Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Hawari expected back

Yale coach Jack Siedlecki said he believes sophomore defensive end Kyle Hawari will be ready to play against Brown, which will be key for the Bulldogs, who need to put a lot of pressure on Brown QB Joe DiGiacomo.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Your turn

How will Yale finish the year??

a) 9-1
b) 8-2
c) 7-3
d) 6-4

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Impressed with Columbia

Siedlecki on Columbia:

"They’re playing so hard. He’s got them running around. That defense of theirs is confusing. They run around and they make a lot of plays. I think the biggest difference is he’s got them believing. I’ve know Norries, I know him pretty well from spending time with him at UConn camps. He’s a good football coach, he’s hardnosed, he’s going to make a lot of demands of the kids, and I think they are responding to him. I know he doesn’t have a lot of guys, but that’s going to be an outfit to contend with down the road. He’s got them playing hard."

My thoughts:

Watching the Columbia press conference after the Yale game I was quite impressed with Wilson, his demeanor and how each of the three players turned their heads and focused on him each time he answered a question. They weren't just listening to every word he spoke, they were believing it.

Notes from Columbia

Yale’s defensive line continues to play well, helping hold Columbia to just 11 first downs, including three rushing, and 238 yards, including 54 yards rushing.

The Bulldogs had seven tackles for losses in a 21-3 win over Columbia Saturday at Yale Bowl.
Linebacker Bobby Abare and defensive tackle Jared Hamilton each had two, including a sack from Hamilton, and defensive end Brendan Sponheimer, defensive lineman Bryan Kana and defensive end Michael McGinity had one each.

Yale played without injured starting defensive end Kyle Hawari (knee).

"They’ve all done a great job. I work a lot closer with Hathaway and Kana, and they are just great players," said Hamilton, who had back-to-back tackles for losses to snuff Columbia’s final drive of the day.
He stopped running back James Cobb for minus-2 yards then sacked Craig Hormann for minus-9.
"They’ve accepted their roles as being able to step in and help when needed, and they’ve really excelled," Hamilton said.
"In a moment, they would do anything for us. Brady Hart did a great job."

Yale did not turn the ball over once against a Columbia defense that led the nation in turnover ratio at plus-1.5. Columbia had forced 17 turnovers entering the game.
Yale had a season-high 14 penalties for 105 yards.
Yale sophomore Casey Gerald blocked a 45-yard field goal attempt midway through the third quarter. Gerald came from the kicker’s left side. The snap was not handled well.
Yale sophomore Steve Santoro had his streak of turnovers ended at five games. He did return Columbia’s only kickoff 44 yards to increase his Ivy League-best average to 26.4 yards.
Strangely, the kickoff was a low-traveling line drive right to Santoro. The return should lift him into the top 15 at the I-AA level.


With three games remaining, Yale, Princeton and Harvard are in the home stretch.
Here’s a look at each team’s remaining schedule:

YALE (6-1, 4-0)
Remaining Games
Yale at Brown (2-2, 3-4)
Nov. 4, Noon (YES)
Yale 2-7 in last nine meetings with Brown.
Princeton (6-1, 3-1) at Yale
Nov. 11, 12:30 p.m.
Bulldogs have won four straight against Tigers.
Yale at Harvard (6-1, 3-1)
Nov. 18, Noon (WGN)
Five straight wins in The Game for Harvard.
PRINCETON (6-1, 3-1)
Remaining Games
Princeton vs. Penn (4-3, 2-2)
Nov. 4, 1 p.m. (CN-8)
Penn has won 11 of last 13 meetings.
Princeton at Yale (6-1, 4-0)
Nov. 11, 12:30 p.m.
Tigers have top defense in league in yards allowed.
Princeton vs. Dartmouth (1-6, 1-3)
Nov. 18, 1 p.m.
Princeton QB Jeff Terrell has been exceptional.
HARVARD (6-1, 3-1)
Remaining Games
Harvard vs. Columbia (3-4, 0-4)
Nov. 4, 12:30 p.m.
Crimson outscored Columbia 93-7 in last two meetings.
Penn (4-3, 2-2) at Harvard
Nov. 11, 12:30 p.m. (CN-8)
Prior to last year two combined for five straight Ivy titles.
Yale (6-1, 4-0) at Harvard
Nov. 18, Noon (WGN)
How do you top 3OT thriller from last year?

Junior Varsity improves to 2-1

From Sam Rubin ....

Junior tight end Mike Duvall and freshman tailback Brandon Scott scored two touchdowns each and the Yale defense limited Springfield to five total yards of offense in the second half as the junior varsity Bulldogs cruised to a 38-0 win Sunday afternoon at Clint Frank Field.

The Bulldogs started scoring on their first drive, which was keyed by two third-down conversion runs from freshman tailback Ricardo Galvez and another from sophomore fullback Eric Vidal.

