Oct. 11, 2005
The Yale football team completes its 2005 non-league schedule this Saturday with a 1 p.m. kickoff at No. 20 Lehigh (3-2, 0-1 Patriot). The Bulldogs, off to a 2-0 start in league play for the second time since 1989, are coming off a 13-0 win over Dartmouth at Yale Bowl and look to avenge close loses to the Mountain Hawks in two of the last three seasons. This contest can be heard live on radio stations WELI (AM 960) and WYBC (AM 1340) as well as on yalebulldogs.com and 960WELI.com. It can also be viewed on Service Electric 2 Sports Cable TV in the Lehigh Valley and on Fox Sports Atlantic (tape delay).
The Yale-Lehigh Series
The Bulldogs and Mountain Hawks have met 16 times with Yale holding a 12-4 lead. The Blue won the first dozen games, including six shutouts, while Lehigh has taken the last four. The last meeting was a 30-24 thriller last year at the Bowl, while the last game at Bethlehem was a 14-7 decision in 2002 that Yale captain Jeff Mroz started as a sophomore quarterback. The first meeting was a 33-17 Yale win in 1890.
Memorable Moments in Yale-Lehigh Series
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.
Bulldogs Register First Shutout Since 2000
The Bulldog defense registered its first shutout since 2000 and allowed just 110 yards of total offense in a 13-0 win over Dartmouth at a rain-soaked Yale Bowl last Saturday. Playing in heavy rain, Yale limited Big Green runners to 54 rushing yards and the visiting offense to just two third-down conversions in 14 chances to earn its first blanking since a 41-0 win over Columbia five seasons ago. It was also the first scoreless effort thrown at Dartmouth by Yale since a 3-0 game in 1979. On the other hand, the Eli offense managed 313 yards and controlled the ball most of the day. QB Jeff Mroz (15 of 25, 161) fired a pair of 20-yard TD tosses for the game's only scores. His first was over the middle to TE Alex Faherty (4-72), who led all receivers in yardage, in the first quarter. The last, which required some great moves after the catch, went to WR Todd Feiereisen (3-52) in the middle of the fourth quarter to put the game away. Freshman TB Mike McLeod overcame a slippery surface and a hard-tackling defense to run for 83 yards (despite 21 yards lost). His game-best 30-yard run in the fourth quarter sent Yale to its final TD, and he caught a pass for 10 yards. Senior DE Brandon Dyches had three sacks, seven total tackles, a blocked punt and a pass breakup while DB Matt Handlon led the team with six solo tackles.
Lehigh, Like Yale, Upset by Crusaders
Lehigh, a perennial national power, is just four points from a 5-0 start this fall. The Mountain Hawks lost a 34-33 OT game to Delaware and also fell last week to Holy Cross, 13-10. There were wins over Monmouth, VMI and Harvard for a team that leads the Patriot League in almost every offensive category.
Faherty Makes Big Return
Senior TE Alex Faherty (New York, NY), who is currently using his fifth and final season of eligibility (medical hardship), missed all but a few snaps of the first three games this fall with a leg injury. With the poor field conditions and heavy rains last weekend, it looked like the worst kind of day to come back but the versatile playmaker returned with a bang. He was diving all over the field while pulling down a game and career-high four catches. His leaping, 20-yard scoring reception in the first turned out to be the game-winner, but he also went up and out to haul in a 22-yarder later in the game. Faherty, who started at fullback two years ago and then at TE last fall, also had a career-high with 72 yards last week.
Dyches Named Ivy Defensive Player of the Week
Senior DE Brandon Dyches (Chapin, SC), named the Ivy League Defensive Player of the Week, had his best day as a Bulldog with three sacks, seven total tackles, a blocked punt and pass breakup. He led the Blue last fall with 6.5 sacks but managed nearly half of that in one half last Saturday. Dyches, who sings, plays a few musical instruments and has his own band, blocked his first punt against Dartmouth. He leads Yale with five sacks and six TFL this fall. The Yale defense also got big plays last Saturday from DB Nick Solakian (interception) and DB Mike Holben (fumble recovery).
There is Fire in His Eyes
Senior WR Todd Feiereisen (Westlake Village, CA), who played QB for the first three years of his collegiate career, snared his third TD pass of the year. He is second on the team with 16 catches while his three TDs are tied for the team lead with Ashley Wright.
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 24 catches and ranks first in the Ivy League and 18th in I-AA with 6.0 catches per game, while his 90 yards per outing are second best in the Ivies and 20th in the nation. Wright, who is sixth in the Ivy League with a 34.8 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.
