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Bulldogs Control Their Destiny

Colin Kruger. (photo by Ron Waite, PhotoSportacular)
Colin Kruger. (photo by Ron Waite, PhotoSportacular)

Yale, Brown Need Win Saturday


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NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Every game the rest of the way is a playoff for the Yale football team (4-3, 3-1 Ivy), assuming the Bulldogs keep taking care of business. That means this Saturday's showdown with the Brown Bears (6-1, 3-1) is the biggest game of the year. Both teams need a win to remain in contention for the Ivy League prize and enter the weekend part of a three-way tie for second place. The noon kickoff at Yale Bowl and the Class of 1954 Field airs live on the YES Network and on WELI (960 AM) Radio.

So much for home field advantage; the visiting team has won 12 of the last 15 meetings heading into the 116th between Yale and Brown. The Bulldogs may be up 78-32-5, but the Bears have won seven of the last 12. Of the 115 meetings, only 31 have come at Brown Stadium, where the Blue is 19-9-3. The two rivals met in New Haven 32 consecutive years (1926-57) and Yale has a 59-23-2 advantage at the Bowl.

The guys from Providence may very well be the best team the Bulldogs have faced in 2011. Yale is scoring slightly more and moving up the field a little better than Brown, but the Bears' defense allows the fewest points in the league. On the other side, Brown's offense averages three yards less (356) than what the Bulldog defense allows. If any of these numbers matter, this could be a sign of a great game to come.

TEAM AVERAGES                     
Offense            Yale        Brown
Rushing Yards        175.6        122.3
Passing Yards        200.1        234.6
Total Offense        375.7        356.9
Scoring            24.4        22.6

Rushing Yards        127.1        149.3
Passing Yards        231.9        174.7
Total Defense        359.0        324.0
Scoring            22.7        14.6

Junior RB Mordecai Cargill (Cleveland Heights, Ohio) ran for 230 yards and two scores as Yale earned its first road win of the year by beating Columbia 16-13 in a snowstorm at Wien Stadium. The heavy snow and gusty winds prevented either team from having any success in the air (111 combined yards), but the Bulldog offensive line plowed a path for Yale runners who combined for 276 yards. It's not like the Columbia defense didn't know who was going to have the ball in his hands. QB Patrick Witt (Wylie, Texas), who had never played in those conditions, completed just two of 10 passes for 16 yards, so Cargill was the obvious choice. A four-yard Cargill run early in the fourth put Yale up 16-0, but the Elis still had to hang on in the end for a second straight year. Brackett fired a 26-yard TD pass to Zack McKown at 8:54, and Mike Stephens caught a four-yard scoring pass at 4:04 to make things scary two days from Halloween.  

Ivy games are rarely played in snow due to the league calendar and weather patterns in this part of the country. Official game records rarely include weather details, though Yale football historian Bob Barton '57 may be a better source. He says the last Yale game to be played with an accumulation of snow on the field was the 1955 Harvard game (21-7 win for Bulldogs) at Yale Bowl. Before that it was the 1953 game against Temple (another Yale win) at New Haven. Both of those games were well into November. The Elis have won their last three contests played with snow on the field.

Junior RB Mordecai Cargill (Cleveland Heights, Ohio), who earned Ivy League Offensive Player of the Week and the New England Football Writer's Gold Helmet Award for Oct. 29, entered the Columbia game with 53 carries and 247 yards in six outings in 2011. He nearly doubled both on a challenging day for offenses. Cargill, who had never played in a game with that much snow, put himself at No. 4 on Yale's single-game rushing list with a career-high, 230-yard day. He's the first Gold Helmet winner from Yale since Philippe Panico got it last October. The Bulldog back rambled through the snow for 153 yards in the second half after 20 yards on six carries in the first quarter and 57 yards on eight more runs in the second. He scored on runs of 19 and four yards. His 42 carries are the most since Mike McLeod had 40 against Lehigh in 2007 and are the most (tie with Tyler Smith, Bucknell) by an FCS back this season. That total is four attempts short of the school record set by Rich Diana (46-222) against Princeton in 1981.

