Title Hopes Not Out of Reach as H-Y-P Begins
Nov. 7, 2005
Its Ivy League title hopes are barely still alive, but the Yale football team (3-5, 3-2 Ivy) can still make things interesting with a little help from the out-of-town scoreboard. The Bulldogs, with potential consolation in the H-Y-P crown looming, travel to first-place Princeton (6-2, 4-1) for a 1 p.m. kick at Princeton Stadium (27,800). Saturday's contest can be heard live on WELI (AM 960), WYBC (AM 1340) and 960WELI.com and wybc.com, while it can be seen live on Comcast TV's CN8 as well as CN8.com.
2nd Longest-Running Series in College Football
One hundred and two years ago, a young rivalry featuring two of the venerable powers of the gridiron made history by playing in the first game captured on film. Thomas Edison's camera focused on Yale's 12-5 win at Princeton that November day, and the rivarly has developed into the second-longest in college football. This week marks the 128th meeting, second only to the Lehigh-Lafayette (140) rivarly. Some of the Old Blue hold this series dearer to their hearts than THE Game. Yale leads 69-48-10 but the last nine have gone 5-4 in favor of the Blue. The Bulldogs are 28-19-4 at Old Nassau.
Memorable Moments in the Yale-Princeton Series
The ball burst after it was kicked during the first meeting in 1873 and it took 30 minutes to replace it... Princeton's James Haxall drop kicked a school-best 65-yard field goal in a 2-1 Tiger win in 1882... Playing both ways for the entire game, Yale's "Iron Men" ended Princeton's 15-game win streak with a 7-0 win in 1934 at New Jersey... Yale held the orange and black to one first down and minus-four yards rushing in a 20-14 Bulldog win at Princeton in 1945... The 1953 Bulldogs erased a 17-0 Princeton halftime lead and won 26-24... Don Gesicki completed a 97-yard pass play to Gary Fencik at Princeton in 1975 in the longest pass play in Yale history as the Blue won 24-13... 1981 was the battle of Bob Holly (Princeton QB) vs. Rich Diana (Yale RB). Holly, who scored the winning TD with 4 seconds left, threw for a school-record 501 yards while Diana set the Yale record with 222 rushing yards in a 35-31 Tiger win at Princeton... Kevin Moriarty hauled in a 14-yard pass from Mike Curtin with 5 ticks on the clock in Yale's 27-24 win in 1984... The 1995 Elis spoiled an undefeated season by winning at Princeton behind QB Chris Hetherington... The Bulldogs, who tied the game on a 22-yard TD pass from Alvin Cowan to Chandler Henley with no time left on the clock in the fourth quarter, win a double-OT game at Princeton in 2003 by recovering a fumble after Yale kicked a field goal.
Bulldogs Fall To Bears
With a playoff-like atmosphere and 21,719 fans at the Yale Bowl, Brown emerged with a 38-21 win that knocked Yale out of a four-way tie for first. Brown TB Nick Hartigan ran for 192 yards and three touchdowns, adding another touchdown receiving, to pace the Bears. His running was a major reason why Brown had a 10-minute edge in time of possession, including two drives at the end of the game that ate up over 15 minutes. Yale QB Jeff Mroz (25-37, 291) connected twice (35, 25 yards) with WR Ashley Wright for scores while TB Jordan Spence (8-72) added a 51-yard TD run but the Elis only had nine possessions on the day. DB Matt Handlon (4-7-11) and LB Lee Driftmier (8-1-9) were the busiest Bulldog defenders.
Tigers Devour Quakers
Princeton snapped a nine-game skid againt Penn with great special teams play in a 30-13 win at Franklin Field. The Tigers blocked a PAT and returned it for two points and also knocked down a Penn field goal attempt. It wasn't only the special teams that led to one of the program's biggest victories over the last decade. The offense was both balanced and effective, and quarterback Jeff Terrell (16-25, 193), who rushed for 45 yards, played his finest game as a Tiger. The defense shut down the Penn running game and forced a 3-and-out on two critical possessions in the second half.
Jack Siedlecki, in his ninth season as the Joel E. Smilow '54 Head Coach of Football at Yale, earned his 100th win as a collegiate head coach against Cornell on Sept. 24. He is 102-63-2 as a collegiate head coach, 46-41 at Yale and 5-3 against Princeton. Roger Hughes, head coach at Princeton, is 2-3 against Yale and 25-32 in his sixth season at Old Nassau.
Mroz On the Move
Senior QB Jeff Mroz (in photo), who leads the Ivies in three offensive categories and is 18th in total offense in I-AA, has thrown for multiple TDs in seven of eight games this season and is challenging many of the school's passing records. Mroz has thrown for 300 yards or better four times and has topped the 30-completion mark twice. The Greensburg, Pa., native, who will face his brother Greg's Princeton team this weekend, has tossed a TD in every game this fall. The 2005 team captain has 35 career TD passes (2nd at Yale) including a school-record five against Cornell on Sept. 24. His 34 completions at Lehigh were a career-high as was his 56 attempts and the 333 yards against Holy Cross. Mroz's yardage total in that game ranks seventh at Yale, the 34 completions were fourth-best and his attempt total was the third most by a Bulldog. He earned his first (co) Ivy Offensive Player of the Week honors on Sept. 26 when he tied the school record for TD passes with five (Pete Doherty, vs. Columbia , Oct. 15, 1966) against Cornell. Mroz ranks among the top 10 in all of Yale's QB records despite just 17 starts.
