Yale-Albany Saturday at Noon

Chris Smith. (photo by Kevin McCarthy)
Chris Smith. (photo by Kevin McCarthy)

Bulldogs Look For Non-League Win

Related Links


NEW HAVEN, Conn. - It's a dog-eat-dog world and either a Bulldog or a Great Dane will come out on top Saturday at Yale Bowl on the Class of '54 Field. Yale meets the University at Albany for the first time ever on the gridiron. The initial meeting, which occurs on Youth Day with a noon kickoff, can be seen live on yalebulldogs.com, while audio is available on WELI Radio (AM-960), weli.com and wybc.com.

Alex Thomas (Ansonia, Conn.) rambled for 124 yards on 18 carries (6.9 avg.) to help Yale beat Cornell 21-7 in the Ivy opener for both schools before a homecoming crowd of 16,026 at Schoellkopf Field last Saturday. The Elis, who outgained the home team in total offense 443 to 270, broke open a 7-7 game in the third with a pair of TDs to end a two-game skid against the Big Red. Yale drove the ball 93 yards on its second possession to take a 7-0 lead. Patrick Witt (18-32, 232, 1 TD) hit WR Gio Christodoulou (Miami, Fla.) over the middle and the speedy senior broke two tackles and outraced a defensive back to the corner pilon for a 69-yard scoring play at 6:01. A pair of interceptions by Big Red DB Emani Fenton prevented the visitors from adding any points in the first half. Cornell QB Jeff Matthews found TB Nick Booker-Tandy open in the right flat late in the first quarter on an 11-yard pass play to even the score. The Bulldogs capitalized on Adam Money's (Whiteland, Ind.) fifth career interception on the opening drive of the second half to take the lead again. Thomas, who had a one-yard run, scored his fourth TD of the season to give Yale a 14-7 lead. "We wanted the change the momentum in the second half," said Money, who returned the pick 20 yards and also forced a big special teams fumble. "This was a cohesive, group effort and the defensive line really made our jobs easier today." Yale increased the lead to 14 points by converting another turnover. LB Jordan Haynes (Folsom, Calif.) recovered a fumbled punt on the Cornell 30 late in the third that led to Witt's one-yard plunge at 1:28. Senior WR Jordan Forney (Bloomington, Ind.) led the Blue with five catches for 54 yards, but this was more of a defensive day (4 sacks, 2 turnovers) for the visitors. Haynes led Yale with 10 (5-5) total stops while DB Geoff Dunham (Dallas, Texas) had six solo tackles and DE Allen Davis (Grand Prairie, Texas) notched his first two collegiate sacks. Davis and his teammates knocked out Cornell's starting TB on his first carry of the game and made life difficult for Mathews (23-35, 248, 1 TD), a freshman making his first start. "We went into the half with 282 yards of offense and just seven points. We thought we were pressing a little too much," said Tom Williams, the Joel E. Smilow '54 Head Coach of Yale Football. "We made the plays we were supposed to make in the second half. We took the ball away and made them pay. That's the hallmark of a good team."

The Blue converted two of three red zone chances at Ithaca and are now 7-for-10 this year… Yale is averaging a league-high 493 yards of offense, which is second among FCS schools… The Elis had 10 rushing and 10 passing first downs at Cornell and have 55 (tops in Ivy) overall in two games… Yale is averaging over 34 minutes of possession.

Drew Smith ran for 92 yards and two TDs but his Albany team (1-2, 0-1 NEC) fell at Duquesne last week 28-17 in the NEC opener for both sides. The home team forced three turnovers, including a pair of interceptions thrown by Dan Di Lella (14-37, 116). WR Ryan Kirchner (7-77) had his best day as a collegian, while DL Eddie Delaney and DB Justin Hassan each had nine tackles. The Danes, playing their fourth straight road game this week, opened with a 3-0 win at Maine before falling at Stephen F. Austin.

Patrick Witt (Wylie, Texas) now has three TD passes and two rushing scores in a pair of games this fall. He was named Ivy League co-Player of the Week (35-55, 407) on Sept. 20 after he threw for 400 yards (6th time it has happened at Yale) in a game against the Hoyas. Witt, who leads the Ivies in passing yards per game (319) scored the winning TD on a one-yard plunge as time ran out. A backup at Nebraska in 2008, Witt started six games in 2009 and led the team with 1,449 yards and eight TDs.

Junior LB Jordan Haynes (5-5-10) led the Bulldogs in total tackles for the second straight game, and his fumble recovery in the third quarter was one of the game's biggest plays. The National Football Foundation High School Scholar-Athlete from Folsom, Calif., had 10 solos and scored Yale's first TD of the year on a four-yard fumble return late in the first quarter on Sept. 18. His fumble return was the first for a TD by a Yale player since Steven Santoro in 2006 at Harvard. Haynes leads the Ivy League with two recovered fumbles.

