Blue Goes For 7 Straight Wins

Blue Goes For 7 Straight Wins

Oct. 30, 2006

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Yale football team (6-1, 4-0 Ivy), which has won its last six games, is on the road this week after three straight home games. The Bulldogs travel this Saturday to Providence to take on Brown (3-4, 2-2) in a noon kickoff at Brown Stadium. All the action can be seen live on the YES Network. 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).

Watching YES

YES Network is available on many cable systems as well as DirecTV channel 622. Former New York Giant TE Howard Cross provides the color while the radio voice of the New York Yankees, John Sterling, handles the play-by-play. Chris Shearn (YES) is on the sideline for YES.

Yale-Brown Turning Into Great Rivarly

The Bulldogs may have won better than 70 percent (74-31-5) of the meetings with Brown heading into the 111th contest, but the Bears have won six of the last seven. Yale has blanked Brown 37 times, which is the most for any Bulldog opponent, though the last was in 1996. Of the 110 meetings, only 27 have come at Brown Stadium, where the Blue is 15-9-3. The two rivals met in New Haven 32 consecutive years (1926-57) and Yale has a 58-22-2 advantage at Yale Bowl.

Memorable Moments in the Yale-Brown Series

The Bears and Bulldogs combined for a series-record 99 points in the 2003 game at Yale Bowl, a 55-44 Brown victory... DB Ben Blake blocked Brown's PAT attempt in the closing seconds of the 1999 game as the visitors attempted to tie the game. However, Bear TB Mike Powell picked up the loose ball and lateraled to FB Rob Scholl, who rambled into the end zone for the two-point conversion and a 25-24 victory... WR Jake Borden hauled in a 27-yard TD pass from Joe Walland with six seconds left as Yale pulled out a 30-28 game at Providence in 1998... Chris Hetherington, a Yale QB who later became an NFL fullback, rushed for 166 yards and passed for 223 in a win over Brown in 1995... In a matchup of defending co-champions, Yale's goal-line stand prevented the Bruins (that's what they used to be called) from converting a first-and-goal from the two-yard line with under a minute to play in a 10-9 Eli victory at the Bowl in 1977.

Bulldogs Run Past Lions

TB Mike McLeod rushed for 129 yards and a TD and LB Bobby Abare returned an interception 52 yards for another score as Yale remained unbeaten in Ivy League play with a 21-3 victory over Columbia on a soggy day at Yale Bowl Class of '54 Field. McLeod's 20-yard scamper down the right sideline put Yale ahead for good late in the first half before Abare, who led a defense that allowed just 54 rushing yards, put the game away at 4:56 of the third with his first career pick. TB Matt Murray closed out the scoring in the closing seconds with a one-yard run. Yale QB Matt Polhemus (17-9-0, 91 yards) completed a number of difficult throws on the run while also picking up some important yardage scrambling out of the pocket. SS Larry Abare led the Blue with six solos and seven overall stops. DT Jared Hamilton and DE Michael McGinity both recorded sacks.

Looking at Columbia Game Stats

Yale had a season-high of 14 penalties and 105 yards... Jon Rocholl's 41-yard FG and 64-yard punt were both season longs for Yale opponents this fall... The Bulldogs had the ball for nearly 13 minutes more (12 more plays) than the Lions and more than 13 minutes in the fourth quarter alone.

Bears Bite Quakers

Joe DiGiacomo passed for 340 yards and two touchdowns, and Steve Morgan kicked a 25-yard field goal in overtime to give Brown a 30-27 victory over Penn on Saturday. Brown (3-4, 2-2 Ivy League) opened the game by scoring on its first two possessions for a 10-0 lead. Morgan kicked a 36-yard field goal on the first drive, and then DiGiacomo took Brown 93 yards on a drive that was capped by a 9-yard scoring run by Akin Oyalowo.

Alone at the Top

There are still three big games left in 2006 but Yale is alone at the top of the Ivy League with a 4-0 mark. This is the first time the Elis have enjoyed this position in the second half of the league campaign since 1989. Yale was undefeated in Ivy play until falling to Harvard in the season finale at the Bowl.

