No. 11 Bulldogs Host No. 25 Crimson in Title Showdown
Nov. 12, 2007
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - League unbeaten teams have squared off on the last day of the season three times since formal Ivy play began in 1956. The 124th edition of The Game is the fourth meeting of perfect Ivy marks on the final Saturday, and the winner earns an outright championship. Neither the football gods nor the politicians could put together a more interesting season finale. The No. 11 Yale football team (9-0 overall, 6-0 Ivy) takes on No. 25 Harvard (7-2, 6-0) at noon at Yale Bowl and the Class of '54 Field (61,446 capacity) in a nationally televised contest. The Game can also be heard on WELI (960-AM), WYBC (1340-AM) and on 960weli.com and wybc.com.
IMPACT OF THE GAME
The Bulldogs have not had a perfect season in 47 years and it's been 26 campaigns since the Elis captured an outright Ivy League title. The Blue, 9-0 for the first time since 1960 (a 9-game season), looks for its first double-digit perfect season since 1909 (10-0) and its 15th overall title. Harvard, which went 10-0 in 2004 and 9-0 in 2001, has earned four outright titles since 1987 and is looking for its 12th overall championship.
WATCHING THE GAME
The Game will be carried on HDNet nationwide (DirecTV 79, Dish Network 9422 and various cable providers). SportsNet NY (New York), WPHL (Philadelphia), WLVI (Boston) and WTXX (Hartford) will also pick up the feed.
The Bulldogs lead the Crimson 65-50-8 heading into the 124th meeting but Harvard has won five of the last six. Yale is 28-23-5 at Cambridge, 30-26-3 at home and 7-1-0 at neutral sites. There have been 54 shutouts since the first meeting in 1875, and the Elis are 28-19-7 in those contests. Yale is 11-11-1 against the Cantabs when The Game has league title implications.
THE OTHER PERFECT FINALES
This is just the fourth time (and first in 21 years) two Ivy teams have put perfect league records on the line in a season finale. This might be bad news for the Blue; the home team has never won. Here are the three previous 6-0 season-ending battles:
Nov. 22, 1986 -- Penn 31, Cornell 21 (at Schoellkopf Field)
Nov. 23, 1968 -- Yale 29, Harvard 29 (at Harvard Stadium)
Nov. 20, 1965 -- Dartmouth 28, Princeton 14 (at Palmer Stadium)
HISTORY ON THE LINE
Yale's last unbeaten league season came in 1968. The only blemish (6-0-1) was a 29-29 tie (yes, that one) at Harvard. The Blue last won all seven Ivy contests in 1967, while the last overall undefeated team was the 1960 squad that went 9-0. The Elis have enjoyed 16 perfect seasons since 1872 including: 1960 (9-0); 1923 (8-0); 1917 (3-0); 1909 (10-0); 1905 (10-0); 1900 (12-0); 1894 (16-0); 1892 (13-0); 1891 (13-0); 1888 (13-0); 1887 (9-0); 1883 (8-0); 1882 (8-0); 1876 (3-0); 1874 (3-0); 1872 (1-0).
FILLING THE BOWL
Yale officials anticipate a near-capacity crowd which could make Saturday's attendance at the Bowl the largest of any ticketed New England collegiate sporting event in many years. The Bowl, the largest collegiate sporting venue in New England, had 59,263 for the 1989 Yale-Harvard game and 70,600 (184 shy of capacity) for the 100th playing of The Game in 1983. The current seating capacity at the Bowl is 61,446.
LAST YEAR AT BOSTON
A relentless defense and an opportunistic offense allowed Yale to grab a share of the Ivy championship with a 34-13 win at Harvard on Nov. 18 before a national TV audience. The win, Yale's first over the Crimson since 2000, was made possible by a Bulldog defense that held the league's all-time leading rusher, Clifton Dawson, to 60 yards. Harvard did not get its initial first down until there were three minutes left in the first quarter. Mike McLeod (34-87) scored on runs of one, four and eight yards but the play that put the game away came from the other side. Steven Santoro, who had a 42-yard return of an interception, picked up an early fourth-quarter fumble and ran 38 yards to make it 34-7. In a statistically even contest, neither team had more than 270 yards of total offense. However, the Bulldogs' productivity in the red zone helped them clinch the league title at Boston for the first time since 1980.