Sica's Work Easy to Notice
It's safe to say that sophomore DB Dan Sica (Edison, NJ), the third-string snapper, never figured he would be the starting snapper for the third and fourth games this fall. After starter DE Chris Wright and LB Chris Barry went down with injuries, Sica was forced into the top snapper's job and went unnoticed in the pressbox except for the coaches during the Holy Cross game. It was not easy last week in the heavy rain, but all of his snaps arrived successfully to punter Ashley Wright.
Siedlecki Says After Dartmouth
"Offensively, we just kept banging and banging and finally we got that score. That 6-0 score certainly was scary up on the scoreboard for all that time in conditions like this, because you know all it takes is for one guy to fall down and the game can change. It was an absolute quagmire out there. After we got that second score in the second half, with the way our defense was playing, we knew we were in good shape. We worked on some things that made a difference for us in this ballgame."
Jack Siedlecki earned his 101st win as a collegiate head coach last week against Dartmouth. He is 101-62-2 as a collegiate head coach, 45-38 at Yale and 0-2 against Lehigh. Mountain Hawks coach Pete Lembo, 39-13 as a college coach in four-plus seasons, is 2-0 vs. 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 20-17 in October and 13-14 in November.
Mroz Moving Up
Senior QB Jeff Mroz, the 2005 team captain, has 25 career TD passes including a school-record five against Cornell this fall. His 33 completions, 56 attempts and 333 yards were career-bests the following week against Holy Cross. Mroz's yardage total in that game ranks seventh at Yale, the 33 completions were fourth-best and his attempt total was the third most by a Bulldog (Joe Walland and Alvin Cowan had more). The Greensburg, Pa., native 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) against Cornell. His 25 career TDs rank sixth at Yale, while his numbers for career yards (2646, 8th), completions (220, 5th) and attempts (389, 8th) are all among the top 10 despite just 12 starts.
McLeod Named Ivy League Rookie of the Week
Freshman RB Mike McLeod, who has a pair of 100-yard rushing days in four outings this fall, was impressive with 83 net yards last Saturday on a very wet field and earned Ivy League Rookie of the Week honors for the second time this year. He did that despite 21 lost rushing yards and a Dartmouth defense geared to stop him. McLeod had a 30-yard dash through the middle of the line to set up the fourth-quarter TD and also caught a pass for 10 yards. Sharing time with junior Jordan Spence (34.0 ypg), McLeod leads the Elis with 90.2 yards per game and a 4.2 average per rush. In addition, he averages 19.0 on kick returns and has seven 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 and earned league rookie honors. The Elis have not enjoyed this type of offensive weapon from the Nutmeg State since Rich Diana (Hamden) was the 1981 Ivy League MVP.
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.
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 828) but have since been overtaken by Michigan (845).
The Rankings Are in
The latest ESPN/USA TodayI-AA Poll includes Yale opponents Lehigh (21st), Holy Cross (22 votes), Penn (20), Princeton (13), Harvard (9) and Brown (4).
Elis on the Tube
Yale has five live TV games this fall and they all come over the last six Saturdays. Lehigh (SE2), Penn (CN8), Brown (YES), Princeton (CN8) and Harvard (WLVI) are all on the tube this fall.
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.
Five members of the class of 2009 appear on the two-deep chart, and all of them are backups. However, some are getting as much time as the starters. TB Mike McLeod (New Britain, Conn.), who may not start but has become a featured back, leads the team in rushing with 90 yards per game. The others are RT Darius Dale (Seattle, Wash.), who started the last two games because of an injury to RT Brice Wilkinson, MG Joe Hathaway (Clifton, N.J.), LB Bobby Abare (Acton, Mass.) and PK Brady Hart (State College, Pa.). Everyone but Hart saw action in the first four 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 352-184-21 (557 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 115-72-3 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.
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).
Yale ranks first in the Ivy League in passing offense, pass efficiency defense (4th in I-AA) and scoring defense (7th)... The Dartmouth game was the first of 2005 that Jeff Mroz was not sacked. He had his first positive-yard contest with three rushes for 21 yards... There are currently eight players on the Yale roster who hail from the Keystone State, including starters OL Jeff Monaco and QB Jeff Mroz... Senior DB Matt Handlon is a semifinalist for the 2005 Drady Trophy, known as the Heisman Trophy for scholar-athletes in football handed out by the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame... The Elis had two players earn Ivy honors this week but neither was singled out in Yale's team MVP awards for the Dartmouth game. DE Brandon Dyches was the defensive player of the week but shared Yale's DL Award with the rest of his defensive mates. RB Mike McLeod earned his second rookie of the week nod but the Yale OB Award went to FB Taylor Craig.
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.