Thursday, October 30, 2014

Varga honored

Tyler Varga has been named a National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame Scholar-Athlete award winner.

With the honor, comes an $18,000 post-graduate scholarship and a trip to the NFF's banquet in New York City on Dec. 9. Varga will also be in contention for the William V. Campbell Trophy, given to the nation's top football scholar-athlete.

Varga has a 3.56 GPA and an ecology and evolutionary biology major. He and 16 others were chosen from a pool of 169 semifinalist candidates.

On the field, Varga has 849 yards and 16 TDs (14 rush, two receiving).

Past Yale Scholar-Athletes winners include...

1967 Rick McCarthy, Offensive Guard

1970 Tom Neville, Defensive Tackle

1972 Dick Jauron, Running Back

1976 Stone Phillips, Quarterback

1978 Bill Crowley, Linebacker

1980 Kevin Czinger, Middle Guard

1981 Rich Diana, Running Back

2001 Peter Lee, Quarterback

2006 Ed McCarthy, Offensive Tackle

2008 Casey Gerald, Defensive Back

2011 Patrick Witt, Quarterback

2014 Tyler Varga, Tailback

What's YOUR prediction?

I'm not sure that we need to do this segment this week, but here we go...

Yale travels to face Columbia on Saturday at 12:30. What's your prediction? List it below...

Nutrition programs helping Yale flourish

NEW HAVEN >> Spot Tyler Varga around the Yale campus and he will most likely be carrying a protein shake and Tupperware filled with food. The Bulldogs’ star running back eats about every two hours.
Get ready for this. A typical daily meal plan consists of the following: Pre-workout protein shake; post-workout protein shake; breakfast consisting of eggs, oatmeal, yogurt and fruit; another protein shake around 11 a.m.; plain chicken breast, rice or pasta and salad for lunch; a fatty acid meal around 2 p.m. to hold him over; plain chicken, rice and some sort of carbohydrate for dinner followed by, of course, another protein shake.
Read the rest of the story...

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wednesday leftovers

Some additional news and notes...


The Lions have lost 17 straight and its last 11 Ivy League games. They have been outscored by an average of 31 points.

Columbia did play Princeton to a scoreless first half, before falling 38-6. QB Brett Nottingham, a transfer from Stanford, started the first four games. But after being benched last week, he is no longer with the program. Junior Trevor McDonagh is now the starter. 

RB Cam Molina is the Lions top playmaker on offense and the Lions will put the ball in his hands a ton. He leads the team in rushing and receiving.


Tony Reno said WR Mike Siragusa and TE Stephen Buric should be back this week. DE Victor Egu and LB Matt Oplinger both got banged up Saturday, but are practicing and fully expected to play against Columbia.


Deon Randall, who leads the nation with 8.5 receptions per game, became the Yale’s all-time leader receptions leader on Saturday.

Randall now has 197 career receptions. His 9-yard catch in the third quarter broke Ralph Plumb’s mark of 195.

“It’s one of those things where after the season you look back and appreciate it,” Randall said. “Right now I’m just living in moment and enjoying each game and trying to get better.”
Said Reno about Randall: “He’s the toughest kid I’ve ever coached.”


Meanwhile, Wallace continues to move up the list. His 105 receptions and 1,391 yards are both ninth all-time in Yale’s 142-year history.


Yale at Columbia, 12:30 pm [ILDN]
Princeton at Cornell, 12:30 pm [FCS]
Brown at Penn, 1 pm [ILDN]
Harvard at Dartmouth, 3:30 pm [NBC RSN]

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Tuesday's news and notes

Here are some notes from Tuesday's media luncheon...


Yale CB Spencer Rymiszewski suffered a spinal cord concussion on a tackle late in the second quarter against Penn and will miss the remainder of the season.

He was released from the hospital on Sunday and is back in class.

He released the following statement on Monday.

“During Saturday's game against Penn, I suffered a spinal cord concussion that will have me sidelined for the rest of the season. I anticipate making a full recovery and getting back on the football field with my brothers.

I am grateful to the Yale medical staff and the entire Yale football community - to include the administrative staff, my coaches, my teammates, and all of the parents - for their care, kindness, love, and support over the last days.”

Freshman Jason Alessi is expected to start in place of Rymiszewski, while junior Michael Bernandez will serve as the backup.


