October 15, 2007

No. 15/16 Bulldogs Head to Franklin Field

Oct. 15, 2007

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The No. 15/16 Yale football team (5-0 overall, 2-0 Ivy) jumps into the Ivy League stretch run Saturday with a noon kickoff at Franklin Field against Penn (2-3, 1-1). The 75th meeting airs live on the YES Network and can be heard live on WELI (960-AM), WYBC (1340-AM) and on 960weli.com and wybc.com.

PENN-YALE SERIES

Yale leads the series against the Quakers 43-30-1, though Penn has dominated in recent years, winning all but three of the last 15 meetings. Penn has won seven straight at Franklin Field since the Blue took the 1990 contest. The Bulldogs are 23-13 at New Haven against the Philadelphians. There has not been a shutout in the last 21 meetings (the last belongs to Penn, 17-0, in 1983). The Blue has won every contest when scoring over 21 points except for a 48-30 Penn victory in 1972 and 2003's 34-31 OT decision.

POLLS

The Bulldogs moved up one place in the FCS Coaches Poll to No. 15 while remaining at No. 16 in the FCS Coaches Poll. Yale has been ranked as high as No. 15 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

TALE OF THE SCALE

Yale's starting offensive line, which has paved the way for the No. 2 ranked rushing attack in the FCS, averages 279 pounds compared to a Quaker defensive front that lines up at 256 pounds (23-pound difference). The Bulldog defensive front (247 lbs) faces a 33-pound disadvantage against a stout Penn OL (280 lbs) that has the fewest sacks allowed in the FCS.

LAST YEAR AT THE BOWL

Yale ended a five-game losing streak to Penn by taking a 17-14 OT win at the Bowl. Derek Zoch missed a 37-yard FG attempt on the first OT possession before Yale's Alan Kimball split the uprights from 35 to end the game. Penn had the edge in first downs and time of possession, while Eli TB Mike McLeod and Penn RB Joe Sandberg both had over 120 yards.

BLUE VS. MOUNTAIN HAWKS

Despite trailing for the first time in 2007 during its lowest scoring game, Yale recorded season-highs in first downs (29), rushing yards (421), total offense (519) and possession time (40:42) in a 23-7 win over visiting Lehigh last Saturday. Getting 276 yards and two scores on 40 carries from TB Mike McLeod helped. So did interceptions by LB Jay Pilkerton, DE Brady Hart and DB Steven Santoro and three field goals by Alan Kimball.

SEASON-HIGHS

Last Saturday's game produced many season-highs for the Blue including 421 rushing yards, 22 pass attempts, 519 yards of total offense and 29 first downs.

McLEOD OF THUNDER

Mike McLeod, who needs 346 yards to break Robert Carr's record and become Yale's career rushing leader, broke his own school record (Holy Cross, 2007, 255 yards) with 276 yards (5th best for Ivy player) last week and earned Ivy Offensive Player of the Week honors for the second time this fall. He scored on runs of 16 and 55 yards; the 55-yarder was the longest run of his career. He averaged 6.9 per carry and caught one pass for three yards. His school-record 40 rushing TDs are sixth on the Ivy career list. McLeod, who leads the FCS with 199 yards per game, ranks second in the nation with 18 points per game.

LEHIGH GOOD FOR McLEOD

Yale junior TB Mike McLeod, who has now rushed 80 times for 480 yards against Lehigh over the last two seasons, did something to the Mountain Hawks that has not been done since 1995. Twelve seasons ago, New Hampshire's Jeremy Azumah ran for 278 yards against Lehigh, the most it had ever allowed. McLeod's career numbers against Lehigh are 96-510 (5.31) and four TDs in three outings.

NOT McLEOD NINE

Mike McLeod enjoyed another record-breaking day last week, but it was not all perfect. Yale was deep in Lehigh territory on the Blue's first possession when McLeod fumbled and the visitors recovered. McLeod had carried 353 straight times without losing a fumble dating to week No. 4 of the 2006 season.

EVERYTHING CLICKS FOR PENN

When you get outrushed 261-8 it is tough to stay in the game, even when you have more first downs than the team that outrushed you. Penn ran all over Columbia in a 59-28 win at Wien Stadium, but the Lions had the 424 to 141 advantage in passing yards. TB Joe Sandberg ran for 197 yards while QB Bryan Walker completed 16 of 21 passes including a pair of TDs.