Mordecai Cargill's big day in the snow marked the second straight week a Yale runner had gone over 200 yards. Alex Thomas (Ansonia, Conn.), the team's active career rushing leader, was out with an injury after rambling for 204 at Penn on Oct. 22. This was the first time a Yale football team had runners go over 200 rushing yards on consecutive weeks. Those are the only 200-yard rushing games for Ivy players this season.

Not only did the Bulldogs have two different backs go over 200 the last two weeks, they did it despite replacing two starting offensive tackles (Wes Gavin, Roy Collins) with freshman Ben Carbery and sophomore James Talerico. Yale was also without starting RB Alex Thomas and WR/KR Chris Smith last week.

Alexander Norocea booted field goals in the second and third quarters to give Brown a 6-0 win over Penn at Brown Stadium last Saturday. Playing in a rain storm, the Bears had 193 yards of total offense and turned the ball over just twice. The Brown defense forced five turnovers and allowed the home team to keep the ball for 13 minutes more than the Quakers, whose Ivy win streak ended at 18 games.

WR Chris Smith scored on kickoff returns of 83 and 79 yards as Yale edged Brown 27-24 at Brown Stadium last November. The other Eli points came from an Alex Thomas TD and a pair of Philippe Panico field goals. After the two teams combined for 31 points in a span of less than five minutes near the end of the first half, the second half turned into a defensive struggle. The Yale defense had allowed Brown 229 yards in the first half, but yielded only 99 in the second.

Chris Smith '13 became the first Ivy player to return two kickoffs for TDs in a game during Yale's 27-24 win at Providence in 2010… The Elis played spoiler in 2008 against league unbeaten Brown and came back to New Haven with a 13-3 win. The clincher was a 78-yard pass play from Brook Hart '11 to Peter Balsam '11... Ralph Plumb '05 set a Yale record with 258 receiving yards in 2004 at Providence... The Bears and Bulldogs combined for a series-record 99 points in the 2003 game at Yale Bowl, a 55-44 Brown victory that included four TD grabs for Bear WR Lonnie Hill... DB Ben Blake '00 blocked Brown's PAT attempt in the closing seconds of the 1999 game as the visitors attempted to tie the game. However, Bear TB Mike Powell picked up the loose ball and lateraled to FB Rob Scholl, who rambled into the end zone for the two-point conversion and a 25-24 victory... WR Jake Borden '00 hauled in a 27-yard TD pass from Joe Walland '00 with six seconds left as Yale pulled out a 30-28 game at Providence in 1998... Chris Hetherington '96, a Yale QB who later became

an NFL fullback, rushed for 166 yards and passed for 223 in a win over Brown in 1995... In a matchup of defending co-champions, Yale's goal-line stand prevented the Bruins (that's what they used to be called) from converting a first-and-goal from the two-yard line with under a minute to play in a 10-9 Eli victory at the Bowl in 1977... The two teams combined for 37 punts in a 1941 Brown (7-0) win.
The Yale defense forced four Columbia turnovers which helped the Elis score the game's first 16 points. Senior FS Geoff Dunham (Dallas, Texas) and sophomore SS Nick Okano (Los Angeles, Calif.) had interceptions on a tough day to handle the ball. Okano's pick ended the home team's hope of coming back with under a minute to play. Linebackers Will McHale (Greenwich, Conn.) and Jordan Haynes (Folsom, Calif.) recovered Columbia fumbles. Yale held the Lions to 164 total yards.

One of the biggest plays of last Saturday's game came on defense with the Lions looking to pass. Will McHale blitzed and got his hand on the Sean Brackett pass. A Columbia lineman grabbed the ball in the air and tried to advance it, but senior DE Cliff Foreman (Washington, D.C.) stripped him and a Yale teammate recovered to set up junior Philippe Panico's 38-yard field goal and give the visitors a 3-0 lead in the second quarter.

In other games last week, Harvard trounced Dartmouth at Boston, 41-10, to remain unbeaten in Ivy play while Cornell bounced Princeton 24-7 in New Jersey

        League        Overall
        W    L    W    L
Harvard        4    0    6    1
Brown        3    1    6    1
YALE        3    1    4    3
Penn        3    1    4    3
Cornell        1    3    3    4
Dartmouth    1    3    2    5
Princeton    1    3    1    6
Columbia    0    4    0    7

Harvard is at Columbia for a 12:30 kick, while Princeton travels to Penn (1:00) and Cornell goes to Dartmouth (1:30).

