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Week 3 Takes Bulldogs to Bethlehem

Week 3 Takes Bulldogs to Bethlehem

Saturday Kickoff 12:30 at Lehigh

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale Football Team, coming off a pair of late comeback victories in the first two weeks of the 2015 season, head to Bethlehem, Pa., this Saturday for a non-league contest on Homecoming Day at Lehigh. The Bulldogs (2-0, 1-0 Ivy) and the Mountain Hawks (2-2, 0-0 Patriot) clash in a contest at Goodman Stadium that airs live on the Patriot League Network and can be heard on the Yale Football Radio Network (ESPN Radio AM-1300 and WELI AM-960 in New Haven).

Yale, which took the first dozen meetings, leads the series with Lehigh 16-6. However, the Mountain Hawks have taken six of the last 10. The first meeting was in 1890, while the initial contest at Bethlehem came in 1995. Lehigh has won four of the five games played at Goodman Stadium. The one Bulldog win was in 2009 when Paul Rice '10, currently a Yale assistant coach, scored on a fake punt in a 7-0 decision.

The Bulldogs rallied from an early 21-0 deficit for a 54-43 win in the 2014 Yale season opener at the Bowl. TB Tyler Varga '15 ran for 152 yards and a touchdown, and QB Morgan Roberts threw for 356 yards and three touchdowns. Lehigh's Nick Shafnisky passed for 311 yards as the visitors scored 35 points in the first half but had just eight over the last 30 minutes.

The Elis erased a 19-point deficit on the way to a 33-26 win over Cornell last Saturday at the Bowl. Yale tied the game with 1:12 left, stopped the Big Red on the ensuing possession and then won it with a 52-yard pass play from Morgan Roberts to Sebastian Little with 32 seconds on the clock. The Blue outscored the Red 20-0 over the last 30 minutes and blocked a Cornell FG attempt that could have made it a 10-point margin with a few minutes left in the fourth.

Princeton erased a 13-10 deficit with 21 unanswered points to hand the Mountain Hawks a 52-26 loss Saturday at Princeton Stadium. The Tigers forced four second-half Lehigh turnovers to prevent a comeback. Lehigh sophomore Troy Pelletier set a school single-game record with 15 receptions while gaining 158 yards and a touchdown. Junior Nick Shafnisky completed 26-of-39 passes for 348 yards and a touchdown and added 49 yards on 11 rushes. Freshman Dom Bragalone rushed for 129 yards on 21 carries. Lehigh out-gained Princeton 561-479 but finished minus three in the turnover battle and was penalized 10 times for 80 yards.

An Ancient Eight squad coming off a pair of late comeback wins plays its third game of the year against a Patriot League team that has split its first four games. Yale has played two nail biters while Lehigh's only close call was in week one at Central Connecticut.

Yale junior kicker/punter Bryan Holmes enjoyed his biggest day as a Bulldog last Saturday at Yale Bowl, a performance worthy of being named Ivy League Special Teams Player of the Week. The Holland, Mich., native booted a pair of field goals (26, 37 yards), the first of his collegiate career, and accounted for nine points in the 33-26 win over Cornell. Holmes also had seven kickoffs, three of which went for touchbacks, and punted for a 36.7 average with one inside the 20. The 6-foot, 197-pound Eli began his collegiate career as a kickoff specialist his freshman season before exclusively handling the punting duties in 2014. His 2015 responsibilities makes him the first Yale player to handle all three areas since Tom Mante in 2008. Holmes leads the Bulldogs in scoring with 12 points, including six extra points and a pair of field goals.

Yale was down by 14 in game one against Colgate and 19 in the second contest last week before marching back to victory. The 33-point combined deficit was erased by the Elis outscoring the first two opponents 42-7 in the second half. The Bulldogs erased three big deficits last year to register victories over Lehigh, Army and Brown.