Whether it was a last-second win, an outstanding performance or something else significant, here are some of the most memorable meetings: 1881: Yale tries the first on-side kick ever in football during a scoreless tie.
1946: Elis overcome a 14-0 Harvard lead to win 27-14.
1952: Yale student manager Charlie Yeager catches a conversion pass in a 41-14 Eli win at Cambridge.
1968: QB Frank Champi completes a TD pass and a conversion play with no time left as Harvard gains a 29-29 draw at Cambridge and shares the Ivy crown with Yale
1972: Yale overcame a 17-0 first half deficit to win 28-17
1974: QB Milt Holt scored on a 1-yard run with 0:15 left in Harvard's 21-16 victory
1975: Mike Lynch's 26-yard FG with 0:33 left gave Crimson a 10-7 win.
1995: Crimson Eion Hu scored from 2 yards out with :29 left in a 22-21 win
1999: WR Eric Johnson (21-244) scoops up a QB Joe Walland (42-67, 437) pass with :29 left to send Yale to a 24-21 win.
2005: Clifton Dawson ended the longest game in Ivy history in the 3rd OT with a two-yard run to give Harvard a 30-24 win at the Bowl.
The Bulldogs moved up one place to No. 11 in both the FCS Coaches Poll and the Sports Network Poll. Yale has been ranked as high as No. 11 and as low as 25th in seven different FCS (formerly I-AA) polls this year. Yale moved up a place to No. 3 in the new Lambert (Eastern) Trophy poll behind UMass and Richmond. Harvard moved into the No. 25 spot in the FCS Coaches Poll with its win over Penn, while the Cantabs are eighth in the Lambert.
TAIL OF THE SCALE
Yale's starting offensive line, which has paved the way for the No. 4 rushing attack in the FCS, averages 279 pounds compared to a Crimson front that lines up at 254 pounds (25-pound difference). The Bulldog defensive front (247 lbs) faces a 32-pound disadvantage against a Harvard OL (279 lbs) that starts no players under 280 lbs.
BULLDOGS BITE TIGERS
The underdog Tigers had the advantage in almost every statistical category except for the most important; the final score of 27-6. Princeton had more yards, controlled the ball more and had many more plays but the Elis made the "big" plays. The Bulldog defense forced two first-half fumbles and picked off two second-half passes to hold the home team to a pair of field goals. Meanwhile, the Yale offense did not turn the ball over. Chris Denny-Brown caught a pair of TD passes, Alan Kimball booted two field goals and Mike McLeod plowed into the end zone for the other points. Kimball's 43-yarder put Yale ahead first before Princeton evened the score with three seconds left in the first half. Denny-Brown's 80-yard TD reception gave Yale a 10-3 lead on the second play of the third and was the only score of the quarter. Both teams made FGs early in the fourth before Bulldog QB Matt Polhemus found Denny-Brown in the back of the end zone from 10 yards out to ice the game with 2:30 left.
CRIMSON COLOR PENN
Harvard held Penn to 71 yards in the second half (198 overall) and ran away with a 23-7 victory at Boston last Saturday in a game that had senior WR Corey Mazza equaling the school's career TD reception mark. The win gives Harvard seven consecutive seasons with at least seven wins, the first time ever for an Ivy school. Mazza finished the game with four catches for 75 yards while WR Matt Luft led the Crimson with 95 receiving yards and added a score on the first drive of the third quarter. Chris Pizzotti threw for 232 yards and two scores while sophomore TB Cheng Ho led the Crimson rushing attack with 79 yards, including a 20-yard scoring jaunt for the game's final points. Glenn Dorris paced Harvard with six tackles, two sacks and a fumble recovery.
