Skip to navigation Skip to content Skip to footer

No. 13 Bulldogs Head to Columbia

No. 13 Bulldogs Head to Columbia

Oct. 23, 2007

Complete Release in PDF Format
Download Free Acrobat Reader

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The No. 13 Yale football team (6-0 overall, 3-0 Ivy), coming off a three-overtime win at Penn and 6-0 for the first time since 1981, travels to Columbia (1-5, 0-3) Saturday for an important 12:30 league contest at Wien Stadium. The 84th meeting of the Lions and Bulldogs can be heard live on WELI (960-AM), WYBC (1340-AM) and on and In order to watch a live video stream of the game, go to and click on "subscribe" under SideLion Pass to pay the fee for the month.


Yale, with a current five-game win streak, holds a commanding lead in the series at 63-18-2. The Elis' .744 winning percentage against the Lions is their highest among all Ivy opponents. The Blue is 34-9-2 at home against the Light Blue, while Columbia has scored the fewest points against Yale of all Ivy opponents. The Lions have never won by more than 12 points, while the Bulldogs have won 47-0 in 1986 and 93-0 (most points ever allowed by Columbia) in 1883.


The Bulldogs moved up two places in the FCS Coaches Poll to No. 13 while vaulting three spots to No. 13 in the Sports Network Poll. Yale has been ranked as high as No. 13 and as low as 25th in seven different FCS (formerly I-AA) polls this year. Yale remained at No. 4 in the new Lambert (Eastern) Trophy poll.


Yale's starting offensive line, which has paved the way for the second ranked rushing attack in the FCS, averages 279 pounds compared to a Lions defensive front that lines up at 246 pounds (23-pound difference) and starts only one player over six feet tall. The Bulldog defensive front (247 lbs) faces a 32-pound disadvantage against a very young Columbia OL (279 lbs) featuring six underclassmen and only one senior on the two-deep.


The Bulldogs erased deficits in the fourth quarter and second overtime to take a 26-20, triple-OT victory at Penn last Saturday. However, it was goal-line stand in the third OT that won the game for the Blue. The Quakers had four shots from the visitor's one-yard line and could not score. QB Bryan Walker's pass fell incomplete on fourth-and-goal to end the game. Yale junior TB Mike McLeod put the Blue on the board first with a 46-yard run, but that was Yale's last points in regulation until PK Alan Kimball tied the score at 10-10 in the fourth. Penn matched a McLeod two-yard TD run in the first OT and Kimball matched a Quaker field goal in the second. McLeod's third score from a yard out turned out to be the game-winner.


Yale survived many things to remain unbeaten last week. Despite having their initial second-half deficit, losing two defensive starters to injury, playing in their first OT game of the year and scoring a season-low 10 points through regulation, the Bulldogs captured a 26-20 win at Penn.


Junior TB McLeod, who was injured in the first half, managed to run for 147 yards and three scores against a very tough Penn defense. He is the first Bulldog back to run for 100 yards at Penn since Buddy Zachery in 1988. However, McLeod did not have the same supporting cast he has become accustomed to. The Penn game was the first this fall that Yale did not have its productive backup Ricardo Galvez (injured) behind the top runner. McLeod now has 1,142 yards and 18 TDs this fall. The Yale record for rushing yards in a season is 1,442 by Rich Diana in 1981 (Ivy record is 1,881 in 9 GP by Ed Marinaro in 1971), while McLeod set the school season TD mark with 20 last fall. McLeod needs 199 yards to break Robert Carr's Yale career rushing yards record. The New Britain, Conn., runner, who has TDs in 20 of his 26 collegiate games, needs six more this season to tie Marinaro for the Ivy season record (24).


Yale has now played in the two longest games in Ivy League history. Harvard edged the Elis at the Bowl in 2005 in a triple-OT game that ended in darkness. Last Saturday's triple-OT win at Penn had seven fewer plays and ended 11 minutes (elapsed time) earlier than The Game.


Bulldog senior WR Chris Denny-Brown, who sat out the 2006 season with an injury, enjoyed a career-best and game-high nine (most by an Eli this fall) receptions for 81 yards at Penn. He snared two passes in OT that went for a total of 41 yards and set up two Yale scores while earning the Walter Camp Player of the Game honors.


Yale senior DB Matt Coombs, the team's DB of the game winner, was not expecting to play such an integral part in the win at Philadelphia. When junior Steven Santoro left the game with an injury in the first half, Coombs, normally a special teams standout, stepped in and registered a career-high six solos and nine overall stops, including two on the final goal-line stand, as well as his first career interception in the fourth quarter.


