Cozza, a 2003 College Football Hall of Fame inductee, returns for his 10th season as color commentator. WELI's Jerry Kristafer begins home game coverage from the Bowl with a half-hour tailgate party broadcast. Kristafer, who has WELI's weekday morning show, speaks with Vaccaro about the Elis every Friday morning at 8:15.
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, and the New Haven Register's Sean Barker. 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 (such as Yale's Ivy title clinching defeat of Harvard in The Game last year), 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).
The Blue has seven games on the tube this fall, three of which are at home. The Sept. 15 Georgetown game was a tape-delayed broadcast on Verizon Fios One in the D.C. area. Yale's Sept. 29 game at Holy Cross aired live on Comcast's CN8. The Oct. 6 game against Dartmouth on NESN is the ECAC Game of the Week. WFMZ-TV airs the Oct. 13 Lehigh game in the Bowl that also shows up on FSN Pittsburgh (DirecTV 628, Dish Network 428). The first of two road games on YES Network is Oct. 20 at Penn, the second is Nov. 10 at Princeton. The 124th edition of The Game will be carried on HDNet nation wide (available on DirecTV 79, Dish Network 9422 and various cable providers), SportsNet NY (New York), WPHL (Philadelphia), WLVI (Boston) and WTXX (Hartford). Jack Ford `72 will provide color on the broadcast after serving as master of ceremonies at the Blue Leadership Ball.