November 3, 2008

Bulldogs Look To Shake Up Ivy Standings

Nov. 3, 2008

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Yale football team (4-3, 2-2 Ivy), coming off a 27-12 win over Columbia at home last week, travels to league unbeaten Brown (5-2, 4-0 Ivy) this Saturday. The 12:30 game at at Brown Stadium (20,000) 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).

THE SERIES

So much for home field advantage; the visiting team has won nine of the last 12 meetings heading into the 113th between Yale and Brown. The Bulldogs may be up 76-31-5, but the Bears have won six of the last nine. Of the 112 meetings, only 28 have come at Brown Stadium, where the Blue is 17-9-3. The two rivals met in New Haven 32 consecutive years (1926-57) and Yale has a 59-22-2 advantage at the Bowl.

LAST YEAR AT THE BOWL

The Yale defense held an opponent to seven points for the third time in four games and allowed the offense to erase a 7-3 deficit in a 17-7 win over Brown. Second-half touchdowns by TB Jordan Farrell (31-yarder) and TB Mike McLeod (2-yards) propelled the Bulldogs to the win on a cold and rainy day at the Bowl. Yale ran for 335 yards including 185 by McLeod while the Eli defense prevented Brown from converting any of its 14 third-down attempts.

TAIL OF THE SCALE

The Yale offensive line (285 average) has a 34-pound edge on the defensive front of the Bears (251), while Brown's OL (274) is 26 pounds heavier on average than the Bulldog DL (248).

BULLDOGS BITE LIONS

TB Mike McLeod scored on runs of one, two and eight yards and his defensive teammates recovered two fumbles and picked off a pass as Yale beat Columbia 27-12 before 11,870 at the Bowl last Saturday. The Lions had the edge in total offense (316-269) and first downs (15-14) and cashed in on all three trips to the red zone, but the Bulldogs made a few big defensive stands and held onto the ball for all but 2:45 of the fourth quarter to take their seventh straight against the New York squad. DT Kyle Hawari had two sacks and two forced fumbles, LB Bobby Abare had a sack and CB Paul Rice intercepted Columbia on its first offensive play.

BEARS BEST IVY START

Brown, off to its first-ever 4-0 Ivy mark, knocked off Penn last Saturday 34-27 at Franklin Field. QB Michael Dougherty completed 16 of 32 passes for 234 yards and four TDs. The Brown defense recovered three Penn fumbles and picked off one pass but still allowed 50 more total yards than its own offense. The Bears, who finish with winless Dartmouth and 1-6 Columbia the last two weeks, are in the driver's seat with sole possession of first place. Brown won Ivy titles in 1976, 1999 and 2005.

HEROIC HAWARI

Senior DT Kyle Hawari (Plano, Texas) was a hero on the Yale defense against the Lions. He had eight solo tackles that included two sacks and two forced fumbles. Hawari, who has a 3.65 GPA as a history major and is a candidate for numerous scholar-athlete awards, leads the Ivy League with six sacks this fall and has 10 for his career.

MANTE EARNS IVY HONOR

Junior P/PK Tom Mante (Westford, Mass.) was named Ivy League Special Teams Player of the Week after putting his foot on the ball 16 times and causing problems for Columbia all Saturday afternoon. Mante split the uprights on both FG attempts from 37 yards and all three PATs while putting four of his five punts (41.0) inside the Columbia 20. In addition, he had a 67.2 average on six kickoffs including two touchbacks. Yale has not had a starting P/PK combination since Mike Murawyczk in 1998. Mante is 6-for-9 on field goals and has a 41.2 punting average with 19 kicks inside the 20 this fall.

MCLEOD HAS BIG DAY

Senior TB Mike McLeod (New Britain, Conn.), who doubled his TD total for the season, ran 23 times for 85 yards and three scores (most in Ivy this year) and caught three passes for 25 yards against the Lions. McLeod, who already has the most rushing attempts (987) in league history, currently ranks fifth among all-time Ivy runners in yards with 4,251 and second with 54 rushing TDs. He owns every major Yale rushing record.

CAREER YARDS for Ivy Players

4,841 (1) Clifton Dawson, Harvard 2003-06

4,715 (2) Ed Marinaro, Cornell 1969-71

4,657 (3) Chad Levitt, Cornell 1993-96

4,492 (4) Nick Hartigan, Brown 2002-05

4,251 (5) Mike McLeod, YALE 2005-Pres.

CAREER TDs for Ivy Players

60 (1) Clifton Dawson, Harvard 2003-06

54 (2) Mike McLeod, YALE 2005-Pres.

HART ATTACK

Sophomore QB Brook Hart (State College, Pa.) avoided a solid Columbia pass rush for most of the day and completed 14 of 24 passes for 162 yards. His 14 completions were spread over eight different receivers. He was sacked just once and even managed a 19-yard scamper. Hart's brother, Brady '09, is a Bulldog starter at DE.

BALSAM GROWING ON ELIS

Peter Balsam (Orland Park, Ill.), a QB on the junior varsity team last year, became a player to watch with two big plays against the Lions that set up TDs. He got the Elis important yardage in the first quarter with a 35-yard reception from a down and out along the right sideline. Balsam set up another TD when he broke through the Columbia line and blocked a punt that was recovered by sophomore FB Shane Bannon (Southbury, Conn.). The last time a Bulldog blocked a punt he was wearing the No. 15 Balsam has this fall. Junior RB Jordan Farrell (Orland Park, Ill.), who is also from the Chicago area but has not played in 2008 because of injury, blocked a Lehigh punt in 2006. Farrell and Balsam went to grade school together but were rivals in high school.

