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Clash of Unbeaten Ivy Squads at Bowl Saturday

Clash of Unbeaten Ivy Squads at Bowl Saturday

Oct. 17, 2006

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The Yale football team (4-1, 2-0 Ivy), which has won its last four games, is back in Yale Bowl on the Class of 1954 Field this Saturday to host Penn (4-1, 2-0) in a clash of unbeaten Ancient Eight squads. Kickoff is 12:30 with a live broadcast and webcast on Comcast TV's CN8. 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).

How To Watch This Game

CN8 is part of Comcast Cable Systems that can be found in most cities from Boston to Delaware. The Yale-Penn game can also be viewed live on CN8's website,; look for the link that says "Watch CN8 Now."

Yale-Penn Series

Yale leads the series against the Quakers 42-30-1, though Penn has dominated in recent years, winning all but two of the last 14 meetings. The Bulldogs are 22-13 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.

The Coaches

Jack Siedlecki (Union '74), in his 10th season as the Joel E. Smilow '54 Head Coach of Football at Yale, won his 51st game with the Bulldogs last week. He is 107-65-2 as a collegiate head coach, 51-43 at Yale and 2-7 vs. Penn. Siedlecki has coached in four of the oldest rivalries in college football (Lehigh-Lafayette, Yale-Princeton, Yale-Harvard and Amherst-Williams). Penn's Al Bagnoli is 184-54 overall and 98-35 coaching the Quakers, including 12-2 against the Bulldogs. His only losses came in 1999 and 2000, both at Yale Bowl.

Blue Snaps Skid Against Lehigh

TB Mike McLeod, who ran for 204 yards, dove into the end zone from a yard out in overtime to lift Yale to a 26-20 win over Lehigh at Yale Bowl last week. A 20-yard pass from Matt Polhemus (26-18-0, 236 yds) to Chandler Henley (8-122) set up the winning score that ended a five-game Mountain Hawk win streak over the Bulldogs. The Yale defense came up big on the first OT possession and the visitors had to settle for a 30-yard field goal attempt that sailed wide left. The Blue, who avenged a 2005 OT loss at Bethlehem with 493 yards of total offense, got 10 tackles from LB Bobby Abare and two field goals (25, 19) from PK Alan Kimball, who had his first attempt blocked and hooked his last wide left with no time left in regulation.

Siedlecki on The Lehigh Game

"I really thought we did a great job up front on both sides of the ball. Brandt Hollander made a lot of plays. He had a great game and we put a lot of pressure on the quarterback. I'm a big believer in putting the ball in the hands of the guys that are your playmakers. When you've got guys like Chandler, when you've got guys like Mike, and when you've got guys like Matt that can make plays with their feet, the ball's got to be in their hands when the game is on the line. Good things will happen if you believe in yourselves. We're definitely growing as an offensive football team. I think defensively, as we get experience, we're going to get better."

Quakers Blank Lions

RB Joe Sandberg ran for 101 yards and scored twice and Penn's defense recorded its first shutout in two years in a 16-0 defeat of Columbia last Saturday. Rob Irvin passed for 185 yards and one score for Penn, which won its ninth straight over the Lions. Craig Hormann completed 22 of 45 passes for Columbia (3-2, 0-2), which gained only 28 yards on the ground. Derek Zoch's 31-yard field goal midway through the first period gave the Quakers a 3-0 lead, the first points allowed by Columbia in the first quarter this season. A fumble recovery by Penn's Brian Fairbanks at the Columbia 19 led to Penn's first touchdown, a 10-yard pass from Irvin to Sandberg with 7:06 left in the second quarter.

Last Year at Franklin Field

RB Sam Matthews rushed for three TDs as Penn scored the first 38 points over three quarters in a 38-21 win over Yale in a steady rain. Bulldog WR Ashley Wright hauled in scoring passes from 25 and 57 yards after QB Jeff Mroz connected with WR Todd Feiereisen for a 19-yard TD in a 21-point Yale fourth quarter. The Quakers rushed for 212 yards while holding Yale to 50 and starting TB Mike McLeod to 39.

