October 28, 2008

Bulldogs and Lions in Bowl Saturday

Oct. 28, 2008

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The Yale football team (3-3, 1-2 Ivy), coming off a 9-7 loss to Penn last Saturday at home, hosts Columbia (1-5, 1-2 Ivy) this Saturday at the Yale Bowl and the Class of 1954 Field. The 12:30 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).

COLUMBIA-YALE SERIES

Yale, with a current, six-game win streak, holds a commanding lead in the series at 64-18-2. The Elis' .744 winning percentage against the Lions is their highest among all Ivy opponents. The Blue is 34-9-2 at home against the Light Blue, while Columbia has scored the fewest points against Yale of all Ivy opponents. The Lions have never won by more than 12 points, while the Bulldogs have won 47-0 in 1986 and 93-0 (most points ever allowed by Columbia) in 1883.

LAST YEAR AT NEW YORK

Yale, ranked No. 13 at the time, broke open a scoreless game in the third quarter with three rushing TDs by RB Mike McLeod on the way to a 28-7 win over the Lions on a rainy day at Wien Stadium. Backup RB Jordan Farrell notched the other Eli score, while the Yale defense generated five turnovers, including three in the rainy first half, to help keep the Bulldogs undefeated and tied for first in the Ivy League. The first half was as sloppy as the weather conditions, with three turnovers by the Lions and five by the Bulldogs.

TAIL OF THE SCALE

The Yale offensive line (285 average) has a 36-pound advantage over the Columbia defensive front (249), while the Lion OL (286) is 38 pounds heavier on average than the Bulldog DL (248).

COACHES

Norries Wilson (7-19 overall and at Columbia), the Patricia and Shepard Alexander Head Coach of Football, is in his third season with the Lions. Wilson, the 18th head coach at Columbia, was an assistant at Connecticut for four seasons before taking the job in New York. Jack Siedlecki (67-48 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 9-2 against Columbia.

SIEDLECKI ON THE PENN GAME

"This was an unbelievable defensive football game - we had 92 total yards, they had 186. It turned on the turnovers. We got our touchdown off Paul Rice's interception, they got their first score after our fumble. They shut us down in the run game, and they sacked our quarterback when we tried to put it down the field. We had a lot of mistakes, and unblocked guys in the backfield. We just did not give Brook Hart enough time to throw the football - we did not put him in a position to succeed. This is going to be a hard week. We've got to rally around each other."

QUAKER KICKER BEATS YALE

Andrew Samson missed his first attempt from 24 yards in the second quarter but hit all three (22, 27, 31) tries in the second half as Penn erased a 7-0 deficit to take a 9-7 win at the Bowl last Saturday. On a day of defense, the Quakers (186) and Bulldogs (92) combined for just 278 yards of total offense and 18 first downs while no scoring drive was longer than 41 yards. Yale CB Paul Rice (Cleveland Heights, Ohio) returned an interception 25 yards on Penn's first possession to set up Yale's only TD. HB John Sheffield (Portland, Ore.) caught a lateral pass in the flat and scored on what's listed as a seven-yard run.

LIONS BITE GREEN

Despite fumbling the ball six times (2 lost) on a windy and rainy afternoon in New York, Columbia earned its first win of the season with a 21-13 decision over Dartmouth last Saturday. The Lions trailed 14-13 in the fourth quarter before backup QB M.A. Olawale scored on a 10-yard run for the deciding points. Andy Shalbrack and Adam Mehrer picked off Big Green passes while Lou Miller, who leads the Ivy League with five sacks and is the brother of former Yale TE Dave Miller '07, had 2.5 sacks as the Lions held the visitors to 174 total yards.

DEFENSE COMES UP BIG AGAIN

They only came up with one takeaway last Saturday but the Yale defense, which has allowed just one TD over the last two games and three over the last 12 quarters, kept Penn out of the end zone all day. The Eli defenders held the Quakers to 186 yards of total offense, stopped 14 of 19 third-down attempts and only allowed points (3 FGs) on drives that averaged 24.3 yards.

LOTS OF PUNTS

Yale and Penn combined for 17 punts last Saturday on a day the offenses went a combined 7-for-33 on third downs. Tom Mante (Westford, Mass.) had eight for a 42.2 average, but Quaker punter/QB Kyle Olson pinned the Blue inside the 20 four times. Mante has a 41.2 average this year with 15 knocked inside the 20.

GOT TO HAVE HART

Sophomore QB Brook Hart (State College, Pa.) got his first collegiate start last week while his brother, senior Brady Hart, notched his first start since week No. 2. Brook, who completed 13 of 22 for 77 yards, saw his first action since the Dartmouth game and is now 33-for-51 with 321 yards and four TDs. He became the youngest (by class) Bulldog to start at QB since Jeff Mroz was behind center in 2002. Brady, who missed most of the last three games with an injury, had 5-1-6 against Penn.

INJURY SIDELINES FODOR

Senior QB Ryan Fodor (Madison, Conn.), who started Yale's first five games this fall, sat out the Penn game with an injury. He has completed 66-of-108 passes for 808 yards and six TDs this season.

3 TIED WITH THREE

Three Bulldogs are tied for the team lead with three interceptions this fall: junior CB Paul Rice (Cleveland Heights, Ohio), senior FS Steven Santoro (Airmont, N.Y.) and senior LB Bobby Abare (Acton, Mass.). The Elis, who have 13 picks this year, also have interceptions from sophomore CB Adam Money (Whiteland, Ind.), who has a pair, senior LB Jay Pilkerton (Nashville, Tenn.) and junior DT Tom McCarthy (Chester, N.J.).

