NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Yale scored on its first three possessions and four of the first five offensive series before Brown had a chance to get comfortable in this important Ivy League night game at Yale Bowl on the Class of 1954 Field. The Bulldogs made it uncomfortable for the visitors all night in a 34-7 win, the fourth straight for a Yale team that is in first place with a 4-1 record (7-1 overall).
Freshman running back Zane Dudek why he was put on the Jerry Rice Award Watch List (FCS top rookie) by notching a 165-yard, three touchdown performance in his first collegiate start. His scoring runs were from 68, 36 and seven yards. Dudek, who carried just 13 times filling in for senior Deshawn Salter, got the ball on the first two Yale offensive plays. The first went for no gain and the second was the 68-yarder, where he used a huge gap created by the offensive line, broke to the left and went down the sideline without being touched.
“The offensive line just pulled through tonight,” said Dudek. “That’s what they’ve done all year, and they just continue to do it, week in and week out. It’s so impressive and it’s so much fun to run behind. It’s unreal to be running behind people who just give it their all every single play, just moving people every single play, it’s awesome.”
Sophomore receiver JP Shohfi, who had the other Yale scoring plays, led the team with two TD catches and 107 yards, including an 83-yard TD on a bubble screen and scamper that is the fifth longest pass play in school history.
“We ran the bubble, and I got two great blocks on the outside from Goose (Michael Siragusa Jr) and Jaeden (Graham) and basically just saw open grass and was able to take off,” said Shohfi. “A great ball from Kurt (Rawlings) and great blocks from the outside made it a lot easier for me.”
Shohfi’s classmate, quarterback Kurt Rawlings completed 17 of 25 throws for 294 yards, and wanted to talk about his teammates on the field after the game.
“All credit to our offensive line, as always. Once they get rolling, the whole O-Train gets rolling and they’re the drivers of that. Just being able to watch little Zane (Dudek) run behind all of our big guys up front is fun,” said Rawlings, who had to qualify the unit’s performance in week eight.
“We’re not satisfied, we can always get better. We left a lot of good plays out on the field. We had a few too many three and outs and a bad fumble by me down near the end zone. We’d just like to fix a few things up and that’s what practice is for this week. I hope to correct those things for Princeton,” said the second-year signal-caller from Maryland.
While Shohfi had his most productive collegiate, senior tight end Jaeden Graham, who had a game-high five catches (82 yards), set up the second score with the catch of the night. On the second Yale offensive series, the Colorado native made a diving grab over the middle with defenders all around him that set up the home team’s second TD.
This game was over early, and not just because the offense jumped all over the Bears. Yale’s defense, which narrowly missed its second shutout (Elis have not had two shutouts in a season since 1980), sustained pressure on Brown starting quarterback T.J. Linta that prevented the senior from getting any rhythm. The team that leads the nation in sacks only got two tonight, but the QB hits and pressures combined could have been half of the Bears’ snaps.
Captain Spencer Rymiszewski, who picked off a pass later in the game, began the barrage with a hit on the opening series that set the tone.
“It was awesome tonight,” said Rymiszewski about being back in the lineup after missing the Columbia game with an injury. “I feel like we were all in sync today, especially up front, getting to the quarterback. It makes our job 10 times easier as a secondary. We were putting pressure on the quarterback all day, and I think things went well.”