Junior WR Chris Smith (Midlothian, Va.), who missed last week with an injury and two games overall this season, has distinguished himself as one of the top receivers ever in Yale football. He is the only Eli to have three straight 100-yard games, while his 322 yards over his last two and 422 over the three are both Yale records. His four 100-yard games are the second most in the history of the program. Billy Brown '02 had all five of his in 2001, but Smith is the only Bulldog receiver to have a TD in every game he has gone triple digits. On Oct. 22 at Penn, he had a game-high 202 all-purpose yards and while scoring twice on pass plays.  His six catches gave him 90 for his career, which is seventh at Yale. On Oct. 15 he earned the College Football Performance Awards National FCS Wide Receiver of the Week Honor with a career-high seven catches for 174 yards and one score. He also returned kickoffs for another 107 yards. He is the only Ivy player with four 100-yard receiving days this fall. Smith, the first player in Ivy history to run back a pair of kickoffs for TDs in the same game (last year at Brown, span of 2:23), ranks second in Yale career KOR yards with 1,355, which is 56 yards shy of Robert Carr '05. His 732 yards in 2010 are a single-season record. Smith is also the only Yale player with two career kickoff returns for TDs.

Smith's 2011 Numbers
111.4 ypg (1st Ivy, 13th FCS)
189.8 AP ypg (1st Ivy, 9th FCS)
5.2 rpg (6th Ivy)
174 receiving yards vs. Lafayette (most in Ivy 2011)
163 KOR yards vs. Georgetown (most in Ivy 2011)
6 TDs

Smith's Career
90 catches (7th)... 1,242 receiving yards (10th)... 8 TDs (2 from top 10)... 1,355 KOR yards (2nd)

Patrick Witt (Wylie, Texas), Yale's senior quarterback, will be wearing his tuxedo around New York City on Dec. 6 when the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame has its 54th annual awards dinner. Witt has been named one of the 16 scholar-athlete winners, which carries an $18,000 post-graduate scholarship, and is a finalist for the 2011 William V. Campbell Trophy, the highest academic honor bestowed on a football player. Witt, picked among 127 candidates for NFF honors after nominations were taken in September, has a 3.91 GPA in history and has been Yale's starting QB the last three seasons. Already the career leader at Yale with 465 completions and 795 attempts, the 6-foot-4, 230-pound signal-caller ranks second in yards (5,058) and is fourth with 31 TD passes. The team's offensive leader is one of 11 Yale student-athletes ever to be honored at this NFF event. The last was defensive back Casey Gerald '09, who spoke on behalf of the 16 recipients at the event hosted by the famous Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Manhattan.  He was elected to the team's leadership council soon after becoming the first transfer (Nebraska) student at Yale to start immediately at QB since World War II (when transfers were common). Witt has written for the Yale Daily News, is a member of the Intercultural Affairs Council and has done some prison ministry work. Witt, recently named a finalist for the Mitchell Scholarship, has been endorsed by his school as a 2011 Rhodes Scholar candidate. He also won the Francis Gordon Brown Prize, one of the school's highest undergraduate accolades, awarded to the student in the junior class in Yale College who most closely approaches the standards of intellectual ability, high manhood, capacity for leadership and service to the University set by Francis Gordon Brown, who captained Yale Football's "Team of the Century" in 1900.

Witt's Yale Career Numbers
465 completions (1st)... 795 attempts (1st)... 5,058 yards (2nd)... 31 TDs (4th)
Three Yale senior DTs with uniform numbers in the 90s form an important Bulldog triumvirate. This trio is not only on the field often, they also serve a significant leadership role. No. 98 Jake Stoller (Shaker Heights, Ohio), No. 92 Pat Moran (Alexandria, Va.) and No. 93 Reed Spiller (Portsmouth, N.H.) are the gunners for the punt unit, line up across from each other on kick returns and rotate through the middle of the defensive line. Each has totaled 10 tackles this fall. Stoller leads the team with four sacks. His father, James K. Stoller, a Yale medical school graduate, spoke at a Morse College Master's Tea in October. Dr. Stoller is Executive Director of Leadership Development and Head of Cleveland Clinic Respiratory Therapy; he is a member of the Staff in the Respiratory Institute and holds the Jean Wall Bennett Professorship in Emphysema Research at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine. Moran took last year off to recuperate from an injury and work on his father's (Jim Moran, Virginia) congressional campaign. Spiller, known as the quickest of the defensive linemen, was a three-sport captain at Portsmouth High School. His father played football at Georgetown.