Vidal's six-yard run on third-and-three gave Yale a first down at the Springfield 20, and on the next play freshman quarterback Richie Scudellari threw to Duvall for the lead.

A 32-yard pass from Scudellari to sophomore wide receiver Jarrett Drake ( a day after catching his first varisty pass) highlighted Yale's next drive, which ended with a one-yard toss to Duvall wide open in the end zone off a play action fake.

The Bulldog defense made sure those two touchdowns would be more than enough.

Freshman defensive lineman Max Newton brought down a scrambling Pride quarterback Anthony Nalen for no gain on a third-and-13, forcing a Springfield punt.

Sophomore defensive lineman Uthman Arogundade stopped a Pride run in the backfield on third-and-nine on the next drive to force another punt on Springfield's last possession of the second quarter.

That was a prelude to a dominant second half in which the Eli defense did not allow a first down until the final seconds of the game.

Back-to-back Newton tackles on second and third downs ended Springfield's first drive with a punt. The next one ended with an interception by freshman defensive back Wells Stewart at the Yale 48.

Arogundade recovered a fumble two plays into the next Falcon drive, then came through with a sack on third-and-15 to stop Springfield's fourth drive of the half. The fifth drive was also a three-and-out, and by the time the Falcons got the ball back for the sixth time only 2:16 was left in the game.

By then Yale had built up a commanding 38-0 lead thanks to a three-yard touchdown reception by sophomore wide receiver Grant MacQueen, a six-yard touchdown run by Galvez, and touchdown runs of 11 and seven yards by Scott.

The win improves the JV team's record to 2-1.

The Bulldogs play at Harvard Friday Nov. 17 in their season finale.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

McCarthy Draddy finalist

Yale senior offensive lineman Ed McCarthy is one of 17 finalists for the National Football Foundation’s 2006 Draddy Trophy, often referred to as college football’s academic Heisman.

Selected by the NFF Awards Committee, comprised of former coaches, Hall of Famers and college administrators, the 17 National Scholar-Athlete Award recipients will be honored at the 49th NFF Awards Dinner on Dec. 5 at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City.

McCarthy becomes the ninth Bulldog honored. His father, Rick McCarthy, was the first Yale football player to be honored by the NFF in 1967.

A preseason All-America selection, McCarthy, a history major, has twice earned first team Academic All-League honors and ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District recognition.

The 6-foot-5, 305-pound McCarthy earned first team All-Ivy honors in 2005 and second team recognition in 2004. In 2003, he became the first offensive lineman in Ivy League history to claim a major award when he was named Rookie of the Year.

Hollander feature

Brandt Hollander’s competitive spirit was evident during the Yale football team’s lifting championships before the start of the season.
Hollander, a junior middle guard from Indianapolis, and senior offensive tackle Ed McCarthy had just tied in an impressive display of strength in the clean, each cleaning 362.5 pounds.
Then Hollander walked over and added 2.5 pounds.
"Those are the type of kids you want on your team, guys that are going to compete against each other so hard," Yale coach Jack Siedlecki said.
"I really wanted to beat Eddie," said Hollander, who will lead the 5-1 Bulldogs against Columbia Saturday at noon at Yale Bowl. "He had beaten me before and I really wanted to beat him. It felt good. I had to beat him in something. He has better grades than me, he’s probably better than me in football, and his girlfriend’s pretty good-looking too."
Hollander smiled, then began to laugh after the comments.
Being 3-0 in the Ivy League and having a five-game winning streak will do that for most players.
For Hollander, it’s even a little more special.
"I’ve never in my life really been on a winning team, so this is kind of a neat thing. It really makes a big difference. We had some rough years in high school. We had a good freshman team, but we weren’t that good in varsity.
"I think five games is the most I’ve ever won in a season," Hollander said. "My freshman year (at Yale), when we were .500, that was the best year I was ever a part of.
"I think it’s really good (winning); I think we should keep trying," Hollander said, laughing.
The 6-foot-3-inch, 260-pound Hollander, who did win a Central Indiana title in weightlifting in high school, has played a key role in Yale’s success.
"He’s one of hardest-working kids on team," Siedlecki said earlier this year. "He’s gone probably beyond what we expected. His strength levels are great. He’s bigger, he’s faster."
After a slow start, Hollander has come on strong with 13 tackles, including three for losses, and a sack.
He’s also helped open up lanes for linebackers Bobby Abare and Chris Barry, who lead the Bulldogs with 52 and 44 tackles, respectively.
"The beginning of the year was a little frustrating for me," Hollander said. "I didn’t feel like I was playing up to my potential. I feel like I’ve been playing stronger in these last few weeks, but I think a lot of that is the defense as a whole coming together. Everyone is feeding off each other."
Hollander credited his fellow defensive linemen with his recent success.
"I’ve been fortunate enough to play in the scheme we’re in with Kirk Porter and Jared Hamilton right next to me," Hollander said. "Their presence has really allowed me to play better. I wasn’t even doubled against Penn at all, because they had to deal with those two."

