Oct. 12, 2004
The Yale football team (3-1, 1-1 Ivy) hosts another nationally ranked I-AA team this Saturday when the No. 17 Lehigh Mountain Hawks (4-1, 1-0 Patriot) come to Yale Bowl for a 1 p.m. kickoff. The Yale-Lehigh game can be heard live on WELI (AM-960), WYBC (AM-1340) and www.yalebulldogs.com. Fox Sports Net (Pittsburgh) will provide live coverage for TV, which can be viewed on DirecTV (628 with sports package) or the Dish Network. Cable outlets in all of Pennsylvania (except Philadelphia) and in parts of Ohio, Maryland and West Virginia will also pick up the feed.
Yale-Lehigh Series The Bulldogs and Mountain Hawks have met 15 times with Yale holding a 12-3 lead. The Blue won the first dozen games, including six shutouts, while Lehigh has taken the last three. The last two meetings came at Bethlehem and were both Lehigh wins, including 14-7 at Goodman Stadium in 2002. 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... 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 Matchups The most interesting matchup is Robert Carr, ranked second in the nation in all-purpose yards (204.25), and the strong Yale offensive line against a Lehigh defense that is fifth in I-AA in scoring defense (13.60). The Mountain Hawks lead the Patriot League in every defensive category as well as most on offense. Holding on to the ball might make the difference in this game, and these teams are among the best in turnover margin. Lehigh (1.80) ranks third while the Elis (1.75) are sixth in the nation.
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. The Yale coach is 0-1 as a head coach against Lehigh. On the other side, Pete Lembo (1-0 vs. Yale) is 31-9 in his fourth season as Lehigh head coach and has the highest (.770) win percentage of any coach in school history.
Bulldogs Force 5 Turnovers In Win at Dartmouth RB Robert Carr rushed for 164 yards and a score while WR Ralph Plumb hauled in 10 passes, including one for a TD, as Yale forced five turnovers on the way to a 24-14 win over Dartmouth. Yale, which improved its record to 3-1 and gained its first Ivy win of the season, got two interceptions from DB Fred Jelks and a season-high three picks in the game. It was Yale's sixth win in 14 games at Memorial Field. Carr, who had a career-high three receptions and 70 more return yards on kickoffs, broke the Green defense with a number of big plays. On the other side, LB Ben Breunig (5-9-14) and DB Barton Simmons (5-5-10) led the Blue in tackles.
Defense Has Best Day of 2004 The Yale defense, led by assistant coach Rick Flanders, had its best day by holding Dartmouth to 14 points and forcing five turnovers. The Elis, who bent enough to allow 364 yards of total offense at Hanover, also held the Green to three third-down conversions and came up with big plays when needed. Eighteen different Elis made solo stops while three of those went for losses, including Andrew Ralph's (New Branfels, Texas) second sack of the year. The Bulldogs are +7 in turnover ratio this fall thanks to an opportunistic defense and a runners who have yet to lose the ball. DB Andrew Butler (Los Angeles, Calif.) forced a fumble, had an interception and broke up a few other key Dartmouth passes.
Lehigh Beats Holy Cross QB Mark Borda (18-24, 288) threw four of his five TD passes in the first half as Lehigh opened its 2004 Patriot campaign with a 42-14 win at Holy Cross. TE Adam Bergen (7-101) led all receivers in catches while DE Tristan Lawrence had a pair of sacks for the Lehigh defense.
Carr Goes Over Century Mark For Third Time Robert Carr (Baytown, Texas) earned Walter Camp Yale Player of the Game honors by rushing for 164 yards and totalling 249 all-purpose yards at Hanover. Carr, whose three receptions were a career-best, now has rushed for 100 yards in three of four games this fall. He has gone over the century mark in 11 collegiate games and owns the Yale single-game record with 235 yards against Cornell in 2002. With all that, his best two days as a Bulldog may have been the last two Saturdays (333 rushing yards, 527 all purpose). He has averaged 263 all purpose yards against two strong defenses. Carr, the Oct. 4 Ivy Offensive Player of the Week, leads the Ivies with 204.25 all-purpose yards per game. The 5-foot-9 sparkplug has earned Walter Camp Yale Player of the Game honors twice this fall. 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 on Payton Award Watch Senior QB Alvin Cowan (Austin, Texas) had his second straight 200-yard passing day (18 for 28, 206 yards) at Dartmouth. He has thrown a TD pass in all four games and needs one to tie Joe Walland for Yale's career record (35). Cowan has had negative rushing yards in three of the four games and he was sacked a season-high four times at Hanover. The Eli signal-caller had his first four-touchdown performance on Oct. 2 against Colgate. The 2003 Payton Award finalist was banged up early against the Raiders but managed to complete 19 passes for 211 yards while having his only positive (7) rushing yards game this fall. Cowan, who was sacked 13 times in 2002, has been taken down nine times in four games this season. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound former captain, who owns 16 school records and is now second in three other categories, engineered comeback wins against Dayton and Colgate this season. Cowan, the first former Yale captain to suit up the following season in modern times (medical waiver allowed this to happen), owns the Ivy record for total offense in a season (3,429) and broke 15 other school records last fall. He is listed on the Sports Network's 2004 Walter Payton Award Watch.
Bare Footin 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 11 PAT tries and three 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. 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 for the senior to throw six TD passes over the last two weeks, while Robert Carr has 333 rushing yards in those games. Hennessey also did a job on Big Green DE Ryan Conger, a 2003 first-team All-Ivy pick.
Estrera Could Be Back Senior LB Ken Estrera (Dallas, Texas), who suffered a potential season-ending leg injury at Cornell after making four solo stops and 11 overall, still could return near the end of the season. He has been trying to stay in shape without being able to run. Estrera took last semester off so he could finish his varsity eligibility this fall. 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), DB 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 potential 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 824) 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
WGN and HD Net Broadcasting The Game The Association of Yale Alumni (AYA) and the Harvard Alumni Association (HAA) are pleased to announce that the 2004 Yale-Harvard Game will be broadcast live on the Superstation WGN, as well as the High Definition (HD) Net Channel for WGN. Either of these options should be available at many sports bars and venues. The Game will be hosted by Harvard, in Cambridge, on Saturday, Nov. 20. Brian Dowling '69 will serve as one of the color commentators.
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. FB/Punter Tyson Crawford and DB Fred Jelks join the coach this week, while Lehigh head coach Pete Lembo 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 18-14 in October and 12-12 in November.
The Joel E. Smilow '54 Head Coach of Football Says... "Our defense played phenomenally. They just came out and kept stepping up. Even when Dartmouth made a couple of big plays, we came right back and stopped them and turned them over. Last year, we were a little beleaguered on the defensive side. Defensive coordinator Rick Flanders said to me after the Harvard game that we had seven sophomores out there at times. I knew they were good football players, but they were young. They've learned. Now, we've got some of our senior leadership back, with Fred Jelks being healthy and Barton Simmons being out there. That makes a huge difference. Defense is fun when you play like that -- when you turn people over. We've got to make some more connections on offense. We had a lot of opportunities in this game and probably should have scored more than 24 points."
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 Yale had scoring from four different players at Dartmouth... The Blue has given up the first TD before evening the score at 7-7 in all four games this fall... The Bulldogs have an open date at the start of the 2007 campaign that could be filled with a game at West Point.
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 NFL with 41 catches ( 360 yards and two TDs)... Johnson had a career-best 13 catches for 162 yards and a score in a 31-28 OT win over Arizona on Oct. 10... 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 Dartmouth Carr RB/KOR 164 rush, 70 return, 15 receiving
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.