As expected, senior captain Jordan Haynes (Folsom, Calif.) has been all over the field this year and is fifth among Ivy players with 8.9 tackles per game. Last year he led (102) the Elis and was second among Ivy players in tackles from his linebacker
position. The 2010 first-team All-Ivy and All-New England pick represented the West as a National Football Foundation High School Scholar-Athlete. The political science and international studies major is the first Yale captain from the Golden State since Thorne Shugart (Los Angeles) led the 1954 Bulldogs.

Senior WR Gio Christodoulou (Miami, Fla.) is Yale's career punt return yardage leader with 832, which is also top among active FCS players. He was the Oct. 10 Ivy League Special Teams Player of the Week after returning four punts for 106 yards in the win over Dartmouth. He currently leads the Ivies with a 11.9 average, while his 106 return yards vs. Dartmouth are the most for an Ivy player this fall. Christodoulou is in the mix of talented receivers getting snaps but only has three catches this fall after having 38 for a team-best 563 yards last fall. He came back to Yale this fall using a medical hardship waiver from 2009. He also has 23 kickoff returns for 553 yards (shy of 10th on career list).

Alex Thomas (Ansonia, Conn.), nicknamed "Train," is one of six players in the history of Yale football to run for more than 200 yards in a game. His career-high 204 (best day for a Yalie since Mike McLeod, 276 vs. Lehigh, 2007) yards on 30 runs against Penn was the first time a RB has run for more than 200 against the Quakers since 1997. Yale's active career rushing leader with 1,594 yards and seven 100-yard games, Thomas is also Yale's active career receiving leader (49) among the RBs. His 47-yard run at Cornell in 2010 was the longest run by a Bulldog last fall, while his 74-yard TD scamper vs. Dartmouth is the longest this season in the league. Thomas, a former Ansonia High School star, is the most prolific (8,279 yards, 114 TDs) runner in Connecticut High School history. The nickname stems from his "train" tattoo, a word based on scripture verses that refer to training both physically and spiritually.

Deon Randall (San Diego, Calif.) is listed as a RB on the Yale roster and a WR on the depth chart, but you could see him lining up at any skill spot. He leads the team with 27 catches while his 301 yards are second best. Randall is third on the squad with 30 runs for 157 yards.
Senior FS Geoff Dunham (Dallas, Texas) picked off his fourth career pass last Saturday in the snow. Dunham, who wears the same number (11) and has a similar body type to starting QB Patrick Witt, shares the team-high of two picks this fall. He is third on the squad with 36 solos and 44 overall tackles. One of the largest DBs in the Ivy League at 6-foot-3, 223 pounds, he started every game last year and was third on the team with 31 solo tackles and 47 overall. His best day was 7-2-9 vs. Penn in 2010, and he scored the first TD of his football career on a fumble return against Princeton. He also had 7-2-9 against Cornell this fall. A biomedical  engineering major, Dunham interned in cancer research at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in 2007 and 2008 and spent some of a summer at Scripps Research Institute in Jupiter, Fla., doing the same thing. He stayed on the Yale campus last summer to take an organic chemistry class.

The left side of the offensive line includes freshman T Ben Carbery (Oak Park, Ill., 6-5, 275) and senior G Colin Kruger (Sarasota, Fla., 6-3, 300). Senior G Gabe Fernandez (Honolulu, HI, 6-0, 273) and junior T Roy Collins (Carbondale, Ill., 6-5, 260) or sophomore James Talerico (Boca Raton, Fla.)  are on the right. Sophomore John Oppenheimer (Menlo Park, Calif., 6-0, 265) has been the starting center all season.  

