FOOTBALL | Keys to the game

TAKE RISKS TO SCORE

Princeton enters its 132nd showdown with Yale tied for last in this year’s Ivy League standings. It is Princeton’s last home game of the season, and Yale’s last contest before The Game — and pride will be on the line. Princeton has had difficulty keeping their opponents from scoring, having been outscored 237 to 82 (roughly 30-10 per game) over its eight games this season. The Tigers’ opponents have averaged 191 yards rushing per game, coupled with touchdowns on 67 percent of drives in the red zone. This game is the opportunity for the Elis to have the breakout rushing game that they haven’t had all season, which will ultimately result in consistent scoring throughout the game. Yale put up 38 points against Dartmouth in week four largely owing to aggressiveness. This needs to be the theme against the Tigers: open up the offense, take risks, and play with nothing to lose. Last week, the Bulldogs broke out of their first half scoring slump with 12 points. The Elis should establish the run early and set up play action passes for potential long gains. Yale quarterback Patrick Witt ’12 had a solid game last week with 28 completions for 285 yards against Brown. Additionally, the Bulldogs passing offense has been fairly solid all season. A solid rushing game against a porous Princeton rushing defense will keep the Tigers offense off the field and propel the Elis to a win.

BIG PLAYS

As is true in many football games, making the big plays at critical times leads to victory, as was the case in the Bulldogs’ win at Columbia two weeks ago. While Princeton is at the bottom of the league, they did beat Cornell 17–13 in their last home game off of a 78-yard pass from Tommy Wornham to Trey Peacock in the fourth quarter. On the contrary, remember when the Elis failed to capitalize on a few key the plays, resulting in a 14–12 loss to the same Cornell team. The Tigers have some defensive stalwarts who are having notable seasons, including junior linebacker Steven Cody who is leading the Ivy League with 12.3 tackles per game. He also had a key interception for Princeton in the win over Cornell.

TURNOVERS (AS ALWAYS)

Given that the normally stingy Bulldogs defense struggled against the powerful Brown offense last week, Princeton may have some extra confidence going into tomorrow’s game. On the season, Yale is even in turnover margin while Princeton is minus-four. The difference is due to the Tiger defense only creating nine turnovers (eight interceptions and one fumble), while Yale’s defense has forced 17 (nine interceptions and eight fumbles). Creating turnovers and converting field goals (Tom Mante ’10 and Alex Barnes ’11 are only 6-13 on field goals this season) could be difference makers in this game. A win will keep the Elis on track for a possible winning record and a fourth place finish in the league.

LAST MEETING

Last year, Yale shut out Princeton 14–0 at the Yale Bowl. The rainy game marked the first Bulldog shutout against the Tigers in more than 70 years. Two turnovers resulted in the game’s two scores. Both of these first half touchdowns come off of Brook Hart ’11 passes to Jordan Forney ’11. Yale largely dominated play, evidenced by the Tigers’ 23-minute time of possession and 153 total offensive yards.

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