Friday, October 27, 2006

Yale will play Saturday

Tarp is on field at Yale Bowl.

There was some discussion about playing Sunday because of weather, which could be pretty bad: Up to three inches of rain, winds of 20-25 MPH with gusts up to 60 MPH.

Lucky for many the game is on YES.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Quotes of the week

Brandt Hollander when asked how he would tackle Yale running back Mike McLeod:

"I'm glad I don't have to."

Carm Cozza at the weekly media luncheon:

"I've never asked a question at one of these things before, but I've got one today:

"Do you think it would be too much trouble to win the game in regulation. I don't get paid for overtime, you know."

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Remembering Galiette

I couldn't help but think about Dick Galiette Saturday, both driving down the Merritt Parkway through the tunnel and all it's glorious foliage above, during and after the game.

He would have been so thrilled Saturday. He would be so thrilled with this team, the way it fights through adversity, never gives up, never complains, just works a little bit harder every day and seems to enjoy itself more and more as the season goes on.

That was Dick.

Nothing too fancy, just a proud marine who loved what he did, loved the Yale players and loved the game of football.

He was definitely smiling Saturday, a year after he passed away.

Makes you wonder if the old son of a gun moved that right upright over just a bit on the overtime field goal attempt by Penn.

Some Yale Columbia notes

The Yale football team has five straight wins, including its first win over Penn in six years this past Saturday.

Off to its best record to start a season since the 1999 Ivy League championship season at 5-1 and to its best Ivy record to start the season since winning the 1989 Ivy League championship season.

Saturday’s opponent, Columbia, is 3-3, 0-3 in the Ivy League with 14 straight conference losses.

The word letdown has to come into the equation.

“It’s definitely something we put out on the table,” Yale coach Jack Siedlecki said. “As a coach it’s this week’s game, today’s practice. You need to put wins behind you and you need to put losses behind you. It doesn’t matter.

“This team to this point really hasn’t received that much praise,” Siedlecki said. “Everyone’s talked about how bad we’ve been in the past, I don’t think we’ve been that bad, we’ve won some games, but that’s all I’ve heard the past five or six weeks. Now all of a sudden it’s how good we are. That’s what we’ve got to deal with. If you start believing ... if you believe how bad people say you are you’re not going to win any games. You start believing how good people think you are and you are going to get picked off. We’ve got to stay on the same level, play with the same intensity.”

Yale’s players also say they are aware of this.

“This is really a special season for us because it’s not something we’re accustomed to, so I think we’re focused in on every game,” junior middle guard Brandt Hollander said.

“I think it starts with the individual and not taking any days off,” senior wide receiver D.J. Shooter said. “I think they know we’ve got something special going on here and I hope that we don’t let up and that everyone comes ready to play and ready to practice as if we were preparing for the No. 1 team in the country.”

Make no mistake this Columbia team, under first-year coach and former UConn assistant Norries Wilson, is playing at a different level than in the past, leading the Ivy League in points allowed at 13.8 per game and leading I-AA in turnovers ratio at plus-1.50.

“They’re playing with a completely different level of intensity,” Siedlecki said. “Their defense is just flying around. They’re in a hectic scheme. They’re giving people a lot of trouble. Unblocked guys making plays, tackling people for losses. They lead the nation in turnovers. So they are obviously confusing people. They’re not very big, but they are running around making plays.

“They are very, very active. But they are very sound in coverage. Columbia relies more on confusion. They are going to chance schemes in the middle of the play. You need to make some pretty good last second decisions in terms of scheme or where you are going to throw the ball. They will also move from a three man front to a four man front in the middle of the play.”

Wilson said Columbia has put a lot of emphasis on defense, especially forcing turnovers.

Columbia has intercepted 10 passes, returning those interceptions 230 yards. The Lions have also recovered seven fumbles.

“The defensive staff has done a great job,” Wilson said. “We talk all the time about the only ones who care about us, so we need to go out and play for each other. We practice the turnovers every day. The first thing we do after stretching is stripping the ball, picking balls off, tipping balls to each other.”


Film and photos show junior tight end Langston Johnson knocked the ball loose from Penn defensive back Greg Ambrogi. J

ohnson’s hit jarred the ball loose from Ambrogi and allowed senior wide receiver Ashley Wright to come down with the ball at the Penn 4 and set up a second quarter touchdown from Mike McLeod.

It was reported Wright hit the ball to himself.