Memorable Moments in the Yale-Penn Series

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.

McLeod Ranked 4th Among I-AA Backs

Sophomore TB Mike McLeod, who has 10 TDs (one receiving) in the last four games, ran for a career-high 204 yards (4th best at Yale) on a career-best 40 carries (2nd at Yale) in the 26-20 win over Lehigh. McLeod, who also had three catches for 51 yards and 255 yards of total offense, scored on a pair of one-yard runs, including the game-winner in OT. The New Britain, Conn., native had 96 rushing yards after two quarters last week. His Lehigh 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 four straight times in 2006, has improved his output each game this fall. He earned Ivy Offensive Player of the Week honors after wins over Lafayette and Dartmouth and was Walter Camp Yale Player of the Game in the Cornell, Lafayette and Lehigh games. His first career TD catch was a 41-yarder off a screen pass at Cornell. McLeod, who had three TDs in consecutive weeks (Cornell, Lafayette), is the first Bulldog to score three in consecutive games since John Pagliaro, who had three against Columbia and Penn in 1976. McLeod, who leads the Ivies and is fourth in I-AA with 148.2 per game, is third in scoring in I-AA with 12.0. He now has six career games with more than 100 yards rushing and has 10 of Yale's 15 TDs this fall.

Last 4 For McLeod

During the four-game win streak, Mike McLeod has rushed for 678 yards and nine TDs while producing 24 (21 rush, 3 pass) plays of 10 or more yards. Only Rich Diana '82 had more (684) yards (7 TD) during a four-game streak in his Yale career than McLeod. Diana, Dick Jauron (1970) and Paul Andrie (1982) are the only Bulldogs to have five straight games over 100 yards. McLeod has also had four straight 100+ games and three straight of 172 or more as his attempts have increased every game this fall.

Taking the Plunge

McLeod has also seen the ball in goal-line situations. He has seven one-yard TD runs (15 career TDs) and four of his nine rushing scores this fall have been from a yard out.

Polhemus Progression

Junior QB Matt Polhemus, who enjoyed a career-high 18 completions to seven different Elis against Lehigh for a career-best 236 yards, has improved every week since his first collegiate start against San Diego in week one. He had 36 rushing yards against Lehigh, including a 17-yard TD run. He now has three passing TDs and two rushing scores this fall.

Crazy 8

Yale's No. 8, captain Chandler Henley, who has eight career TD catches, has had a career-high eight catches the last two weeks (Dartmouth, Lehigh). His 122 yards against the Mountain Hawks is a career-best and he leads the team with 27 grabs for 350 yards, but he has yet to find the end zone.

The Scoop on Ashley

Senior WR Ashley Wright, who has a catch in 19 straight games dating to the end of the 2004 campaign, is second on the team with 12 catches for 252 yards. He has TDs of 63 and 43 yards this fall and ranks sixth all-time at Yale with 13 receiving scores.

First OT Win at Bowl

The win over Lehigh marked Yale's first OT win at Yale Bowl; the only other extra-session contest was last November's Ivy League record three-OT loss to Harvard. It was also Yale's second OT win overall. Chandler Henley figured significantly (TD catch on last play of regulation) in the other victory, a 27-24 2 OT game at Princeton. The Elis are now 2-3 in OT.

Hollander Ready to Break Out

Junior MG Brandt Hollander, who earned 2005 honorable mention All-Ivy honors with 19-22-41, including 7.5 TFL, has been the focus of opponent blocking schemes this fall. He is averaging just two tackles per game but broke out with four solos and his first sack of the year - on third down in overtime - against Lehigh.