Albany, which won the Northeast Conference championship in 2007 and 2008, has won nine of its 12 league openers… Bob Ford, the school's only head football coach since 1970, ranks first among active 1-AA head coaches with 234 wins. Yale is the Danes' first Ivy League opponent since Brown (35-7 loss) in 2004.

Seventeen different Bulldogs combined for the 39 solo tackles while allowing just 22 rushing yards last week at Cornell. The Blue gives up 62 yards per game, which is fourth in the FCS. Sophomore DE Allen Davis had a career-high 3-1-4 and led the team with two of the four sacks. Yale now has six sacks in two games compared to 13 sacks in all of 2009. Senior DE Sean Williams had a sack while CB Chris Stanley and LB Will McHale each had half of a QB takedown. Yale registered nine tackles for lost yardage and broke up two passes. Last Saturday's success came without the services of game one starters/ends Tom McCarthy (Chester, N.J.) and Matt Battaglia (Simsbury, Conn.).
Sophomore Chris Smith (Midlothian, Va.) caught three passes (32 yards), rushed once for six yards and returned two kickoffs for 49 yards at Ithaca. He led all Bulldogs with 167 all-purpose yards on opening day against Georgetown.

Senior TE Chris Blohm (San Francisco, Calif.) played in every 2009 game but did not make a catch. He entered this fall with one career reception but has now snared eight passes for 95 yards in two games. He has four in each outing including a 10-yard TD against the Hoyas.

Senior WR Gio Christodoulou (Miami, Fla.), who has 11 catches in two games, grabbed two for 88 yards at Cornell while returning a punt for 16 yards. He had a career-best nine catches for 124 yards against Georgetown on opening day. He has two career punt returns for TDs and ranks among the top 10 at Yale in career punt (424, 4th) and kickoff return (553, 10th) yardage.

Patrick Witt has been sacked once in eight quarters in 2010; Yale gave up 32 sacks in 10 games last fall. Two seniors, two juniors and a freshman got the starts last week on the offensive line. RT Wes Gavin (San Diego, Calif., 6-5, 275) made his first career start at Cornell while LG Colin Kruger (Sarasota, Fla., 6-3, 300) made his second. Senior center Jake Koury (Dublin, Ohio, 6-2, 270), junior RG Gabe Fernandez (Honolulu, HI, 6-0, 273) and senior LT Alex Golubiewski (Green Bay, Wis., 6-6, 280) all started games in 2009.

Tom McCarthy '10 (Chester, N.J.), who battled a pre-season injury but started the season opener, missed the second half of Georgetown and all of the Cornell game with another injury. He has been one of the leaders on the defensive line the last two years. The second-team All-Ivy pick last fall was Yale's MVP of the defensive line. McCarthy registered four sacks and eight tackles for loss. He earned a medical hardship from his freshman year and is now the fifth Yale captain since 2001 who has taken a fifth year of eligibility.

Alex Thomas is showing why he is the most prolific (8,279 yards, 114 TDs) runner in Connecticut High School history. The junior RB from Ansonia, who scored three times in an opening day win last week, now has 338 yards in his last three games. His 124 yards (matched career-high vs. Harvard '09) and 6.9 average were game-highs at Cornell. Thomas added 15 pounds of muscle over the summer and currently leads the Ivies in rushing average (107) and scoring (12). He ran for 90 and caught six passes for 71 yards while finding the end zone three times in the opener vs. Georgetown.

Senior P/PK Alex Barnes (Chesterfield, Mo.) had a strong showing at Cornell despite missing a 27-yard FG attempt. Barnes had a 38.3 average on three punts with one (47-yarder) inside the 20 and boomed a kickoff through the end zone.

San Diego natives OL Wes Gavin and RB Deon Randall and WR Cameron Sandquist (Redmond, Wash.) were the only class of 2014 Elis to play at Cornell. Gavin was the only starter.   

CB Chris Stanley (Los Angeles, Calif.) assisted on two sacks at Cornell... RB Mordecai Cargill (Cleveland, Ohio) had a career-high 89 yards and 16 carries (5.6 avg.) that included a 29-yard scamper… Patrick Witt has three career TD runs and each has been from one yard out…. The Carm Cozza Complex (Yale football locker room) will be dedicated on Nov. 13 prior to the game against Princeton… The "Y" painted on the center of the Class of '54 Field measures 60 x 60 feet… Yale and Dartmouth will play at the Yale Bowl in 2011 and 2012 as part of the league schedule balancing… DT Greg Burkus '83 was inducted into the New Haven Gridiron Hall of Fame on Sept. 23... Yale opens the 2011 and 2012 seasons at home with Georgetown… Yale's all-time September record is 110-34-2.