Apologies to Langston, who has played a key role in blocking for McLeod this season. With Langston and Ed McCarthy side by side, tough to find many better blocking tandems.


Yale senior tight end Dave Miller will play against his brother Lou Miller, an inside linebacker for Columbia, for the first time Saturday.

The Millers are expected to have about 25-30 family members, watching from the Yale side.

“We’ve talked a lot this week,” Dave Miller said. “We’ve never played against each other.”

The younger Miller has 22 tackles and something Dave didn’t get, a high school state championship. Although the older Miller did say, “I beat him in every other sport.”


‰ Saturday’s game will be on the YES Network. John Sterling and Howard Cross will call the action. Yale is also on YES next week at Brown.

‰ Offensive tackle Darius Dale (ankle), defensive end Kyle Hawari (knee) and offensive guard Tom Woznikcki (concussion) did not practice Tuesday. Woznicki needs to gain medical clearance to play. Dale is questionable for Saturday and Hawari doubtful. Defensive end and long snapper Chris Wright practiced and is expected to play Saturday.

‰ Mike McLeod remains ranked fourth in I-AA in rushing, averaging 143.8 yards per game. He is fifth in scoring averaging 11.0 points per game.

He has 11 of Yale’s 18 touchdowns this season, including 10 rushing, all in the last five games.

McLeod is six touchdowns shy of tying John Pagliaro’s single-season record of 16 touchdowns, set in 1976. He needs 34 carries and 161 yards rushing to reach the top for each single-season category at Yale.

‰Yale senior wide receiver Chandler Henley has 30 catches this season, with 25 of them leading to either a first down or touchdown. He has caught 13 passes on third downs, with 12 leading to first downs.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

History never gets old

National Football Foundation sends out a weekly this date in history piece.

A couple mentions of Yale.

Featured Moment: October 31, 1981: The “ghosts” of Orange Bowl Stadium came out to haunt No. 1 Penn State as Miami (Fla.) became the fifth team to knock off a No. 1 squad in the AP poll during the ’81 season. The Hurricanes’ 17-14 victory was highlighted by an 80- yard TD pass from Jim Kelly to Larry Brodsky to out duel Nittany Lions’ QB Todd Blackledge, who was 26- for-41 for 358 yards.

Other Notable Dates:
October 30, 1926: Brown’s “Iron Men” play the entire game for the second straight week in a 10- 0 victory over Dartmouth. The 11 student-athletes also went all the way in an Oct. 23 win at Yale.

October 30, 1971: Michigan State RB Eric Allen cruises for a school-record 350 rushing yards on 29 attempts as the Spartans down the Purdue Boilermakers 43-10.

October 31, 1959: LSU RB and Heisman Trophy winner Billy Cannon scampers 89 yards on a punt return through the Halloween night mists to give the Tigers a 7-3 win over Mississippi.

October 31, 1959: Nebraska defeats Oklahoma 25-21, ending the Sooners’ 73-game Big 8 Conference win streak.

November 1, 1980: Mississippi State stuns Alabama 6-3 on a pair of field goals by PK Dana Moore in Jackson, Miss. The upset ends the longest winning streak in NCAA Division I-A at 28 games.

November 2, 1957: Yale ties Dartmouth 14- 14, spoiling the Big Green's first national ranking (No. 20) since 1949.

November 3, 1990: Georgia Tech kicker Scott Sisson scores the winning field goal with seven seconds left to down No.1 Virginia 41-38 in what many consider the most important ACC game in history.

November 3, 1990: Houston and TCU combine for 1,563 yards, breaking the 1981 record shared by Arizona State and Stanford. TCU sub quarterback Matt Vogler threw for an NCAA-record 690 yards on 44-79, while Houston’s David Klinger passed for seven TDs in a 56-35 Cougar victory.

November 4, 2000: Northwestern QB Zac Kustoc throws an 11-yard touchdown pass to Sam Simmons with twenty seconds left in the game as the Wildcats stun Michigan 54-51. The Wolverines shut out their prior two opponents.

November 5, 1988: Rice’s Nigel Codrington blocks two extra point attempts, and Billy Stone becomes the first player in NCAA I-A history to score defensively on an extra point attempt in the Owls’ 54- 11 setback to No. 1 Notre Dame.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Other links

Register links

Some Yale-Penn notes

Yale coach Jack Siedlecki was quick to point out the play of two players he feels don’t always get the recognition they deserve.

"The guy who every week makes a play or two, or makes a block or two or who just plays his tail off and really doesn’t get the appreciation of everyone else is Taylor Craig," Siedlecki said.

"No one plays harder than Taylor. No one is more physical that Taylor. Nobody. He’s as important to us as any skill guys. The two guys that don’t get as much attention are Langston (Johnson) and Taylor."