They don't want their names called on the PA system on game days, but that doesn't mean they don't deserve recognition. Here are some notes about Yale's starting five offensive trench guys. LG Colin Kruger, who might be the strongest guy on the team, had had offers to play at other FCS schools including Stanford… RG Gabe Fernandez, a mechanical engineering major who transferred from UCLA after his first year, was a very good soccer player in high school. His senior year's soccer team won the DII state title before he gained 30 to 40 pounds for football. His brother played offensive guard at Harvard… C John Oppenheimer, who moved over from  
the defense last spring, played both sides of the line in high school. His father, Peter Oppenheimer, is Apple's senior vice president and Chief Financial Officer… RT Roy Collins, who was a prep star at Choate Rosemary Hall, came to Yale as a TE. He was in the New Haven chapter of the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame. His first cousin, Gerome Sapp, played at Notre Dame and then with the Colts and the Ravens (2003-2007). His mother's cousin, Burgess Owens, played

at the University of Miami and with the Jets and Raiders (1973-1982)… LT Ben Carberry captained his high school's scholastic bowl team at the national academic quiz tournament. He is following in the footsteps of his aunt, Patti Carbery '86, who was a four-year starter on both the Yale varsity basketball and softball teams…  RT James Talerico, who started the Cornell game at guard and then got injured, made his second start of the year against Columbia, this time at tackle. At Pope John Paul II High in Boca Raton, Fla., he captained two of the three sports he lettered in.

Junior PK Philippe Panico (pronounced pa-NEE-ko) connected on a very difficult 38-yard FG in the snow last week at Columbia. He is 6-for-9 on field goals, including a career-long, 39-yarder against the Hoyas and the Big Green, and is 17-for-22 on PATs. The Boston native connected on 17 of 18 PATs and six of 14 field goals in his first year of varsity kicking in 2010. His three-pointer with no time left at Dartmouth was the game-winner, while his 36-yard boot in the fourth quarter at Brown gave the Elis a three-point win. Panico, who had a 47-yard FG in the 2011 pre-season scrimmage, also swings a golf club well, playing for the Yale team as a freshman and leading his foursome to the lowest score at Yale Football Association Golf Outing in August. He had his photo taken with 2011 U.S. Open Champion Rory Mcllroy when the Yale team was at this year's New Haven Open tennis tournament.

All military veterans, active service members, police officers and firefighters (including their family), are invited as Yale's guests to this Saturday's game at Yale Bowl. Those folks can stop by the Heroes Tailgate located in Hospitality Village to pick up tickets and enjoy some pre-game food and drink. If your group is interested, please contact Jennifer O'Neil at (203) 432-1414 (or

Senior DT Reed Spiller, nicknamed "Speed Riller" because he so fast for a 290-pounder, works with a program called Ready, Set, Launch, which helps underprivileged kids and guides them on the college application process… Alex Thomas (Ansonia, Conn.) and Ansonia native John Coughlin (Yale Football Office) have visited the Boys and Girls Club of the Lower Naugatuck Valley's Joel E. Smilow Clubhouse in Ansonia to help kids learn the importance of eating healthy and staying fit. They have also visited schools in the valley... Senior CB Drew Baldwin (Alexandria, Va.), co-chair of the Yale Black Men's Union Community Outreach Committee, is in his fourth 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. Classmate Jordan Haynes works closely with Baldwin on the project… Senior LB Nick Schneider (Cincinnati, OH) was one of seven friends at Yale's Saybrook College who founded ReadySetLaunch, a non-profit consulting organization that provides one-on-one college tutoring for underprivileged students. Schneider serves as director of external relations and manages relationships with potential donors in the community. His first year, he helped raise $50,000 in the Chase Community Giving Challenge.

