Yale football hosts Ivy title hopeful Princeton in home finale Saturday

Filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity:

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The 2016 Yale Bowl finale is this Saturday at 12:30 and the Bulldogs are hoping to play spoiler against a rival looking for an Ivy title. The Elis (2-6, 2-3 Ivy) host Princeton (6-2, 4-1) in a game airing live on the Ivy League Digital Network and on WELI (960 AM).

The first meeting was in 1873, a Yale 12-5 win. The rivalry has developed into the second-longest in college football. This week marks the 139th meeting, second only to Lehigh-Lafayette (151). Yale leads 76-52-10 overall and has taken 10 of the last 14.

Morgan Roberts hit Robert Clemons on a 19-yard touchdown pass with 4:31 left and the Bulldog defense came up with a huge stand on the way to a 35-28 win over the Tigers at Princeton Stadium a year ago. Yale overcame 14-0, 21-14 and 28-24 deficits to hand Princeton its only home loss. The game-winning score was set up by one of three impressive Bulldog defensive sets to finish the day. After junior Bryan Holmes nailed his second field goal of the day from 34 yards out early in the fourth to bring the Blue to within 28-27, the Eli defense went into shutdown mode, stopping a fourth-and-four on the Yale 37 to get the ball back to the Eli offense. The Bulldogs were denied on a fourth and short of their own, and the visitor’s defense was called on again. This time it required a Spencer Rymiszewski interception to clinch it.

Saturday is the final home game for 20 seniors on the Yale roster, some of whom might take advantage of medical hardships to return for the 2017 campaign.

Alan Lamar rushed for two touchdowns and Alex Galland booted a pair of field goals, but Yale fell short in its comeback attempt at Brown last week. The Bears led all the way in a 27-22 win at Brown Stadium. The Bears scored on their third offensive play of the day, a 52-yard touchdown run, before its punter fumbled the ball in his own end zone to give up a safety that made it 7-2. The teams traded second quarter field goals leading up to a pair of home team touchdowns before the Bears took a 17-5 lead into halftime.

The Blue, led by freshman quarterback Kurt Rawlings, outscored Brown 17-10 in the second half and nearly completed the comeback. Yale’s last chance to put points on the board ended on a Brown punt that bounced off a white jersey and was recovered by the Bears with 30 seconds left deep in the Eli end. It was a good second half of offense considering the obstacles, and the Elis had those opportunities because of solid defense. Senior Foyesade Oluokun led all tacklers with seven solo and 11 overall, while Hayden Carlson picked off his third pass this season and had 10 stops.

Princeton head coach Bob Surace called last week’s 28-0 win over first-place Penn the most complete performance in his seven-year career with the Tigers. His squad blocked a punt for a TD and held off a powerful Quaker offense that had helped the team take 10 straight league contests. Dorian Williams and Henry Schlossberg both had eight tackles.

Senior cornerback James Gales had his third straight game with an interception, while classmate Rohan Hylton recovered a fumble inside the final two minutes to keep the shutout alive. Meanwhile, junior John Lovett, who scored one TD, and senior Chad Kanoff (17-24, 160 yards) connected with 10 different receivers, while RB Joe Rhattigan led the team with 66 rushing yards.

Yale has led the nation in red zone efficiency all season, but its perfect mark was blemished last weekend. The Elis have been inside the opponent 20-yard line 26 times this fall and have put points on the board in all but one. The 4-for-5 performance at Providence put the Blue at .962 for the season.

The Bulldogs went from No. 1 in the nation for fewest penalties to No. 4 after drawing a season-high eight flags for 80 yards at Brown. Yale still tops the Ivy with just 36 penalties this season.

Special teams have been producing for the Elis, and the punt return unit, led by junior return man and defensive back Jason Alessi, is 26th in the FCS with a 12.0 average. Alessi ranks fourth in the nation with that 12.0 mark, second in the league to Princeton’s Tiger Bech (12.3).

