FOOTBALL: Keys to the Game

DEFENSE WINS GAME

Saturday’s game will feature a showdown between the top two defenses in the Ivy League. Penn ranks second in the Football Championship Subdivision in total defense and tops the Ivy League in total defense, rushing defense, pass defense, sacks and tackles for loss. Similarly, in the FCS, Yale is second only to South Dakota State in scoring defense, with an average of 12.4 points allowed per game. It should be a low-scoring game on Saturday based on the way the two teams have been playing. Yale is coming off a shutout win last weekend against Lehigh and only yielded one touchdown to Dartmouth the week before. The Bulldogs must continue this strong defensive play against Penn — one scoring opportunity could decide who is the victor. Yale cannot afford to let up defensively on Saturday.

NO TURNOVERS

Against a league-leading defensive team, turnovers will be a key concern. Penn’s win against Columbia last week was largely due to the Quaker defense — they forced the Lions to commit seven turnovers, one of which directly resulted in a touchdown. In addition, the Quakers had three sacks and held the Lions to negative 20 rushing yards, ending in a 27-13 victory. In order to stop this from happening on Saturday, the Bulldog offensive line must keep the pass rushers off quarterback Brook Hart ’11 to give him time in the pocket. It will be important for the Bulldogs to keep composed — this is a road game against a team that was predicted to finish second in the Ivy League (two places above Yale). These points, coupled with Saturday’s “Family Day” environment at Franklin Field, will position Yale as the underdog heading into the contest. As long as Yale stays focused and doesn’t make mistakes, they will have a good chance at a win.

CONVERT ON BIG PLAYS

Penn relies more heavily on its rushing game, whereas Yale — unlike in past years — is a passing-heavy team. Penn will predictably run the ball and try to win the field position game. Yale should take advantage of this and convert big plays early in the game. If Yale scores first it will silence the opposing crowd and calm the team’s nerves. Big passing plays will be key on Saturday since the Bulldogs are likely to have even lower than usual rushing success against the strong Quaker rush-defense.

LAST MEETING

The game was a defensive battle that ended in a 9-7 loss for the Bulldogs. Yale started off strong will a touchdown early in the first quarter, after a 25-yard interception run by Paul Rice and 7-yard touchdown run by John Sheffield. The Bulldogs, however, had little success in the rest of the game. They were held to under 20 rushing and 100 total yards. Quaker Andrew Samson kicked three field goals in the second half, giving Penn the two-point win.

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