Yale’s young secondary wasn’t perfect Saturday, but it sure made enough plays to help the Bulldogs defeated Brown 27-24.
The Bulldogs defensive line put plenty of pressure on Brown quarterback Joe DiGiacomo, the Ivy League’s leading passer, and intercepted DiGiacomo four times.
Linebacker Bobby Abare had three of the interceptions. Sophomore Casey Gerald knocked away a ball intended for Brown’s receiver Lonnie Hill in the right side of the end zone with 1:51 left.
Three plays later Brown kicker Steve Morgan missed a 50-yard field goal attempt to the right.
Freshman Paul Rice had Yale’s first interception in the first quarter and also knocked down a pass intended for junior Paul Raymond with just under 7 minutes left in the game. Brown faced third-and-8 from its own 37 and DiGiacommo rolled right and threw to what appeared to be an open Raymond at the Yale 20. But Rice made a good read and knocked the ball away, forcing Brown to punt. Yale then drove for the winning touchdown.
“They did a really good job, and it was important for them to step up because their quarterback was coming in after throwing for almost 350 yards last week,” said junior nose guard Brandt Hollander, who had a sack. “They did a great job of covering.”
Hill had just two catches for 74, both big gainers, one for a 32-yard touchdown, the other for a 42-yard gain. DiGiacomo was 8 for 16 for 134 yards. He was averaging 240.4 yards per game. At one point early, DiGiacomo was 2 for 6 with three interceptions.
“It just wasn’t a good day for him,” Brown coach Phil Estes said. “I could see it early in his eyes.”
Sophomore defensive tackleJoe Hathaway had a sack and Jared Hamilton and Kirk Porter had tackles for losses. Brendan Sponheimer and Larry Abare also combined for a stop behind the line of scrimmage.
Yale coach Jack Siedlecki never considered going for a first down on fourth-and 6 with 8:03 left and the Bulldogs trailing 24-17. Instead he sent in Alan Kimball for a 23-yard field goal.
“The defense was just playing well,” Siedlecki said. “We knew we were going to have to score twice and we needed to take the points. You could go for it, but it’s not a high percentage play. There’s a chance you won’t get the ball back, but you can’t play that way. You need to play with confidence in your team, confidence in your players.”
Brown ran three plays before punting back to Yale.
Yale sophomore Mike McLeod moved into seventh place on Yale’s single-season rushing chart, reaching 1,096 in his eighth game. He also tied Rich Diana (1981), Chris Kouri (1991) and Rashad Bartholomew (2000) for single-season 100-yard rushing games with his seventh.
“The whole offensive line has been great, led by All-American Ed McCarthy,” McLeod said. “But Darius (Dale) has gone down and someone else steps up for him. Brett Crandall wasn’t able to play, and we just get someone else and I still get holes I can run through. (Fullback) Taylor Craig has been great. The wide receivers have thrown blocks to spring me. I owe credit to the whole offense.”
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“We’ve got weapons and we’re just going to keep getting them the ball,” Jack Siedlecki.
-- Senior left guard Brett Crandall did not play. He suffered a concussion against Columbia and was not cleared to play.
-- Sophomore right tackle Darius Dale played for the first time in two weeks. He left the game with 8:26 left, but it was more a pain resistance issue with his past injury.
-- Edward Decker had four interceptions against Dartmouth in 1927 to set the Yale single-game record.
-- Yale punter Tom Mante had six punts, his busiest day this season. He had just 24 all year. Mante averaged 35 yards and put four inside the 20, including one he shanked that rolled an additional 20-plus yards.