RICE READY EARLY

Junior CB Paul Rice (Cleveland Heights, Ohio) intercepted a pass on Penn's first series on Oct. 25. Last Saturday he picked off a pass on the game's first snap. Rice, who leads the team with four interceptions, has six career picks as one of the largest (6-2, 225) CDs in the nation.

WHO CARES ABOUT PRE-SEASON POLLS

Nobody likes being picked as the pre-season league favorites. Harvard (3-1) and Yale (2-2) wore large targets heading into the Ivy campaign and both stumbled early. Brown (4-0) beat the Crimson the same day Cornell (1-3) knocked off Yale, who also fell to Penn (3-1) on Oct. 25.

BULLDOG BITES

Yale scored in all four quarters against Columbia, the first time for Yale since the Oct. 11 Dartmouth game... The Blue, which combined for 274 total yards against Fordham and Penn, had 269 last week and would have had more if not for a few team intentional losses... Yale has not had two QBs with this much playing time in the same season since 2001 when Peter Lee and T.J. Hyland shared the duties... The Elis went 2-1 against non-league opponents who are a combined 10-14 in 2008.

DRIVING LIONS NUTS

You might recall that Yale had a 10-minute drive (17-84) to run the clock out in the fourth quarter of a win over Columbia at the Bowl in 2006. Last Saturday, the Elis had the ball for 12 minutes of the fourth quarter to prevent a comeback. The Lions actually had the overall edge in possession time (less than a minute). On the other hand, Yale's scoring drives were not very long thanks to turnovers by the defense. The Elis averaged 31.2 yards on the five scoring drives including a trio of three-play possessions and a pair of drives 10 yards and under.

BROWN-CT CONNECTION

Brown assistant head coach and secondary coach Abbott Burrell (former UConn player) is a native of Hamden, Conn., whose father, Sam Burrell, was a Yale football assistant coach under Carm Cozza. Bear offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Frank Sheehan is a graduate of the University of New Haven and coached there for two years.

COACHES

Jack Siedlecki (68-48 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 4-7 against Brown. Phil Estes, the Howard D. Williams '17/Joseph V. Paterno '50 Football Coaching Chair, is 64-42 at Brown and overall as a collegiate coach. He is 6-4 against Yale in his 11th year.

SIEDLECKI ON THE COLUMBIA GAME

"This game went the way we needed. We turned them over three times, and we didn't have any turnovers of our own. For the first time all year, we possessed the ball in the fourth quarter and did not give them a chance to come back - we had the ball for 12:15 in the fourth quarter. Our defense and our kick game were absolutely phenomenal. Tom Mante had four punts inside the 20. Columbia's average field position for the game was inside the 20-yard line. I don't know if I've ever seen that before. They were more than 80 yards away, on average, every time they got the football, which is a great advantage for our defense."

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 13-6-19 against Columbia and lead the team in tackles this fall with 121 combined.

LEADING IVY

The Bulldogs lead the Ivy League in interceptions (14), sacks (17), scoring defense (13.1) and turnover margin (1.43), while CB Paul Rice (Cleveland Heights, Ohio) tops the Ivy with four interceptions and DT Kyle Hawari (Plano, Texas) has a league-best six sacks. The Yale defensive front faces a Brown QB who has been the toughest to sack (6 times) in the Ancient Eight.

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 (Acton, Mass.) 86-yard fumble return at Fordham is also a league best. Senior DT Joe Hathaway's (Clifton Park, NJ) 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 8-6-14 and one PBU this fall.

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 returned a fumble at Fordham 86 yards for a TD and picked off a Holy Cross for another score this fall. 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.

INJURY SIDELINES FODOR

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

TRIPLE DIGITS

The Bulldogs are averaging 83.6 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.

7 POINTS

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

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 361-189-21 (570 games) at home. Since formal Ivy play began in 1956, the Elis are 121-76-3 vs. Ancient Eight foes at home.

IVY FOOTBALL ASSOCATION TO HONOR PHILLIPS

Former Yale QB Stone Phillips '77, who gained fame as an award-winning TV journalist on NBC's Dateline, will be honored by the Ivy Football Association at its Jan. 22 New York City dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria. This will be the fifth such event. Each school has one honoree. Kurt Schmoke '71 (2001) was Yale's first honoree followed by Ken Wolfe '61 (2003), Charles Johnson '54 (2005) and Jerry Kenney '63 (2007).

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 31 grabs and 286 yards, or FB Shebby Swett (Bow, N.H.), but both are considered "starters" on the depth chart.

MEMORABLE Y-B MOMENTS

Ralph Plumb set a Yale record with 258 receiving yards in 2004 at Providence... The Bears and Bulldogs combined for a series-record 99 points in the 2003 game at Yale Bowl, a 55-44 Brown victory that included four TD grabs for Bear WR Lonnie Hill... 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 two teams combined for 37 punts in a 1941 Brown (7-0) win.

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 was 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.

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)

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 senior LB Jay Pilkerton (Nashville, Tenn.) and senior LT Darius Dale (Seattle, Wash.). 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

RB-Mike McLeod (New Britain, Conn.) Columbia 23-85 rush, 3 TDs, 3-25 rec

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