Craig had two carries for four yards and two catches for 10 yards. He also was key in blocking for Mike McLeod.


Freshman punter Tom Mante had his best performance of the season with three punts for 120 yards, including a 32-yarder that put Penn at its own 7-yard line.

Mante, who entered the game averaging 33.1 yards because of a handful of shanked kicks, boomed back-to-back punts in the fourth quarter.

After a near-50-yard punt was negated because offsetting penalties, Penn elected to have Mante punt again. This time his punt sailed 58 yards high into the autumn sky that put Penn at its own 25.

Sophomore defensive back Steve Santoro continues to be a turnover machine.
Santoro made a nice over-the-shoulder interception in the first quarter on the left sideline, keeping a foot inbounds.
The interception was Santoro’s team-leading third interception. He has forced or come up witha turnover in five straight games.
Santoro had back-to-back interceptions against Cornell and Lafayette and then forced fumbles against Dartmouth and Lehigh.


Yale was hit with some injuries Saturday.

Sophomore right tackle Darius Dale injured an ankle on the seventh play of the game, Yale’s first touchdown, and said he will be out a couple of weeks.

Sophomore defensive end Kyle Hawari sprained an MCL in his knee.

Junior offensive guard Tom Woznicki suffered a concussion in the fourth quarter.

Defensive end and long snapper Chris Wright also left the game with an unspecified injury. He did return to the sideline after being taken off in the cart.

Sophomore linebacker Bobby Abare was thinking about approaching Alan Kimball before
Kimball’s 35-yard field goal in overtime led to a Bulldogs win.

"I was thinking about telling him, don’t worry about missing it, just kick the ball," Bobby Abare said.

"But everyone was like, ‘don’t talk to him.’ You know, that whole don’t talk to the kicker before a field goal thing."

‰Wide receiver D.J. Shooter made a touchdown-saving tackle with 10 seconds left in the game, knocking out Penn defensive back Greg Ambrogi, who returned an interception to the Yale 36.
If Ambrogi gets past Shooter he has a clear path to the end zone.

‰Yale is 5-1 for the first time since 1999, when it was 9-1 and shared for the Ivy League title with Brown.

‰Two of the past three games at Yale Bowl have gone to overtime dating back to last year’s triple overtime loss to Harvard.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

A great cause

On Saturday, it is Walter Camp Football Foundation Day at the Bowl.

The Foundation in conjunction with the Yale-NH Hospital Auxilary's Toy Closets Program
are asking fans to bring a new unwrapped toy to support the cause. Toys can be dropped off at
Hospitality Village. It is the 7th year WCFF is sponsoring this toy drive.

Here is more information on the Toy Closet program.

The Yale-New Haven Hospital Auxiliary's Toy Closets program was developed to provide new, age-appropriate and educational toys to pediatric patients at the Yale-New Haven Children's Hospital. Founded in 1993 by Ann Nyberg, WTNH News Channel 8 anchorwoman, the Toy Closets help insure that pediatric patients come away from their hospitalization with a pleasant memory. In addition, the toys serve as gifts for special occasions such as birthdays and holiday celebrations for hospitalized children.

Toys, gifts and financial contributions are needed throughout the year. The success of the Toy Closets program is directly related to community involvement. The Auxiliary encourages schools, organizations and businesses to make the program the recipient of their community-minded efforts.

*They ask for developmentally appropriate, new and unwrapped toys and gifts only, please.

From Sports Network

Penn (4-1, 2-0) at Yale (4-1, 2-0), 12:30
The resurgent Ivy League will really start to iron things out this week. The battle between undefeated top 25 teams from Harvard and Princeton will receive most of the attention, but this matchup in New Haven could be just as important in the final standings. The Quakers and Bulldogs have very similar resumes with 4-1 overall marks and 2-0 records in the conference.

Penn beat Lafayette and Bucknell out of the Patriot League while losing to Villanova, while Yale beat their Patriot League competition (Lehigh and Lafayette) and lost against San Diego. The Bulldogs might be in the slightly more desirable position with two road wins in the league, including a triumph over a solid Cornell team. They get Princeton and Harvard in the final two weeks of the season, and can have a 5-0 mark in the league if they win here.

But that won’t be easy, because Penn’s defense will give Mike McLeod and the Yale running game a good test. The Quakers are holding opponents to 3.4 yards per carry and have only surrendered four rushing touchdowns this season, and should keep McLeod, the nation’s fourth-leading rusher, from matching his averages of five yards per carry and nearly 150 yards per game. The Quakers have been solid against the pass as well despite giving up a lot of yardage, and should limit Yale’s production. The Penn offense hasn’t been spectacular, but quarterback Robert Irvin has picked up his play of late. Yale won close games against Lehigh and Lafayette, but it is tough to keep that up and the Bulldogs are due to fall. Penn will be ready to make the loss come this week with a good defensive effort and solid play from Irvin.

