Today’s football match-up between Yale and Penn was just as advertised.
Coming into the contest, the teams boasted the Ivy League’s top two defenses, but it was the Quaker unit that was the better of the two.
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Fittingly, Penn (4-2, 3-0 Ivy) went into the Yale Bowl this afternoon and narrowly defeated the Bulldogs (3-3, 1-2), 9-7, in an ugly defensive showdown.
Things were going Yale’s way early on when the defense came through yet again with another huge turnover. For the third consecutive week, cornerback Paul Rice ’10 hauled in an interception. This time around, Rice returned the ball down to the Penn 17-yard line. Two plays later, h-back John Sheffield ’10 scored from 7 yards out on a screen pass.
But besides that, Yale couldn’t do anything effectively offensively. With constant pressure from the Quaker defense, the Bulldogs managed just 92 yards of total offense and didn’t record a first down until their eighth drive.
Brook Hart ’11 got the start at quarterback after the usual starter Ryan Fodor ’09 was ruled out due to a shoulder injury he sustained in practice early in the week. Hart was 13 of 22 for 77 yards and an interception. The southpaw was under pressure consistently and was sacked four times.
The run game was nonexistent yet again for the Bulldogs; Mike McLeod ’09 finished with just 28 yards on 18 carries.
Head coach Jack Siedlecki took the blame for the unit’s poor showing.
“As I said to the players, this one’s on me,” a visibly dejected Siedlecki said. “I had no answers offensively and we’ve got to get it squared away. We did not give our players a chance. We were absolutely ineffective with what we were doing.”
The lack of any fluidity on offense, allowed Penn to slowly take control of the game. Down 7-0 at the half, the Quakers converted three field goals on three consecutive drives — the last of which came with 4:35 remaining — to build what to proved to be an insurmountable 9-7 lead.
The Yale defense fought hard, allowing just 186 Quaker yards and repeatedly keeping Penn out of the end zone. But they couldn’t do much more. The Penn offense constantly began drives with solid field position and as the game went on the Bulldog defense simply appeared tired.
Similar to last week, the Bulldogs saw the opposition’s offense on the field substantially longer on the field than theirs. This time, the difference was almost seven minutes.
As a result of the loss, Yale’s chances at the Ivy League title are now slim to none. With Penn and Brown (4-2, 3-0) two games ahead, the Bulldogs will need to win out and get plenty of help, too, to capture the title.