FIRST SINCE 1981

Yale is 5-0 for the first time since the Ivy championship season of 1981, when the Blue won eight straight before falling at Princeton. That squad, led by captain Fred Leone and head coach Carm Cozza, had non-league wins over Holy Cross, Navy and Connecticut and beat Penn 24-3 at the Bowl.

COACHES

Jack Siedlecki (Union '74), in his 11th season as the Joel E. Smilow '54 Head Coach of Football at Yale, is 116-66-2 as a collegiate head coach, 60-44 at Yale. Siedlecki is 3-7 against Penn. Quaker mentor Al Bagnoli is 197-61 as a head coach, 111-42 in his 16th season at Philadelphia and 12-3 against the Bulldogs.

SIEDLECKI ON LEHIGH GAME

"This is four games in a row that we've not let a team run the football. We were really very physical on both sides of the ball. We possessed the ball for 40 minutes and kept their quarterback on the bench. We ran 87 plays and they only ran 58 - that's the difference in the ballgame. We made a couple of mistakes early - the fumble and a penalty that took away a touchdown. Our defense came up big every time."

OPPORTUNISTIC D

Yale has registered a sack and an interception in 10 straight games. The Blue defense has already had three games this season with three picks.

BALL HOGS

Yale ranks first in all of Division I (BCS, FCS) in time of possession, holding the ball for an average of 35:38 per game, 11 minutes more than its opponents. The Bulldogs become even more stingy in the fourth quarter with a 10 to five advantage.

BLUE IN RED

The Bulldogs put points on the board in four of five trips to the red zone against Lehigh. The Elis have scored on 26 of 28 attempts this fall.

MANTE UP AND AWAY

Sophomore P Tom Mante ranks seventh in the nation and No. 2 in the Ivy with a 43.4 average. His long punt was 62 yards against Cornell and he has put the football inside opponent's 20-yard line seven times.

COMPARING FCS

The Elis rank second nationally in rushing with 327 yards per game and are 10th in scoring at 38. Yale is second in the FCS with a 2.0 turnover margin, fourth in scoring defense (12.0) and seventh in total defense (280.0). Penn has allowed the fewest sacks in the FCS.

ROAD WARRIORS

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.

TEAMMATES BEFORE COLLEGE

Yale TE Langston Johnson and Penn's Tyler Anthony were at Bellarmine Prep in Los Altos, Calif., together... Eli WR Chris Stanley and Quakers Matt Appenfelder and Marcus Lawrence played at Loyola High in Culver City, Calif... Bulldog Peter Boisi and Penn's Kevin Dooley teamed up at Chaminade in Massapequa, N.Y... Yale's WR Chris Solga wore the same uniform as Dave Kuncio and Joe Sandberg of Penn at Bergen Catholic, Wyckoff, N.J... Eli OL Landon Hairgrove played with Robbie Repass (Penn) at Grapevine High in Colleyville, Texas.

NUTMEG QUAKER

The only Penn player from Connecticut is Brian Levine, a freshman DB from Westport who attended Avon Old Farms.

FUCCILLO GAINS ATTENTION

Senior FB Joe Fuccillo is arguably the most punishing blocker on the Yale team and currently leads the team with 42 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. Last week he snared his first collegiate pass on a key third down against Lehigh.

DRIVING THE OFFENSE

Yale senior QB Matt Polhemus, who has a 5.6 average per rush, is now 13-2 as the starting QB. He has completed better than 52 percent of his passes this year and suffered just one interception.

JV PLAY OF THE WEEK

Freshman DB/WR Gio Christodoulou has two long punt returns for TDs already this year for the 2-1 Yale JV squad. Against Navy Prep last Sunday at Clint Frank Field, Christodoulou scampered 77 yards with a return in Yale's 35-13 win.

COACHING QUAKERS, BULLDOGS

Yale defensive line coach Duane Brooks and Joel E. Smilow '54 Associate Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator Rick Flanders were assistants at Penn under Al Bagnoli.

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 29 solos and 40 overall and five TFLs. He has six career interceptions. Both brothers earned 2006 All-Ivy recognition. Bobby earned Ivy Honor Roll status with seven solos last week.

MONACO THE KING

Senior OG Jeff Monaco, who was a pre-season The Sports Network third-team All-America selection, has been named Yale's OL MVP in four of the five games. The 6-foot-4, 290-pound lineman from McDonald, Pa., has started 25 straight games at three different spots on the OL.

