Yale and Penn always make a little Ivy League football history when they face each other, but this evening’s contest at the Yale Bowl will mark an extra special occasion.
The game will be the first Ivy League contest to be held under the lights at the Yale Bowl.
Yale (1-4, 1-1 Ivy League) is coming off a tough 44-37 road loss to the Fordham Rams, while the Quakers (3-2, 2-0) enter the Yale Bowl with some positive vibes after dismantling Columbia, 35-10.
The Bulldogs 37 points against Fordham marked their best offensive output of the season, as they outplayed the Rams in nearly every statistical category, except the final score.
Dale Harris had a monster game for the Elis go for naught as he scored four touchdowns along with a two-point conversion. Harris carried the offensive load as running backs Deshawn Salter and Alan Lamar did not see action in the game.
However, it was a pair of second-half turnovers (pick six and fumble) that doomed the Elis.
On the other side, the Penn Quakers are riding high after thumping Columbia 35-10 on Oct. 15 at Franklin Field.
The Quakers junior running back Tre Solomon rushed for 127 yards and one touchdown. Solomon’s 127 rushing yards was a career-high and it also earned him his first career Ivy League Offensive Player of the Week Award. Penn quarterback Alex Torgersen had a field day with the Columbia secondary as he was 25-for-35 for 350 yards and four touchdowns.
The meeting is an important Ivy League game for both teams, as the winner will keep their hopes alive in the chase for the 2016 Ivy League football championship. The Bulldogs are considered to be the underdogs in the contest and for good reason – at least on paper.
Penn has the Ivy League’s top-ranked offense led by Solomon and senior quarterback Torgerson.
Solomon has shredded enemy defenses for 498 yards in five games, while averaging 5.6 yards per carry. Torgerson is one of the league’s top dual-threats, passing for 992 yards and rushing for another 211.
The Bulldogs defense surrendered 44 points last week and they will need to do much better if they expect to compete with the Quakers. But according to Yale coach Tony Reno he feels that his squad has been improving and gaining confidence each week.
So, riding the extra incentive of the first night game in the Yale Bowl, along with the improved play of late and a bit of Penn overconfidence, the Bulldogs just might be ready to pull off the first major upset of the Ivy League season.
Yale leads the series against the Quakers 46-36-1. In recent times Penn has dominated winning 18 of the last 24. The Elis won the first meeting in 1879 in New Haven.
The game (7 p.m. kickoff) will air on the Yale Football Radio Network (ESPN Radio AM-1300 in New Haven) with Ron Vaccaro and Carm Cozza on the call. The game can be seen live on the NBC Sports Network and the Ivy League Digital Network.
It will also be Yale Employee Day as well as Walter Camp Football Foundation “Night at the Bowl.”
It’s the Ivy League and the first game under the lights at the Yale Bowl – expect the unexpected!
FINAL: Yale 37 Penn 34
Junior defensive back Jason Alessi is the only player in school history to return two punts for touchdowns at 80 yards or more. Alessi had an 80-yarder against Columbia last year and then an 82-yard return against on Oct. 1.
Senior defensive back Foyesade Oluokun continued his solid play in last week’s loss to Fordham with a game high nine tackles.
Penn and Princeton have joined Harvard at the top of the Ivy League standings with 2-0 records.
There will be a shakeup at the top when Princeton hosts Harvard on Saturday.
On Oct. 28 (7 p.m.), Yale and Columbia will get after it under the lights in New York City. Yale will travel to Cambridge to play Harvard in THE GAME on Nov. 19.
The 40th reunion of Yale’s 1976 Ivy League Championship squad will be held on Nov. 12 when Yale hosts Princeton. Harvard (4-0, 2-0 Ivy League) took over sole possession of first-place in the Ivy League standings with a 29-13 win over previously undefeated Cornell (3-1, 1-1 Ivy League).
Follow Bob for all the Yale football game highlights, features and more: @WhitneyBob
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