DENNY-BROWN TAKES 2
He only had two catches in the 27-6 win at Princeton that kept the Blue unbeaten, but they may have been the biggest grabs of the 2007 Yale season. Senior WR Chris Denny-Brown, who is using a medical hardship year after sitting out 2006, put the visitors ahead for good with an 80-yard scoring play in the third quarter. Denny-Brown, who had not caught a TD pass all season, connected with QB Matt Polhemus for the fourth longest scoring pass in Yale history and the longest since Steve Mills hooked up with Dave Iwan for a 90-yarder in the 1993 Dartmouth game. Last Saturday's game was not in hand late in the fourth as Yale had the ball on the Princeton 10. That's when Polhemus rolled right and hit Denny-Brown on the run for the clinching points. The last time a Bulldog caught two TD passes in a game was Ashley Wright (from Jeff Mroz) against Brown in 2005.
WHO TO THANK?
When the Bulldogs gathered to celebrate the 2006 championship season last January, TE Dave Miller '07 publicly thanked Mike McLeod for what he meant to the team. McLeod is still a big part of Yale's success, but the Bulldog defense has been equally impressive. The Elis have allowed just 20 points over the last three games including seven or less in each of those contests. The last time Yale had that type of scoring defensive effort was in 1979 with wins over Dartmouth (3-0), Columbia (37-7) and Penn (24-6). The Blue defense has not allowed a TD since the second quarter (6 straight) against Brown.
TOUGHER SINCE GAME 5
After taking its first five games in dominating fashion, Yale survived triple OT at Penn, a scoreless first half with five turnovers at Columbia, its first second-half deficit of the year against Brown and a 3-3 halftime score at Princeton to remain unbeaten in 2007.
GLAD TO HAVE HART
The Elis are lucky to have a former high school QB making big plays at defensive end. Junior Brady Hart, who is tied with Jared Hamilton for the team lead with three sacks and is second with 57 total tackles, has two interceptions. Hart, who won both the Yale defensive back and hammer (hardest hits) awards for the Brown game, has two interceptions this fall. He may have had the biggest defensive play of the game against Brown. Late in the second quarter Michael Dougherty, who was leading the nation in passing yards, went back to pass and did not see Hart coming. The junior DE leveled the Brown QB to stop the drive.
RUNNING TOWARD PAYTON
Mike McLeod currently ranks first among all FCS players with 174.1 rushing yards per game, which should earn him serious consideration from the Walter Payton Award voters. Running Back Jordan Scott of Colgate ranks second among all Payton Award nominees with 166.9. McLeod ranks second among all Payton Award nominees with 15.33 points per game. He trails only Omar Cuff of Delaware who is averaging 19.8 points per game. Cuff, though, only averages 129.4 yards rushing per game. Among other positions, QB Josh Johnson of San Diego, who averages 68 yards rushing, leads the pack with a 199.5 QB rating including 301 yards passing per game with 37 TDs and one interception.
THE MCLEOD PAGES
The Yale record books should now be named the McLeod pages. No. 28 has almost every major school rushing record with 11 games left in his collegiate career. However, McLeod is still chasing some Ivy League standards. His 1,569 rushing yards this fall are 312 yards shy of the single-season league mark of 1,881 (in nine games) by Cornell's Ed Marinaro in 1971. The New Britain, Conn., runner, who has 23 TDs this fall and TDs in 23 of his 29 collegiate games, needs one more this season to tie Marinaro for the Ivy season record (24). McLeod now has 3,622 career yards and an Ivy record 18 straight games with a TD.
COOMBS KEEPS STREAK ALIVE
Mike McLeod's streak of games with a TD appeared to be over when Chris Denny-Brown caught the clinching pass with 2:30 left at Princeton. That was until senior DB Matt Coombs (2 interceptions this year) intercepted a Bill Foran pass and raced 40 yards to the Princeton one-yard line. McLeod then sealed the victory with a one-yard TD run.
