Yale Running Game vs. Colgate Run Defense:
Dartmouth showed last week that Yale’s vaunted running game can be stopped. Rob Carr ’05 managed only 29 yards on the ground, but he is still averaging just under 100 yards per game. The team as a whole is 24th in rushing Div. I-AA with over 200 yards per game.
The Bulldogs will be up against another staunch run defense in Colgate this Saturday. The Red Raiders are allowing less than 100 rushing yards per game — 13th in the nation. Colgate’s movement on the defensive has created problems for opponents, but Yale players said they have prepared against this.
Yale Passing Game vs. Colgate Pass Defense:
Yale proved the strength of its passing attack last. Quarterback Alvin Cowan ’04 is fifth in Div. I-AA in passing efficiency and has spread the ball well amongst his receivers. Ralph Plumb ’05, Ron Benigno ’04, Nate Lawrie ’04, and P.J. Collins ’04 each have over 140 yards receiving this season. But the Red Raiders’ face a tough test against Colgate’s pass defense, which is The Red Raiders are ninth in pass efficiency defense and 24th in passing yardage allowed in Div. I-AA, respectively.
Colgate Running Game vs. Yale Run Defense
The Red Raiders gain an average of 264 yards per game on the ground, and are the ninth best Div. I-AA rushing offense. Tailback Jamaal Branch is just 22 yards short of 1000 for the season. He is the top rusher in Div. I-AA with 163 yards per game and has scored 12 touchdowns this season and averaged 6.4 yards per carry. Red Raider quarterback Chris Brown is also a running threat with 270 yards on the ground this season. Yale’s run defense has done well this season, but it takes a lot more than that to stop a back like Branch. The goal for Yale is containment — holding Branch under 130 yards rushing and Colgate as a whole to less than 220 will be a major victory.
Colgate Passing Game vs. Yale Pass Defense
Unlike their running attack, Colgate’s passing game shouldn’t be a problem for the Elis. Colgate is averaging 178 yards in the air per game. Colgate is last in the Patriot League in passing efficiency, and Brown has thrown six interceptions this year.
Though the Yale pass defense has average numbers, the Bulldogs have done well against big pass teams. The Elis held Holy Cross’ Ari Confessor to 46 yards receiving. At the time, Confessor was second in Div. I-AA in all purpose yards.
Colgate’s punt return is less than stellar while Yale’s P.J. Collins has done a good job as returner. Yale averages almost double Colgate’s 6-yards per return. Kickoff returns are a similar story. Gerald averages 17 yards per return–16 less than Carr, and seven less than Knox.
Colgate is No. 18 in the USA Today/ESPN poll and holds the longest active winning streak in the nation in Div. I-A and I-AA. Their Div. I-AA fifth-ranked scoring defense could hold Yale well below its gaudy 41 point per game average. Likewise, Colgate’s running game is a serious concern. Still, Yale has the edge in this game because it is more versatile. If Yale can shut down the Colgate running game, there isn’t much offense left for the Red Raiders.
Yale 20, Colgate 17
— Alex Hetherington