Nose For the Ball

Sophomore FS Steve Santoro, whose first touch as a KOR man went 94 yards for Yale's first TD of the year against San Diego in the opener, became a defensive starter in week two and has made a huge impact. Santoro, fourth on the team with 22 (15-7) tackles, has had a hand (or a helmet) in five turnovers. He has two interceptions (Cornell, Lafayette) and three forced fumbles. Santoro returned a kick 91 yards against Dartmouth that was called back for a holding penalty.

Bulldog Bites

McLeod's 40 carries are second to Rich Diana's 46 (222 yards) at Princeton in 1981 but the most ever by a Bulldog at Yale Bowl... Junior PK Alan Kimball has a pair of field goals in each of the last two games... Yale's 79 plays, 493 yards of total offense and 55 penalty minutes against Lehigh were season-highs... Senior TE Dave Miller equaled his career-high with two catches against Lehigh... Freshman WR Jordan Farrell got his name called for the first time as a collegian when he blocked a Lehigh punt that set up Yale's shortest (4 plays, 2 yards) scoring drive of the year... As the Bulldogs gathered around coach Siedlecki on the field after the Lehigh game, the team was presented the Yank Townsend 1895 Trophy, which is awarded to the Yale-Lehigh winner each year... The last time the Blue had more than the 493 yards of offense produced vs. Lehigh was the 2005 game at Columbia (570)... The Gridiron Power Index (GPI) ranked the Ivy League sixth among I-AA conferences this fall behind The Great West, Atlantic 10, Gateway, Big Sky and Southern... DE Kyle Hawari was credited for a sack on Lehigh's initial two-point try, so Yale had two sacks on the day.

Leading the League

The Bulldogs lead the Ivies in rushing (206), third-down conversions (49%) and fourth downs (83). Sophomore FS/KR Steve Santoro is tops with a 24.9 KOR average, while TB Mike McLeod (148.2 rushing) and DE Brendan Sponheimer and DT Jared Hamilton (2 FR) are also leaders.

Abare, The Pair

Identical sophomore twin Yale defensive players LB Bobby (29-16-45) and DB Larry Abare (16-16-32) had another big day for the Blue with a combined 12-2-14 last week. One of the Abares has led the Eli defense in tackles in each of the last four games.

Turnovers Rule

The Bulldog defense has turned over its opponents seven times in the last three 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. Santoro forced a Lehigh fumble that was scooped up by DE Brendan Sponheimer. The Elis have recovered a fumble in four of the last five games while forcing a fumble in each contest. Yale has had an interception in three of the last four outings.

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

Nathan Ford threw a pair of TD passes in Cornell's 38-14 upset of Colgate at Ithaca. The Big Red (2-3, 0-2) jumped out to a 24-8 lead... Chris Pizzotti threw two TD passes and Clifton Dawson (144 yards rushing) tied the Ivy record for career rushing scores (52) as No. 15 ranked Harvard (5-0, 2-0) beat Lafayette 24-7... Mike DeSantis booted an 18-yard FG in OT to lift Holy Cross to a 24-21 win over Dartmouth (0-5, 0-2), which has lost nine straight games... No. 24 Princeton (5-0, 2-0) is off to its first 5-0 start since 1995 thanks to a 17-3 win over Brown Friday night at Old Nassau.

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 Columbia at Yale Bowl on the Class of 1954 Field next Saturday at noon in a game to be broadcast live on YES Network. Columbia was unbeaten in its non-league schedule but has lost to Princeton and Penn in league play.

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 have played regularly this fall. Rice had a career-high 5-1-6 against Lehigh, while Mante had a 51-yard punt at Dartmouth and has pinned opponents inside their 20 six 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 has already taken the honors four times this fall. 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 353-186-21 (560 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 Stephen Schmalhofer and TE Langston Johnson. The Galiette Luncheon interviews can be heard on Don Boyle's

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 (three TDs at Cornell), week three (172 rushing yards and three more scores) and week five (204 yards, two TDs). 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 and 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.

report filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director