Smith is the most common surname in America, so it's no surprise that Yale has three (Caleb, Chris, McConnell) from different classes on its roster. All three are on offense, two are WRs (Chris, McConnell) and Caleb is an end. Chris and Caleb (West Orange, N.J.) played in both games this fall, McConnell (Chagrin Falls, Ohio) is looking for his first varsity action.

Dick Jauron '73, who has spent 32 years in the NFL playing and coaching, is the secondary coach for the Philadelphia Eagles… TE Nate Lawrie '04, who played with UFL Sacramento last year, signed with the Eagles on Aug. 9 but was released on Sept. 3... Jeff Mroz '05 played QB in one 2010 game for the AFL Alabama Vipers… Pat Graham '01 is an assistant coach for the New England Patriots… Michael McDaniel '06 is an assistant in the UFL for San Francisco.

For the 13th consecutive season, all 10 Yale Football games can be heard live on New Haven's News/Talk 960 WELI-AM and free online at 960WELI.com. Ron Vaccaro '04 (play-by-play) and Carm Cozza (color) have the call, which can be heard on AM radio throughout Connecticut and across Long Island Sound, for their sixth season together.

Every third quarter this season, a different former Yale player will join the WELI Radio broadcast. P.J. Collins '04 (Georgetown), Rick Fehling '74 (Cornell), Jay Pilkerton '09 (Albany), Kevin Kelly '78 (Dartmouth), Joe Walland '00 (Fordham), Bobby Fernandez '75 (Columbia), Matt Polhemus '08 (Penn), Chuck Mercein '65 and Scott Rooth '77 (Princeton) and Bill Primps '71 (Harvard) are the 2010 lineup.

Tom Williams, the Joel E. Smilow '54 Head Coach of Football at Yale, is in his second season at Yale and his second as a head coach overall. Williams is 6-6 overall with the Bulldogs and is facing Albany for the first time in any capacity. He came to New Haven after two seasons as an assistant with the Jacksonville Jaguars and is in his 13th season of college coaching. Williams has worked at his alma mater, Stanford, Hawaii, Washington and San Jose State. He has been part of four Bowl Game appearances and two Bowl victories.

All six home games this season will be video streamed live (pay per view) on yalebulldogs.com through Yale's All Access with Vaccaro and Cozza providing the call.

The Bulldogs, off on Mondays, are on the field at 7:30 a.m. (until approx. 9:30) Tuesday and Thursdays, and 7:00 on Wednesdays behind the baseball stadium. 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 practice if there are no class conflicts.

Broadcasts of Yale football, along with several other sports during the year, are available on the Yale student station, WYBC, and can be heard free on-line at wybc.com. Sports director LeRoy Cole '12 heads each broadcast.

Tom Williams, the Joel E. Smilow '54 Head Coach of Yale Football, and some of his players are at the world famous Mory's (306 York Street) every Tuesday (Sept. 14 through Nov. 16) at 2 p.m. for the Dick Galiette Yale Football Press Conference. This event is limited to media only (enter through side door facing alley). Please contact Yale Sports Publicity Director Steve Conn (steven.conn@yale.edu) if you would like to attend.

Three of Yale's seven league games will air live on TV. Yale on YES is back for 2010 with three (Fordham, Penn, Columbia) straight home games that can be seen live on many cable systems as well as DirecTV, AT&T U-verse and Verizon FiOS. The Yale-Harvard game on Nov. 20 at Boston is the Ivy League Game of the Week on Versus, the national sports cable TV company.

A former Yale kicker (Brian Clarke '74) became a famous (General Hospital, Eight is Enough) TV actor, and more recently ex-Eli receiver (Kip Pardue '98) had a starring role as a QB in the hit movie Remember the Titans.   Sophomore QB Dez Duron (Shreveport, La.) has been singing since he was two and might follow in that mode. He and his siblings sang for preaching tapes mailed by their father. Their mom wrote Christian songs with videos and tapes for kids called "Best Buddies." Duron, at 11, and his siblings were signed to a Christian recording label. They toured and made a CD. Duron got more involved in sports and stopped singing with his family. He recently began making his own music, including the recording of two songs that can be heard on Myspace. There are also two youtube videos.