Junior FS Foyesade Oluokun blocked two Colgate field goals on Sept. 19. Marty Moesta knocked down a Cornell PAT, while J. Hunter Roman swatted a Big Red field goal attempt last week. The Elis have blocked four kicks in two games and all of them have been significant.

Junior TE Sebastian Little's first collegiate TD was the game-winner against Cornell last Saturday. The Cheshire, Conn., native, who had four catches for 100 yards, caught a pass over the middle around the Big Red 40 and then went the distance for a 52-yard play with 32 seconds left. A special Little rooting section from his hometown football league got a big reward for coming to the Bowl.

The five starters on the Yale offensive line have started all 10 games the last two seasons. Center Luke Longinotti has 22 straight starts, while left tackle Khalid Cannon has 12. Guard Jon Bezney and tackle Beau Iverson got their first starts at Colgate; left guard Anders Huizenga made his initial collegiate start against Cornell.

Yale's second road game is this Saturday, It's also the second straight Homecoming Day game… The Elis play in six different states this fall… When Yale played at the University of Wisconsin in the 1940s, it was the furthest North the Elis had played. The game at Maine on Oct. 17 will surpass the one at Madison… Jamal Locke's 84-yard kick return vs. Cornell was Yale's longest since Steven Santoro went 94 for a TD in 2006 against San Diego… Robert Clemons had a career-best eight catches last week.

Morgan Roberts, a 2014 second-team All-Ivy pick who attended Charlotte Country Day before attending Clemson University, has been Yale's starter since game one of 2014. He played in nine games in 2013 as the No. 2. Since coming to New Haven, Roberts has produced enough to be on the following career lists: 5th in total offense (4,496); 6th in passing yards (4,233); 7th in passing attempts (530); 6th in completions (339); 5th in passing TDs (32). Roberts, who ranks 2nd in the FCS in completions and 4th in passing yards, was named one of HERO Sports' FCS Offensive Studs of the Week after 371 yards and 4 total TD's against Cornell.

Cole Champion, Yale's senior captain, was part of two high school national championships at St. Thomas Aquinas in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. The Bulldog strong safety and two-time All-Ivy pick has 180 career tackles and four interceptions. Champion has started the last 28 straight games

Seven players on the current roster earned All-Ivy honors in 2013, 2014 or both. On defense it was: SS Cole Champion '16 – Second-Team 2013, HM 14; DB Foyesade Oluokun '17 – Second-Team 2013, 14 and DL Copache Tyler '17 – Second-Team 2014. The offense included: QB Morgan Roberts '16 – Second-Team 2014; C Luke Longinotti '16 – Second-Team 2014; TE Leo Haenni '17 – HM 2014 and RB Candler Rich '17 – HM 2014.

This is for the folks who have to announce Yale games, There are 12 double numbers on the Yale roster this fall. Here are the one that might cause the most confusion:

19 – QB Morgan Roberts, DB Jason Alessi
14 - QB Logan Scott, DB Will Bryan
10 - QB Tre Moore, LB Victor Egu
26 - DB Hayden Carlson, WR Matthew Rubino

Sophomore receiver Bo Hines (6 catches at Colgate), who transferred from North Carolina State after a highly successful freshman season in the ACC, was candid about his decision to come to Yale in a tweet last December. "I must do what I believe is best for my future, not only as a student-athlete but as a human being." Hines led the Wolf Pack with 45 catches and 616 yards. He scored one TD and was listed as the top punt returner for the second half of the 2014 season but did not have any returns. Hines helped NC State go 8-5 and beat Central Florida in the Bitcoin Bowl.

It's very rare to have an ex-Yale football captain on the coaching staff, but the Elis now have two. Paul Rice '10 (outside LB, special teams), who joined Tony Reno's staff in February of 2013, became the first captain to return as a "full-time" or "primary" coach since Albie Booth in the late 1930s. Chandler Henley '07 (TEs), who led the Elis to a 2006 Ivy title as captain, came back to New Haven last spring. Six Yale graduates currently serve on college coaching staffs. Bob Shoop '88 is defensive coordinator at Penn State. Dartmouth has Kyle Metzler '02, the running game and recruiting coordinator who focuses on the offensive tackles.  AJ Haase '09 is graduate assistant with Iowa, while Josh Grizzard '12 is graduate assistant at Duke.