Junior DE Brady Hart recorded a career-high 11 (4 solo) tackles and broke up a pass against the Quakers. As a freshman, Hart managed to make the varsity travel squad because the coaches read on the Yale website that he had done some kicking before Yale and could serve in a valuable utility role.


Junior DE Kyle Hawari, a 2006 honorable mention All-Ivy pick, missed the first two games of 2007 recovering from an injury. He picked a big game to let the league know he is back. Hawari's six solos and 10 overall stops were career-highs in the win at Penn.


The Bulldogs picked off three Penn passes and forced one fumble. Sophomore CB Paul Rice picked off a pass and made a number of big hits, while FS Steven Santoro notched a pick himself. Junior DE Joe Hathaway, who shared team DL MVP honors with Brandt Hollander last Saturday, crunched Bryan Walker and forced a fumble deep in Penn territory that led to Yale's final points in regulation and a 10-10 tie.


Freshman defensive back Gio Christodoulou (pronounced kristo-DO-lou), who has two long punt returns for TDs in junior varsity games, saw his first varsity action last week on Yale's special teams. He made one tackle and downed a Bulldog punt on the Penn one-yard line and was easily the most difficult name for the Franklin Field PA announcer to pronounce. He shared Yale Special Teams MVP honors with backup QB/holder Richie Scudellari.


Sophomore backup QB Richie Scudellari may have made the most important play of the day when he saved the Blue in the second OT while holding for a field goal. The snap bounced to him and caused PK Alan Kimball to stop in mid step. Scudellari, who shared Special Teams MVP honors at Penn with Gio Christodoulou, had the composure to stay down and spin the ball into position with the Penn defense closing in.


Yale has won three straight OT outings since the Blue lost the 2005 triple OT game to Harvard. Yale beat Lehigh and Penn in extra sessions last fall. The Elis are 3-3 overall in OT contests, including a 2-1 mark against the Quakers. The Elis are also 2-1 in multiple-session OT games.


TB Mike McLeod rushed for 129 yards and a TD and LB Bobby Abare returned an interception 52 yards for another score as Yale remained unbeaten in Ivy League play with a 21-3 victory over Columbia on a soggy day. McLeod's 20-yard scamper down the right sideline put Yale ahead for good late in the first half before Abare, who led a defense that allowed just 54 rushing yards, put the game away at 4:56 of the third with his first career pick. TB Matt Murray closed out the scoring in the closing seconds with a one-yard run. Yale QB Matt Polhemus (17-9-0, 91 yards) completed a number of difficult throws on the run while also picking up some important yardage scrambling out of the pocket. SS Larry Abare led the Blue with six solos and seven overall stops. DT Jared Hamilton and DE Michael McGinity both recorded sacks.


Yale is 6-0 for the first time since the 1981 Ivy championship season when the Blue won eight straight before falling at Princeton. That squad, led by captain Fred Leone and head coach Carm Cozza, had non-league wins over Holy Cross, Navy and Connecticut.


Jack Siedlecki (Union `74), in his 11th season as the Joel E. Smilow `54 Head Coach of Football at Yale, is 117-66-2 as a collegiate head coach, 61-44 at Yale. Siedlecki is 8-2 against Columbia. Lions' head coach Norries Wilson, a former UConn assistant coach, is 6-10 in his second year as a head coach at Columbia and 0-1 vs. Yale.


"This was just a hard, hard, physical game. Our teams mirror each other defensively. It was like pulling teeth from an offensive standpoint. Defensively, I thought we played phenomenally - especially making a goal-line stand after having expended so much energy at that point. This one goes to the defense. They just kept playing and playing. Penn made some plays, but we made enough big plays to keep the score where it was to enable us to come back."


A touchdown and a safety in the game's final two minutes broke a tie and gave Dartmouth a 37-28 victory over Columbia on the Big Green's Homecoming at Memorial Field last Saturday. Columbia QB Craig Hormann (19 of 28), who has passed for more than 5,000 career yards, finished the day with three TDs and 343 yards. Columbia freshman WR Nico Gutierrez, a New Canaan, Conn., native who earned Ivy Rookie of the Week honors, had five catches for a game-high 132 yards, including a 32-yard touchdown grab on a fourth-and-11 for his first career score.


The Bulldogs put points on the board in four of five trips to the red zone against Penn. The Elis have scored on 30 of 33 attempts this fall when reaching the opponent's 20-yard line.


