Monday, September 25, 2006

Yale-Cornell notebook

By Sean Barker
Sports Editor

ITHACA, N.Y. — Paul Rice, a 6-foot-2, 220-pound freshman, made sure he came to New Haven to be with his Yale teammates early this summer, a rarity at this level.


“I knew I was forfeiting some time with my friends, but I wanted to get up here as early as possible, learn the defense and get as much of a head start as I could.”


It paid off.


Rice, from Cleveland Heights, Ohio, made a key play in the fourth quarter, stepping in front of, and knocking down a pass intended for Cornell wide receiver Jesse Baker in the end zone.

Yale was holding onto a 14-6 lead with 7:32 left and that third down stop forced Cornell to kick its third field goal in a 21-9 loss.


“That was a great play he made. He’s going to be a really good football player,” Yale coach Jack Siedlecki said. “He’s a big defensive player. He looks more like a linebacker than a defensive back. He’s going to be an impact player for us and that play in the end zone was the first of many he’s going to make.”


Rice also made two tackles.


“I got put in some good positions today and made the most of my opportunities,” Rice said.

SPECIAL SANTORO

Sophomore Steve Santoro continues to make an impact. A week after
returning a kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown, Santoro returned four kickoffs for 102 yards, helping Yale, which had an average starting field position of its own 37 for the game and its own 40 for the second half. “I’m just getting better blocking,” said Santoro, who has returned kicks since his junior year of high school, but had not returned one for a touchdown until last weekend. “Steve Santoro has certainly become a threat on returns,” Siedlecki said. “He’s made an impact.” Santoro also intercepted a Nathan Ford pass on the second play of the second half.

DALE INJURED

Sophomore right tackle Darius Dale left the game after the first series with a sprained MCL, suffered on McLeod’s first touchdown. He spent the first half on crutches, then returned in street clothes in the fourth quarter. Dale did not start the opener because of an infection in his left leg.

Sophomore cornerback Casey Gerald hurt his left hand (he said X-rays did not show a break), but returned with a cast and ran right on the field to play.

EXTRA POINTS

Senior Chandler Henley is happy his face won’t be itching anymore. Henley had promised himself he was not going to shave until Yale won. The scruffy beard was to be shaved this weekend. Sean Barker can be reached at sbarker@nhregister.com

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