Prediction: Penn 20, Yale 17

Monday, October 16, 2006

A different feel this season?

Walking off Clint Frank Field in August after one of the first practices of the season, Yale captain Chandler Henley said he had a special feeling about this installment of the Bulldogs.

This team was different, he said.

This season was going to be different.

Common words entering a season, no matter the team, no matter the sport.

But almost two months later and halfway through the season, Henley might have been right.

There is something different about this team.

It is resilient. It has fortitude. It believes, when really no one else has.

Yale is 4-1 entering its final five games, all against Ivy League opponents.

Impressive, considering the Bulldogs were bulldozed 43-17 against San Diego in the opener.

What might be more impressive is that Yale could be 0-5.

Yale has had many chances to fold this season; many opportunities to say ‘here we go again.’

‰A missed field goal at the end of regulation against Lehigh. A fumble in the red zone, a touchdown called back because of holding,

‰Dartmouth scores 14 points in 2 minutes, 34 seconds to pull within five.

‰Lafayette storms back in the fourth quarter to pull within three after trailing by 16, only to have Mike McLeod scamper for a 45-yard touchdown run.

‰Leading Cornell just 7-6 in the fourth quarter before pulling away for a 21-9 win.

The Bulldogs have always found an answer.

"I’ve got a lot of confidence and a lot of confidence in the guys around me," quarterback Matt Polhemus said. "Everyone just wants to win. When it comes to a tight game like this, everyone just goes out and does what we do in practice everyday."

When asked if doubt crossed his mind after the missed field goal at the end of regulation, Polhemus didn’t hesitate.

"You can’t do that," Polhemus said. "You’ve got to go out and win."

The expectations weren’t so high entering this season for Yale. They were picked to finish fifth in the league.

And even now, after four straight wins, the doubters far outweigh the believers as to whether or not Yale has a viable chance to challenge for a league title.

That talk belongs to Harvard, Penn and even Princeton.

That might be a good thing.

This team seems to thrive on having to prove itself.

There have been high expectations for Yale over the past three seasons. There was talent (see countless career, season and single-game individual records).

Teams have been filled with competitors, guys that hated to lose. But as a team, from coaches to players, they never learned to win.

‰Score 44 points against Brown. Give up 55.

‰Put together an amazing comeback against Penn, but fall in overtime when a field goal is partially blocked.

‰Pull within two points of Holy Cross, then give up an 84-yard kickoff return.

‰Squander two-touchdown leads to Lehigh in back-to-back seasons.

‰Lose in triple overtime to Harvard in heartbreaking fashion after leading by 18 points in the third quarter.

They were 6-4 or 5-5 or 4-6, but it always felt as if they believed they could have easily been 8-
2 or 9-1 if not for play-calling, or a bad call, or someone else’s mistake.

Something went wrong and you could sense everything beginning to unravel.

"There was always an excuse," one player said.

There have been no excuses this year.

We will learn a lot more about this Yale team Saturday at Yale Bowl when it looks to beat Penn for the first time since 2000.

This is a crucial week for the Bulldogs.

Penn has done more than just beat Yale the past three seasons; In many ways, Penn has destroyed either Yale’s confidence or continuity, and at times, both.

This has been where many Yale players have stopped believing ... in themselves, in their teammates and in their coaches.

This team believes it’s different.

We’ll soon see.

Sean Barker can be reached at sbarker@nhregister.com

Yale getting votes

Division I-AA Poll

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The top 25 teams in the Sports Network Division I-AA football poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through Oct. 15 and previous ranking:
Record Pts Pvs
1. Appalachian State (88) 6-1 2,693 2
2. Montana (2) 5-1 2,498 3
3. Illinois State (11) 5-1 2,401 5
4. Cal Poly (1) 5-1 2,371 4
5. Youngstown State (1) 6-1 2,172 6
6. Massachusetts 5-1 2,034 8
7. New Hampshire (1) 5-1 2,023 1
8. James Madison 5-1 1,991 13
9. North Dakota State (2) 6-0 1,981 9
10. Richmond 5-1 1,720 10
11. Hampton (3) 7-0 1,645 12
12. Furman 5-2 1,558 11
13. Southern Illinois 5-1 1,466 7
14. Northern Iowa 4-2 1,349 14
15. Harvard 5-0 1,060 15
16. Tennessee-Martin 5-1 925 17
17. Eastern Illinois 4-3 889 16
18. UC Davis 3-3 719 18
19. Maine 4-2 626 23
20. Alabama A&M 5-1 612 20
21. San Diego 6-0 587 21
22. Princeton 5-0 507 24
23. Portland State 4-3 373 25
24. Coastal Carolina 5-2 228 NR
25. Sam Houston State 4-2 182 NR
Others receiving votes: Jackson State 179, Montana State 109, Towson 104, Central Connecticut State 74, Penn 52, Charleston Southern 51, Georgia Southern 50, Delaware 47, Jacksonville State 27, Delaware State 25, Holy Cross 17, Yale 15, McNeese State 13, Wofford 13, South Dakota State 9, Western Kentucky 8, Nicholls State 7.