The Elis rank second (to Georgia Southern, 340) nationally in rushing with 303 yards per game and are 14th in scoring at 36. Yale is second in the FCS with a 2.0 turnover margin, third in pass efficiency defense (95.17), fourth in scoring defense (13.3) and sixth in total defense (282.6). The Elis rank second in the nation with an average of 34:41 for time of possession. Columbia leads the Ivy League in pass defense giving up just 153 yards per game.


The Bulldogs have won 10 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.


Senior FB Joe Fuccillo is arguably the most punishing blocker on the Yale team and currently leads the team with 53 knockdowns. He got his first carry of 2007 against Dartmouth and scored from a yard out on a play that had been called for Mike McLeod but was changed in the huddle by both QB Matt Polhemus and McLeod. It was Fuccillo's first career touchdown. He snared his first collegiate pass on a key third down against Lehigh a week later.


Yale senior QB Matt Polhemus, who has a 5.2 average per rush, is now 14-2 as the starting QB. He has completed better than 54 percent of his passes this year and suffered three interceptions. Polhemus, who had a season-high 16 completions and 28 attempts at Penn, made a number of big plays in the extra sessions.


The junior Abare twins (LB Bobby, DE Larry) have been separated on the field by Larry's season-ending knee injury against Cornell, but the name Abare is still heard often on the PA system. Bobby leads the team with 35 solos and 48 overall and five TFLs. He has six career interceptions. Both brothers earned 2006 All-Ivy recognition. Bobby, who is very difficult to block, jumped on a fourth-quarter fumble that set up the game-tying field goal at Penn. Larry, crutches and all, can be seen on the sideline cheering on his teammates at every game.


Senior OG Jeff Monaco, who was a pre-season The Sports Network third-team All-America selection, has been named Yale's OL MVP in five of the six games. The 6-foot-4, 290-pound lineman from McDonald, Pa., has started 26 straight games at three different spots on the OL.


Senior DT Jared Hamilton, who has been the DL MVP twice this fall and has 16 straight starts, comes from a family of athletes. His father, Larry, won a 1984 national championship with the Brigham Young football team. Jared's mom (Tami) played volleyball at BYU and his sister (Ashley) plays volleyball at Eastern Washington, while one brother (Justin, 6-foot-10) will play basketball at Iowa State and another (Jordan) is a football/basketball star in high school. Hamilton leads the Blue with seven TFLs and three sacks.


Yale has five players who have runs of 28 yards or more... Nine Elis have caught passes including QB Matt Polhemus who caught his own toss... The 2007 Blue has had one of the best run games in the country but are No. 8 in the Ivies passing... The Bulldogs have 11 sacks this fall compared to 17 in 2006... Sophomore backup TB Ricardo Galvez, who missed the Penn game with an injury, might have played a significant role after McLeod's injury. Galvez has 43 carries for 262 yards (6.2) with two TDs... Senior All-Ivy center Nick Wachtler, who was injured at Georgetown and missed the next three games, saw some action against Lehigh and Penn.


The Bulldogs have picked off 14 passes in six games and juniors account for all but three. Juniors LB Jay Pilkerton and DB Steven Santoro lead the league with four and are tied for sixth in the FCS in interceptions per game. LB Bobby Abare (2) and DE Brady Hart (1) are the other juniors with picks. Seniors DB Matt Coombs and LB Lee Driftmier and sophomore DB Paul Rice each have one. Yale has an interception in 11 straight games. The Blue defense has four games this season with three picks.


Senior PK Alan Kimball earned Ivy League Special Teams Player of the Week honors with last Saturday's performance at Penn. Kimball, who connected on two of three FG attempts and made both PATs, had one of Yale's scariest moments in the second OT. Trailing 20-17 and needing a 21-yard FG to send the game to a third OT, Kimball had to wait for holder Richie Scudellari to field a bad snap and control the ball before punching it through the uprights. Kimball is fifth in the FCS and leads the Ivy League with 1.83 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, 2005; vs. Lehigh, 2007) equaled a career-high and his 15 points surpassed another. He now has 28 FGs, which is eight behind career leader Mike Murawczyk (36). Kimball is 11-for-13 on FGs and has connected on all 25 PATs this fall. Despite having his field goal streak end at nine with a first-half miss at Penn, he made up for his miss.


Senior PK Alan Kimball has been listed as one of the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame's 153 semifinalists for the 2007 Draddy Trophy and one of its candidates for the NFF 2007 National Scholar-Athlete Awards. One of college football's most sought after and competitive awards, the Draddy Trophy recognizes an individual as the absolute best in the country for his combined academic success, football performance and exemplary community leadership. The finalists will be announced on Oct. 25.


