NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The No. 17/18 Yale football team (3-0 overall, 1-0 Ivy) looks for a fourth straight win to open the season as Dartmouth (1-2, 1-0) comes to Yale Bowl and the Class of 1954 Field on Saturday for a 12:36 kickoff on Parents Weekend. The game airs live on the New England Sports Network (NESN) and can be heard live on WELI (960-AM), WYBC (1340-AM) and on 960weli.com and wybc.com.
This is the 91st meeting between the Elis and the Big Green with Yale leading the series 48-36-6. Dartmouth played at Yale Bowl for 46 consecutive years, from 1924-1970, because the crowds at New Haven made it more profitable. Twelve of the first 15 contests ended in shutouts for Yale, while Dartmouth has won 10 of the last 16 meetings. The Bulldogs took the last meeting at New Haven in 2005, 13-0, during heavy rains. The Green has won six of the last nine at Memorial Field, but the Elis won last year (26-14).
The Bulldogs shot up four places in the Sports Network Poll to No. 18 while moving up three places to 17th in the FCS Coaches Poll. Yale has been ranked as high as No. 18 and as low as 25th in seven different FCS (formerly I-AA) polls this year.
TALE OF THE SCALE
Yale's starting offensive line, which has paved the way for the No. 2 ranked rushing attack in the FCS, averages 279 pounds compared to a Big Green defensive front that goes at 254 (25-pound difference). The Bulldog defensive front (247 lbs) faces a 42-pound disadvantage against an experienced Dartmouth OL (289 lbs) that features four seniors and a junior.
Jack Siedlecki (Union '74), in his 11th season as the Joel E. Smilow '54 Head Coach of Football at Yale, is 114-66-2 as a collegiate head coach, 58-44 at Yale. Siedlecki, who is 6-4 against the Green, has coached in four of the oldest rivalries in college football (Lehigh-Lafayette, Yale-Princeton, Yale-Harvard and Amherst-Williams). Dartmouth head coach Buddy Teevens, 2-5 against Yale, is 31-40-2 at Hanover and 65-117-2 overall.
BULLDOGS RUN PAST CRUSADERS
Yale controlled the ball for 38 minutes by rushing for 412 yards in a 38-17 win at Holy Cross last Saturday. Junior RB Mike McLeod rushed for a school-record 256 yards, tied the Yale record with five TDs and established a new standard for career TDs with 37. His backup, sophomore Ricardo Galvez, rambled for 86 yards. The Bulldog defense forced three interceptions while junior CB Casey Gerald added four pass breakups.
BLUE IN RED
The Bulldogs put points on the board all four times they reached the red zone at Holy Cross. The Elis have scored on 15 of 16 attempts this fall.
McLEOD RACKS UP HONORS
Junior TB Mike McLeod was named national co-offensive player of the week (along with QB Josh Johnson, San Diego) by The Sports Network and was also one of four winners of the College Sporting News National Players of the Week. The others included Johnson, Tim Diamond (Lehigh, Jr., LB) and Maurice Dupree (Jacksonville State, Jr., RS). McLeod also won the Gold Helmet Award from the New England Sports Writers and was named Ivy League Offensive Player of the Week for the second game in a row. All of this was the result of a school-record 256 yards and five scores at Holy Cross. He is on the 2007 Payton Watch for the FCS player of the year.
The Elis rank second nationally in rushing with 303 yards and are ninth in scoring at 39.0. Yale is sixth in the FCS with a 1.67 turnover margin. Dartmouth is No. 1 in fewest sacks allowed (.67).
The Bulldogs have won nine straight road games dating to the middle of the 2005 campaign, a 38-21 loss to Penn at Franklin Field. Yale's longest road unbeaten streak was 11 games (10-0-1) from 1968 to 1970. The longest road win streak prior to the current one was 37 games that spanned 1887 to 1895.
Yale junior RB Mike McLeod now has 2,617 career rushing yards, which ranks fourth at Yale and 19th in Ivy League history. His school-record 37 rushing TDs are seventh on the Ivy career list, two behind sixth-place Michael Malan (39, 1999-01) of Brown.