Scoring First

Columbia scored first last week, breaking a string of five straight games that the Elis made the initial tally. The Blue did not get on the board until there was 1:06 left in the first half. TB Mike McLeod was so happy to put up points and take the lead he did a flip as he crossed the goal line, a mistake that cost Yale 15 yards on the ensuing kick.

Scoring By Quarters

Yale has outscored opponents in each of the first three quarters as well as in OT (9-0), but trails in fourth quarter scoring 41-35.

Murray Classic

Senior backup TB Matt Murray did a great job spelling Mike McLeod during the first three quarters and then took over in the fourth on a game-ending, 10-minute drive. Murray, who had a career-best 12 carries for 55 yards, finished it off with a one-yard TD run with five seconds left. The classic ball-control possession took 17 plays and covered 84 yards.

Hamilton At A Loss

DT Jared Hamilton, who had two solo tackles in the win over Columbia, picked up both stops on consecutive plays in the fourth quarter. He stopped Lion RB James Cobb two yards behind the line of scrimmage before sacking QB Craig Hormann for a nine-yard loss on the next snap.

Got To Have Hart

Sophomore Brady Hart, who made the 2005 Yale travel squad as a backup PK but did not have any attempts, has now started two games at DE after his best performance last week. Against Columbia, Hart recorded his first career interception (last play of first half) and knocked down another Columbia pass.

Less Air Time

Yale receivers have become accustomed to more passes flying their way in recent years. This year, the Bulldogs have attempted just 147 passes out of 446 plays, so pass plays have accounted for 33 percent of Yale's calls. Over the last four seasons, the Elis have averaged 337 passing attempts (47%) with 716 total plays.

Bulldog Bites

Sophomore CB Casey Gerald blocked a Columbia FG attempt... Yale averages about a dozen yards less than its opponents but has managed to win six of seven games... Eight Bulldogs have scored TDs this fall compared to 10 last year... DE Kyle Hawari leads the team with 3.0 sacks; five Elis have made sacks this season for a total of eight... Thirteen (same as 2005) Yale defenders have double-digit solo tackle numbers this season.

Siedlecki on The Columbia Game

"I think we did what we had to do in this game. Their team played hard the whole game. It was a tough game early. The penalties absolutely killed us. We had four possessions in the first half and three were stopped by penalties; on the other drive we scored. Our defense came up with some huge plays in the second half. Obviously Bobby Abare's play was a huge play to give us some cushion. On that final drive we ran 10:30 off the clock and they had no opportunity to come back on us."

The Coaches

Jack Siedlecki (Union '74), in his 10th season as the Joel E. Smilow '54 Head Coach of Football at Yale, won his 53nd game with the Bulldogs last week. He is 109-65-2 as a collegiate head coach, 53-43 at Yale and 2-7 vs. Brown. Siedlecki has coached in four of the oldest rivalries in college football (Lehigh-Lafayette, Yale-Princeton, Yale-Harvard and Amherst-Williams). Brown mentor Phil Estes (54-32 overall and at Brown), the Howard D. Williams '17/Joseph Paterno '50 Football Coaching Chair, is 6-2 against Yale.

Last Year at Yale Bowl

Nick Hartigan rushed for 192 yards and four TDs as Brown controlled the ball for most of the game in a 38-21 victory before 21,719 at the Bowl. Yale QB Jeff Mroz (37-25-1) threw a pair of TD passes to Ashley Wright (5-81) while backup TB Jordan Spence peeled off the longest run of the season with a 51-yard TD dash.

McCarthy Finalist for Draddy Trophy

Yale left tackle Ed McCarthy `07 (Fairfield, Conn.) has been named to the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame 2006 Scholar-Athlete Team. He is the seventh Bulldog to earn this award since 1967, the year his father, Rick McCarthy `68, was named to the team. They are the only father-son combination from the same school to earn this award. McCarthy, who has helped the Elis win six of their first seven games this fall, was Yale's offensive line MVP eight times last year and has already taken the honors five times in seven games in 2006. McCarthy, the 2003 Ivy Rookie of the Year (only lineman in league history to win it) 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 uncle, Ed McCarthy `65, also played for the Bulldogs. The current Yale star was 2005 Academic All-Ivy pick.

