1. STOP THE RUN.
This will be key for Yale: Stop the running game and force them to pass. In the first two games this year, Georgetown had possession times of 20:23 (-19) minutes against Holy Cross and 22:19 (-15) minutes against Lafayette. This suggests that the Hoyas have trouble running the ball. In those games they only ran for 38 and 19 yards, respectively. By halting the Hoyas’ running game, Yale may force Georgetown to rely on their passing, which has been unreliable. The Hoyas have been completing about 50 percent of their passes, resulting in only 131 yards in the first game and 194 in the second. Additionally, Georgetown’s third down conversion was two out of 16 in game one and four out of 15 in game two. If Yale can stop the run and force them to pass, the Elis can key in on receivers and force turnovers and sacks. In order to stop the run, Yale may have to contain former Patriot League rookie of the year running back Charlie Houghton. So far this year, he has only rushed for 54 yards, averaging 3.2 per carry, which is mediocre even for a player coming off a year riddled with injuries. Houghton has proved that, if left unchecked, he can be a strong force on the field.
2. TURNOVERS, TURNOVERS, TURNOVERS.
Turnovers ruin good teams and bail out bad teams. This can be seen in the results from Georgetown’s first two games. Despite being dominated by Holy Cross in all other categories, Georgetown forced four turnovers (two fumbles, two interceptions) and only committed one, thus resulting in a +3 turnover aggregate. It was these turnovers that allowed Georgetown to lead the game until the fourth quarter, losing on two late drives by Holy Cross. In contrast, Georgetown had higher total offensive yards against Lafayette but was blown away 28-3 due to a -3 turnover aggregate. If Yale beats Georgetown in the turnover category, the Bulldogs will win the game.
3. EARLY BIRD CATCHES THE WORM.
Yale scored the first touchdown in every one of its winning games last season. This statistic speaks for itself: If the Bulldogs get an early lead Saturday, they will come away with a “W.” In this game it is particularly important to score first: It will force Georgetown to pass, thereby stopping the run and increasing turnovers (see points one and two). Yale cannot let the Hoyas come out strong like they did against Holy Cross two weeks ago. The history of sports shows that underdogs frequently win. If the Hoyas are allowed to develop a lead, the accompanying momentum and energy could lift them to victory.
4. FRESH FACES STEP UP.
Quarterback Patrick Witt ’12, perhaps the Bulldogs’ most promising transfer in over a decade, makes his debut Saturday. Head coach Tom Williams praised Nebraska’s former backup quarterback for his consistency in the preseason; this will be his first actual test and could foreshadow the Bulldogs’ chances at an Ivy League title. The starting lineup for Saturday’s game will contain a handful of other new faces. There is only one returning starter on the offensive line, Cory Palmer ’10, and altogether, five former starters have been moved down the depth chart. Veteran players returning from injuries, such as running back Jordan Farrell ’10, are looking to make an impact.