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… RB Don Gesicki ‘76 completed a 97-yard pass play to Gary Fencik ‘76 at Princeton in 1975 in what was 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 ‘82 (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 ‘86 hauled in a 14-yard pass from Mike Curtin ‘86 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 Heth-erington ‘96 (229 total offense)… The Bulldogs, who tied the game on a 22-yard TD pass from Alvin Cowan ‘05 to Chandler Henley ‘06 with no time left on the clock in the fourth quarter, won a double-OT game at Princeton in 2003 by recovering a fumble after Yale kicked a field goal. The Tigers took a 34-31 decision at the Bowl in 2006 that led to the two teams sharing the Ivy crown.

Kurt Rawlings made his first career start at Brown last week and completed 20 of 46 passes for 252 yards. The Bel Air, Md., native became the first freshman to throw a TD pass for Yale since Eric Williams in 2012 with an impressive three quarters at Columbia the week before. He used his arm and legs to ignite the Blue to 24 points in the second quarter with three TD passes and some key runs. Rawlings earned Ivy League Rookie of the Week honors for that performance.

In addition to having a freshman start at QB, the Bulldogs had a rookie starting TB, Alan Lamar, with a team-high 77 yards and two scores. The team’s top two receivers in the game, Reed Klubnik (8-89) and JP Shohfi (5-88), had career days catching passes. Klubnik now leads the team with 24 catches and 238 yards. Throw in sophomore PK/P Alex Galland (2 FGs last week), in his first year of varsity action, and you can see the impact of youth on the 2016 offense. In addition, three newcomers made tackles at Brown, including DT Julian Fraser who had a big fumble recovery near the Brown goal line.

The plan was to have three veteran backs handling the carries this fall with a talented newcomer getting touches on kickoffs. That plan didn’t last long due to injuries. Freshman tailback Alan Lamar, leads Yale with 441 yards and four TDs. The day he got his first collegiate snaps in the backfield, he ran 23 times for 180 yards and touchdowns of seven and 43 yards on Oct. 8 in a win over Dartmouth. The Parade All-American from Mississippi finished five yards shy of Robert Carr’s freshman school rushing record of 185 yards against Dartmouth on Oct. 7, 2007. Lamar earned STATS FCS (national) Rookie of the Week and Ivy co-Rookie of the Week for his Oct. 8 performance. Lamar got his first start vs. Penn and ran for 118 yards while catching a pass for a TD.

Senior TE Sebastian Little grabbed two passes for 43 yards late in the game at Brown. Those receptions nearly helped Yale make a miraculous comeback, but the Cheshire, Conn., native has been helping his team and the New Haven community without touching the football. Little, a semifinalist for the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame’s 2016 William V. Campbell Trophy, has earned three varsity letters and has been among the team leaders in community outreach. He is the co-founder of Next Future Leaders (NFL), a student activities coordinator for Earn While You Learn, a member of the Mandi Schwartz Marrow Drive Commit-tee and team ambassador for Team IMPACT. Little has 43 career catches including the game-winning TD against Cornell in 2015.

Dale Harris has played corner, tailback and special teams this fall. His performance at Fordham on Oct. 15 was probably the top individual highlight of the 2016 Yale season. He started at corner while playing special teams and making a few runs at tailback when needed. Then Candler Rich, the only other healthy runner at the time with experience, got injured in the second quarter. Harris stepped up and ran for 4 TDs and a two-point conversion while totaling 136 yards. He also finished with an important catch and three solo tackles in one of the most versatile performances in the long history of Yale football. Against Penn, he led the team with eight solos and 12 overall tackles. The Brooklandville, Md., native has 239 rushing yards (4.5 average), four TDs and 26 points while totaling 28-10-38 on defense.

The team selected linebacker Darius Manora as its 2016 captain during a vote last November. Manora, a senior from Alexandria, Va., has 205 career tackles and has played in all 38 games. His most productive day as a Bulldog was 8 solos and 14 total tackles against Princeton in 2014, while his biggest play was plucking a Brown lateral pass – a flee flicker – out of the air and running it back for a score that same fall.