Junior RB Alex Thomas (Ansonia, Conn.) and Ansonia native John Coughlin (Yale Football Office) spoke to 125 fourth graders last week at John G Prendergast Elementary School in Ansonia... Junior CB Drew Baldwin (Alexandria, Va.), co-chair of the Yale Black Men's Union Community Outreach Committee, is in his third year of outreach work. Baldwin is responsible for creating the lesson plans and the calendar of events, working to promote personal growth and development through educational activities. "We try to do this through exposing the mentees to new ideas and experiences and, most importantly, through building lasting relationships between mentor and mentee.  We work toward trying to help these high school kids become young men.  In the Black Men's Union we measure success by how many lives we impact.  Because our mentoring program puts us in a position to impact lives to a great extent, we take that responsibility very seriously," said Baldwin (31-8-39 last year with two interceptions), who has mentored over 30 kids. Classmate Jordan Haynes works closely with Baldwin on the project.

Here's the JV schedule for this fall. All home games are played at Clint Frank Field.

Date        Opponent            Time
Oct. 3        Milford Academy            1:00
Oct. 31        Bridgton Academy        Noon
Nov. 7        Army                Noon
Nov. 19    at Harvard            1:00

Senior OLB Jesse Reising (Decatur, Ill.), second on the team with 12 tackles after two starts, was home for the summer taking classes to get his flight license before he completes Marine Corps Officer Candidate School next year. The class valedictorian at Eisenhower High School, he participated in various community outreach activities through his Yale fraternity, including events to raise money to fight prostate cancer, Relay for Life, and making care packages for Navy SEALs in Afghanistan. Reising (3.75 GPA, economics/political science), Yale's candidate for the National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete Award, recently spent time in Washington, DC, working closely with veterans' service organizations such as the Wounded Warrior Project, American Legion and Disabled American Veterans.

This season marks the 50th anniversary of Yale's last perfect football squad. The 1960 Elis, who shared the Lambert Trophy with Navy, were Ivy champions and ranked 14th in the final Associated Press poll, went 9-0. They will be honored during the weekend of the Princeton game at the Bowl.

Ivy League Offensive Player of Week: Patrick Witt (9/20)
ECAC Offensive Player of Week: Patrick Witt (9/20)

The annual survey of Bulldogs produced the anticipated results; Yale is a team full of leaders who produced as much off the field as they did on it. Here is the 201 breakdown.

81     players were captains of their high school football team
55     players were captains of another sport in high school
57     players were a national honors society member
 8     players were class president at their high school
 8     players were student body president at their high school
11     players were class valedictorian at their high school
 2     players were class salutatorian at their high school

The following Yalies have distinguished themselves according to a vote by their teammates.

DB Josh Grizzard (Jr, Zebulon, N.C.):     most humorous
DB Geoff Dunham (Jr, Dallas, Texas):     most intelligent
DB Adam Money (Sr, Whiteland, Ind.):     most vocal leader (not captain)
LB Jesse Reising (Sr, Decatur, Ill.):     most likely to be U.S. President
QB Dez Duron (So, Shreveport, La.):    most interesting activity (musician)
                     best singer
RB Alex Thomas (Jr, Ansonia, Conn.):    strongest player (pound-for-pound)
WR Jordan Forney (Sr, Bloomington, Ind.):     most involved in community outreach

High on the facility wish list of Tom Williams was moving his team from multiple rooms at the Smilow Field Center to one large locker area. That wish came to fruition in the form of the Carm Cozza Complex. A dressing area designed by ProZone Lockers and meeting rooms for coaches and players highlight the complex that will also include a shrine to the hall of fame former Yale head coach.

"Hawaiian Fridays" are the rule in the Yale Football Office. Show up without a Hawaiian shirt and you risk a fine. Three coaches (Tom Williams, Ikaika Malloe, Doug Semones) have worked in high school, college or pro football on the island while three players, Gabe Fernandez (Honolulu), Kolu Buck (Kaneole) and Jake Semones (Haleiwa), grew up there.

Yale recently added a West Campus (Orange/West Haven) to its expanding list of real estate. A "North [football] Campus" has begun to form in Middletown, Conn., at Wesleyan University. Jack Siedlecki, Yale's head football coach for 12 (1997-2008) years is the Cardinals' new offensive coordinator. He brought former Yale assistant coach Jeff McDonald and ex-Bulldog playerTyler Wells '06 to the 2010 coaching staff. The Cardinals open at Middlebury on Saturday.

The Yale Bowl may be in West Haven, but the press box has a taste of New Haven with Yorkside Pizza & Restaurant serving slices and salad on home Saturdays. Rather than interrupting your work with a lunch at halftime, the food is now served on its arrival before kickoff.

filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director