October 21, 2008

Bulldogs Host Penn at Bowl Saturday

Oct. 21, 2008

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Yale football team (3-2, 1-1 Ivy), coming off a 12-10 loss at Fordham, is back in Ivy League play this Saturday with the Penn Quakers (3-2, 2-0) coming to Yale Bowl and the Class of 1954 Field at 12:30. The game can be seen live on the YES Network (DirecTV 631) and heard live on WELI-AM 960 (960weli.com) and WYBC-AM 1340 (wybc.com).

PENN-YALE SERIES

Yale leads the series against the Quakers 44-30-1, though Penn has dominated in recent years, winning 12 of the last 16 meetings. Penn had won seven straight at Franklin Field until last fall. The Bulldogs are 23-13 at New Haven against the Philadelphians. There has not been a shutout in the last 22 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 last two games, and three of the last five, have gone to OT.

LAST MEETING

A goal-line stand by the Yale defense in the third overtime finished off a thrilling 26-20 win at Penn. The stand came after a one-yard TD run by Mike McLeod put the Bulldogs ahead. On the final stand Yale turned aside three runs by Penn and then saw the 15th penalty of the game negate a game-tying score. CB Casey Gerald knocked away the final pass in the end zone to end a near four-hour contest. LB Jay Pilkerton and FS Steven Santoro were sidelined with injuries and McLeod broke a bone in his toe before finishing with 147 yards on 35 carries.

TAIL OF THE SCALE

The Yale offensive line (285 average) has a 41-pound advantage over the Penn defensive front (244), while the Quaker OL (273) is 25 pounds heavier on average than the Bulldog DL (248).

Offense

Yale, Penn

Rushing Yards, 92.6, 100.6

Passing Yards, 212.2, 201.6

Total Offense, 304.8, 302.2

Scoring, 27.2, 19.2

Defense

Rushing Yards, 81.6, 117.6

Passing Yards, 227.8, 140.0

Total Defense, 309.04, 257.6

Scoring, 14.2, 14.2

RAMS EDGE ELIS

The Yale defense stole the show with four turnovers and a TD but the Bulldog offense couldn't cash in on its chances in a 12-10 loss at Fordham. Adam Danko's 20-yard FG with 14 seconds left was the game-winner on a day the Elis were outgained 435 to 182 and had the ball 17 minutes less than the Rams. Yale had leads of 3-0 and 10-7 but couldn't hold on to them. An 86-yard fumble return for a score by captain Bobby Abare (Acton, Mass.) gave the Blue its second lead before Yale RB Mike McLeod (New Britain, Conn.) was tackled in his own end zone for a safety that cut the margin to one.

DEFENSE SHINES IN PENN WIN OVER LIONS

Led by Britton Ertman's two interceptions the Penn defense forced five turnovers in a 15-10 win over Columbia last week at Franklin Field. Andrew Samson booted a pair of FGs for the home team. The Lions had more yards of total offense and had more first downs, but kept giving the ball back to the Quakers, who combined for 17 yards on 15 plays on their scoring drives. The Quakers lead the league in pass defense and total defense.

COACHES

Al Bagnoli, the George A. Munger Head Coach of Football at Penn, is 115-48 at Penn in his 17th season and 201-67 in his 27th season as a collegiate head coach. Bagnoli, who is 12-4 against the Elis, and his Yale counterpart coached together as Albany assistants in the 1970s. Jack Siedlecki (67-47 at Yale), the Joel E. Smilow '54 Head Coach of Football and the 2007 New England Coach of the Year, is in his 21st season as a college head coach. He is 4-7 against the Quakers.

SIEDLECKI ON THE FORDHAM GAME

"This was a strange football game. Fordham had the ball for 24 minutes in the second half, but the amazing thing was we went ahead on Bobby Abare's fumble return. But what cost us was the fact that we put our defense on the field for basically the entire second half; Fordham ran twice as many plays as we did. We did not play well offensively. We couldn't put a drive together - too many mistakes. Still, our defense almost pulled it out with the big plays. Our punting game got them 80-90 yards away and gave us some opportunities. But in the end, they made the big drive to win the game. You've got to give them credit."

