Saturday afternoon may just have been the beginning of a new era of Yale football.
The football team did something in its opener that many undergrads have not seen in their time in New Haven — it threw the pigskin all over the field and threw it well.
The two-headed monster of Ryan Fodor ’09 and Brook Hart ’11 at quarterback led the Bulldogs (1-0, 0-0 Ivy) to a 47-7 rout of Georgetown (1-2) in their season opener Saturday.
The performances were impressive — so much so that head coach Jack Siedlecki confirmed in an e-mail that he would not be changing his two-quarterback scheme for this coming weekend at Cornell (1-0, 0-0 Ivy).
Both signal callers put up astounding numbers playing about half the game in the first extensive action either player has seen. Fodor got the start and went 10-15 for 185 yards and a touchdown and rushed four times for 17 yards. Hart completed 14 of 18 passes for 176 yards and three touchdowns. The duo combined to go 24-33 for 361 yards and four scores.
How long the two-quarterback system will go on for is unknown, but other teams have succeeding using it, including 2007 BCS champion Florida and 2008 BCS champion LSU. Both of those teams used quarterbacks with contrasting styles, one to scramble and the other to run a more traditional passing offense.
That contrast does not exist between Fodor and Hart. Playing similar styles, the two will be compared until a final decision is made, if such a decision is made — something Hart acknowledged.
“I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel any extra pressure, especially after the way [Fodor] went out and performed right off the bat,” he said. “But all that went away after I was in the game and settled down into it a bit.”
But with Hart and Fodor ranked Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, in the nation in pass efficiency, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
In the opener, neither wasted any time getting going. On Yale’s first play from scrimmage, Fodor hit a wide-open Jordan Forney ’10 down the sideline for a 61-yard gain before being pushed out at the Georgetown 24-yard line. Two plays later, he completed a 21-yard pass to Forney in the end zone to begin the onslaught.
Hart’s first play was a strike to a once-again-uncovered Forney down the sideline. The sophomore receiver scampered for a 41-yard gain down to the Hoya 13-yard line.
“It was a great feeling,” Hart said. “Every QB wants to go in and get that first completion out of the way as soon as possible in every game. It really helps loosen you up, so it felt awesome.”
But how much can the success be attributed to the fact that Georgetown’s less-than stellar defense concentrated on stopping the Eli run game without much thought given to defending the pass?
The Bulldogs came into the opener unsure of how their quarterbacks would fare in their first extensive action, while Georgetown’s focus was on one of the nation’s most potent rushing attacks. That focus held Mike McLeod ’09 to just 78 yards on 22 carries and the team to 137 total rushing yards on 39 carries — well below what is expected from this Bulldog squad.
With a week to watch film on the Hoya game, Cornell will be much more prepared for the new and improved Bulldog passing game.
Siedlecki knows his team is still a run-first squad and is simply hoping the passing game can keep the defense off balance.
“We are an offense that tries to take what defenses are giving,” the 10th-year coach said. “As long as we execute the entire offense, it will make us harder to defend. If we become one-dimensional, the defenses can hone in on that.”
Fodor believes the success of the passing attack will make life for McLeod and company easier.
“Cornell will have to be much more conscious of our passing attack after watching the Georgetown film, and it should get some defenders out of the box and make it a little easier for us to run the ball,” the senior said.