MEMORABLE SERIES MOMENTS

The Lions did not allow Yale to complete a pass in a 1954 game but still lost 13-7... Columbia blanked a Yale team in 1961 (11-0) that was coming off an undefeated campaign. It was the fourth and last shutout of the Bulldogs by the Lions... Columbia QB Marty Domres, a future NFL QB, threw for 326 yards in 1966 for the Lions in a losing (44-21) effort. Yale QB Pete Doherty connected on a school-record five TD passes that day... Yale and NFL great Dick Jauron scampered 87 yards for the deciding score in a 28-14 win over Columbia in 1972... Ryan LoProto scored on two interceptions, including one from 67 yards, as Yale won 41-0 in 2000.

TRIPLE DIGITS

The Bulldogs are averaging 79.7 rushing yards per game this fall compared to 264.9 (8th in FCS) in 2007. The last time Yale averaged less than 100 yards rushing in a season was the year before Jack Siedlecki took over as head coach. The 1996 Bulldogs had 91.1 yards per game while going 2-8.

LACKING POINTS

Yale combined for 67 points this year during weeks three and four with a pair of wins. The Eli offense totaled 17 points the last two weeks, the lowest consecutive two-game total since the 2001 Bulldogs had 17 against Penn and Columbia.

7 POINTS

Yale has lost three games by a combined seven points, including the last two by two points each. The Blue had not lost a game by two points since a 26-24 decision against Brown in 1983.

BULLDOG BITES

Yale had seven tackles for lost yardage against Penn while DE Travis Henry (Lauderdale Lakes, Fla.) and DT Kyle Hawari (Plano, Texas) had sacks... The Elis have 14 sacks this year compared to 18 in 2007... The Yale JV team lost to Naval Prep 37-29 on Oct. 26... The Elis don't have a record for interception return yards in a season, but the 241 they have compiled this fall might be the most ever... Yale's 47 points against Georgetown remain a league-high for 2008.

ABARE ALL-TIME GREAT

Senior LB Bobby Abare (Acton, Mass.) has more career interceptions (9) than any LB in the history Yale football and more TDs (4) than any Eli defensive player in the modern era. His three interception returns for TD are also an all-time program best. Abare's 7-1-8 were a team-high against Penn, while he led all tacklers with 10-5-15, two sacks and picked up a fumble and returned it 86 yards for a TD against Fordham. He has been Ivy League Defensive Player of the Week as well as Yale's Walter Camp Football Foundation Player of the Game twice (Holy Cross, Fordham) this fall. 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 leads the team in tackles this fall. Abare 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.

TWIN STARTERS

LB Bobby Abare (captain) and SS Larry Abare, both in the class of 2009, make Yale 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 13-3-16 against Penn and lead the team in tackles this fall with 102 combined.

LEADING IVY

The Bulldogs lead the Ivy League in interceptions (13), sacks (14) and red zone defense (60.0), while LB Bobby Abare (Acton, Mass.), FS Steven Santoro (Airmont, NY) and CB Paul Rice (Cleveland Heights, Ohio) are tied with four others for the league lead in interceptions with three.

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. Senior 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 8-4-12 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 360-189-21 (569 games) at home. Since formal Ivy play began in 1956, the Elis are 120-76-3 vs. Ancient Eight foes at home.

EIGHT TO PREMIERE The documentary film called Eight: Ivy League Football and America will premiere on Saturday, Nov 1, at 4 p.m.on the New England Sports Network (NESN). The 90-minute documentary explores the unique role that Ivy League schools played in developing American football and looks at the many ways that football's development in the Ivy League mirrored American culture. Eight is narrated by two-time Tony Award winning actor Brian Dennehy (Columbia '60) and features interviews with Academy Award-winning actor Tommy Lee Jones (Harvard '69), Penn State Coach Joe Paterno (Brown '50), ESPN anchor Chris Berman (Brown '77), General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt (Dartmouth '78), former Secretary of State George Shultz (Princeton '42), College and Pro Football Hall of Famer Chuck Bednarik (Penn `49), four-time Pro Bowl running back Calvin Hill (Yale '69), Chicago Bears standout lineman Dan Jiggetts (Harvard '76), Heisman Trophy winner Dick Kazmaier (Princeton '52), actor and Heisman Trophy runner-up Ed Marinaro (Cornell '72), Intuit Chairman Bill Campbell (Columbia `62), and many others.

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. Penn was Parents Weekend while the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce Day is Nov. 1 with Columbia in town. 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 has 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 junior HB John Sheffield (Portland, Ore.) and senior FS Steven Santoro (Airmont, N.Y). 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.

Pos- Name (Hometown) Game Stats

WR- Jordan Forney (Bloomington, Ind.) Gtown 4-136, 2 TDs

SS- Larry Abare (Acton, Mass.) Cornell 12 tackles

LB- Bobby Abare (Acton, Mass.) Holy Cross 9 solos, 2 int

RB- Mike McLeod (New Britain, Conn.) Dartmouth 135 yards, TD

LB- Bobby Abare (Acton, Mass.) Fordham 10-5-15, 2 scks, FR TD

CB- Paul Rice (Cleveland Hts, Ohio) Penn 5-1-6, 25-yd int return

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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