ABARE IVY PLAYER OF WEEK

Senior LB Bobby Abare (Acton, Mass.) had one of the greatest defensive days ever for a Bulldog last Saturday. He led all tacklers with 10-5-15, had two sacks and picked up a fumble and returned it 86 yards for a TD while holding Fordham to its fewest points of 2008. That earned him Ivy League Defensive Player of the Week as well as Yale's Walter Camp Football Foundation Player of the Game. The Yale captain's nine career interceptions are the most ever for a Yale LB and rank ninth on the school's all-time list. Abare earned Yale's first league honor of 2008 when he was named Ivy League Defensive Player of the Week for his 10 tackles and two interceptions against Holy Cross. Abare, a candidate for the 2008 Buchannan Award for the top defensive player in FCS, is a two-time first-team all-league pick who was honorable mention All-America last fall. He was also Yale's Walter Camp Player of the Game with a game-high nine solos (10 overall) and an interception return for a TD against the Crusaders. He leads the team in tackles with 34-14-48 (5.5 TFL, 3 ints) this fall. He has three career interception returns for TDs. Abare, eighth in the FCS with a .60 interception average, has also been a great promotion for Yale football off the field. He and Harvard captain Matt Curtis threw out first pitches on Sept. 2 at Fenway Park before a Red Sox game to promote the 125th playing of The Game this November at Boston.

BEST DEFENSIVE PLAY

On a day where the defense stole the show for the Bulldogs and his brother returned a fumble 86 yards for a TD, senior SS Larry Abare was all over the field. Abare, who had 9-2-11, made an improbable open-field tackle on Fordham RB Xavier Martin's 29-yard run that appeared to be headed for a 56-yard scoring jaunt.

TURNOVERS

CB Paul Rice (Cleveland Heights, Ohio) and FS Steven Santoro (Airmont, NY) had interceptions at Fordham. Junior DT Tom McCarthy (Chester, NJ), who had a career-high 7-2-9, and LB Bobby Abare (TD) recovered fumbles. Senior DT Kyle Hawari (Plano, Texas) and senior DT Eric Vidal (Uniondale, NY) forced fumbles. The Blue has forced 12 turnovers in the last three weeks. The Elis, who have eight picks over the last three weeks, now have 12 interceptions in five games compared to 20 over 10 games last season. Yale has returned three picks for TDs this fall (most since 1996 team had four) but did not take an interception for six points in 2007.

MANTE BOOM

Junior P/PK Tom Mante (Westford, Mass.) was one of the most valuable Elis at Fordham. He punted for a 45.4 average with three boots over 50 yards and three that landed inside the 20 yard line. Mante split the uprights on a 20-yard FG, connected on a PAT and made a TD saving tackle on a kickoff. He now has 14 punts inside the 20.

100 HELPS

Since 1946, Yale is 162-43-1 (99-26 at the Bowl) when a Bulldog rushes for 100 yards or more. The Elis are 18-3 when Mike McLeod (two 100-yard games in 2008) goes triple digits. Two of the losses came in 2005 (at San Diego, Holy Cross) and the other was in 2006 (Princeton). Yale has not had a RB other than McLeod go over 100 yards since Robert Carr went for 161 in a 21-9 win over Princeton in 2004.

TWIN STARTERS

LB Bobby Abare (captain) and SS Larry Abare, both in the class of 2009, are one of three Division I teams with twins starting together on defense. The Acton, Mass., fraternal twins, who were both three-sport captains at Acton-Boxboro High School, led their football team to a 50-0 mark and four state titles before coming to New Haven. Rutgers (CBs Jason and Devin McCourty) and Eastern Washington (LB Zach and S Matt Johnson) are the other two schools with twins starting on defense. The Abares combined for 19-7-26 at Fordham and lead the team in tackles this fall.

BULLDOG BITES

Paul Rice (Cleveland Heights, Ohio) picked off a fourth-down Fordham pass in the end zone and now has one pick in each of his three collegiate campaigns... The Bulldogs were perfect (5-for-5) on fourth-down conversions in 2008 until a Mike McLeod draw play failed in the second quarter at Fordham... The Rams, with two sustained drives that resulted in turnovers, had the ball for 13:20 of the third quarter and 25 minutes of the second half.

QUAKER PERSPECTIVE

Yale defensive line coach Duane Brooks, offensive assistant and special teams coordinator Shawn Halloran and Joel E. Smilow `54 Associate Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator Rick Flanders were assistants at Penn under Al Bagnoli.

OFFENSIVE DEFENSE

The Yale defense has scored four TDs this fall. LB Bobby Abare (Acton, Mass.) has an interception and a fumble return for scores. CBs Paul Rice (Cleveland Heights, Ohio) and Adam Money (Whiteland, Ind.) have picks for TDs.

MEMORABLE Y-P MOMENTS

2007: Yale's goal-line stand followed a TD run by Mike McLeod in the third OT... 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.

