September 11th prevented their last meeting, scheduled for September 15, 2001, but barring an unpredicted interruption courtesy of Hurricane Isabel, the Yale football team (0-0) should face Towson University (2-1) for the first time ever on Saturday.
Last year’s opener against San Diego was a 49-14 blowout highlighted by a record-setting six-touchdown performance by Alvin Cowan ’04. Cowan will again be behind center at the Yale Bowl, but don’t expect another laugher.
Towson has a trio of offensive weapons in wide receiver Jason Galloway, running back Mikal Lundy and quarterback Jason Amer. Lundy is averaging just under 100 yards per game, Galloway over 70 yards receiving per contest and Amer has yet to throw an interception while completing almost 60 percent of his passes.
Though head coach Jack Siedlecki acknowledged the talent of Lundy, he pointed out what could be an Achilles heel — his propensity for fumbling.
“We need to force a couple [fumbles],” Siedlecki said.
While stopping the run — especially on first down, according to Siedlecki — is certainly important for the relatively inexperienced Bulldog defensive line, the majority of the Tiger offense this season has come from the air.
“Towson’s biggest offensive weapon isÊmost likely theirÊreceiver, Jason Galloway,” defensive back Jonas Rodriguez ’04 said. “He seems to be a guy that their quarterback looks to throw to more often than not. He leads their team in receptions right now, and their coaching staff wants to get the ball to him. Galloway possesses the speed to make a big play.”
Siedlecki said that though Galloway is too talented to be completely shut out of the game, the Elis will use a mix of coverage against him and keep Galloway in front of them to prevent big plays.
Once Yale has possession, they will face a 4-4 front from Towson who, like Yale, boasts a number of excellent returning linebackers.
“It looks like their best player, from film, is one of their outside linebackers, number 24 [P.D. Moore],” Eli center Will Conroy ’04 said.
Moore, who was first-team all-league last season, is joined by Neal Regan. Regan led the Tigers in tackles en route to earning a spot on the second-team all-league. Thus far this season, however, it has been the third of the returning linebacker starters, Steve Hessler, who has been the leading performer. Hessler leads the team both in tackles and interceptions.
“[Hessler]’s not the feature guy,” Conroy said. “He’s someone that I have to block more or less every play, but he’s not the best player on their defense. Through three games he’s definitely been making plays.”
Defensive end and co-captain Steven Nance is also a concern for the Elis.
“[Nance] looks like a good football player,” Conroy said. “He’s really fast. We’re preparing for [Nance] to really bring it off the corner.”
Conroy said that though every team has some blitzing packages, the Bulldogs do not expect to see much of that from Towson.
In the secondary, Towson starts two experienced cornerbacks — Davon Telp and Jarius Johnson — whom Yale wide receiver P.J. Collins ’04 described as athletic.
“Towson’s DBs will get in your face and play bump-and-run coverage,” Collins said. “[That] is something we don’t see a lot in the Ivy League, so we’ve had to prepare for [it].ÊEven when they play some zone, they’ll get up in the press position and hit you at the line.”