Junior Varsity update

Sam Rubin comes through with some information about the Junior Varsity.

Harvard-Princeton matchup

This should be a heck of a game.

Noon Saturday on YES.

Tim Murphy deserves a lot of credit for maintaining focus this season, and Princeton has to be the surprise of the league so far.

How about this scenario:

Harvard beats Princeton.

Princeton beats Yale for the first time since 2001.

Yale beats Harvard for the first time since 2000.

Crazy, but could happen.

Interesting pick

Ivy League offensive player of the week was an interesting pick.

Nathan Ford scored four touchdowns in win over Colgate, two passing and two rushing. But his overall numbers, weren't overly impressive: 9-for-17 for 147 yards and 10 carries for 38 yards.

I figured it would be McLeod and Dawson. I know McLeod has won it two straight weeks, but his numbers were better this week, and he scored the winning touchdown in an overtime game for a team that is 4-1.

Dawson ties the Ivy League scoring record and had 200 all-purpose yards.

I thought both were very worthy of the award.

Lehigh stories

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Some notes from Lehigh

Yale’s defense had arguably its best game of this season, at a time when the Bulldogs needed it most.

Yale held Lehigh to 293 yards of total offense, two touchdowns and two field goals.

The Bulldogs contained Lehigh quarterback Sedale Threatt, holding him to 34 yards rushing and 189 yards passing.

Yale coach Jack Siedlecki showed confidence in his defense in the fourth quarter when he opted to punt with the score tied at 20 and the Bulldogs facing fourth-and-2 at the Lehigh 39.

Tom Mante’s punt soared out of bounds and put Lehigh at its own 9.

The Bulldog defense then held Lehigh to 8 yards on three plays, forcing a Mountain Hawk punt with 2 minutes, 9 seconds left.

In the overtime, after Lehigh drove from the 25 to the 6, the Bulldogs stopped Matt McGowan for no gain, then, after an incomplete pass, junior Brandt Hollander sacked Threatt for a 6-yard loss. Lehigh’s Jason Leo then attempted a 30-yard field goal, which was wide left.

"The defense came up with two huge stops," Siedlecki said.

"It helps our confidence," Hollander said of the punt, "and that’s what has really helped us, is our confidence in each other. We believe in each other."

Yale had several key defensive plays.

Sophomore safety Steve Santoro continued his impressive play, forcing a fumble from fullback Greg Fay in the third quarter that was recovered by senior defensive end Brendan Sponheimer.

It was the fourth turnover caused by Santoro in the past four games. He has two interceptions and two forced fumbles. Sponheimer has two fumble recoveries this season, the other coming at Lafayette.

"Everyone is just stepping up and making plays," Hollander said. "I think we’re trying to develop the same thing the offense has and allowing play-makers to make plays. It’s nice to see young guys come up and make big individual plays."

Sophomore defensive end Kyle Hawari stopped Threatt on a two-point conversion after Lehigh pulled to within 17-12.

Sophomore linebacker Bobby Abare led Yale with 10 tackles. Either Bobby Abare or twin brother Larry, a safety, have led Yale in tackles the last four games.

Mike McLeod’s 204 yards is tied for fourth on Yale’s single-game rushing list with Nick Crawford, who had 204 yards in 1991 against Penn.

McLeod’s 40 carries were the most since Rich Diana set a Yale record with 46 against Princeton in 1981.

He has rushed for 100 or more yards in four straight games. Four Bulldogs have rushed for 100 or more yards in five straight games: Rashad Bartholomew (2000), Paul Andrie (1982), John Pagliaro (1977) and Dick Jauron (1970).

McLeod has 761 rushing yards this season and nine rushing touchdowns through five games. Diana holds the season record for rushing yards with 1,442 in 1982. Pagliaro hold the season record for rushing touchdowns with 16.

Pagliaro is expected to be at the game next week. He will be in the area for a scholarship dinner in honor of the late Lou DeFilippo, his high school coach at Derby.

Pagliaro’s son John is a senior at Gilman High in Baltimore. Yale, Harvard and Duke are among those recruiting him.


‰ Freshman Jordan Farrell blocked a Lehigh punt in the second quarter.

‰ Yale failed to score first for the first time since the season-opening loss against San Diego. Yale led for a stretch of 191 minutes, 15 seconds.