Freshman Matt Oplinger has made the most of an expanded role. Oplinger caught a two-point conversion and returned a blocked field goal for 48 yards last week against Penn, earning Ivy League Rookie of the Week. He’s coming along at LB, too. He and Darius Manora have played well with both Will Vaughan and Andrew Larkin sidelined with injuries. Vaughan returned Saturday.

“He’s made a big step the last two games,” Tony Reno said. “Things slowed down for him and the performance and production has gone up.”


Morgan Roberts has quite the selection of wide receivers to choose from, highlighted by Deon Randall and Grant Wallace.

He played with some pretty good receivers at Clemson, too. Roberts was teammates with Sammy Watkins (now playing for the Buffalo Bills) and DeAndre Hopkins (now playing for the Houston Texans).

“I’ve never seen athletes like that before,” said Roberts about Watkins and Hopkins. “Come in, take a three-step drop and throw it as far as you can and no matter what, they’re going to catch it.”


Tyler Varga rushed 23 times for 140 yards and two touchdowns in the win over the Quakers. It’s his 13th 100-plus yard game in just 20 games as a Bulldog.

Monday, October 27, 2014

UP NEXT: Columbia

When: Saturday, 12:30 p.m. at Wien Stadium, New York, New York 

Record: 0-6 (0-3 Ivy)

All-time series: Yale leads 68-19-2

Last week: Columbia lost its 17th straight game and 11th straight game in Ivy play, falling 27-7 to Dartmouth. Andrew Dobitsch scored on a 9-yard pass by Trevor McDonagh. McDonagh threw for 282 yards. The Lions rushed for just 44 yards.    

Top players: QB Trevor McDonagh 211.2 ypg, 54.1%, 6 TD, 3 INT; RB Cam Molina 41.5 ypg, 1 TD, 44.7 ypg (receiving); WR Ryan Flannery 37.8 ypg, 1 TD; Toba Akinleye 50 tackles, 2.5 sacks; Trevor Bell 3 INT

Ivy League weekly awards

From the Ivy League...

Harvard senior quarterback Conner Hempel (Union, Ky.) posted a career-high 382 yards passing, tying his career-high with 25 completions (25-of-31) in the Crimson's historic 49-7 victory at Princeton. Hempel tossed three touchdowns through the air (39, 49 and 42 yards) and added two touchdowns on the ground (1 and 14 yards). He helped Harvard amass a school-record 698 total yards and earn the largest margin of victory (42 points) in 107 meetings with Princeton.

Yale junior quarterback Morgan Roberts (Charlotte) broke his own school record for single-game completion percentage, going 26-of-29 for 346 yards and four touchdowns in the Bulldogs' 43-21 win over Penn. Roberts' four touchdown passes of 18, 6, 28 and 10 yards) to three different receivers came coming within one of setting the school record for a single game. He led Yale to 605 yards of total offense, 28 first downs and the most points against Penn in this series since the 1967 game.

Dartmouth junior linebacker Will McNamara (Chicago) recorded double-digit tackles for the fourth-straight game, making a game-high 11 stops in a 27-7 victory at Columbia. One of McNamara's tackles went for a loss and four others held a Lion to a gain of no more than a yard. And any hope Columbia had of making a comeback in the fourth quarter was shot down when he intercepted a pass at the four-yard line, his first of the season and third of his career -- all coming against Columbia -- and returned it 18 yards.

Brown senior wide receiver Reiley Higgins (Coto de Caza, Calif.) converted one of the rarest plays in all of football into a scoring play in the Bears' 42-16 victory over Cornell. Higgins grabbed an onside kick as a member of the hands team and raced 44 yards for a touchdown midway through the fourth quarter. He also pulled down an 11-yard touchdown reception from senior quarterback Marcus Fuller earlier in the quarter.

Yale freshman linebacker Matthew Oplinger (Summitt, N.J.) was all over the field on three different units in the Bulldogs' win over Penn. Oplinger caught a pass and raced into the end zone for a two-point conversion to give Yale an early 8-0 lead. A few minutes later, he picked up a blocked field goal attempt and raced 48 yards to the Penn 49-yard line. That play set up the Bulldogs' second touchdown. On defense, Oplinger made two solo tackles and had one pass breakup.

