It’s crunch time as Yale begins Ivy League stretch run with Penn
The non-conference schedule is in the books and it is all about head-to-head competition in the chase for the 2017 Ivy League football championship.
Coach Tony Reno’s Yale Bulldogs 4-1 (1-1 Ivy) bid to remain in the chase starts tomorrow with an important showdown against Penn 2-3 (0-2) at historic Franklin Field in Philadelphia.
Yale may have some revenge as extra incentive going into the contest. Last year, the unbeaten Quakers embarrassed the Bulldogs in the first night game held at the Yale Bowl, 42-7.
This year the teams enter the contest from different directions.
The Bulldogs are coming off a very efficient 32-0 shutout (first since 2011) over Holy Cross while Penn suffered another disappointing loss to surprising Columbia, in overtime.
The Yale defense was the story in last week’s win at the Yale Bowl which limited Holy Cross quarterback and highly-regarded NFL prospect, Peter Pujals, to 89 passing yards. Yale linebacker Matthew Oplinger led the defense with three sacks and a safety.
Penn has two explosive offensive performers in running back Karekin Brooks and wide receiver Justin Watson. Defensively, Quaker linebacker Nick Miller leads the Ivy League with 11.2 tackles per game.
Yale leads the series against the Quakers, 46-37-1.
The game will air (1:00 p.m.) on the Yale Football Radio Network (ESPN Radio AM-1300 in New Haven). The game can be seen on the ILN. Ron Vaccaro and Carm Cozza have the call on radio.
The Bulldogs will get their revenge and remain in the Ivy title hunt.
FINAL: Yale 28, Penn 18
Next week: Columbia invades the Yale Bowl for a 1 pm kickoff (SNY/ Ivy League Network).
BULLDOG BITES and MORE
The Ivy League finished the non-conference slate with an 18-6 record in 2017 which is the best mark since 1994.
There are a few other Ivy League matchups to watch this weekend, all critical to the teams who expect to remain in the hunt for a title.
Princeton 4-1 (1-1) visits Harvard 3-2 (1-1) this evening, while former Penn head coach Al Bagnoli leads surprising Columbia 5-0 (2-0) at Dartmouth 5-0 (2-0). Bagnoli’s Lions were picked to finish seventh in the preseason polls. Cornell, with only one loss in the Ivy, will host Brown.
Yale’s freshman running back, Zane Dudek, has eight TDs which is a freshman school record.
Yale’s dynamic running back combo of Deshawn Salter and Dudek have accounted for 14 of Yale’s 16 rushing TDs this season.
Double G Sports area product and Yale linebacker, Matthew Oplinger (Summit, NJ), leads the team with seven sacks.
Princeton’s Charlie Volker’s 96-yard touchdown run from scrimmage last week at Brown broke a 65-year record for the longest rushing score in Tiger history; the previous record was a 93-yard touchdown by Homer Smith, set against Yale on Nov. 15, 1952.
Friday night’s Ivy clash between Harvard and Princeton will be the first Ivy League road night contest ever for Princeton.
Dartmouth’s upcoming matchup with Brown on Friday, Nov. 10, will be held in historic Fenway Park.
The Ivy League published results of their experimental kickoff rule, which has produced tangible results, including a significant drop in injuries and concussions throughout the 2016 season. After averaging six concussions per year during the Ivy League conference slate the previous three seasons, athletes suffered zero concussions on kickoff plays in 2016.
Looking way ahead to a game that may have Ivy League title implications, Yale will host Harvard in THE GAME on Nov. 18.
Follow Bob for all the Yale football game highlights, features and more: @WhitneyBob
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