‰ Henley, who played before his entire family for the first time, had five catches on third downs.

‰ Lehigh had won five straight against Yale.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Impressive numbers

Quite a run

Mike McLeod has had an impressive run the past four games. A closer look:


Cornell 26-104-2
Lafayette 30-172-3
Dartmouth 33-198-2
Lehigh 40-204-2
Totals: 139-678-9


Cornell 1-41
Lafayette 0-0
Dartmouth 1-25
Lehigh 3-51
Total: 5-117

Big plays

McLeod has 24 plays of 10 or more yards in his last four games (catches in parentheses)

Cornell 11, 10, 14, (41)
Lafayette 14, 10, 17, 17, 45
Dartmouth 21, 16, 17, 15, 20, 11 (25)
Lehigh 11, 20, 33, 19, 17, 11, 12, (41)

Friday, October 13, 2006

Charges dismissed

All charges have been dismissed in the altercation involving running back Mike McLeod, quarterback Matt Polhemus and hockey players Brad Mills, Alec Richards and Matt Nelson.

Under Connecticut law, because charges were dismissed, each will be able to swear under oath that they have not been arrested in the past.

Possible recruit

From St. Louis Dispatch ....

CBC's Wolff gets Ivy looksCBC senior Clay Wolff has drawn attention from Ivy League schools Columbia, Yale and Dartmouth, as well as Ball State.Wolff played running back as a sophomore and junior for the Cadets but has switched to wide receiver this fall. He also plays cornerback or safety.Wolff entered his senior season with 2,054 career rushing yards and 23 touchdowns. This fall, he has 27 receptions for 741 yards (27.4 avg.), has 54 yards rushing and has scored 11 touchdowns. He has made 42 tackles and four interceptions.CBC is 5-1 and has clinched a share of the Metro Catholic Conference title.

Abare article

Nice article on Bobby and Larry Abare in the Lowell Sun today.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Lehigh-Georgetown game story

Link to Call story.

Notes from Saturday

Yale’s kickoff coverage team continued its exceptional play Saturday at Dartmouth, holding the Big Green to 73 yard on six returns in a 26-14 Ivy League win.

“We covered kicks as well as we’ve ever covered them,” Yale coach Jack Siedlecki said.

Sophomore twins Larry and Bobby Abare combined for 15 tackles overall, three on kick coverage. Bobby Abare showed his athletic ability on the second-half kickoff, chasing returner Phil Galligan across the field for a tackle. Andrew Liyana and Brady Hart each had two stops on kick coverage.


Chandler Henley, on making eight catches for 94 yards a week after Ashley Wright made five catches for 154 yards.

“Mike makes so many plays, there’s only so many left over. Ashley made them last week, and I made some this week.”


‰Yale has won three straight for the first time since opening the 2003 season 4-0.

‰Linemen Tom Woznicki and Darius Dale sprung Mike McLeod open for a 25-yard gain on a screen pass in the fourth quarter.

‰Sophomore safety Steve Santoro, who had interceptions in his past two games, forced a fumble in the first quarter.

‰Yale was impressed with Dartmouth’s new field, a newer version of FieldTurf.

“We’ve seen them all,” Siedlecki said. “Princeton last year, Cornell and Lafayette this year. The kids really like this one. They thought this was a faster surface.” ‰

Freshman punter Tom Mante didn’t have one until the fourth quarter, but he made it count, booming a career-high 51-yarder, which was downed at the 4-yard line.

‰Senior left offensive guard Brett Crandall missed the second half with back spasms.

‰This was the first time Yale swept road games at Cornell and Dartmouth since the league changed the scheduling format in 2000.

McLeod honors continue

Mike McLeod was named Ivy League player of the week for the second straigh time, becoming the first Bulldog to ever to do so.

He also shared ECAC player of the week honors with New Britain buddy and Central Connecticut tailback Justise Hairston.

I hate leaf peekers

Hanover is a gorgeous place to watch a football game, a must if you enjoy a good college football atmosphere, but book ahead.

There wasn't a hotel room available from Hanover to Hadley, Mass.

All I got from hotel clerks was dirty looks and told there wasn't a hotel room avaible for 90 miles in any direction.

Dartmouth isn't a bad trip, but a little tougher when you've worked until 2 a.m. the Friday before.

Monday, October 02, 2006

As expected ... and deserved ...

McLeod player of the week for Ivy League.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Other stories

McLeod should be Ivy Player of Week

Sophomore Mike McLeod seems to be a lock for Ivy League offensive player of the week after 30 carry, 172-yard performance with three touchdowns Saturday in win over Lafayette.

Senior WR Ashley Wright had the second best day with 151 yards receiving.

Looking around the league, only Cornell's Luke Siwula has any type of argument after rushing for 162 yards on 32 carries in win over Albany.