Spence For Hire
Junior RB Jordan Spence (8-72 last week) had another fine showing last week that included his first collegiate rushing TD on his 91st career attempt. He also caught two passes for 33 yards and ran back a kick of nine yards. That means he had a 9.0 average on runs and KOR and had a 16.5 mark for receptions. His 51-yard TD scamper in the second half was the longest run of the year for the Bulldogs.
The Wright Decision
Junior WR/P Ashley Wright has caught seven TD passes over the last four games and his 10 scoring grabs this fall rank fourth at Yale, but he is much more than a big-play receiver. Wright, whose fake punt and 11-yard run in the second half last week kept Yale in the game at the time, earned his third (team-high) Walter Camp Yale Player of the Game honors this season against Brown with two TD catches. Wright, who had a career-high seven grabs for 198 yards and three TDs against Cornell, topped his catch mark with 11 against Holy Cross. The three scores vs. Cornell (9, 31 and 70 yards) on Sept. 24 tied the school record that he now shares with eight others. He leads the team with 48 catches and ranks first in the Ivy League and 13th in I-AA with six catches per game, while his 88.25 yards per outing are second best in the Ivies and 14th in the nation. Wright, who is eighth in the Ivy League with a 33.58 punting average, had the longest reception (70 yards vs. Cornell) since 2003. Wright had seven catches in all of 2004 and did not attempt a punt.
Junior WR DJ Shooter (Yuma, Ariz.) had a career-high five catches for 44 yards on Nov. 5 and now has 13 grabs for 99 yards in his first varsity experience at Yale. Shooter is still looking for his first score.
Dyches is Back
Senior DE Brandon Dyches (Chapin, S.C.) was tied for the Ivy lead with five sacks when he was knocked out of the lineup two weeks ago with an injury. He missed two games and returned against Brown, though he did not register a sack. Dyches still leads the Elis in that category (no teammate has more than two) and is just one behind the league leader.
Driftmier Has Another Strong Outing
Last week, junior LB Lee Driftmier (Bellevue, Wash.) earned Ivy League Defensive Player of the Week and I-AA.org national player of the week honors after picking off two passes and recovering a fumble at Columbia. This past week, Driftmier had a game-high eight solo tackles and nine overall. Last week's awards marked the first league or national awards for a Yale defensive player in 2005 and the first-ever honor for a Bulldog by I-AA.org.
Yale's 6.0 rushing average against Brown was a season-high... No receiver has caught two TD passes against Yale this fall... Brown's 249 rushing yards were a season-high against the Bulldog defense... DB Nick Solakian and LB Lee Driftmier are tied for fourth in the league with three interceptions.
The Bulldogs have 25 touchdowns in 2005 but all but five have come through the air on QB Jeff Mroz tosses. Freshman RB Mike McLeod has four rushing scores this fall and Jordan Spence had his first last week. Yale had seven rushing TDs in 2004, all by Robert Carr, compared to 16 passing TDs by Alvin Cowan. Six different Elis have hauled in scoring passes this season compared to five in 2004.
Feiereisen Leads Elis
Senior WR Todd Feiereisen (Westlake Village, CA) led the Blue with seven grabs for 98 yards and is second on the team in receptions this fall while seeing his first varsity action. He caught 16 passes in the first four games and has snared 27 passes over the last four. Feiereisen, who played QB for the first three years of his collegiate career, snared his sixth TD pass of the year at Penn. His 13 catches for 113 yards at Lehigh were both career-highs, while it was the second game this fall that he tallied a pair of scores. The former signal-caller currently ranks second in the Ivies in receptions per game (5.38) and is third in the league in yards per outing. Feiereisen, Alvin Cowan's backup behind center in 2004, did not have a varsity snap until this year.
Siedlecki Says After Brown
"We were playing very well offensively and Jeff Mroz was doing a good job early. In the second half we just didn't have the football. Their last two drives consumed a whole quarter. I don't think I've ever seen a game with so few possessions. We only had the ball nine times.They ran over 15 minutes of offense on their last two drives. He's [Hartigan] definitely the best big back we've ever faced. There have been some pretty good backs in this league over the years, but to consistently give the guy the ball 30 to 40 times a game and just bang it in there. That's one of his biggest assets. The kid has stayed healthy his whole career despite the volume. It's tough to defend when you have a back like that who can keep pounding on you. It looks like our opportunity is to beat Princeton and knock them out. We have an opportunity in the last two games to do something."
