Ivy Football Showdown at Yale Bowl

Ivy Football Showdown at Yale Bowl

Oct. 19, 2004

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The Yale football team (3-2, 1-1 Ivy) returns to the stretch drive of the Ivy League season this Saturday with defending champion Penn (4-1, 2-0) coming to Yale Bowl. The Bulldogs and the 25th ranked Quakers will kick it off at 1:07 p.m. with live TV coverage on Comcast CN8. You can listen to the game in Connecticut on WELI (960 AM) and WYBC (1340 AM). The Series Yale leads the series against the Quakers 42-28-1, though Penn has dominated in recent years, winning all but two of the last 12 meetings. Penn has won three of the last five. At Yale Bowl, the Elis lead the series 21-12. They are 21-16 in Philadelphia. There has not been a shutout in the last 20 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 last year's 34-31 OT decision.

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, currently the head football coach at Columbia, 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.

The 2004 Matchups The Penn defense is clearly the best in the Ancient Eight, allowing just 12.4 points per game and under 80 rushing yards, both of which rank third in I-AA. Robert Carr puts his 127-yard average (7th) up against that unit as he looks for his first big game against the Quakers. If weight becomes a factor in the matchup, Yale might have the edge in this area: The Penn defensive front averages 243 pounds while the Yale offensive line comes in at 287. You can also look to the other side where Penn's offense (OL avg. 287 lbs.) is averaging 31 points a game against a Yale defense (DL 257) that allows 21. Like last fall in the OT Penn victory, this one could come down to placekicking. Yale's Andrew Sullivan has made every field goal and PAT try this fall, while Penn's Evan Nolan is 3-for-8 on field goals and has missed one point-after boot.

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 2-5 as a head coach against Penn. On the other side, Al Bagnoli (10-2 vs. Yale), an East Haven native and Central Connecticut State graduate, is 90-33 with the Quakers in his 13th season and 175-52 overall as a head coach. Bagnoli began his head coaching career at Union, Siedlecki's alma mater. The two were also assistants together at Albany in the 1970s.

Lehigh Comes Back to Edge Elis Yale came up empty on two drives in the final 2:01 and fell to Lehigh 30-24 last Saturday at the Bowl. The Bulldogs had leads of 14-0 and 21-7 in the first half, but were limited to just three points in the second half as the 5-1 and 18th ranked Mountain Hawks mounted their comeback. A five-yard touchdown run by QB Mark Borda with 2:07 left proved to be the game-winner. The Bulldogs, who had blocked a Lehigh field goal attempt on the previous drive, manged to bat down the PAT kick as well. Yale WR Chandler Henley (Littleton, Colo.), who led all receivers with eight catches, looked like he might break away from the defensive backfield after making a catch on the ensuing series, but he was stripped of the football and Lehigh took over trying to run out the clock. The Bulldogs forced a three-and-out and created another chance that ended with a hail mary pass that went out of bounds as time expired. The loss spoiled a nice outing by Yale QB Alvin Cowan (Austin, Texas), who completed 23 passes for 287 yards and a score. The Mountain Hawks' defense came up with a big day in holding Robert Carr to 89 rushing yards and just a 3.3 average. On the other side, the Eli defense could not apply enough pressure on Borda (33-24-0, 291), who did not throw a TD but had plenty of time to find openings. RB Eric Rath ran for two TDs and caught two big passes for the visitors.

Defense Did Enough To Win The Yale defense may have given up 30 points last week against Lehigh, but this Eli unit did not get a rest in the second half. The visitors held the ball for all but 3:44 of the fourth quarter. For the first time in 2004 Yale scored first, while the Blue became the first Lehigh opponent to put points up in the first quarter this fall. For the first time this season, the Eli defense forced an opponent to go three-and-out on the first two series. The Mountain Hawks were the first team to be blanked in the first quarter by Yale this autumn. DB Barton Simmons (Nashville, Tenn.) led the Bulldogs with nine solos and 12 overall stops, while freshman DL Brandt Hollander (Indianapolis, Ind.) had a career-day with four solo stops and a sack.

Penn Keeps Columbia Winless Penn enjoyed Homecoming weekend by holding off Columbia, 14-3, at Franklin Field on Oct. 16 for its 17th-straight Ivy League victory. The Quakers, who were ranked No. 25 in last week's Sports Network Poll, scored touchdowns in the first and fourth quarters to keep the Lions out of the win column. The numbers were relatively even but the Red and Blue defense just does not allow much red zone production. In the first, junior QB Pat McDermott (32-20-0, 209 yards, 2 TD) found senior WR Dan Castles (7-59) in the end zone for a two-yard touchdown catch with 7:36 remaining. Castles, who needs two more TD catches to break the Penn record, ranks 14th in receptions per game (6.80) and is 15th in yards (91.60).