APPLE FALLING CLOSE TO TREE

Senior DT Jared Hamilton, who has been the DL MVP twice this fall and has 15 straight starts, comes from a family of athletes. His father, Larry, won a 1984 national championship with the Brigham Young football team. Jared's mom (Tami) played volleyball at BYU and his sister (Ashley) plays volleyball at Eastern Washington, while one brother (Justin, 6-foot-10) will play basketball at Iowa State and another (Jordan) is a football/basketball star in high school.

SHARING BALL

Last fall Mike McLeod had 297 of Yale's 429 rushing attempts. He has 169 of the team's 282 (60%) 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 43 carries for 262 yards (6.2) with two TDs. Sophomore TD Jordan Farrell (18-91, 5.1) has also shown promise.

BULLDOG BITES

Senior All-Ivy center Nick Wachtler, who was injured at Georgetown and missed the next three games, saw some action against Lehigh... Junior DE Brady Hart, who has been making big plays all season, recorded his first career interception last week... Lehigh became the first opponent to score in the opening frame against Yale this fall; the Elis now have a 46-7 advantage in the first... The Bulldogs have four players who average 5.1 yards per carry or better... Yale is one of five undefeated teams ranked in the Sports Network Poll.

YALE PICKS

The Bulldogs have picked off 11 passes in five games and juniors account for all but one. LB Jay Pilkerton leads the league with four and is tied for fourth in the FCS in interceptions per game. DB Steven Santoro has three, while LB Bobby Abare (2) and DE Brady Hart (1) are the other third-year players with picks. Senior LB Lee Driftmier (1) is the only non-senior with an interception.

MEMORABLE Y-P MOMENTS

2006: Alan Kimball's 35-yard field goal in OT gave Yale a 17-14 victory at New Haven... 2003: Playing its first modern OT game, Yale fell to Penn at Franklin Field (34-31) after erasing a 31-10 deficit. The Blue tied the game with 32 seconds left but had a FG attempt blocked in the extra session... 1991: Nick Crawford '92 rushed for a Yale QB record 204 yards in a 31-12 Bulldog win at New Haven... 1987: WR Bob Shoop '88 capped off a miraculous comeback at Yale Bowl with a last-second TD reception in a 28-22 Yale victory... 1969: TV star Jack Ford `72 intercepted a Penn pass and went 77 yards for a score in a 21-3 Yale win... 1958: Herb Hallas '59 set a school record with a 94-yard punt return, but it was the only points in a 30-6 Quaker win.

KIMBALL FOR DRADDY

Senior PK Alan Kimball has been listed as one of the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame's 153 semifinalists for the 2007 Draddy Trophy and one of its candidates for the NFF 2007 National Scholar-Athlete Awards. One of college football's most sought after and competitive awards, the Draddy Trophy recognizes an individual as the absolute best in the country for his combined academic success, football performance and exemplary community leadership. The finalists will be announced on Oct. 25.

LEG UP AT YALE

Alan Kimball, who worked for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Washington, D.C., last summer, is eighth in the FCS and leads the Ivy League with 1.8 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; vs. Lehigh, 2007) equaled a career-high and his 15 points surpassed another. He now has 26 FGs, which is 10 behind career leader Mike Murawczyk (36). Kimball is 9-for-10 on FGs and has connected on all 23 PATs this fall. He missed his first and only FG attempt in the season opener and has hit nine straight since.

SURVEY SAYS

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.

CAPTAIN CRUNCH

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 shared one against Lehigh 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 who earned DL MVP honors vs. Lehigh.

FIRST TIME

Yale became 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. The Bulldogs and Penn have gone over 50 six times since formal league play began in 1956. Princeton (9), Brown (8) and Harvard (7) have done it more times.

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 1-4 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 23 catches and had his first TD last Sunday against Seattle... Nate Lawrie '04 is listed as the third-string TE for the offensive-minded Cincinnati Bengals (1-4), 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 3-3 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 358-187-21 (566 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 31.7 compared to 17.5 on the road.

OH BROTHER

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 CONNECTION

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 juniors C Ty Davis and LB Bobby Abare. 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 at Holy Cross. His school-record, 276-yard outing vs. Lehigh also brought the Camp honor. 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.

NETCASTS

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).

ON TV

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 was on NESN as the ECAC Game of the Week. WFMZ-TV and Fox Sports Atlantic aired the Oct. 13 Lehigh game in the Bowl. YES Network (WFAN Radio's Chris Carlin on play-by-play) has the Penn and Princeton games. 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.

report filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director