Four seniors, NG Brandt Hollander and DTs Kirk Porter, Jared Hamilton and Stephen Schmalhofer, see regular duty on the defensive front. These four players form the core of the Bulldog defense that has allowed just two rushing TDs this fall. The last Yale squads that made running in the red zone that difficult were the nationally ranked 1970s defenses. The 1974 Bulldogs allowed just three rushing scores, while the 1979 (5) and 1980 (6) teams were also tough to run on. All three of those squads won Ivy titles.
BRANDT VS. BRAD
Yale DT Brandt Hollander and Harvard's Brad Bagdis (DE) are the team captains for the 124th edition of The Game. Hollander, the 130th Yale captain, 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) member of the team. He is a senior from Indianapolis who has been watched by the Colts (as well as other NFL teams) this season. Bagdis, the 134th gridiron captain at Harvard, has 34 tackles and is second on the team with five sacks.
Sophomore punter Tom Mante, last week's Ivy League Special Teams Player of the Week, could break the Yale single-season punting record if he can get off a few big boots Saturday. His current 41.5 average is half a yard better than the current record of 41.0 held by current New Orleans Saint TE Eric Johnson (1999), who caught a TD pass last Sunday against the Rams.
Freshman defensive back Gio Christodoulou (pronounced kristo-DO-lou), who has two long punt returns for TDs in junior varsity games, has been the starting punt returner and one of the top two KOR guys the last two weeks. He had Yale's longest KOR of the year with a 38-yard scamper at Columbia. He saw his first varsity action at Penn, made one tackle and downed a Bulldog punt on the Penn one-yard line. He shared Yale Special Teams MVP honors against the Quakers with QB/holder Richie Scudellari.
Jack Siedlecki (Union `74), in his 11th season as the Joel E. Smilow '54 Head Coach of Football at Yale, is 120-66-2 as a collegiate head coach, 64-44 at Yale. Siedlecki is 4-6 against the Crimson. Harvard mentor Tim Murphy, who coached with Siedlecki at Lafayette, is 119-96-1 overall as a head coach, 87-51at Harvard in his 14th season and 8-5 vs. Yale.
SIEDLECKI ON PRINCETON GAME
"This was just a real battle for us offensively. They defended us really well - they always do. They always seem to have a good plan against our run game. We didn't have the ball at all in the first half - we ran 21 plays. It was the complete opposite of every game we've been in this year, where we possessed the ball for a tremendous amount of time. Our defense played great. Obviously the difference in the game was the turnovers. We didn't have any. The two that they had absolutely killed them in the first half."
The only player on the Yale football team whose father played football for Harvard is sophomore Paul Rice, who at 6-foot-2, 225 pounds may be the largest CB in pro or college football. "I was wondering before the  game whether I would root for the alma mater, but as soon as I saw my son on the field, there was no question," said Lou Rice, who lettered at Harvard in 1976 and 1977. "I did my best to get Paul interested in Harvard but it was not meant to be." The only other players on the Yale team whose fathers played football in the Ivy League are freshman RB John Pagliaro (John Pagliaro, Yale '78), whose father played against Rice, and Ryan Vandersloot (Ralph Vandersloot '65). Paul Rice, who has 27 solos and 42 overall tackles this fall, is a two-year starter. He had 3-4-7 at Princeton and made one of the biggest plays of the game when he grabbed a fumble in the air near the goal line and raced 55 yards with it.
THE ONLY THING
Yale has come out on top in 10 straight games dating to the 2006 finale and has been victorious in 17 of its last 18 outings. The one loss was to Princeton a year ago.
Senior FB Joe Fuccillo has broken seven (of his own) facemasks and cracked a pair of helmets in 2007. "When a helmet gets cracked, I obviously fit him for a new one. Thank God they have a three-year warranty," said assistant director of equipment services Jeff Torre. "In my 20 years, I have never seen a player go through two helmets."