Ivy League Offensive Player of Week
9/17    QB Patrick Witt (co) vs. Georgetown
9/24    QB Patrick Witt vs. Cornell
10/29    RB Mordecai Cargill vs. Columbia (FCS Players of Week)
9/17    QB Patrick Witt
9/24    QB Patrick Witt
10/8    RB Alex Thomas, DT Jake Stoller, PR Gio Christodoulou
10/15    WR Chris Smith (National WR of the Week)
10/22    WR Chris Smith, QB Patrick Witt, RB Alex Thomas
10/29    RB Mordecai Cargill (National RB of the Week)

Seven freshmen have seen action this season. P Kyle Cazzetta (Slate Hill, N.Y.), OL Ben Carbery (Oak Park, Ill.) and William Chism (Ridgeland, Mississippi), DE EJ Conway (Luthersville, Md.), DB Nick LaTesta (Wood Ridge, N.J.), RB Wynston Bouknight (Upper Marlboro, Md.) and LB Tyler Manu (Meridian, Idaho). Thirty-one members of Yale's Class of 2015 joined the Bulldogs this summer. The newcomers, representing 15 different states, include 15 defensive players, 16 on offense and a number who have played on both sides during their high school careers. The offensive linemen and defensive backs (6 each) outnumber any other position recruited in this class. The Class of 2015 is spread evenly across the U.S. with California (4) having the most. Connecticut has three, which does not include the Elis who attended Choate Rosemary Hall after growing up outside the Nutmeg State.

Yale finished 1-2 against Patriot League opponents this fall, beating Georgetown (7-2) and falling at Lehigh (7-1) and Lafayette (3-5). Those three teams are a combined 17-8 this fall.

There are 17 seniors listed among the players on the offense/defense on the two-deep depth chart. Thirteen juniors and sophomores are included with just three newcomers. This does not include special teams.

The Big Three campaign begins next week for Yale with a noon kickoff at Princeton that airs live on the YES Network.

Yale ranks second among Ivy schools in total offense behind Harvard… Mordecai Cargill's 242 yards last Saturday are the fifth highest total by an FCS back this fall. The most is by Kyle Harbridge of St. Francis (PA), who had 348 against Morehead State on Sept. 17… Former Yale assistant football coach Sam Burrell will be in the Bowl Saturday watching his son, Abbott Burrell, Brown Assistant Head Coach (secondary) work the game.  

Two former Bulldogs are coaching in the NFL this season. Dick Jauron, who has spent 33 years in the NFL, playing and coaching, is the new defensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns (2-4). Last year he coached the Philadelphia Eagles' defensive backs. Jauron was the 2001 AP Coach of the Year with the Chicago Bears and his most recent head coaching gig was at Buffalo. Pat Graham '01, a former Yale tight end and defensive lineman, is an assistant coach for the 5-2 New England Patriots. Graham, a Waterbury, Conn., native, was a member of Yale's 1999 Ivy title team.

For the 14th consecutive season, all 10 Yale Football games can be heard live on New Haven's News/Talk 960 WELI-AM and free online at 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 seventh season together. WELI's broadcasts can now also be accessed for free via the "iheartradio" application available on most "smart phones". It can be downloaded either by typing into your phone's browser or by typing "iheartradio" in the app search field on your phone and is free of charge.

Former Yale All-American MG Kevin Czinger '81 joins Vaccaro and Cozza in the radio booth this Saturday to help commentate on the third quarter of the game. Keith Bassi '78 (Princeton) and Hank Higdon '63 (Harvard) follow Czinger to finish out the third-quarter guests.

Dartmouth owns the most Ivy League titles since league play officially began in 1956. Yale trails Penn by one for second, one championship in front of Harvard.
            No  Team                Last Title
            17   Dartmouth        1996
            15   Penn                 2010
            14   Yale                  2006
            13   Harvard            2008
             9    Princeton          2006
             4    Brown              2008
             3    Cornell             1990
             1    Columbia         1961

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. 13 through Nov. 15) at 2 p.m. for the Dick Galiette Yale Football Press Conference. This event is limited to media only. Please contact Yale Sports Publicity Director Steve Conn ( if you would like to attend.

All five home games this season are video streamed (pay per view) on through Yale's All Access with Ron Vaccaro and Carm Cozza providing the call.

The Bulldogs, off on Mondays, are on the field at 7:30 a.m. (until approx. 9:30) Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 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. All schedules are subject to change.