LEADING IVY

The Bulldogs lead the Ivy League in scoring defense (14.2, 3rd in FCS), turnover margin (1.60, 3rd in FCS), rushing defense (81.60, 9th FCS), sacks (2.40), interceptions (12 total) and pass efficiency (145.8). DT Joe Hathaway (Clifton, N.J.) leads the Ancient Eight with four sacks, while LB Bobby Abare (Acton, Mass.), FS Steven Santoro (Airmont, NY) and Penn's Chris Wynn lead the Ivy with three interceptions.

McLEOD BACK FOR MORE

He limped off the field a few times last Saturday, but senior TB Mike McLeod (New Britain, Conn.), a Payton Award candidate and 2007 All-American, kept coming back to carry the ball for the Bulldogs. His 21 carries at Fordham were the fewest of 2008, but he had a few big runs (65 net on the day) and caught two passes for 23 yards. This fall McLeod became the sixth Ivy player to rush for more than 4,000 yards. He is second among active FCS players with 21 career 100-yard games. The 5-foot-11, 200-pound RB, who was the 2007 Ivy League MVP, already owns all the major Yale career rushing records including TDs (51) and rushing yards (4,138).

FODOR LOOKING FOR BREAKOUT

Senior QB Ryan Fodor (Madison, Conn.) completed 10 of 16 passes for 120 yards last week but was sacked four times (-27 yards), fumbled once and had 47 fewer plays to work with than the Rams. He entered the season with five career pass attempts.

ALSO ANCIENT EIGHT BESTS

Sophomore CB Adam Money (Whiteland, Ind.) has the longest interception return in the Ivy League this fall with a 60-yarder for a score against Georgetown. Senior LB Bobby Abare's 86-yard fumble return at Fordham is also a league best. Seior DT Joe Hathaway's three sacks against Georgetown are also a league high for 2008.

HAYNES GETS NFF AWARD

Freshman LB Jordan Haynes (Folsom, Calif.), who sees action on the Yale special teams, is one of five college football players selected by the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame as a 2008 High School Scholar-Athlete. Haynes and the other honorees will be acknowledged on Dec. 9 in Manhattan at an NFF luncheon at the Waldorf Astoria. He is the West Region representative from Jesuit High School in Sacramento, Calif.

GERALD NAMED SEMIFINALIST FOR DRADDY AWARD

Senior CB Casey Gerald (Dallas, Texas), who is a Gates Scholar with a 3.68 GPA in political science, has been named a semifinalist for the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame's Draddy Award. Gerald, who is applying for a Rhodes Scholarship (interested in philosophy and development studies), has already been admitted to Harvard Business School (MBA). He received the 2008 Levi Jackson (former Yale captain) Scholarship for character, intellect, achievement and leadership. Gerald has 5-4-9 and one PBU this fall.

GOLDEN STATE OF YALE

Members of the 2008 Yale team come from 24 different states and the District of Columbia. California has the most with 12 while Connecticut, Texas, New Jersey and Ohio each have nine.

KENNEY FAMILY

The construction that will occur around the press box and halftime room is the start of the Kenney Family Field Center, which will include team meeting rooms, an alumni room with views of the field and a rooftop terrace.

GRAND ENTRANCE

Coming soon to the Bowl area is the Jensen Plaza, the grand entrance to the venue that will have names of every student-athlete who suited up for the gridiron Bulldogs.

35 SENIORS

The Yale Football class of 2009 is the largest group of seniors Jack Siedlecki has ever had. Considering that Yale had 30 spots for recruits when this class arrived, this is an impressive number. Twenty-one seniors are listed on the Yale (2-deep) depth chart.

BULLDOGS LOVE BOWL

Since opening the national historic landmark in 1914, the Blue has gone 360-188-21 (569 games) at home. Since formal Ivy play began in 1956, the Elis are 120-75-3 vs. Ancient Eight foes at home.

12 STARTERS

Only 11 players are allowed on both sides of the line of scrimmage, but the Bulldogs list a dozen starters on offense. That's because Yale does not always begin games in the same scheme. The Elis either start with H-Back John Sheffield (Portland, Ore.), who leads the team with 24 grabs and 251 yards, or FB Shebby Swett (Bow, N.H.), but both are considered "starters" on the depth chart.

MEN OF YALE

The men who play football at Yale are an impressive group. Here are some facts and figures to support that. 74 captained their high school football teams 56 captained other high school sports 52 were members of National Honor Society 19 were National Football Foundation Scholar-Athletes 5 were senior class valedictorians 4 were senior class salutatorians

PRESIDENTIAL VOTE

Yale and the U.S. Presidency have been linked for the last 19 years. Four of the last six -- including the last three -- U.S. presidents attended Yale either as undergraduates or for graduate school, and a few former Yale football players currently work in the White House. The current Bulldogs are comprised of 49 percent republicans and 31 percent democrats while the rest have other affiliations. Senior CB Casey Gerald (Dallas, Texas) was voted by his teammates as the Bulldog most likely to become U.S. President.