Fuccillo is arguably the most punishing blocker on the Yale team and currently leads the team with 82 knockdowns. His season-high was 11 against Brown, Penn and Georgetown. 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 TD. He snared his first collegiate pass on a key third down against Lehigh a week later.
BLUE IN RED
The Bulldogs put points on the board on both trips to the red zone at Princeton. The Elis have scored on 38 of 44 attempts this fall when reaching the opponent's 20-yard line.
NOTHING FANCY ABOUT PASSING
Yale is not throwing the football like typical Jack Siedlecki teams do. The Elis have completed 80 of 157 passes this fall, far below the average over the last 11 seasons. You have to go back as far as the 1991 campaign to find a Blue offense that threw the ball less than the current squad. The 1991 Bulldogs completed 49 of 108 passes (10 int, 6 TDs) on the way to a 6-4 season. Of course that squad had a pair of 1,000-yard rushers in QB Nick Crawford and TB Chris Kouri.
RANKINGS The Elis are sixth in the FCS in fourth-down conversion percentage (7-for-10) and are third in interceptions (20). Here's how Yale compares to the rest of the FCS: Scoring Defense -1st (11.11); Possession Time -1st (35:47); Total Defense - 4th (271); Team Rushing - 4th (287); Turnover Margin - 2nd (1.89).
The Bulldogs have won 12 straight road games dating to the middle of the 2005 campaign, a 38-21 loss to Penn at Franklin Field. The longest road win streak prior to the current one was 37 games that spanned 1887 to 1895.
Yale senior Matt Polhemus is now 17-2 as the starting QB. He has completed better than 50 percent of his passes this year and has just five interceptions in 156 attempts. Polhemus, who had a season-high 16 completions and 28 attempts at Penn, has 437 rushing yards this fall. His 92 rushing yards at Columbia were his season-high.
ABARE TO BLOCK
Junior LB Bobby Abare "only" had 11 tackles in the game but he was causing problems all day for the Princeton offense. No. 44 was flying through holes to hit Tigers before balls were handed off and prior to QB Bill Foran picking his head up to see where receivers were located. It is safe to say that he factored in on 30 to 40 defensive stops including a fourth-down saving tackle. Abare leads the team with 42 solos and 72 overall. He has six career interceptions. Both he and twin brother Larry earned 2006 All-Ivy recognition. Bobby 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.
MONACO THE KING
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 seven of the nine games. The 6-foot-4, 290-pound lineman from McDonald, Pa., has started 29 straight games at three different spots on the OL.
APPLE FALLING CLOSE TO TREE
Senior DT Jared Hamilton, who has been the DL MVP twice this fall and has 19 straight starts, comes from a family of athletes. His father, Larry, won a 1984 national championship with the undefeated 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.
GERALD HAS PRESTIGOUS PATH
Junior CB Casey Gerald, who leads the team with six PBU and is fourth with 32 tackles, had a very distinct path to becoming a starter on the Yale defense. Gerald, the son of former Ohio State and Philadelphia Eagle star Roderic Gerald, grew up in inner-city Dallas with parents who were sometimes absent or dependent on drugs. The Bulldog corner was able to attend Yale because of the Levi Jackson Scholarship, a memorial fund developed by former Yale athletes Bill Conway, '49 and Vic Frank, '50 in 2000 to honor their famous friend. Jackson, who attended New Haven's Hillhouse High and was the first black captain of the Yale football team in 1949, went on to a distinguished career with the Ford Motor Company. Gerald, who leads the team with eight PBUs and was the Walter Camp Player of the Game last week at Princeton, is the first Eli football player to receive the scholarship.
Yale's 31 rushing TDs are the most since the 1972 team had 32... Senior TE Langston Johnson has caught a pass in eight of the nine games this year and leads the Blue ends with 10 for 139 yards... Mike McLeod and Matt Polhemus were the only Bulldogs who carried the ball at Princeton... The largest crowd at an FCS game this year was 68,593 for the neutral-site Alabama State-Alabama A&M game... Yale is currently 14th in FCS attendance with 14,179 per game and would be in the top five if not for a bad-weather Brown game. The Elis would need over 80,000 at Yale Bowl this Saturday to have a shot at leading the FCS in attendance this fall... The class of 2008 (26-13) can become the winningest class of Yale football since the '83 class (30-10) with a victory Saturday.