Pat Graham '01 (see photo), a former Yale tight end and defensive lineman, is a defensive assistant coach for the 2015 Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots. He is in his seventh season at Foxboro. Graham, a Waterbury, Conn., native, was a member of Yale's 1999 Ivy title team. Michael McDaniel '05 is in his ninth NFL campaign and first as offensive assistant with Atlanta. Last year, he was a receivers coach with the Cleveland Browns. He also coached the Houston Texans, Denver Broncos and Washington Redskins. The Yalie with the longest NFL tenure (player/coach) in Ivy history is Dick Jauron '73, who played eight seasons between two teams and then spent 32 years as a coach. His last was 2012 with Cleveland.

It's not easy to make a college football schedule, which is drawn out many years in advance with potential moving parts. This fall just happened to shake out with a school-record (low) four home games for the Elis. Last year, Yale had six at home, this fall it's six on the road.

Here's what the Bulldogs did in 2014.

Ranked 22nd among 124 FCS teams by NCAA simple rating system;
Team (FWAA Team of Week) – Sept. 27 win over Army
FCS Top 5 Stats: Total Offense (571.5) – 1; Third-Downs (.517) – 1; Scoring (41.3) – 3; Passing (323.6) – 5th
Major School (modern) Records Broken: Scoring, 411 points; Touchdowns, 53; Total Plays, 836; Total Offense: 5,715 yards; First Downs in a game, 36 vs. Army
National Stats Leaders: Receiving Yards per game - Grant Wallace (113.0); Scoring – Tyler Varga (15.6)

The Yale JV contests include three home games slated this fall, each of which takes place on Clint Frank Field: 10/4 vs Brown; 10/18 vs Milford Academy and 11/20 vs Harvard.

Tyler Varga '15, Yale's All-American running back, made the 53-man Indianapolis Colts roster. Varga played in all four Indy pre-season games and finished with 18 carries for 69 yards, including a touchdown against the Rams on Aug. 29. He had five receptions for 36 yards, made a tackle on special teams and returned a pair of kickoffs. He has played in all three regular season games, returning kicks, playing on other special teams and getting into the offensive backfield on third downs.

This past summer we mourned the loss of former Yale and Chicago Bears captain Mike Pyle '61, who led the Bulldogs to their last perfect season in 1960. The 2015 Elis honor the fallen legend with a "Pyle 59" sticker on the back of their helmets.

Chris Getman '64, an ex-Yale baseball player, has been "pitching" Handsome Dan for Yale since 1983. The former lefty hurler has been the caretaker of the school mascot – walking the sidelines of home games - since former AD Frank Ryan asked him to take the role. Getman, whose role at Yale encompasses much more than games at the Bowl, is a community leader and a highly successful owner of Soundview Capital Management Corp. He is on his fourth Yale mascot. Sherman, the 17th edition of Handsome Dan, is eight years old and weighs 65 pounds.

The last time a head coach brought two different teams to the Bowl to play Yale in consecutive years was Earl "Red" Blaik with Dartmouth in 1940 (Yale win, 13-7) and then Army in 1941 (20-7 Army). When Columbia comes to town on Halloween, Al Bagnoli will become the next guy to do that. The former Penn coach, who brought the Quakers to the Bowl in 2014, took over this year at Morningside Heights.

Yale is now 6-3 in OT games after the win against Army in 2014. The Elis are 4-1 at home in extra sessions, the only loss against Harvard in triple OT in 2005. Yale has a pair of triple-session OTs (Penn, 2007) and a two double-dippers (Princeton, 2003; Holy Cross, 2008)

Tony Reno, the Joel E. Smilow '54 Head Coach of Yale Football, and some of his players are at world famous Mory's (306 York Street) every Tuesday at noon for the Dick Galiette Yale Football Media Luncheon. This event is limited to media only. Please contact Yale Sports Publicity Director Steve Conn ( if you would like to attend. Cole Champion, Spencer Rymiszewski and Robert Clemons have attended the events this season.

