Bulldogs and Bears Try to Claw Way Into Ivy Race

Bulldogs and Bears Try to Claw Way Into Ivy Race

Nov. 1, 2004

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The Yale football team (4-3, 2-2 Ivy) heads to Providence this Saturday to take on Brown (4-3, 2-2) and the top-ranked defense in the Ivy League. The Bulldogs and Bears kick it off at 12:30 p.m. and can be heard in Connecticut on WELI (960 AM) and WYBC (1340 AM). This game is also available on Cox Sports Television (Rhode Island only), which can also be accessed with the following satellite coordinates: AMC 9 / TR 19 Ku-band - analog.

The Series The Bulldogs may have won better than 71 percent (74-29-5) of the meetings with Brown heading into the 109th contest, but the Bears have won four of the last five. Yale has blanked Brown 37 times, which is the most for any Bulldog opponent, though the last was in 1996. Of the 108 meetings, only 27 have come at Brown Stadium, where the Blue is 15-9-3. The two rivals met in New Haven 32 consecutive (1926-57) years.

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.

The Coaches Jack Siedlecki, who has 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 vs. Brown (the only game that was not close was his debut in 1997). Brown head coach Phil Estes is 4-2 against Yale and 40-26 overall in his seventh season.

The Matchup Brown, coming off a heartbreaking, 20-16 loss to Penn at Philadelphia last week, has a defense that allows just 294 yards per game which ranks 15th in I-AA. Yale has been able to move the ball in the first half against very good defenses the last three weeks, but the offense has struggled over the last 30 minutes of each game. The Elis will need a more consistent effort because Bear tailback Nick Hartigan (126-yard average, 8th in I-AA), who rambled for 176 against Penn, and his offense can control the ball. Sophomore QB Joe DiGiacomo (137-74-8, 1073 yards, 3 TD), who replaced injured starter Anthony Vita last week, ranked in the middle of most Ivy QB stat categories, faces a veteran Yale defense that has been making big plays. Bulldog Defense Saves Day Safety Matt Handlon broke up a potential game-tying six-yard pass in the end zone in the final minute to cap a huge day for the Yale defense that gave the Bulldogs a 21-14 victory over Columbia last Saturday at the Yale Bowl. The two teams combined for 35 points before the half and none after it on a cloudy, foggy day. The Lions answered the first two Yale scores -- TE Alex Faherty's 13-yard catch and TB Robert Carr's one-yard run -- and had numerous chances to tie it up late but could not make the big play. Columbia had more first downs (20-16), possession time (35-25) and total offense (364-307), but the Bulldog defense came up with the biggest plays. DB Barton Simmons (7-3-10) led the way while DE Don Smith (6-2-8), LB Ben Breunig (6-1-7) and DT Brandt Hollander (6-1-7) also had strong showings. Handlon and DE Brandon Etheridge both had interceptions, the latter coming after the sophomore standout blocked the pass and then pulled it down in traffic. Carr finished with 97 yards rushing, including a long of 36, while QB Alvin Cowan (29-15-2) threw a pair of TD passes, including the decisive score to WR Chandler Henley (4-58) from nine yards out. WR Ralph Plumb snared five balls for 58 yards while TB Jordan Spence caught four.

Carr Closing In on TD Record Senior TB Robert Carr (Baytown, Texas) now owns the Yale records for both career rushing yards (3,144), all-purpose yards (3,953) and rushing attempts (673), while he is second in rushing touchdowns (28). Carr is sixth in I-AA all-purpose yardage (175.43, tops in Ivy) and sixth in rushing (128.43, 2nd in Ivy) this fall. Carr earned Walter Camp Yale Player of the Game honors by rushing for 164 yards and totalling 249 all-purpose yards at Dartmouth. Carr, whose three receptions at Dartmouth were a career-best, has gone over the century mark in 13 collegiate games (4 of 7 in 2004) and owns the Yale single-game record with 235 yards against Cornell in 2002. When he goes over 100 yards this fall (Yale is 3-1), he is averaging 168 yards per game. 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, in USA Today on Sept. 16 and in the Oct. 25 issue of Sports Illustrated. The Baytown, Texas, native, who owns the Yale record for 200-yard games in a season (2), has made a full recovery.

Carr's Career Year Att. Yds TD 2001 80 362 3 2002 236 1,083 10 2003 170 800 10* 2004 187 899 5 Totals 673 3,144 28 * 9 were rushing TDs

Defense Making the Difference While the Yale offense has struggled in the second half (3 points) the last three weeks, the Bulldog defense has come up with the big plays. The defense, which was not the strong point last year, has allowed just 31 points over the last two games. The Blue has held the opposition under 20 points in five of seven games in 2004.

Plumb Ranked 9th in I-AA Senior WR Ralph Plumb ranks ninth in I-AA with 6.71 receptions per game, which is second (Dan Castles from Penn) in the Ivy League. The Portsmouth, R.I., native is chasing two records held by Eric Johnson '01, currently a member of the San Francisco 49ers. Plumb, who has 163 career catches for 1,991 yards, needs 20 catches and 153 yards over the last three games to pass the legendary Yale receiver.