IT STARTED HERE
The Game is responsible for a number of original events: Yale performed the first on-side kick against Harvard in 1881; the Blue's flying wedge was first seen in the 1892 contest; the first game in the Bowl was the 1914 meeting; the first crowd at an American sporting event over 80,000 was the 1920 game at the Bowl; and the first triple OT Ivy game happened in 2005.
IT'S ACADEMIC FOR HAMILTON, KIMBALL
Senior DT Jared Hamilton and classmate PK Alan Kimball were named to the District I ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District football team. Hamilton, a political science major with a 3.35 GPA, leads the Bulldogs with three sacks and has started every game this season. Kimball, who leads the Ivy League and is eighth in the country with 1.56 field goals per game, has booted 14 three-pointers in 17 attempts this fall. Kimball, a history major with a 3.97, was a Draddy Award semi-finalist, an honor bestowed on the nation's top football scholar-athlete.
Senior PK Alan Kimball is eighth in the FCS and leads the Ivy League with 1.56 FG per game. He earned Ivy League Special Teams Player of the Week against Penn when he connected on two of three FG attempts and made both PATs. Kimball 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 31 FGs, which is five behind career leader Mike Murawczyk (36). Kimball, who had a string of nine straight FGs made, is 14-for-17 on FGs and has connected on all 34 PATs this fall. He is one three-pointer shy of the school single-season record (15) held by John Troost in 2003.
Nine Bulldogs have picked off 20 passes in nine games. Juniors LB Jay Pilkerton (missed last three games with injury) and DB Steven Santoro have four. LB Bobby Abare (2) and DE Brady Hart (1) are the other juniors with picks. Senior DB Nick Solakian has three while classmate and fellow DB Matt Coombs has a pair. Matt's brother, John Coombs, LB Lee Driftmier and DB Paul Rice each have one. Yale has an interception in 14 straight games. The Blue defense has four games this season with three picks. The 20 interceptions are the most by a Bulldog squad since the 2000 team picked 21.
MAKING PICKS COUNT
Nine of the Bulldogs' 20 interceptions have resulted in points (43). In addition, on two occasions Yale interceptions have stopped opponents on critical drives just before halftime and four of the interceptions occurred within the red 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 and DT Brandt Hollander was voted the strongest. Bobby Abare has been named the toughest.
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 4-5 New Orleans Saints, has 34 catches for 259 yards and two scores. 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 in the Atlanta game... Nate Lawrie '04 is listed as the third-string TE for the offensive-minded Cincinnati Bengals (3-6), which has wins over Baltimore (twice) and the Jets... Dick Jauron '73 is in his second season as head coach of the Buffalo Bills (5-4), which beat the Jets (twice), Ravens, Dolphins and Bengals... Mike McDaniel '05, a former Yale WR, is an offensive assistant with the 4-4 Houston Texans... The Yalies are a combined 16-19 in the NFL this fall.
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 359-187-21 (567 games) at home. Since formal Ivy play began in 1956, the Elis are 120-74-3 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 captain and NG Brandt Hollander and classmate QB Matt Polhemus. 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.
PAINTING THE BACKDROP
It took 60 gallons of paint and four days to get the Class of '54 Field ready for The Game, according to Yale Athletics Fields Supervisor Tom Pepe.. The process began last Tuesday when the "H-Y" logo was sketched on the field and was completed on Tuesday of game week when a second coat of color was added.
SMILOW'S ENDOWMENT FUND GROWS
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. 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 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.
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 is in his second year as play-by-play announcer. Yale football coaching legend Carm Cozza, a 2003 College Football Hall of Fame inductee, is in 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).
Report filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director