Keys to the game: Yale vs. Princeton

WIN BATTLES AT THE LINE

Last week the Bulldogs struggled at the line of scrimmage. The Bears ran circles around the Yale defense as Brown running back Mark Kachmer rushed 19 times for 192 yards and two touchdowns.

On the other side of the ball, the Elis did not fare well either. After consecutive 200-yard rushing performances against Penn and Columbia, the Bulldogs only managed 10 yards of rushing against Brown.

Yale’s strength this season has been running the ball well and using the run to set up play-action calls. A lackluster running game made the play-action ineffective and stalled the Bulldogs’ offense through the first three quarters.

Brown experienced the opposite effect. With the Bears running the ball exceptionally well, the Bulldogs had no choice but to play the run. This opened up the field for Brown quarterback Kyle Newhall-Caballero who passed for 224 yards and three touchdowns.

The offensive and the defensive lines were both outshined by strong units from Brown last weekend. If the Bulldogs want to rebound against Princeton this week, they will need to get tough in the trenches.

GET THE PASSING GAME BACK ON TRACK

The final passing stats for Patrick Witt ’12 against Brown painted two different pictures. On one hand, his 370 yards and two touchdowns imply a performance in which he marched up and down the field at will. On the other hand, his three interceptions suggest that last Saturday was a tough day for the Yale quarterback.

On the field, neither description was entirely accurate.

Completing 34 of 46 passes, Witt looked sharp throughout most of the day. But when it mattered most, Witt had a few lapses that cost the Elis. With the Bulldogs down 27–14 and attempting to make a comeback, Witt threw interceptions on consecutive drives, halting the team’s momentum.

The passing game goes beyond Witt’s mistakes. For example, because of Yale’s poor running game, Brown was able to sit on pass plays and put Witt in a vulnerable position. In order to beat Princeton this week, the entire Yale offense will have to step up its game and be more efficient through the air.

LOAD THE LINE

There is not much that Princeton does well as a team. But one place it has excelled this season is on the ground, averaging 187.5 yards per game.

The Bulldogs have kept good running teams at bay before. Earlier this season, they held Dartmouth’s star running back Nick Schwieger to only 39 yards on the ground.

If the Elis want to replicate this success against the powerful Princeton running game, they should stack the line with defenders and force the Tigers to rely on the passing game. By accomplishing this, Yale can expect the Princeton offense to make mistakes — the Tigers have already thrown 11 picks this year, second in the Ivy League.

Yale and Princeton share one of the most storied football rivalries in history. Through 133 meetings, the Bulldogs lead 73–50–10 and have won seven of the last nine games.

Kickoff is at 12 noon Saturday in Princeton, N.J.

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