SURVEY SAYS

The Elis voted on team superlatives this fall and here are the results (Most or Best):

Hardest Working: LB Bobby Abare

Humorous: CB Casey Gerald

Intelligent: LB Matt Plummer

Athletic: RB Mike McLeod

Leader (other than captain) CB Casey Gerald

Competitive: LB Bobby Abare

Clutch: RB Mike McLeod

Underrated: DE Brady Hart

Strongest: LG Stephen Morse

Toughest: LB Bobby Abare

Musical: WR Jarren Simmons

Likely to Coach: QB Richie Scudellari

Strangest Hobby: DT Joe Hathaway (Star Wars memorabilia)

BOWLing FOR PROMOS

Each 2008 Yale home game is a special day at the Bowl. The season opener was Yale Employee Day. Holy Cross came to New Haven on Oct. 4 on Yale Youth Day. The next home game is Parents Weekend with the Penn Quakers playing on the Class of 1954 Field. Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce Day is Nov. 1 with Columbia in town, while the "Fill the Bowl" promotion highlights the Nov. 15 Princeton game. Contact Yale Assistant AD for Marketing Pat O'Neill (Patrick.oneill@yale.edu) or intern Bob Coppola (sports.marketing@yale.edu) for more details.

YALE ON YES

The 2008 Yale Football Team will have three straight Ivy League contests broadcast live on the YES Network as part of a package called Yale on YES. The YES games are Oct. 25 (Penn at Yale), Nov. 1 (Columbia at Yale) and Nov. 8 (Yale at Brown). All three telecasts begin at 12:30 p.m.

VERSUS HAS IVY

The Ivy League has an agreement with VERSUS for a 2008 football TV package. VERSUS (73 million homes) will televise five Ancient Eight games as the Ivy League Game of the Week, Presented by TIAA-CREF. This is the first time since the early 1990s that Ivy football has been packaged together nationally. Here are the TV games on Versus: Oct. 11 - Cornell at Harvard (noon); Oct. 25 - Dartmouth at Columbia (4:00); Nov. 1 - Brown at Penn (noon); Nov. 15: Princeton at Yale (noon); Nov. 22: Yale at Harvard (noon). Versus also airs Pac-10, Big-12 and Mountain West games.

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. (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. It is best to email Steve Conn (steven.conn@yale.edu) to arrange a meeting at least a day before you would like to speak with a player or coach.

OH BROTHER

There are three sets of brothers on the Yale roster including two-deep members LB Bobby and SS Larry Abare (Acton, Mass.) and DE Brady and QB Brook Hart (State College, Pa.). DE Jack and DB Marcus Wallace (Germantown, Wisc.) are also on the roster.

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 2008 is no exception. Two current starters are from the Nutmeg State. QB Ryan Fodor (Hand of Madison) was the Coca-Cola Player of the Year in Connecticut while RB Mike McLeod (New Britain High) was the New Haven Register's Player of the Year. Alex Thomas '12 (Ansonia) was everyone's 2007 state player of the year.

GALIETTE MEDIA LUNCHEON

This Tuesday at noon, Yale head coach Jack Siedlecki will be joined by P/PK Tom Mante (Westford, Mass.) and DT Kyle Hawari (Plano, Texas). The Galiette Luncheon interviews can be seen live 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 and will be inducted into the National Football Foundation's College Hall of Fame this December.

FATHER OF FOOTBALL

For the 10th 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 every game. Walter Camp (class of 1880), 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. Here are the 2008 recipients.

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, who was part of NBC's Olympic coverage this past summer, is in his third year as play-by-play announcer. Yale football coaching legend Carm Cozza, a 2003 College Football Hall of Fame inductee, is in his 11th season as color commentator. WELI's George DeMaio begins home game coverage from the Bowl with a half-hour tailgate party broadcast that includes Vaccaro and Yale Sports Publicity Director Steve Conn.

MUST SEE YALE TV

The Bulldogs have six games on TV this year. After playing at Dartmouth on NESN, "Yale on YES" airs three straight Ivy games before Versus covers the Princeton and Harvard tilts with the last of a five-game Ivy League Game of the Week package.

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. The show is hosted by Anthony Brooks, Sam Purdy '10 and Alex Jenson '09.

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, 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). New this year are video netcasts which are taped at Mory's and available for viewing each week at yalebulldogs.com.

release filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director

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