Saturday, November 06, 2010

Yale wins thriller in Providence

I just realized that I tweeted up a storm about Yale's 27-24 win over Brown but neglected my blog. Of course not having working internet in either the media room or press box at Brown Stadium following the game added to the delay.

It was quite an interesting affair with the headliner having to be sophomore Chris Smith and his two kickoff returns for touchdowns. He fell one yard short of the Yale single-game record for kickoff return yards in a game. David Knox had 179 yards against Penn in 2002. Just a hunch that he may be Ivy League Special Teams Player of the Week.

Yale sophomore kicker Philippe Panico kicked two 36-yard field goals including the game winner with 9:30 to play and was 3 for 3 on extra points. He also handled the kickoffs exclusively for the first time this season.

Yale forced Brown to punt twice after retaking the lead. The play by Jordan Haynes (who ought to be in the equation for Ivy League Player of the Year) and Chris Dooley, who made his first career start, in stuff Brown's Zach Tronti on a 3rd and 1 at the Brown 16 was the defensive play of the game. Tronti is not an easy guy to bring down and throwing him for a 1-yard loss in that situation was a spectacular play.

"We had a few third downs throughout the day, it is something we drill during practice 3rd and 1, 3rd and 2," sauid Haynes, who led the Bulldogs with seven tackles. "It just seems like everything is coming together right now, it is a good feeling."

Following Brown's final punt, Yale took the ball and literally ran out the clock as Alex Thomas picked up 24 of his 121 yards on the first five carries of Yale's final drive.

"That whole fourth quarter we were moving the ball on the ground," Thomas said. "We knew there were four minutes on the clock and it was a matter of running it down. We practice the 4-minute drill, keep getting first downs. The O-line was doing their jobs. You can't say enough about how well they were blocking. Shane Bannon was doing his job. We ran like 10 powers in a row and we kept going full speed."

Those were the positive aspects of the game for Yale.

Now for the other side. Patrick Witt struggled more than his pedestrian (18 for 38 for 129 yards) line would indicate. He was short on a bunch of throws, none more glaring than when he missed a wide open Chris Blohm inside the 5 yard line on the drive in which Panico booted the second of his 36-yard field goals.

Yale's pass defense in the second quarter was downright horrible as Joe Springer threw for 207 yards in the quarter after missing on his only pass attempt in the first quarter.

The result of Saturday's games means that Yale has to beat Princeton while rooting for (gasp) Harvard to beat Penn setting up Yale for a chance to gain a share of the Ivy League title by ending the season with wins over Princeton and Harvard.

Yale's JV team will host Army JV tomorrow at noon at Clint Frank Field (next to Yale Field).

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