Trevor Bell, Columbia (Jr., DB - Beaumont, Texas)
9 tkls. (9 solo), 2 INTs

Kyle Bramble, Dartmouth (Jr., RB - Floyds Knobs, Ind.)
23 car. for 126 yds., 1 TD
Chris Fraser, Cornell (So., P - Pittsburgh)
42.8 yds./punt, 4 in20, 4 FC
Marcus Fuller, Brown (Sr., QB - Ashland, Ohio)
20-33-0, 306 yds., 4 TDs

Asante Gibson, Harvard (Jr., DB - Chula Vista, Calif.)
4 tkls. (4 solo), 1 FF, 1 FR

Trevor McDonagh, Columbia (Jr., QB - St. Louis)
28-50-2, 282 yds., 1 TD

Alex Park, Dartmouth (Sr., QB - Upper St. Clair, Pa.)
29-42-2, 268 yds., 2 TDs

Conner Scott, Penn (Sr., WR - Kenilworth, Ill.)
9 rec. for 167 yds., 2 TDs

Semar Smith, Harvard (Fr., RB - Coral Springs, Fla.)
12 car. for 124 yds.

Zach Sparber, Brown (Sr., DL - Norwood, N.J.)
5 tkls. (3 solo), 3.0 TFL, 1.0 Sack, 2 FF

Grant Wallace, Yale (Sr., WR - St. Louis)
10 rec. for 173 yds., 2 TDs

Dorian Williams, Princeton (So., DB - Streetsboro, Ohio)
13 tkls. (8 solo), 1 BrUp

Victor Williams, Dartmouth (Jr., WR - Muskogee, Okla.)
6 rec. for 68 yds., 2 TDs

Mike Zeuli
, Princeton (Sr., LB - Marlton, N.J.)
11 tkls. (8 solo)

Saturday, October 25, 2014

LIVE BLOG: Penn at Yale

The Bulldogs will bring out the highest-scoring offense in the FCS to take on visiting Penn in Ivy League action today. 

East Haven native Al Bagnoli will coach the Quakers for the final time at the Yale Bowl.

Get live updates for today's game.

Friday, October 24, 2014


Here's four things to keep an eye on when Yale hosts Penn on Saturday at 1:30 at the Yale Bowl...

Battle tested: It may be a down year for the Quakers, but don’t judge Penn by its 1-4 record. The Quakers schedule has been brutal. Penn has lost to three teams in the FCS top 12 (No. 4 Villanova, No. 7 Jacksonville and No. 12 Fordham), along with Dartmouth, who handed Yale its only loss. Penn is not as bad as it looks.

Welcome back: In last week’s win over Columbia, Penn was without its top three running backs. The Quakers get RB Kyle Wilcox back. He missed last week’s game with a concussion. Wilcox only has 44.5 ypg and one TD this season, but he led Penn in rushing and was an All-Ivy honorable mention last season. He rushed for 129 yards on 23 carries against the Bulldogs last year.

Looking ahead: Next week’s game against Columbia could pretty much be penciled in as a win now. So if the Bulldogs pull out a win against the Quakers, that puts them in great position with the season winding down. A 6-1 mark heading into Brown, Princeton and Harvard? Yale fans have to be happy with that.

Limit defense/special teams scores: Yale has allowed a special teams or defensive touchdown in each of its five games. Tony Reno expressed concern about this earlier in the week. It’s certainly something to keep an eye on against Penn. 

Yale 1997-present all-era team

During the week of each home football game, a Yale all-era team will be announced. It’s part of the Yale Bowl 100th anniversary celebration.

Below is the 1997-present all-era team courtesy of Yale athletics.

Joe Walland '00, QB

Hometown: Mentor, Ohio

Height, weight: 5-11, 205


-Finished career with lowest interception rate in Division I-AA history (1.65%, 787 att.)

