FOOTBALL | Keys to the game

HANDLE THE HAND-OFF

Before last week, nobody on the football team expected that running back Tyler Varga ’15 would have to hand the ball off to fellow back Mordecai Cargill ’13, so a few mishaps in the transfer were bound to happen. The lack of familiarity on the hand-offs last week directly caused one fumble and routinely slowed down Cargill on his carries. Although the duo was still able to combine for 258 rushing yards at Columbia on Saturday, the Elis will face a stingier defense in Providence. The Bears’ defense ranks second in the Ivy League against the run and has allowed only 97.4 yards per game. Since none of Yale’s true quarterbacks have been cleared to play, Varga and his running backs must make smooth transfers in order to run successfully against Brown tomorrow.

PLAY FROM AHEAD

Last week showed that the Elis can still score without a true quarterback, but it also revealed Yale’s limitations. Most importantly, Yale cannot fall behind in a game and expect to win. Although the run game is effective in driving the ball and using the clock, rarely can a team focused almost singularly on rushing score bunches of points in a short period of time. The inability to move the ball through the air was crucial last week when Columbia scored with 45 seconds left in the game to take a 26-22 lead. Using a fifth-string quarterback who just last week was playing wide receiver, Henry Furman ’14, Yale was unable to drive quickly down the field to win the game. It was not Furman’s fault that he could not orchestrate a last-minute drive — few quarterbacks can — but it did highlight Yale’s greatest weakness until Eric Williams ’16 or Derek Russell ’13 can return to the field under center.

PLAY IT SAFE

Brown is currently the co-leader in the Ivy League with 13 takeaways. Yale paces the Ancient Eight with 20 turnovers. These two statistics could spell disaster for the Bulldogs if they do not hang onto the ball. Without a true quarterback, the Elis should pass only enough to prevent the Bears from loading up the box against the run. Last week at Columbia, Yale dropped back to pass just 13 times and that was just enough to keep the Lions guessing. It would have been even less had Columbia not taken the lead with less than a minute left in the game. Asking a running back or wide receiver to read defenses and make quick decisions with the football throughout the game would invariably lead to costly interceptions.

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