Bulldogs Chomping On Chin Straps

Eric Williams. (photo by Jack Warhola)
Eric Williams. (photo by Jack Warhola)

Season Begins Next Week

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The 141st season of Yale Football begins next Saturday, Sept. 21, with a tough, non-league contest in the Patriot League. The Bulldogs take on Colgate in a Homecoming Game at Andy Kerr Stadium that can be seen live on the Patriot League Network and heard on the Yale Football Radio Network. Kickoff is 1 p.m.

The Raiders, who opened the season with a loss at Air Force before falling in a close game at home last Saturday to Albany, are at New Hampshire this week.
Yale beat Georgetown in each of the last six openers. The last loss in a season opener was in 2006 against a University of San Diego team coached by Jim Harbaugh, current head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. The Bulldogs, who won their first 59 season openers before a scoreless tie with Bates in 1932, are 119-18-2 overall in lid lifters.

The non-league schedule may be the Blue's toughest ever. Not only are all three opponents full scholarship squads that play three games before Yale opens the season, they have already registered impressive performances. The Raiders blanked the Cadets for the first 19 minutes before falling 38-13 in the high altitude of Colorado Springs.

Cal Poly beat San Diego handily and then made a strong showing in a 41-25 loss at Fresno State. The Mustangs, ranked No. 14 in both FCS polls this week, scored all of its points in the second half at Fresno. Meanwhile, Fordham knocked off Villanova last Saturday after blasting Rhode Island in the opener.

"We knew our non-league opponents were good this year, and we all are impressed with their collective performances after two weeks," said Tony Reno, the Joel E. Smilow '54 Head Coach of Yale Football.

Yale was picked seventh in the 2013 Ivy League pre-season media poll. The Bulldogs finished 2-8 and were eighth in the Ivy last fall despite defeating the 2012 league champions and competing in many close games. Defending champion Penn took the top spot followed by Harvard, Brown and Dartmouth. Princeton and Cornell were fifth and sixth while Columbia was picked No. 8.

Injuries ravaged the quarterback position by midseason in 2012, so plenty of guys got experience.  Eric Williams (Portland, Ore.), Logan Scott (Woodland Hills, Calif.) and emergency backups WR Derek Russell (Newton, Mass.), WR Henry Furman (Portland, Ore.) and TB Tyler Varga (Kitchener, Ont.) all had starts behind center. All five with snaps behind center return this fall. Another option arrived over the summer. Sophomore Clemson transfer Morgan Roberts (Charlotte, NC) has had his share of snaps and could earn the top job.


The defense will certainly have new faces, evidenced by the number of newcomers who saw time in the scrimmage at Brown last Saturday. Led by senior captain Beau Palin (Oconomowoc, Wis.), a defensive end who will be at next Tuesday's first Yale Football Media Luncheon at Mory's, the Eli defense was hit hardest by graduation.

"We have a lot of areas to work on before we get ready for a big challenge at Colgate next week," said Reno.

The newcomers are not the only new things in the program. There are three significant changes this fall. One the fans will notice, the other two are less obvious. The most obvious is the new Nike uniforms. The "Y-Dog" logo has been taken off the shirt, so it looks more old school Yale, and the stripe on the pants is nothing like the double blue stripes that ran the full length in recent years. That's the modern addition, a single stripe that goes vertical and then turns horizontal at its zenith.

The other two changes are in facilities. Clint Frank Field, used for practices and JV games, has a new FieldTurf surface, and the varsity strength & conditioning room at the Payne Whitney Gym has been completely renovated with an efficient training system and a synthetic turf track running through the middle of the room.

The 2013 Yale football season should be an exciting one both on and off the gridiron. There are a number of special days planned at the Bowl this fall starting with the first game on Sept. 28. Yale's Ivy opener vs. Cornell is Youth Day, Yale Family Weekend and Coach To Cure MD Day. The Fordham game is New Haven Chamber of Commerce and Walter Camp Football Foundation Day at the Bowl, while Heroes Day and Yale Employee Day are the co-promotions when Columbia comes to town. The season finale against Harvard marks the "Fill The Bowl" campaign.


Filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director