-Led Yale to 1999 Ivy title by completing 42 of 67 for 437 yards in a 24-21 win over Harvard

-Held 25 Yale records when he graduated

Eric Johnson '01, WR

Hometown: Needham, Massachusetts

Height, weight: 6-2, 270


- Nils V. "Swede" Nelson Award (Academic, athletic, sportsmanship, citizenship) '00

- Harry Agganis Award (Outstanding New England Senior) '00

- All-American '00

- All-Ivy First Team Selection '00

- Drafted by San Francisco 49ers '01, Played for 49ers '01 to '06, New Orleans Saints '07 to '08

Than Merrill '01, DB

Hometown: Fresno, California

Height, weight: 6-3, 220


- Two-time All-Ivy First Team Selection '99, '00

- Drafted by NFL Tampa Bay Buccaneers '01

- Played for Chicago Bears '01

Mike Murawczyk '01, K

Hometown: Cherry Hill, New Jersey

Height, weight: 6-2, 195


- Only Yale kicker or punter to be two-time All-Ivy First Team Selection ( '98, '99)

-36 field goals are a Yale career record

-56 career field goals, 97 PATs are also school standards

Todd Tomich '01, DB

Hometown: Long Beach, California

Height, weight: 5-11, 175


- Two-time All-Ivy First Team Selection '99, '01

-Yale's career leader with 16 interceptions

-788 punt return yards are a school record

Nate Lawrie '04, TE

Hometown: Indianapolis, Indiana

Height, weight: 6-7, 265


- All-American '04

- All-Ivy First Team Selection '03

-Blue-Gray Classic '03, Las Vegas All-Star Classic '04

- Drafted by NFL Tampa Bay Buccaneers '04

- Played for Tampa Bay '04 to '05, New Orleans Saints '06, Cincinnati Bengals '07 to '08

Robert Carr '05, TB

Hometown: Baytown, Texas

Height, weight: 5-7, 190


- All-Ivy First Team Selection '02

- Left school as career leader in almost every rushing category

- Also topped the career kickoff return list

- Two 200-yard rushing games

Alvin Cowan '05, QB

Hometown: Austin, Texas

Height, weight: 6-2, 210


- Recipient, Gold Helmet Award (Top 1-AA player in New England) '03

- Left school with almost every career passing record

- Responsible for 51 TDs

-41 passing TDs and 6,024 total yards are still Yale career records

Rory Hennessey '05, OT

Hometown: Strongsville, Ohio

Height, weight: 6-4, 300


- Two-time All-American '03, '04

- Two-time All-Ivy First Team Selection '03, '05

Ralph Plumb '05, WR

Hometown: Portsmouth, Rhode Island

Height, weight: 6-4, 225


-195 catches and 2,396 yards are still Yale career records

- 16 TDs

- Had tryout with Oakland Raiders

Ed McCarthy '07, OT

Hometown: Fairfield, Connecticut

Height, weight: 6-5, 302


- Nils V. "Swede" Nelson Award (Academic, athletic, sportsmanship, citizenship) '06

- Ivy League Rookie of the Year '03

- All-American '06

- Two-time All-Ivy First Team Selection '05, '06

Brandt Hollander '08, NT

Hometown: Indianapolis, Indiana

Height, weight: 6-3, 285


- All-American '07

- Two-time All-Ivy First Team Selection '06, '07
- Hula Bowl '07

Bobby Abare '09, LB

Hometown: Acton, Massachusetts

Height, weight: 6-2, 218


- George "Bulger" Lowe Award (Outstanding Player in New England) '08

- Three-time All-American '06, '07, '08

- Three-time All-Ivy First Team Selection '06, '07, '08

Mike McLeod '09, RB

Hometown: New Britain, Connecticut

Height, weight: 5-11, 200


- Asa A. Bushnell Cup (Ivy League MVP) '07

- Ivy League Rookie of the Year '05

- Walter Camp Connecticut Player of the Year '07

- All-American '07

- Three-time All-Ivy First Team Selection '06, '07, '08

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Bagnoli's final homecoming

I spoke with Penn coach Al Bagnoli for a story on Quakers SS Evan Jackson.

I also spoke to Bagnoli, an East Haven native, about his final trip to the Bowl. Bagnoli is set to step down after this season, his 23rd as Quakers coach.

"It's always been fun to go back there," Bagnoli said. "That's a good team and a great venue with tremendous history. There's a lot of family so that's always nice. It's a work day for us. But the final time, walking off the field, I'll take a good long look around. Its been very enjoyable." 

What's YOUR prediction?

Yale begins the heart of its Ivy League schedule hosting Penn on Saturday.

What's your prediction for Saturday's game? List below...