Yale QB Art Dakos threw five interceptions in a 27-13 loss in 1945... The Lions did not allow Yale to complete a pass in a 1954 game but still lost 13-7... Columbia blanked a Yale team in 1961 (11-0) that was coming off an undefeated campaign. It was the fourth and last shutout of the Bulldogs by the Lions... Columbia QB Marty Domres, a future NFL QB, threw for 326 yards in 1966 for the Lions in a losing (44-21) effort; Yale QB Pete Doherty connected on a school-record five TD passes thqat day... Yale and NFL great Dick Jauron scampered 87 yards for the deciding score in a 28-14 win over Columbia in 1972... Ryan LoProto scored on two interceptions, including one from 67 yards, as Yale won 41-0 in 2000.


There are six different combinations of Yale and Columbia players who shared a high school: Tom and Kevin McCarthy teamed with Columbia's Matt Bashaw and Pat DeFazio at Delbarton School in NJ... Gio Christodoulou and Columbia's Greg Fontela at Belen Jesuit Prep School in Miami, Fla... Nick Simmons and the Lions' Vaughn Hodges at Brunswick School, Conn... Chris Stanley and Columbia's Taylor Joseph at Loyola School in Calif... Joe Young and Lion Troy McHenry at St. John's Prep in Mass... Chris Blohm and Columbia's Josh Williams at St. Ignatius in Calif.


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.


DE Joe Hathaway was named the player with the most unique hobbies (Star Wars trivia knowledge, WWE fanaticism)... FB Shebby Swett and LB 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.


After sitting out the opener with an injury, Yale captain and DT Brandt Hollander has been a terror for opposing offensive lines. He had a sack against Holy Cross and shared one against Lehigh and has been clearing paths for his LBs to get into the offensive backfield by taking up two blockers. Hollander, who had a career-high six solo stops at Penn, 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 who earned DL MVP honors vs. Lehigh.


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.


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.


Eric Johnson '01, starting TE for the 2-4 New Orleans Saints, is second on the team with 28 catches for 194 yards and one score. His best day this year was eight catches for 57 yards against the Colts. Johnson, who has Drew Brees throwing balls to him, led all Saints receivers with five catches for 54 yards last Sunday against Atlanta... Nate Lawrie `04 is listed as the third-string TE for the offensive-minded Cincinnati Bengals (2-4), which has wins over Baltimore and the Jets... Dick Jauron `73 is in his second season as head coach of the Buffalo Bills (2-4), which beat Baltimore last Sunday... Mike McDaniel `05, a former Yale WR, is an offensive assistant with the 3-3 Houston Texans.


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 358-187-21 (566 games) at home. Since formal Ivy play began in 1956, the Elis are 119-74-3 vs. Ancient Eight foes at home. Yale's win margin at the Bowl this season is 31.7 compared to 17.5 on the road.


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.


This Tuesday at noon, Yale head coach Jack Siedlecki will be joined by junior offensive tackle Darius Dale. The Galiette Luncheon interviews can be heard (usually posted by Wednesday) on Don Boyle's 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.


In 1988 Joel E. Smilow '54 generously established a fund to endow the position of head coach of Yale's football team - the first endowed coaching position at Yale. Due to the extraordinary growth of this fund it is now able to support Yale's two associate head football coaches - Keith Clark, Yale's Offensive Coordinator and offensive line coach, and Rick Flanders, the Defensive Coordinator and linebackers mentor. The two positions have been designated as Joel E. Smilow '54 Associate Head Coaches of Football. It is believed that no other United States associate or assistant coaches have ever been given donor named positions. Smilow, who broadcast Yale football games as Sports Director of WYBC, has also endowed three other head coach positions - men's and women's basketball and women's lacrosse - and has made three major donations to Yale's athletic facilities.


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.


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. Senior WR Chris Denny-Brown was the recipient for his season-high nine catches for 81 yards at Penn. DT Jared Hamilton earned the nod with two sacks and five solo stops against Dartmouth. 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 at Holy Cross. His school-record, 276-yard outing vs. Lehigh also brought the Camp honor. 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.


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.


NEWS/TALK 960 WELI will broadcast all 10 Yale football games this fall on 960-AM and online at 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 (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 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 (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 was on NESN as the ECAC Game of the Week. WFMZ-TV and Fox Sports Atlantic aired the Oct. 13 Lehigh game in the Bowl. YES Network has the Penn and Princeton games. 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.

release filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director