Saturday, October 29, 2011

Snow, Yale offensive line dominate Columbia

When the Ivy League announces its weekly player of the week, it would be fitting for one or more of Yale's offensive linemen to get the nod. Of course, there would have been a better chance of finding a sun bather at Saturday's Yale/Columbia game.

In a game played in a surprisingly potent storm, Yale made some Ivy League history.

After paving the way for Alex Thomas to run for 204 yards in a loss to Penn, the Yale starting offensive line of Ben Carbery, Gabe Fernandez, John Oppenheimer, Colin Kruger and James Talerico were at it again as Mordecai Cargill ran for 230 yards in the 16-13 win over Columbia.

I went through the record books for the Ivy teams and as far as I can tell, it is the first time an Ivy team had two backs rush for 200 yards in consecutive games. What makes the feat so impressive is that the Bulldogs were playing without both starting tackles as both Wes Gavin and Roy Collins were out with ankle injuries.

"Our O-line has really come together," said Cargill, who surpassed the 1,000-yard mark in career rushing yards late in the game. "It was (unfortunate) that Roy and Wes went down but we have a lot of solidarity up front. Our O-line is starting to mesh and we are looking to build momentum going forward."

I asked Columbia coach Norries Wilson how impressive it is to have two backs run for 200 yards in back to back games and I had to laugh at his response.
"I think Nebraska does it every week," Wilson said. "I think just looking at the stats, they have been intermixing the two backs. I don’t know what’s wrong with 41 (Thomas, who missed the game with a knee injury), we didn ‘t know he wasn’t going to play but (Cargill) made the most of his opportunity and they did a good job blocking for him.

"They are a real good group. They are playing Carbery as a freshman, they have a freshman who played last year (Gavin) who is a really good player. I really like 57 (Roy Collins). I think they have done a good job of playing some athletic kids who can play offensive line. They can reach block on the second step, they do a real good job of protecting their quarterback."
It is NOT the first time Yale had a 200-yard rusher in consecutive games as Robert Carr accomplished the feat in games against Cornell and Holy Cross but it is the first time it was done by different running backs.
A few defensive details thanks to Jordan Haynes since it was extremely difficult to make out many of the plays. On the fumble recovered by Will McHale which led to Panico's field goal, McHale deflected a pass which was caught by a Columbia lineman. Cliff Foreman then jarred the ball free and McHale recovered. Haynes recovered a fumble after a huge submarine tackle. Again, I couldn't make out the player and he said it was Kurt Stottlemyer. Because of the conditions made passing extremely difficult, Yale was able to aggressive blitz its defensive backs on obvious passing situations. Collin Bibb led the way with two tackles for a loss including a sack.
Wilson was asked whether he felt the play before Nick Okano's game-clinching interception should have been called pass interference.
"You have to ask the official on that side, it doesn’t matter what I think," Wilson said.
The Yale players heard that Brown beat Penn 6-0 as the Bulldogs were running the final few seconds off the clock. Now Yale can clinch no worse than a share of the Ivy League title it it wins its final three games. Had Penn won out, Yale would not be able to catch the Quakers in the standings.

The main focus on my game story is on Cargill's monster effort and the fact that Yale did not attempt a pass in the second half. I have a notebook with reaction from Yale players about the winter wonderland they played in as well as Philippe Panico somehow getting a 38-yard field goal through the uprights.
Speaking of the snow, Yale history buff Bob Barton (a former New Haven Register copy editor and regular at Yale games for years) came up with a list of other Yale games of the last 50 years impacted by snow.
Temple 1953 (Yale 32-6) early November, probably 4 inches

Harvard 1955 (Yale 21-7), probably 2-3 inches

Princeton 1967, there were snowflakes but rain, thunder, little of everything, no accumulation

Think there was also a little snow at Princeton in 1985, but nothing serious.
I am thinking that if you said this was the most serious snow during a game in more than half a century, you'd be right.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

There was no pass interference on that play. The TV coverage clearly showed the receiver fell down on his cut without being touched.

9:40 PM 
Anonymous John Walsh said...

Did you ask Gio what he could possibly have been thinking trying to pick up that punt on the 5 yard line with 5 minutes left.

11:39 PM 

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