FOOTBALL: Yale falls to Princeton

Yale had one last chance to stay alive in the race for the Ivy title, but that flickering home was put out this afternoon.

The Princeton Tigers (8–1, 6–0 Ivy) mauled the Bulldogs (5–4, 3–3 Ivy) 59–23, dominating them on both sides of the ball and making Yale pay for its mistakes. Despite a quick start in the first half, the Elis quickly lost control and fell farther and farther behind as the game went on.

The Bulldogs started the scoring on a two play,59-yard scoring drive that lasted just 39 seconds. Near midfield, quarterback Logan Scott ’16  faced pressure in the pocket and rolled to the left side. As he faced a blitzing defense, he dumped the ball forward to running back Candler Rich ’17 who then ran the ball just under 48 yards and into the end zone to put Yale up 6–0. The Bulldogs then lined up for the two-point conversion, but were unable to convert the opportunity.

It did not take the Tigers long to bounce back.

On the ensuing kickoff, the Tigers ran the ball 31 yards before being tripped up by the Yale defense. Just 5 plays later, a 42-yard touchdown run from running back Dré Nelson put Princeton on the board. The Tigers then put the extra point through the uprights to make it 7–6.

The Tigers struck again just minutes later after forcing Yale to punt. Princeton then went on a six-play scoring drive that ended with a 23-yard lob pass to Connor Kelly in the end zone to put Princeton up 14–6.

Yale came right back, however, when a nine-play, 75-yard scoring drive ended with a quarterback-to-quarterback connection. Making his first career start, Scott hit quarterback-turned-receiver Morgan Roberts ’16 in the back-right corner of the end zone.

After that, the Tigers started to pull away. On the ensuing kickoff, Yale chose to go for the onside kick, but botched the opportunity. In the confusion that surrounded the kickoff, Princeton’s defensive back Chris Smith snatched up the ball and took it 46 yards for a touchdown.

The Tigers struck again in the second quarter of action. After Quinn Epperly looked to the end zone on third down and Yale received a pass interference penalty, Princeton took advantage of the opportunity. The Tigers sent most of their receivers to the end zone while running back Di Andre Atwater found some empty space between the defensive line and Yale’s secondary. Epperly shoveled a pass over to Atwater who then ran into the left corner of the end zone to put Princeton up 28–13.

Yale was able to break their dry spell on a 10-play scoring drive capped by a 39-yard field goal from Kyle Cazzetta ’15. Yale almost got into the end zone again, but Scott’s toss was poked out of the hands of Roberts.

The game remained quiet for the remainder of the half until just seconds remained. Yale’s try at icing the kicker backfired; the Tigers attempted the kick anyways, only to have it blocked by Yale. Despite the valiant block, the timeout gave Princeton another shot at the field goal. This time the kick was good and the Tigers took a 31–16 lead into halftime.

Princeton came out in the second half and did not give the Bulldogs an inch. On the first drive of the quarter, they pushed the Elis back into their own half of the field with a 26–yard completion from Connor Michelsen. The Tigers then continued the assault until Epperly ran the ball to the end zone from the four-yard line and was forced in by his teammates to put the Tigers up 38–16.

After Robert Clemons ’17 returned the kickoff to the Yale 22-yard line and Randall rushed the ball for a quick gain of seven, misfortune struck the Bulldogs. Scott threw a pass over to the right sideline, but it was just out of reach of the Yale receiver, who tipped it. Princeton’s Phil Bhaya then snagged the floating ball out of the air and ran it back for a 34-yard defensive touchdown.

With just under five minutes remaining in regulation, the Tigers clinched the Ivy League single-team scoring record when they scored their seventh touchdown of the game with a 24-yard touchdown pass from Epperly to Roman Wilson. The touchdown took the Tigers past the 400-point mark on the season and gave them a 52–16 lead over the Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs did not quit, however, and responded with a touchdown of their own. Scott attempted a pass, but a defensive lineman blocked it up into the air. Scott then caught the floating ball and ran it forward for a first down. He then completed a seven-yard pass for the Elis final score.

The Tigers went on to score a final touchdown and leave the Bulldogs with a 59–23 loss just one week before The Game. The loss knocks Yale out of the running for the Ivy League title and guarantees Princeton at least a share of the Ivy crown this season.

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