Bulldogs vs. Ranked Teams Yale is now 1-1 against teams ranked in the Sports Network/CSTV and ESPN/USA Today I-AA national polls. The Elis beat Colgate (20) on Oct. 2 for their first win ever against a ranked squad, but fell on Oct. 16 to No. 18 Lehigh. No. 25 Penn (Sports Network/CSTV only), the only ranked Ivy squad, is next this Saturday.

Carr Racing Into Records Senior TB Robert Carr (Baytown, Texas) is third in I-AA all-purpose yardage (189.90) and seventh in rushing (127.0) this fall. His two TD runs against Lehigh moved him into a second-place tie with Dick Jauron on the Yale career list with 27 needs 135 yards to pass Rashad Bartholomew (3,015) for the career rushing record. His 132 all-purpose yards last week moved him atop the school's career mark (3,806) and he is 23 attempts shy of that Yale record. Carr 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 at Dartmouth were a career-best, has gone over the century mark in 11 collegiate games (3 of 5 in 2004) and owns the Yale single-game record with 235 yards against Cornell in 2002. Carr, the Oct. 4 Ivy Offensive Player of the Week, leads the Ivies in 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.

Rare Breed Junior Tyson Crawford (Dallas, Texas) is a rare breed -- for good reasons -- both on and off the field. His combination of starting punter, starting short snapper and backup fullback are likely to be unprecedented (national survey still in progress) in college football this season. Crawford has averaged better than 40 yards punting the last two weeks and now has a 38-yard average this season with seven kicks landing inside the opponent 20. He had already distinguished himself two summers ago when he worked in Moscow as an intern in the corporate financing office of a Russian oil company. Crawford was born and raised in Massachusetts before his family moved to Texas before high school.

Cowan Ties Yale TD Pass Record Senior QB Alvin Cowan (Austin, Texas), who had his third straight 200-yard passing day (23 for 34, 287 yards) last week, tied Joe Walland's career TD passing record with his 35th on an eight-yard toss to senior WR Ralph Plumb in the first quarter. He has thrown a TD pass in all five games and needs 496 yards to pass Walland (4,832) on that career list. He also needs 18 pass attempts and 728 yards of total offense to reach the top of those career categories. 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 10 times in five games this season. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound former captain, who owns 17 school records and is now second in two 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 14 PAT tries and four field goal attempts. He nailed a career-long, 38-yarder against Lehigh. 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 three times 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 seven TD passes over the last three weeks, while Robert Carr has 422 rushing yards in those games. Hennessey also did a job on Big Green DE Ryan Conger, a 2003 first-team All-Ivy pick, while the captain helped Yale accumulate 385 yards of total offense against a powerful Lehigh defense.

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 (Morrilton, 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 and Dieffenbacher had one in week five against Lehigh.

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 (836).

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. WR Ralph Plumb and DL Nick Campbell join the coach this week, while Penn head coach Al Bagnoli 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 18-15 in October and 12-12 in November.

The Joel E. Smilow '54 Head Coach of Football Says... "We played our best offense by far when we had those three huge drives in the first half. But in the second half Lehigh made some adjustments and we missed a couple connections. The biggest thing was we didn't run the ball effectively. Lehigh was able to get into a rhythm with their quarterback. We'll watch the tape and I'm sure there will be 10 plays where we had them shut down and it turned into a quarterback scramble. We didn't create any turnovers ­ they threw it to us a couple times and we didn't catch it. This was a great game against a great team. We've got Penn next week, and we've got to come out and play the way we played in the first half against Lehigh. Last year against Penn it took us a while. This could be a game like the Lehigh game, and we've got to find a way to win.."

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 352-179-22 (552 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 drew 17,089 on Youth Day, while 13,123 were on hand for Lehigh last week.

Bulldog Bites The fourth quarter fumble by WR Chandler Henley was the first lost by Yale this season... Sophomore RB Jordan Spence (Colleyville, Texas) had a career-high four catches for 32 yards and added 13 rushing yards... Sophomore WR Ashley Wright (Mobile, Ala.) snared his first catch as a Bulldog.... Yale's 94-yard drive that resulted in a 14-0 lead for the home team against Lehigh was the longest of 2004... The official I-AA Gridiron Power Index last week included Harvard (16), Penn (21) and Yale (40)... The Bulldogs were hoping that injured LB Ken Estrera (Dallas, Texas) might return late this season, but it looks like that will not happen.

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 45 catches ( 484 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 Lehigh Cowan QB 287 passing yards

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.