PICKING HIM UP
On a day when Yale starting QB Matt Polhemus wasn't at his best, his Bulldog teammates picked up the slack. Polhemus, 11-2 as the Eli starter, completed just five of 12 passes for 68 yards against the Crusaders. He threw his first interception, fumbled for the first time and was sacked (twice) for the first time this year.
Junior LB Jay Pilkerton, making his third career start at Holy Cross, already has three interceptions this season. The Nashville, Tenn., player picked off two passes deflected at the line of scrimmage by Yale linemen (junior DE Kyle Hawari, sophomore DT Tom McCarthy) in the first half, which helped the visitors rack up 31 points.
Yale scored 66 points between the last half of the Cornell game (35) and the first 30 minutes at Worcester (31).
The junior Abare twins (LB Bobby, DE Larry) are still a force despite Larry's season-ending knee injury against Cornell. Larry was on the sideline at Holy Cross lending support on crutches while Bobby was flying around the field making five solos and seven overall stops. Bobby also picked off his second pass of the year and now has six for his career. Both earned 2006 All-Ivy recognition.
The Blue's 412 rushing yards and 6.4 average for the game at Worcester were not school records. Yale had 641 yards against Vermont in 1929 and a 7.0 average against Lehigh in 1964.
ONE BIG PLAY
Neither QB Matt Polhemus nor WR Chris Denny-Brown (one catch) had big days against the purple and white, but the two seniors hooked up on a huge play. The Bulldogs, put in a first-and-20 at the Holy Cross 21-yard line by a holding penalty, needed to keep the momentum established from an early, 10-3 lead. On the next play, Polhemus fired a lead strike to Denny-Brown that put the Blue first-and-goal at the one before going up by 14 points.
RICE IS NICE
Sophomore DB Paul Rice, who also serves as a kickoff return man and at times a gunner on Yale's punt unit, starred in one of the great plays of the game at Worcester. The Bulldogs had the ball on fourth down and a yard to go near midfield in the third quarter and brought the punt unit out. Feeling the potential momentum shift, the Yale coaching staff decided to run the fake. Rice took the direct snap and broke through the line, leaped over a tackler and went 34 yards to set up another Yale score.
Junior backup QB Ryan Fodor did not have a game snap in 2006, but he has seen significant action the last two weeks. Fodor, the former Connecticut State Player of the Year, completed his first varsity pass against Cornell and rushed three times for 15 yards at Holy Cross.
Sophomore RB Ricardo Galvez has taken advantage of his touches as Mike McLeod's backup. Galvez rushed seven times for 46 yards against the Big Red, including a 35-yard TD, and then had 10 carries for 86 yards including a 48-yarder last week.
The Elis are now 7-0 at Holy Cross all-time and avenged their only loss (22-19 in 2005 at the Bowl) in the series... Senior DTs Kirk Porter and Stephen Schmalhofer, who had four solo stops, combined for Yale's two sacks at Holy Cross... Sophomore P Tom Mante, who had a punt blocked, averaged 46 yards on four boots. The one that was blocked goes down as a "team" punt... The Blue is the only undefeated team in the Ivy League.
GREEN HOLDS ON TO BEAT QUAKERS
The Dartmouth defense came up with a fourth-down stop of visiting Penn six yards from the goal line with under a minute to play to preserve a 21-13 Big Green win last Saturday. QB Tom Bennewitz (18-26, 286) fired a pair of TD passes before the Quakers made a big comeback that included recovering an onside kick before its last possession. Dartmouth, which earned its first Ivy opener win since 1997, held Penn to 13 points on seven trips to the red zone while the Quakers offense totaled 406 yards. SS Ian Wilson led the Green with seven solos and 13 overall stops.