Junior defensive back Jason Alessi is Yale’s Mr. Versatility, and he is the only player in school history to return two punts for TDs at 80 yards or more. He had an 80-yarder (4thd longest at Yale) at home against Columbia last year and then notched an 82-yard play (3rd longest) against Lehigh at the Bowl on Oct. 1. He is currently 16th in the FCS with a 12.0 return average. In addition to starting on defense and seeing time on multiple special teams, Alessi is a standout member of the Yale lacrosse team, which has won consecutive Ivy League Tournament titles. On the gridiron, the Bloomfield Hills, Mich., native had a career-high five solos and eight overall tackles at Maine last fall and finished the year with 39 stops. Aessi, who has four career interceptions, is the only current Yale male two-sport (non-track) regular.

Hayden Carlson (Glen Ellyn, Ill.), a junior safety, led the Ivy League in 2015 with 92 total tackles and a 9.2 average. He leads the Ivy (6th in FCS) this fall with 6.6 solos per game while his 53 solos, 79 total stops, three interceptions and two fumble recoveries lead the Blue. He began 2016 with a game and career-high 14 tackles and set up scores with an interception (48-yard return) and a fum-ble recovery against Colgate. He had eight stops, a fumble recovery and a solo tackle on a fake field goal attempt at Cornell. Carl-son, whose interception against Dartmouth clinched the win on Oct. 8, has started every game this fall.

If not for injuries, Yale would have a three-man rotation of experience and big days at tailback this fall. Senior Candler Rich (Newnan, Ga.) has a 5.4 average on 34 carries. Rich began 2015 as the top running back but missed most of the year with an injury. He averaged 7.5 per carry as a backup in 2014, which included a 202-yard day on 17 runs at Columbia. Senior Dale Harris (Brook-landville, Md.) volunteered to move from defense last fall when injuries ravaged the backfield. He started the first two weeks of 2016 (missed week three with injury) and then played mostly on defense. A three-year starter at cornerback, Harris ran for 177 yards (71-yard TD) at Princeton last November. Deshawn Salter, who has had a pair of monster days against Lehigh in 2015 and 2016, is the other part of the veteran rotation.

Sophomore Tre Moore, who became the third black quarterback to start a game for Yale on Oct. 1, has been the starter the last five weeks. He did a great job of leading his team in a comeback attempt at Fordham with 102 rushing yards. Against Lehigh, he ran for two (14, 12 yards) TDs and threw for another (63-yarder) in his initial collegiate start. He was more efficient (21-33, 174) in relief at Cornell in week two, but he produced more points in his first start (Lehigh). Rufus Moore III, nicknamed Tre (the third), came to Yale from John Burroughs School in St. Louis, Mo, where he was a teammate of Eli defensive standout Foyesade Oluokun. He has played in six games this season after not getting any varsity snaps in 2015.

Senior WR Myles Gaines (Tallahassee, Fla.), who had a career-high nine catches for 106 yards against Dartmouth and is second on the team with 22 catches, is determined to change the way America—and maybe even the rest of the world—gets its nutrients by studying food policy and sustainable farming options. An environmental studies turned political science major, Gaines, who has 45 career catches over 21 (injuries the last 2 years) varsity games, hopes to combine these disciplines and work on the policy end of providing sustainable food, especially to black communities. He served as a Lazarus 2016 Summer Intern through the Yale Sus-tainable Food Program in New Haven after working at an oyster farm that practiced sustainable harvesting.

Sophomore Alex Galland (Bakersfield, Calif.) has taken over the field goal and extra-point kicking. He has gone 2-for-2 on field goals in three different games this fall and is and is now 7-for-9 in 2016 with a long of 38 yards at Cornell. Galland earned Ivy Spe-cial Teams Player of the Week after a field goal and nine punts in tough conditions at Columbia on Oct. 28. Senior Bryan Holmes (Holland, Mich.), an All-Ivy placekicker last fall, has done some punting and kickoffs this season, while junior Blake Horn (Davie, Fla.) has also been used on kickoffs.

