Yale Rush vs. Brown
Brown has an average run defense — but average is not good enough against Rob Carr ’05. Carr is leading the league in all-purpose yardage, averaging over 20 yards more than Harvard’s Clifton Dawson and Princeton’s Greg Fields, who are in a battle for second. Carr is also sixth in Div. I-AA in rushing yards per game.
With the Yale offense rediscovering the run last week against Columbia, I expect the Bulldogs will be able to run for something close to 150 yards against the Bears. Quarterback Alvin Cowan ’05 had a season-high 40 yards on the ground against Columbia last weekend, a number close to his average for last season.
Yale Pass vs. Brown
Though Brown leads the Ancient Eight in pass defense, that is largely because teams have opted to pass so rarely against the Bears. Brown’s interception percentage (the number of passes intercepted divided by the number thrown against the defense) is roughly average. The defense also allows an average of 6.44 yards per opponent’s pass attempt. In fact, the Bears defense allows opponents to complete a higher percentage of passes than any other team in the Ivy League.
With NFL prospect Ralph Plumb ’05 trailing Penn’s Dan Castles by only four receptions for the Ivy League lead, it should be easy to establish a consistent passing game against the Bears. Chandler Henley ’06 makes a minimum of one ridiculous catch per game. Henley is second in the league in touchdown receptions and fifth in receiving yards. Cowan tops the league in passing efficiency, and should be well on his way to another year of All-Ivy recognition.
Brown Rush vs. Yale
The Eli defense has been nothing but dependable and clutch all season, but Brown’s Nick Hartigan is a very good runner who on average carries the ball over 30 times a game. He will almost certainly rush for 100 yards.
If Yale can keep Hartigan’s rushing average low (he is not among the top six ball-carriers in the Ancient Eight in yards per carry), the Elis should be in good shape. Particularly important, however, is to stop Hartigan on the goal line — he is second in the league with 10 touchdowns.
Brown Pass vs. Yale
Brown has passed for the fourth most yards in the Ivy League, while Yale has allowed more passing yardage than any Ivy team with the exception of Dartmouth. But these numbers are unfair. Brown is fifth in passing efficiency, while the Elis are fifth in pass defense efficiency.
It still seems like Brown might have a slight edge, but I just can’t give the edge to a team that is having trouble choosing a starting quarterback. Joe DiGiacomo started the first five games of the season, but Anthony Vita will be the starter unless he is unable to play due to a bruised forearm suffered last weekend against Penn. Vita provides more of a threat to run for the Bears.
Yale must be sure not to let wide receiver Jarrett Schreck get free for a big play. Schreck is tops in the Ancient Eight for yards per catch and is second in receiving yardage. I don’t think the Bulldog defense will have difficulty limiting Schreck because the weakness of Yale’s coverage unit is big receivers; Schreck is only 5-foot-9. The Eli defensive backs are great at man-to-man coverage when not completely outsized by their opponents.
Brown and Yale are both right in the middle of the pack in terms of scoring offense and scoring defense. If Yale’s offense can pick up where it left off in the first half against Columbia — NOT the second half — Yale will win. Yale must win the turnover battle, however, as this might be Brown’s weakness and is one of Yale’s strengths.
Yale 20, Brown 17
Yale Rush vs. Brown