BLUE AND GREEN MIX
Yale WR Chris Stanley was a high school teammate (Loyola in Los Angeles) of Dartmouth players Ian Wilson (captain), Jonathan Summers and Casey Frost... Bulldog DB Gio Christodoulou (Belen Jesuit Prep in Miami) is a former teammate of Peter Pidermann... Bulldog OL Louis Gresham (St. Stephen's & St. Agnes in Virginia) teammed with Dartmouth's B rian Scullin... Yale WR Nick Simmons (Brunswick in Greenwich) played with TJ Cameron... Yale LS/SS Dan Sica (Hun School in N.J.) and Kevin Gallagher were also teammates... Bulldog P Tom Mante grew up with Tom Bennewitz in Arizona and their two fathers worked together.
GREEN FROM CT
Seven members of the 2007 Dartmouth football team hail from the Nutmeg State: Marlon Alebiosu (Stamford); Taylor Babcock (Weston); Tom Bennewitz (Weston); Thomas Brown (Cos Cob); T.J. Cameron (Greenwich); Kevin de Regt (Stamford) and Andrew Kempler (Westport).
Dartmouth and Yale shared the Ivy League Championship in both 1969 and 1981. The Blue has shared the crown with Princeton three times (1969, 1989, 2006) and with Harvard twice (1968, 1974).
NUMBERS NOT TO BE MATCHED
The most points given up by a Dartmouth football team were 113 in a shutout loss to Yale in 1884... Also in the Big Green record books: Yale's five TD passes in 1968 were the most ever scored on Dartmouth; the Elis surrendered the most passing yards by a Big Green offense with 419 in 1992; Yale allowed the most completions with 38 by Dartmouth in 2001... The team from Hanover tossed a school-record nine interceptions against Yale in 1939, while Dartmouth notched a school record with six fumbles recovered against the Blue in 1953.
Senior PK Alan Kimball, who worked for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Washington, D.C., last summer, leads the Ivy League with 1.33 FG per game. He put his foot on the ball an amazing 19 times on Sept. 22 against Cornell. He split the uprights on all three FG attempts and all six PATs while booting 10 kickoffs. His three FGs (at Columbia '05) equaled a career-high and his 15 points surpassed another. He now has 21 FGs, which is 15 behind career leader Mike Murawczyk (36).
JV PLAY OF THE WEEK
Freshman RB John Pagliaro had a 40-yard run at Providence on Sunday, but it was not enough to bring a Yale win. The Bears won 23-15 while the Bulldog JV record fell to 1-1.
SIEDLECKI ON HOLY CROSS GAME
"Our players are getting more and more confident up front on offense. We are blocking very well and Mike McLeod is getting that feel for beating that last guy to make a big play. We're also getting more and more confident in Ricky Galvez, Mike's backup. He's had two weeks in a row of getting some carries and making plays. I felt we also played a very good game up front defensively, tipping a couple balls and keeping their QB out of his comfort zone."
The Yale team poll revealed some interesting facts about the Bulldogs. QB Richie Scudellari and LB Bobby Abare are considered the hardest working players. DT Stephen Schmalhofer is the funniest, DE Matt Plummer the smartest and TB Mike McLeod the most athletic. The best leader other than the captain is QB Matt Polhemus, while captain Brandt Hollander was voted the strongest. Bobby Abare has been named the toughest. WR Jarren Simmons (most musical), RB Dave Silberstein (community service) and DB Tim Handlon (most likely to be U.S. President) also were listed the most.
MORE FUN STUFF
DE Joe Hathaway was named the player with the most unique hobbies (Star Wars trivia knowledge, WWE fanaticism)... LBs Shebby Swett and Jay Pilkerton were voted the guys most players would want their sisters to date... Seventy percent of the team lives on campus... No player owns a bulldog but 91 percent of the team prefers dogs over cats... The favorite New Haven restaurant among the Elis is Yorkside Pizza & Restaurant... Carmen Anthony (Steak House) came in second.
Yale captain Brandt Hollander sat out the season opener with an injury but has played well against both Cornell and Holy Cross. Hollander was voted by the players as the strongest (bench press of 480, hang clean 368) guy on the team. He is a senior from Indianapolis.