There has been a lot of shuffling of players on the offensive line due to injuries, and the following Bulldogs have gotten starts at dif-ferent times: freshmen LG Dieter Eiselen (Stellenbosch, South Africa) and LT Sterling Strother (Moraga, Calif.), juniors C Karl Mar-back (Birmingham, Mich.) and OG Jeho Chang (Suwanee, Ga.), and seniors LT Khalid Cannon (Gadsden, Ala.), RT Beau Iverson (Lakewood, Wash.) and RG Mason Friedline (Seattle, Wash.).

Karl Marback (Birmingham, Mich.), a junior center who is a biomedical engineering major, is a member of the Yale Undergraduate Aerospace Association (YUAA). As a sophomore, he helped build a rocket that climbed to 10,000 feet and collected microbes from the air to learn more about what is living in the atmosphere. That rocket was launched twice, first in Maryland and again in Utah for the Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Competition (IREC). The Yale entry took second place for payload design. Marback, who came over from the defense in 2015, is playing center for the first time as a Bulldog.

It’s very rare to have an ex-Yale football captain on the coaching staff, but the Elis 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.

One hundred and nine Yale graduates – far more than any other school – have become head coaches in college football. Six Yale grads currently serve on college coaching staffs, including Paul Rice and Chandler Henley. Bob Shoop ‘88 is defensive coordinator at the University of Tennessee. Dartmouth has Kyle Metzler ’02, the running game and recruiting coordinator (OT, TE focus), while Josh Grizzard ’12 is a graduate assistant (QB, quality control) at Duke. Matt Coombs ’08 is a quality control GA at Boise State.

Two former Yale players are coaching in the NFL this fall. Pat Graham ‘01, a former Yale tight end and defensive lineman who won a Super Bowl ring in 2015 with the New England Patriots as a defensive assistant coach, worked seven seasons for Bill Belichick be-fore taking a new job this fall with the New York Giants. Graham earned an Ivy Championship ring in 1999. Michael McDaniel ‘05 is in his 10th NFL campaign and second as offensive assistant with Atlanta. He has worked with Cleveland, Houston. Denver and Washington. The Yalie with the longest NFL tenure (player/coach) in Ivy history is Dick Jauron ‘73, who played eight seasons be-tween two teams and then spent 32 years as a coach. His last was 2012 with Cleveland. Two former Elis are working for the Miami Dolphins: Max Napolitano ’14 is a business analytics specialist while Grant Wallace ’15 is a player personnel assistant. Brandon Etheridge ‘07, who had worked for the NFL Management Council, is now general counsel for the Baltimore Ravens.

There are numerous double numbers on the Yale roster this fall. Here are the ones that might cause the most confusion. Last week’s participation is included:

2: Bo Hines WR (DNP), Marquise Peggs DB (DNP)
3: Ross Drwal WR (DNP), Malcolm Dixon DB (played)
6: Jaelin Alburg DB (played), Kurt Rawlings QB (played)
10: QB Tre Moore (DNP), LB Victor Egu (played)
18: QB Rafe Chapple (DNP), LB Ryan Burke (played)
22: Matthew Oplinger LB (played), Silas Wyper WR (DNP)
81: Alex Galland PK/P (played), Blake Rowlinson WR (DNP)
87: Devin Moore DE (DNP), Garrett White WR (DNP)

Ten years ago this fall, a team led by captain Chandler Henley (current Yale coach) went 8-2 and earned an Ivy League title. The final win came at Harvard, a 34-13 decision. Many members of that team were back to celebrate the title on Sept. 17 at the Bowl.

The 40th reunion of Yale’s 1976 Ivy League Championship gridiron squad takes place Nov. 12 as part of the Princeton weekend. The 76ers, captained by Vic Staffieri, won their last eight games, including a combined 60-14 score in victories over Princeton and Harvard, to finish 8-1.