You can listen to legendary coach Carm Cozza and Ron Vaccaro '04 call the action of Yale Football this fall on ESPN Radio1300 (AM 1300) or News Radio 960 WELI (AM 960), depending on the game, as well as iHeart Radio, and on the Yale Football Radio Network, which includes Talk of Connecticut radio stations WDRC (AM 1360 Hartford), WWCO (AM 1240 Waterbury), WMMW (AM 1470 Meriden), WSNG (AM 610 Torrington) and WDRC (FM 102.9 HD -3 Hartford). Yale Sports Publicity Director Steve Conn also takes part in the broadcasts.

The 2015 Yale football team includes 34 high school football captains and 23 guys who were captains of other sports before coming to New Haven. There are also 32 National Honor Society members.

Dick Jauron '73, the All-American Yale running back who became a pro football star before earning AP Coach of the Year honors as an NFL head coach, is now in the College Football Hall of Fame. Induction for the class of 2015 hall of famers takes place Dec. 8, 2015, at the 58th NFF Annual Awards Dinner in New York City's historic Waldorf Astoria.

Two former Yale football players and an ex-Yale hoopster are now working for the Miami Dolphins. Former DB Max Napolitano '14 is a business analytics specialist for the NFL team, while Grant Wallace '15, one of the school's most prolific receivers, is a college scout. In addition, former women's basketball star Zenab Keita works in the marketing department.

Eight of Yale's 10 football games this fall air live on TV including five broadcasts between NBC Sports Network and Fox College Sports that are part of the 2015 Ivy League TV Package. Yale's Ancient Eight TV games begin on Oct. 10 at Dartmouth on Fox. The Bulldogs' first-ever Friday Ivy League Game is on NBCSN on Oct. 23 at Penn's Franklin Field. That's the second of two Eli games that require lights this season. The season finale against Harvard begins at 2:30 on Nov. 21 and can be seen on NBCSN as well. All games on NBCSN will also be available on NBC Sports Live Extra. In addition to the league package, all three non-league contests are on a mix of local and national TV. The season opener at Colgate aired on New York's Time Warner Cable. The second road trip, at Lehigh on Oct. 3, is on in the Lehigh Valley's Service Electric 2 Sports. Finally, the Elis make their first visit to the University of Maine for an Oct. 17 game broadcast on the local ABC affiliate, which will share it with Fox College Sports.

Two of Yale's games can be seen on the Ivy League Digital Network, while the other eight are on national or regional TV or another streaming network. There is a Yale channel on the Ivy League Digital with an easy-to-navigate interface for a league-wide schedule and interactive touch points to showcase content available on computer, mobile and tablet devices all without the use of an app. Available at, fans can have a year-long Yale channel for $89.95. The package includes live home and selected away games in HD as well as on-demand programming. There is also a four-month pass for $34.95, a one-month pass for $10.95 or a single-day pass for $9.95.

The Bulldogs, off on Mondays, are on Clint Frank Field from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday. Fridays are walk-through days either at Yale Bowl or on the road and times vary. Players and coaches are available for interviews with working media following the Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday practices if there is no student-athlete scheduling conflicts. All schedules are subject to change. Media must check with Steve Conn at least 24 hours in advance to attend a practice.

The Yale Bowl press box has a true taste of New Haven with Yorkside Pizza & Restaurant and Blue State Coffee available to media. Yorkside, a family operated business since 1969, provides pies, pasta and salad Blue State, an 11-year-old business that donates a portion of sales to area non-profits, has the best coffee in town.

filed by Steve Conn, Yale Associate AD & Sports Publicity Director


John Coleman image of Sebastian Little