STILL LEAD THE NATION
Yale has not won a national football title since 1927, but the Bulldogs still have more championships (26) than any other school in the country. Notre Dame is second with 11 national titles. In addition, the Elis were the first football team of any kind to win 800 games but have since been overtaken by Michigan.
IT'S JUST PRACTICE
The normal practice week is from Tuesday through Friday, 4:15 to 6:15. Note that Friday times could be altered on travel days. Practice is held on the fields behind the baseball stadium (Yale Field) and inside the outdoor track. Inclement weather could bring the team inside to either Coxe Cage or the Lanman Center (back of Payne Whitney Gym). Players might be available for interviews before/after practice around the Smilow Center or out on the fields. It is best to email Steve Conn to arrange a meeting at least a day before you would like to speak with a player or coach.
FORMER BLUE ON SUNDAYS
Eric Johnson '01, starting TE for the 0-3 New Orleans Saints, opened the season with eight catches for 57 yards against the Colts and then added three and a fumble recovery against Tampa Bay. Johnson, who has Drew Brees throwing balls to him, is second on the team with 16 catches behind Marques Colston (18)... Nate Lawrie '04 is listed as the third-string TE for the offensive-minded Cincinnati Bengals (1-2), who opened with a win over Baltimore before losing a shootout with Cleveland and then falling to Seattle... Dick Jauron '73 is in his second season as head coach of the Buffalo Bills (1-3)... Mike McDaniel '05, a former Yale WR, is an offensive assistant with the 2-2 Houston Texans.
BULLDOGS LOVE BOWL
Despite suffering both 2006 losses on the Class of '54 Field, the Yale Bowl has been a happy place for Bulldogs. Since opening the national historic landmark in 1914 with a 36-0 loss to Harvard, the Blue has gone 356-187-21 (564 games) at home. Since formal Ivy play began in 1956, the Elis are 118-74-3 vs. Ancient Eight foes at home.
There are five sets of brothers on the 2007 Yale roster: LB Bobby and DE Larry Abare; DBs Matt and John Coombs; DE Eric and OL Louis Gresham; DE Brady and QB Brook Hart; FB Jack and DB Marcus Wallace and student assistant coach Kevin and DL Tom McCarthy. LB Tim Handlon, DB Rylan Spence and student assistant coach Mike Cautero had brothers that used to play football at Yale.
Connecticut has always provided talented athletes for the Yale football team with offensive stars such as Rich Diana (Hamden High) and John Pagliaro (Derby High), and 2007 is no exception. QBs Ryan Fodor (Hand of Madison) and Matt Kelleher (Southington High) both earned state player of the year honors as seniors. In addition, RB Mike McLeod (New Britain High) was the New Haven Register's player of the year. Pagliaro's son, John III, came to Yale this fall from Maryland.
GALIETTE MEDIA LUNCHEON
This Tuesday at noon, Yale head coach Jack Siedlecki will be joined by senior DT Stephen Schmalhofer and junior RB Mike McLeod. The Galiette Luncheon interviews can be heard (usually posted by Wednesday) on Don Boyle's sportingnewsct.com. Yale's weekly media luncheon was named after legendary play-by-play announcer Dick Galiette, who called Yale Football for 33 seasons until his death in 2005.
PHASE 1 AND DONE
Phase 1 restoration of Yale Bowl and the Class of '54 Field has been completed and a dedication event is scheduled for the Nov. 17 Harvard game. Phase 2, which begins next spring, includes the Jensen Family Plaza, which will be located on the walkway to the Bowl from Central Avenue, and honors the Jensen brothers: Irving '54, Colin '57, Erik '63 and Mark '67. The welcoming plaza will serve as the perfect place for fans to gather before and after games. The Kenney Family Field Center, which includes renovations to the existing field center and halftime room and additional special event space, will also be completed in the next phase of Bowl renovations. It honors the Kenney brothers: Jerry P. '63 (who will be honored by the Ivy Football Association in January), Brian R. '60, Robert D. '67 and Richard L. '71, and a son, Jeffrey S. '93.
