RUNNING GAMES NEEDS TO IMPROVE
The Yale running game has not been effective over the last three weeks, averaging 1.9 yards per carry (206 yards on 109 attempts). Meanwhile, the Elis’ three opponents — Lehigh, Penn and Columbia — have rushed for 549 yards on 119 carries, an average of 4.6 yards per rush. Against a talented team such as Brown that has scored 178 points this season (53 more than Yale), Yale needs to control the game by keeping possession and running the ball effectively. Jordan Farrell ’10 and Mordecai Cargill ’13 lead the Elis in rushing — one of them, along with the offensive line, needs to step up for the Elis. That would also help open up the Bulldogs’ passing game. The Bears are a strong passing team behind Kyle Newhall-Caballero, who has thrown for 1,981 yards but also runs the ball well — rushing for 108 yards to date. Zachary Tronti leads Brown in rushing with 536 yards.
SCORE EARLY AND OFTEN
Getting out to an early lead was a “key to the game” last week. For the third week in a row, the Elis had a slow start in last Saturday’s game, scoring only three points in the first half — their only first-half points in three games. Luckily, the explosive fourth quarter turned the game around and the Bulldogs came back to beat Columbia. But the Bears aren’t the Lions. The Bears are currently tied with Yale for third in the Ivy League, and a comeback like last week’s would be difficult for the Bulldogs to achieve this weekend. The winner of this game will stand in third place outright and in a position to catch either Harvard or Penn for second. The Bears only lost to first-place Harvard by three points and second-place Penn in overtime, suggesting that they are among the Ivy League’s best. Playing at the Yale Bowl for the first time in four weeks, the Bulldogs need to avoid coming out flat on Saturday.
MORE BIG PLAYS THAN BROWN
If you look at Yale’s wins and losses so far this season, many of the games have been decided by a single big play. Last week, three turnovers on the last three Columbia possessions made all the difference for the Bulldogs. The Elis lost to both Cornell and Penn partially because of touchdowns on long passes or turnovers. Bears defensive end James Develin is a big play defender, having come up with critical sacks and interceptions multiple times throughout the season. In fact, the Bears had four interceptions against Penn last week despite losing the game. Given the explosive nature of Brown’s passing game, with Newhall-Caballero’s favorite target being wide receiver Buddy Farnham (52 catches, 744 yards, 6 touchdowns this season), it should be expected for the Bears to make some big plays. It will be important for the Elis to continue their performance from last week and create timely turnovers, make all field goal attempts, and convert on third and long.
Last year, the Bulldogs defeated Brown 13–3 in a defensive struggle. Heading into the fourth quarter, the score was 6–3 Yale, behind two Tom Mante ’10 field goals. Late in the fourth quarter, quarterback Brook Hart ’11 connected with receiver Peter Balsam ’11 for a 78-yard scoring touchdown that essentially put the game out of reach. The defeat was Brown’s first in the Ivy League and ultimately cost them the outright Ivy League title.