McLeod Sets Standard

Mike McLeod is the first Yale runner to reach 100 yards in six straight games. He is eight yards shy of 1,000 and 43 short of the school's record for a sophomore. The overall season record is 1,442 by Rich Diana in 1981. McLeod's 11 rushing TDs are fifth best for a season at Yale.

McLeod Ranked 4th Among I-AA Backs

Sophomore TB Mike McLeod (New Britain, Conn.), who has 12 TDs (one receiving) in the last six games, is ranked fourth among I-AA runners with a 141 yard average and is fifth in all-purpose yardage (158). On Oct. 14 he ran for a career-high 204 yards (4th best at Yale) on a career-best 40 carries (2nd at Yale) and scored the game-winner in the 26-20 OT win over Lehigh. 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. 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 leads the Ivies in rushing but is second in all-purpose running to Harvard's Clifton Dawson. He now has eight career games with more than 100 yards rushing and has 12 of Yale's 21 TDs this fall. McLeod has produced 30 (27 rush, 3 pass) plays of 10 or more yards.

Numbers To Watch For

Mike McLeod is approaching rare numbers for seven games into the season. He is five rushing TDs shy of John Pagliaro's record of 16, 32 yards from making the top 10 for a season at Yale and five attempts short of making the school's top 10 for a season. McLeod already has more TDs (12) than the 2005 Yale leader Ashley Wright (10). His 72 points are more than 24 of the school's last 27 season scoring leaders.

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 in some aspect every week since his first collegiate start against San Diego. His 281 rushing yards are the most for a Bulldog QB since Alvin Cowan ran for 435 in 2003.

Captain Clutch

Yale captain Chandler Henley has been the go-to-guy in key situations. Twenty six of his 31 catches this fall have resulted in either a first down or a TD. Henley has caught 13 passes on third down and 12 have moved the chains. His nine-yard TD catch vs. Penn was his first score in 2006. Henley now has 10 career TD catches.

The Scoop on Ashley

Senior WR Ashley Wright, who has a catch in 21 straight games dating to the end of the 2004 campaign, is second on the team with 22 catches for 348 yards. He has TDs of 63 and 43 yards this fall and ranks sixth all-time at Yale with 13 receiving scores.

Santoro Finding 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 32 tackles, has had a hand (or a helmet) in six turnovers. He has three interceptions (Cornell, Lafayette, Penn) and ranks 27th in I-AA in that category while he has also forced three fumbles. Santoro returned a kick 91 yards against Dartmouth that was called back for a holding penalty. He is eighth in the nation in kick return average (26.38).

Leading the League

The Bulldogs lead the Ivies in rushing (201), third-down conversions (47.4%) and kickoff coverage (39.5). Sophomore FS/KR Steve Santoro is tops with a 26.38 KOR average, while TB Mike McLeod (141 rushing) and DE Brendan Sponheimer and DT Jared Hamilton (2 FR) are also leaders.

6-1 and 4-0

Yale's current overall and Ivy records are rare ones in New Haven in recent times. The last time a Bulldog football team won six of its first seven games was 1999, the year the Elis lost the season opener to Brown and then reeled off nine straight victories to tie the Bears for the Ivy title. The last Yale squad to go 4-0 in league play was Carm Cozza's 1989 team that finished 8-2 (6-1) and tied Princeton for the championship. The losses were to Connecticut and Harvard. Both of those Bulldog teams - not to mention the 2006 version --had QBs (Darin Kehler, Joe Walland) who could get big yardage when flushed out of the pocket.

Extra Time at The Bowl

The Bulldogs have been playing a lot of extra football at Yale Bowl recently. Three of the last five games on the Class of 1954 Field have gone into overtime with Yale winning the last two. The last game of 2005 was a triple OT contest, the longest in Ivy history, and a loss to Harvard. Yale beat Lehigh 26-20 on Oct. 14 and then edged Penn 17-14 on Oct. 21.