Freshman RB Mike McLeod ranks 19th in I-AA all-purpose yardage with 133.13 per game and 76th with 69.63 rushing yards per outing. He had two 100-yard rushing games over the first three weeks (San Diego, Holy Cross) of the season but has not topped the century mark since. McLeod earned Ivy League Rookie of the Week honors for the second time this year after the Dartmouth game. He averages 18.17 on kick returns and has 13 receptions this year. The New Britain, Conn., native has broken new ground for rookie runners at Yale. He became the first Yale freshman runner to go over 100 rushing yards in his debut when he went for 102 at San Diego on Sept. 17 and earned league rookie honors. The Elis have not enjoyed this type of offensive weapon from the Nutmeg State since Rich Diana (Hamden) was the 1981 Ivy League MVP.
Six sets of players share a last name and help confuse all who are trying to cover the Elis this fall. There are four sets of brothers and two other sets of players with the same name on the roster. The brothers are Bobby (LB) and Larry (DB) Abare, Matt (RB) and Mike (OL) Cautero, John and Matt Coombs (both DBs) and Jordan (RB) and Rylan (DB) Spence. The Abares, who did not lose a high school game (Acton-Boxboro streak ended at 52 on 9/23/05), are the only twins among the brothers. Larry, playing mostly special teams, had three solo tackles against Brown while Bobby, a backup LB, had three assists. Ed (OL) and Kevin (DL) McCarthy and Ashley (WR) and Chris (DE) Wright are not related.
Yale Still Leads the Nation
Yale has not won a national football title since 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 829) but have since been overtaken by Michigan (847).
McCarthy Continues to Shine
Junior LT Ed McCarthy (Fairfield, Conn.), the 2003 Ivy Rookie of the Year as an OG and a second-team all-league center last year, is having another great campaign. McCarthy, whose father and uncle played for the Bulldogs, has been named Yale's offensive line MVP in seven of the eight games. He is the only offensive lineman in league history to earn rookie of the year honors.
Catching Bulldogs At Practice
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.
Five members of the class of 2009 appear on the two-deep chart, including two on defense and three on offense. TB Mike McLeod (New Britain, Conn.) has been sharing time with junior Jordan Spence. RT Darius Dale (Seattle, Wash.) has now started four straight games since an injury to Brice Wilkinson. MG Joe Hathaway (Clifton, N.J.) had a start at Lehigh, while LB Bobby Abare (Acton, Mass.) and PK Brady Hart (State College, Pa.) are currently backups.
91st 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 352-185-21 (558 games) in Yale Bowl. In recent times the Blue has had five home and five away games each fall, but the average for the 90 seasons is 6.2 home contests per year. Since formal Ivy play began in 1956, the Elis are 115-73-3 vs. Ancient Eight foes at home.
The weekly Dick Galiette Football Media Luncheon was named this fall to honor the late voice of Yale Football. This week, Yale head coach Jack Siedlecki will be joined by WR Chris Denny-Brown and DT Kirk Porter.
Yale Bowl Renovations
The restoration of Yale Bowl, a project which was approved by the Yale Corporation, is well under way. Substantial completion is projected by the fall of 2006. The work includes the rebuilding of the interior and exterior walls, the repair or replacement of 17 miles of wood seats and upgrading of all drainage and utilities. The 30 tunnels including the entrances and wing walls at the exits will also be totally refurbished. Each portal at the Bowl will be named to honor a class, team or individual. Gifts have already been made to name more than 20 of the 30 portals, while the playing surface has been named the Class of '54 Field to honor the majority gift in the Yale Bowl project. In addition, Jerome (Jerry) P. Kenney '63, a former Yale football player, has bestowed a gift that will restore the original Yale Bowl Field Center and add additional facilities. Kenney, one of four brothers to compete for the Bulldogs at Yale Bowl, will not only help restore the field center at the base of the press box at the historic stadium, the new Kenney Family Field Center would create additional space above to host special events and other functions. For more details, see the full release on www.yalebulldogs.com.
Bulldogs on Sundays
The last time Yale had two graduates on the same NFL team OT Bill Schuler '47 and end Paul Walker '46 both played 12 games for the New York Giants at Yankee Stadium. Fifty-eight years later there are two Bulldogs playing for the San Francisco 49ers, though one is out with an injury. 49er TE Eric Johnson '01 will miss the entire 2005 NFL season with a foot injury that kept him out of the pre-season. Johnson, who played WR at Yale, has had two excellent NFL seasons. Chris Hetherington '96 was released by Oakland and picked up by the 49ers just before opening day and is a FB and special teams player wearing No. 41... Nate Lawrie '04 is in his second season at a Tampa Bay TE... Dick Jauron '73, an Ivy League star runner and former NFL special teams All-Pro, was the head coach of Chicago for five seasons. He is now in his second season as the defensive coordinator for the Detroit Lions.
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 2005 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. Yale football coaching legend Carm Cozza and Ron Vaccaro '04 provide the call of the action. 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. 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. Yale games can be heard live on the internet at www.960WELI.com , www.wybc.com and www.yalebulldogs.com. 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.