Yale on YES includes three live broadcasts this fall on the YES Network. Last week's game at Columbia was a winter wonderland production. This week's game at the Bowl kicks off at 12:05 with re-airs Saturday night at 7:00, Sunday at 11 p.m. and next Tuesday at 6 a.m. The other Yale on YES game is Nov. 12 (Yale at Princeton). This is the fourth straight fall the Bulldogs appear on the network home for New York Yankees baseball. YES broadcaster Chris Shearn handles the play-by-play, with color commentary coming from former Ivy League and National Football League lineman Ross Tucker and former Yale defensive back Jack Ford '72, a well-known author and TV personality.

Yale football airs live on VERSUS three (Cornell, Penn, Harvard) times this fall, including The Game on Nov. 19. Randy Moss, a new member of NBC's award-winning horse racing coverage team and contributor to NFL Network, serves as the play-by-play announcer for all VERSUS Ivy League games and is joined in the booth by Ross Tucker as lead analyst.

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.
77         players were captains of their high school football team
52        players were captains of another sport in high school
62         players were a national honors society member
 8         players were class president at their high school
 9       players were student body president at their high school
 9       players were class valedictorian at their high school
 4      players were class salutatorian at their high school

The following Yalies have distinguished themselves according to a vote by their teammates.
DB Josh Grizzard (Sr, Zebulon, N.C.)… most humorous
DB Geoff Dunham (Sr, Dallas, Texas)… most intelligent
DL Jake Stoller (Sr, Shaker Heights, OH)… most vocal leader (not captain)
DL Pat Moran (Sr, Alexandria, Va.)… most likely to be U.S. President
RB Alex Thomas (Sr, Ansonia, Conn.)… strongest player (pound-for-pound)
DB Drew Baldwin (Sr, Alexandria, Va.)… most involved in community outreach

"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.

The press box has a taste of New Haven with Yorkside Pizza & Restaurant serving slices, pasta 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.

Soon, everyone coming to the Bowl will know Yale's primary (Bulldogs) nickname.  A three-and-a half foot tall, 600-pound bronze statue of Handsome Dan will be placed outside in the Jensen Plaza and serve as the top spot to have photos taken around the famous venue. A slightly smaller bronze dog, which first appeared in 2010 in the Kenney Center where Yale players could touch it before heading to the field, now sits in the lobby of Payne Whitney Gym.

Yale was the first football team of any type to reach 800 wins when it beat Dayton 42-6 on Sept. 16, 2000. It wasn't hard for Michigan (891) to catch up playing three or four games more than Yale (867) each season.

Nate Lawrie '04 (49ers), Shane Bannon '11 (Chiefs), Tom McCarthy '11 (Falcons) and Chris Blohm '11 (49ers) were in NFL camps this summer. All but Blohm saw action in exhibition games. Bannon, an HB who was drafted by Kansas City in the seventh round and is currently on the practice squad, had the first and final carry of the opening pre-season contest in August. McCarthy, a free agent DL in the Atlanta Falcons camp, made two tackles in a pre-season game. Lawrie, a TE who has NFL experience but played in the UFL the last two years, signed with the 49ers in August and made a catch in their last exhibition game.

Jesse Reising '11, a starting LB for Yale last fall who was seriously injured at Harvard in the 2010 season finale, is still recovering from a collision with Crimson TB Gino Gordon that left the Bulldog with arm nerve damage. Reising's U.S. Marine Corps career is on hold, but the licensed pilot is still serving his country. He is currently in Afghanistan working as a contractor while he plans a non-profit organization with Yale classmate Nick Rugoff. "Operation Opportunity" will provide personalized prepatory services for the children of fallen service members.  "It's the means by which I hope to redirect the outpouring of support I have gotten since my injury towards the service members who are now serving in my place. I have been thinking, since all the e-mails and all the support started pouring in, how could I harness this support for some greater good."

Yale, which last played in the Golden State in 2005 at the University of San Diego, has another trip to California planned. On Oct. 5, 2013, the Bulldogs will play against Cal Poly at San Luis Obispo. The only two games the Blue has played on the West Coast were against USD.

The Ivy League Office has a weekly online radio show, "Inside Ivy League Football," which takes an in-depth look at the action and the news and notes surrounding Ivy football. The 10-episode show airs Wednesdays at 7 p.m. on ( It's available on-demand via BlogTalkRadio and   

filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director