Yale in OT

Yale is 3-3 overall (2-1 at home) in OT sessions after winning the last two over the last 14 days. A field goal was the difference in two of the three, including one (Princeton '03) that ended when Yale forced a fumble.

Mante Moving Up

Freshman punter Tom Mante struggled early to find consistency but is showing his true form recently. He boomed a career-long 58-yarder against Penn and landed an eight iron shot that was downed on the Quaker seven. Against Columbia in foul weather he averaged over 40 yards on four punts. Mante has now placed eight punts inside the opponent's 20-yard line. He has a 35.2 average this season after recording a 44.0-yard mark at Bishop Guertin High in Massachusetts.

Abare, The Pair

Sophomore fraternal twin Yale defensive players LB Bobby (38-20-58) and DB Larry Abare (29-19-48) had another big day for the Blue with a combined 10-3-13 last week. One of the Abares has led the Eli defense in tackles in each of the last five games. Bobby's 52-yard interception return for a TD was the longest return by a LB since Peter Mazza went 67 yards in 1999. It was his first career pick and score and the first TD return of an interception by a Bulldog since Fred Jelks against Towson in 2003.

Twin Hits

Other sets of twins that played Yale football are: Chris and Andy Kagan (1999-2000); Rob and Chris Michalik (1988-90); Jim and John Quinn (1984-96) and Bob and Dick Jacunski (1960). There are 35 sets of brothers who have played at Yale and here are the last names: Abare, Athanasia, Balme, Bliss, Burkus, Cautero, Conway, Coombs, Flaster, Freccero, Gallagher, Hallas, Handlon, Hinkey, Hoopes, Iwan, Jacunski, Kagan, Kiernan, Kenney, Littleton, Lovejoy, McCarthy (2), Michalik, Miller, Noetzel, Perkowski, Quinn, Ryan, Schulte, Sigal, Spence, Walker, Wimer.

Around the Ivies

Luke Siwula ran for 98 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries to lead Cornell in a 14-7 win over Princeton Saturday. Cornell (3-4, 1-3 Ivy League) got on the board first when Siwula scored on a one-yard run in the second quarter. The Big Red scored again in the third when Nathan Ford completed a 40-yard pass to Zac Canty to put the lead at 14-0.... Clifton Dawson ran for three first-half touchdowns Saturday and Harvard rolled to an easy 28-0 victory over Dartmouth in the rain. The win kept Harvard (6-1, 3-1 Ivy league) in the hunt for its second Ivy League title in three years. Dartmouth got to the Harvard 4 yard line early in the final period before being stopped on downs. Dartmouth (1-6, 1-3) lost for the 10th time in 11 games. Dawson went 74 yards on the first play of the game for one touchdown and 18 yards on the opening play of the second quarter for his second. Midway through the second period, he bulled over from the 1 for his third TD. Dawson rushed for 153 yards in the first half and finished with 164 on 26 carries, putting him 173 yards behind the Ivy record of 4,715 yards, held since 1971 by Cornell great Ed Marinaro.

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

The Bulldogs close out their home schedule with the 129th game against Princeton, the second most played series in college football.

Bulldogs Love The Tube

Six of the 10 Yale games in 2006 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. Yale plays at Harvard on Nov. 18 and this contest can be viewed on HD NET (National Cable and Satellite), Superstation WGN (National Cable and Satellite), WLVI-TV (Boston), WPIX-TV (New York), WTIC-TV (Hartford) and WCWN-TV (Albany).

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's two newcomer starters, DB Paul Rice and P Tom Mante, have made an impact this fall. Rice had a career-high 5-1-6 against Lehigh, while Mante had a 58-yard punt against Penn and has pinned opponents inside their 20 eight 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).

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.

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 355-186-21 (562 games) in Yale Bowl. Since formal Ivy play began in 1956, the Elis are 117-73-3 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 DE Michael McGinity and PK Alan Kimball. 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 (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 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). PK Alan Kimball was the WCYPG after his game-winning FG against Penn in week six. LB Bobby Abare was the first defensive player to take the honor. He put the Columbia game away with a 52-yard interception return for a TD. 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