Cowan Ties Yale TD Pass Record Senior QB Alvin Cowan (Austin, Texas) etched his name on the top of another school record on Oct. 23 when he connected with WR Chandler Henley on a 20-yard TD pass against Penn. That gave Cowan 36 career TD passes (now 38), one more than Joe Walland, who played QB for the Bulldogs from 1997-99. He has thrown a TD pass in all seven games and needs 174 yards to pass Walland (4,832) on that career list. He also needs 391 yards of total offense to reach the top of that career category. The Eli signal-caller, who currently leads the Ivy League in pass efficiency (128.74) and TDs (13), had his first four-touchdown performance on Oct. 2 against Colgate. 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 while earning the honor of Payton Award finalist. He is listed on the Sports Network's 2004 Walter Payton Award Watch.

Cowan's Career Year Att Com. Yds. TD Int. T.O. T.R. 2001 4 2 36 0 0 0 0 2002 23 18 283 3 0 403 6 2003 381 227 2994 22 7 3429 29 2004 202 116 1347 13 6 1349 13 Totals 610 363 4660 38 13 5181 48

Henley The Great First he made a diving catch at Penn to help the Bulldogs make a miraculous comeback in the second half of a 2003 overtime loss, then he went into acrobat mode to snare an Alvin Cowan pass on the last play of regulation to send last November's Princeton game into OT and a Yale victory. His diving catch against Colgate this season provided the TD to tie the game before the Elis won in the closing moments. Chandler Henley did it again against Penn and then Columbia. With Yale trailing Penn 7-0 in the first quarter, Cowan launched a ball out in front of the junior receiver as he headed into the end zone. Henley, as he turned his body from inside to out, fell backwards and hauled in the pass just after it missed the outstretched arms of a Penn defender for a 20-yard scoring play. His diving grab of a low throw in the end zone against Columbia was the game-winning play. Henley leads all Yale receivers with six TD catches and a 14.9 average per catch. He is second in catches (34) and yards (505).

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 18 PAT tries and four of five 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 13 TD passes this fall, while Robert Carr has broken the school's career rushing yardage record and ranks sixth in I-AA this fall.

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 37.1 yards this season and has 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.

Championship Teams Celebrating Members of both the 1974 and 1979 Yale Football teams will celebrate their championship campaigns on Princeton weekend in New Haven. The 1979 squad will have its celebratory dinner on Friday, Nov. 12, at the Ray Tompkins House (RTH) with former assistant coach Dave Kelley serving as the master of ceremonies. The 1974 team dinner is scheduled for Nov. 13 at RTH with the voice of Yale football, Dick Galiette, serving as m.c.

Yalie To Win Presidential Election Tuesday 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.), 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 (838).

Bulldogs vs. Ranked Teams Yale is now 1-2 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 beat the Elis 17-7 on Oct. 23.

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. LB Ben Breunig and DE Don Smith join the coach this week, while Brown head coach Phil Estes 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 19-16 in October and 12-12 in November.

The Joel E. Smilow '54 Head Coach of Football Says... "We found a way to win. Our defense did a great job. We're going to get this [second half] offense squared away. I want to give Columbia credit. Their defense made about five tremendous plays in the second half, with kids getting their hands in on balls. They played hard. They gave up six points last week, and 14 to Penn, so they're a good defensive football team. All week long we put tremendous emphasis on the fact that Columbia was going to try anything, such as the halfback pass. Coach Shoop came in and was going to do anything to win this game. They made us spend some extra time on that, and they caught us a couple of times with the screen pass. Overall, though, we got to people and got to the quarterback in good shape."

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 349-183-21 (553 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 112-72-3 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 largest home crowd of the year was on Oct. 23 against Penn with 17,737, while the Bulldogs are averaging better than 13,000 this fall..

Bulldog Bites The Elis allowed just four TD passes entering the Columbia game but gave up a pair of scoring tosses to the Lions... PK Andrew Sullivan missed his first FG attempt of the season against Columbia and is now 4-for-5 on the year. He has connected on all 18 PAT attempts... Freshman DT Brandt Hollander (13-9-22, 1 sack) earned his first start against Columbia and has shared the team's defensive line MVP honors the last two weeks... DB Nick Solakian has become one of the top special teams players for the Blue with a pair of game MVP honors because of his kick coverage... Yale was called for 75 penalties in 2003 but has only drawn flags 34 times this fall with three games left... The Bulldogs have as many interceptions (8) this fall as they did all of last season... The Elis are averaging more than seven minutes less possession time than opponents in 2004... The Blue has lost two defensive starters to injury, LB Ken Estrera (Dallas, Texas) and DT Bryant Dieffenbacher (Ashtabula, Ohio).

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 is now sixth in the NFL with 46 catches ( 493 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 Penn Breunig LB 7-8-15, PBU Columbia Smith DE 6 solos, PBU

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.