Future Yale schedules include games with a new, Southern, flavor. One is in Georgia, the other Virginia. The Elis, who have a four-game series set with Mercer University, will play a school from Georgia (Macon) for the first time since playing the University of Georgia in 1929, the dedication game for Sanford Stadium. The Mercer Bears, a member of the Southern Conference, play at Yale on Oct. 13, 2018. The next meeting is Oct. 2, 2021 at Macon. The other two encounters come in 2022 (New Haven) and 2023 (Ma-con). The University of Richmond, a Colonial Athletic Conference and FCS power, is on Yale’s schedule for 2019 (at Richmond) and 2020 (New Haven). The Bulldogs and Spiders have never met. The Elis have not played in Virginia since a game against Wil-liam & Mary at Norfolk in 1983.

892 or 893
Yale has 892 or 893 wins depending how you view things. The NCAA record books give the Bulldogs credit for games won on the field, which is 892. However, the Ivy League credits Yale with one more (893) victory from a 1997 (forfeit) game against Penn. Yale was the first to 800 wins but has been overtaken by schools playing a dozen or more games per year like Michigan and Notre Dame.

Yale is 6-3 in OT games including 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).

Here are Yale’s 2016 weekly honors by player:

Jaelin Alburg: Ivy Honor Roll (Cornell)
Hayden Carlson: Ivy Honor Roll, Nissan Yale POG; Collegesportsmadness.com Ivy DPOW (Colgate)
Alex Galland: Ivy Honor Roll (Cornell, Brown)… Ivy Special Teams POW (Columbia)
Dale Harris: Ivy Honor Roll, Nissan Yale POG, STATS FCS Honor Roll (Fordham)
Alan Lamar: STATS FCS Rookie of Week; Ivy co-Rookie of Week (Dartmouth)
Ivy Honor Roll (Penn)
Reed Klubnik: Ivy Honor Roll (Dartmouth, Brown)
Tre Moore: Nissan Yale POG (Cornell, Lehigh)
Marty Moesta: Ivy Honor Roll (Columbia)
Foyesade Oluokun: Ivy Honor Roll (Cornell)
Kurt Rawlings: Ivy Rookie of Week; Nissan Yale POG (Columbia)
Deshawn Salter: Nissan Yale POG (Lehigh)
Team 144: Nissan Yale POG (Dartmouth)

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 con-tact Yale Sports Publicity Director Steve Conn (steven.conn@yale.edu) if you would like to attend. Darius Manora, Robert Clemons, Rafe Chapple, Nick Crowle, Foyesade Oluokun, Tre Moore, Matthew Oplinger, Reed Klubnik, John Herubin, Mason Friedline, Se-bastian Little, Alex Galland, Kurt Rawlings and Jason Alessi have taken part so far this fall.

You can listen to legendary coach Carm Cozza, Ron Vaccaro ’04 and Steve Conn call the action of Yale Football this fall on ESPN Radio1300 (AM 1300) or News Radio 960 WELI (AM 960), as well as iHeart Radio, espnradio1300.com. You can also see some broadcasts this season. Six (Colgate, Lehigh, Cornell, Dartmouth, Brown, Princeton) games air on the Ivy League Digital Network. Three games in 2016 can be seen on the NBC family of networks (Penn, Columbia on NBCSN, Harvard on CNBC). In addition, One World Sports (OWS) airs two games from the Bowl this fall, Colgate and Lehigh, that are also on the ILDN, now available on Apple TV and Roku.

The 2016 Yale football team includes 40 high school football captains and 24 guys who were captains of other sports before com-ing to New Haven. There are also 37 National Honor Society members.

The Elis were surveyed to find out what they thought about each other. Here are the results:

most humorous player on the Yale football team: 63 Anders Huizenga, 23 Foye Oluokun
most intelligent player on the team: 61 Jon Bezney
most vocal/leader-like player other than captain: 4 Sebastian Little
most likely to become a U.S. President: 16 Jackson Stallings, 2 Bo Hines
best singer on the team: 78 Steven Cepalia
Pound-for-pound strongest player: 1 Dale Harris
most involved in community outreach: 4 Sebastian Little

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