FATHER OF FOOTBALL
For the ninth straight season, the Walter Camp Football Foundation honors Yale's game MVP as the Walter Camp Yale Player of the Game. This award is handed out both at home and on the road. Mike McLeod took the award vs. Georgetown with four TDs and 157 rushing yards, while he grabbed it in game No. 3 with 256 yards and five scores. PK Alan Kimball earned the nod against Cornell with three FGs and six PATs. Walter Camp (class of 1880), commonly known as the father of American football, captained two Yale teams and coached five others. He compiled a 67-2-0 record and won three national titles as coach.
BLUE LEADERSHIP BALL HIGHLIGHTS FINAL WEEKEND
As always, there are numerous activities centered around The Game on Nov. 17. One of the highlights is the handing out of the George H.W. Bush Lifetime of Leadership Awards at the Blue Leadership Ball (Nov. 16). The honorees include Richard P. Cooley '44, Charles B. Johnson '54, Anne F. Keating '77, James McNerney '71 and Kurt L. Schmoke '71. Johnson and Schmoke played football at Yale. This year, Yale also celebrates the completion of phase one of the Yale Bowl, Class of '54 Field restoration with a dedication ceremony. In addition, there are many alumni functions.
ELIS ON ELI
NEWS/TALK 960 WELI will broadcast all 10 Yale football games this fall on 960-AM and online at 960WELI.com. Ron Vaccaro '04 returns for his second year as play-by-play announcer. Yale football coaching legend Carm Cozza, a 2003 College Football Hall of Fame inductee, returns for his 10th season as color commentator. WELI's Jerry Kristafer begins home game coverage from the Bowl with a half-hour tailgate party broadcast. Kristafer, who has WELI's weekday morning show, speaks with Vaccaro about the Elis every Friday morning at 8:15.
WYBC ALSO AIRS
WYBC (1340-AM) also covers each game and has a 30-minute pre-game show. Bob Heussler, WYBC's Director of Football Radio Broadcasts, and Anthony Brooks, the station's sports coordinator, lead a talented group of Yale student broadcasters who can also be heard on wybc.com. WYBC also broadcasts Yale Sports Monday from 8-8:30pm, a show that wraps up each Yale football game and includes interviews with Jack Siedlecki, Yale's Joel E. Smilow '54 Head Coach of Football, and the New Haven Register's Sean Barker. The show is hosted by Anthony Brooks, Sam Purdy, and Alex Jenson.
Designed to keep Yale Athletics fans and alumni informed and entertained, the voice of the Elis, Ron Vaccaro '04 hosts a series of netcasts available via Apple iTunesU. This series will feature season previews, event coverage (such as Yale's Ivy title clinching defeat of Harvard in The Game last year), and commentary from coaches, players, and analysts, while also taking the fan inside special events such as the Blue Leadership Ball. You can download from iTunesU at yalebulldogs.com (see Yale Athletics Netcasts on right side of front page).
The Blue has seven games on the tube this fall, three of which are at home. The Sept. 15 Georgetown game was a tape-delayed broadcast on Verizon Fios One in the D.C. area. Yale's Sept. 29 game at Holy Cross aired live on Comcast's CN8. The Oct. 6 game against Dartmouth on NESN is the ECAC Game of the Week. WFMZ-TV airs the Oct. 13 Lehigh game in the Bowl that also shows up on FSN Pittsburgh (DirecTV 628, Dish Network 428). The first of two road games on YES Network is Oct. 20 at Penn, the second is Nov. 10 at Princeton. The 124th edition of The Game will be carried on HDNet nation wide (available on DirecTV 79, Dish Network 9422 and various cable providers), SportsNet NY (New York), WPHL (Philadelphia), WLVI (Boston) and WTXX (Hartford). Jack Ford '72 will provide color on the broadcast after serving as master of ceremonies at the Blue Leadership Ball.