Yale’s matchup against Colgate (4–2, 2–0 Patriot) will be a tough test for the Bulldogs (3–1, 1–1 Ivy). Although the Raiders are a non-league opponent, a win would be valuable for getting Yale back on its feet after its loss to Dartmouth last week. If the Elis can rally back from their loss to Dartmouth,After last week’s seven-point loss to Dartmouth, the similarity between the openings of this season and the last for the Bulldogs is chilling. Both the 2013 and 2014 Bulldogs started off their campaigns with a three-game winning streak that snapped with a seven-point loss to Dartmouth. The wheels came off for the Bulldogs at this point last year, as Yale lost five of its final seven games and eventually finished at 5–5. But players on the team and this season’s statistics say that this year is different, and tomorrow’s game against Colgate is a huge opportunity for Yale to prove that.
When Yale won its first two games over Lehigh and Army, head coach Tony Reno noted the Elis’ ability to overcome adversity, as they The vast majority of Colgate’s offensive production centers on what quarterback Jake Melville can do in and out of the pocket. The 6’1” sophomore leads the team in both passing and rushing with 888 and 451 yards, respectively, while also laying claim to nine of the Raiders’ 14 touchdowns — five through the air and four on the ground.
Melville also has the ability to transition quickly between passing and rushing attacks. He broke out for 128 rushing yards against Georgetown, while last week against Princeton he barely ran the ball, instead passing for 303 yards and three touchdowns in the Raiders’ 31–30 victory.
Yale has faced rushing quarterbacks twice this season, and neither opponent has been easy to defend. Army’s two passers led the team to score 43 points on the Bulldogs, and Dartmouth’s Dalyn Williams, facing a Yale defense that was ready for the run, shifted to the air, tallying a career-best 388 yards and three touchdowns in the Big Green’s victory.
Against a similar style of quarterback this week, the Bulldogs know what to expect and need to stop whatever kind of attack Melville decides to bring. If the defensive line can maintain constant pressure on Melville throughout the game, thereby Thirty-one points in a game may seem like a high total, but when one considers the 51.3 points the Bulldogs averaged in the first three games, as well as the big numbers Yale’s defense has been giving up, it is evident that the Eli offense did not do what it needed to do against Dartmouth last week.
The central problem seemed to be the rhythm of the spread offense. In Yale’s first three games, quarterback Morgan Roberts ’16 often marched his team down the field in drives of 10 or more plays of hurry-up offense. Last week, however, the offense was much slower lining up on each down, and the Elis relied more on big plays to score points, averaging just 5.4 plays per drive in the second half. Miscommunication and less confidence in the pocket also resulted in three key interceptions by Roberts.
With tough opponents ahead for the Bulldogs, Yale will need to return to the machine offense that got its season started. Multiple players on the team have discussed Yale’s ability to keep defenses guessing with the impressive number of weapons on its offense. Look for the Bulldogs to do that again this week against one of the tougher defenses they have faced this season.