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Yale vs. Lehigh (W, 54–43)
The Bulldogs came back from a 21-point deficit in the season opener to topple Lehigh and start the year undefeated. With nearly 700 yards of offense, the team was able to put 54 points on the board through a balanced attack on the ground and through the air. Running backs Tyler Varga ’15 and Candler Rich ’17 each had a rushing touchdown and combined for 256 yards, and quarterback Morgan Roberts ’16 threw for 361 yards and four touchdowns, while completing 77.5 percent of his passes. A shaky start for the Elis’ defense gave Lehigh a quick 21–0 lead about 10 minutes into the game, but the defense stiffened after halftime, allowing just eight points.
Yale vs. Army (W, 49–43 OT)
In the game celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Yale Bowl, the Bulldogs upset a strong Army team in an overtime thriller. The game featured a crowd of nearly 35,000 people, from Army cadets to former president George W. Bush ’68. Once again, Yale’s offense put on an outstanding display, totaling 335 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns — including five by Tyler Varga ’15, tying a school record. The ability of the Bulldogs to execute run plays led them to victory, especially since quarterback Morgan Roberts ’16 was held to a more modest 57.5 completion percentage and just under 300 yards and one touchdown. This was the first victory by an Ivy team over a Football Bowl Subdivision opponent since 1986.
Yale vs. Cornell (W, 51–13)
Yale was firing on all cylinders and dominated Cornell in all aspects of the game. The offense was unstoppable both on the ground and in the air with nearly 600 yards and seven touchdowns. Quarterback Morgan Roberts ’16 stood out again, boasting an 86 percent completion rate and five touchdown passes to three different receivers. The featured aerial attack included nine different players recording one or more receptions. Yale had nearly 275 rushing yards starring seven different rushers. After three games the Bulldog defense found its form for four quarters and held the Big Red to under 200 yards of offense. Cornell only converted four of their 14 third downs, so the Eli defense was able to get itself off of the field. After giving up 43 points in two straight games, they held Cornell to just 13.
Yale vs. Dartmouth (L, 38–31)
For the second straight year, the Bulldogs fell to Dartmouth in the fourth game of the season to snap an undefeated start. Yale had offensive success against the Big Green, but it failed to sustain it over four quarters of play. Compared to recent games, the offense was stymied, with 480 yards of offense. Star running back Tyler Varga ’15 was held to just 105 yards and one touchdown. Signal caller Morgan Roberts ’16 had three total touchdowns, but threw three interceptions as well. Special teams play was also influential as Yale allowed Dartmouth receiver Ryan McManus to return a punt for a touchdown. The recently improved defense stifled Dartmouth’s ground game, holding them to just 46 yards, but the Big Green put up 388 passing yards.
Yale vs. Colgate (W, 45–31)
Yale’s offense continued to be explosive, racking up 633 yards in a bounce-back win against Colgate. Running back Tyler Varga ’15 scored four rushing touchdowns with 184 yards on 25 carries and added a touchdown reception to boot. Varga’s success played a large part in the team’s offensive efforts, as quarterback Morgan Roberts ’16 displayed great accuracy once again with a completion percentage of 70 percent while throwing for 379 yards. The Colgate offense was able to convert 43 percent of its third down conversions — a better rate for the Elis than Dartmouth’s 55 percent in the previous week. Though the defense gave up nearly 400 yards, the offense was able to outdo Colgate’s attack, leading to the fourth victory of the year.
Yale vs. Penn (W, 43–21)
In their third Ivy League game, the Bulldogs handily defeated the Penn Quakers. With Roberts completing a Yale record 89.7 percent of his passes for 346 yards, the explosive offense could not be stopped. He threw more touchdowns than he threw incompletions. Wide receiver Grant Wallace ’15 caught 10 passes for 173 yards and two of Roberts’s four touchdowns to lead the Bulldogs’ aerial threat. The rushing attack added 264 yards and two scores to help seal the victory. Yale’s defense won the battle in the trenches and held Penn to just 47 yards rushing. The improving defense allowed the Quakers to convert just four of their 15 third down plays.
Yale vs. Columbia (W, 25–7)
In New York, Yale played old-fashioned football and decimated the Columbia defense by running the ball. Running back Candler Rich ’17 rumbled for over 200 yards and fellow back Tyler Varga ’15 scored a pair of touchdowns. Kicker Kyle Cazetta ’15 added four field goals and an extra point to lead the Bulldogs in scoring. Despite the lower score, Yale had nearly 600 yards of total offense but scored just two touchdowns in nine trips inside the red zone. The Bulldogs had almost 15 more minutes of possession in the game as well. The defense forced opposing quarterback Trevor McDonagh to throw four interceptions and limited the Columbia running backs to 53 yards.
Yale vs. Brown (W, 45–42)
The trip to Rhode Island was a tough one for the Bulldogs, but the team managed to find success in the end. Yale had 272 yards rushing and 248 yards passing compared to Brown’s 133 and 393, respectively. The game was quite balanced, as each team had one interception, one fumble recovery and even an equal number of penalty yards. Running back Tyler Varga ’15 again paved the way for the Eli success with a whopping 35 carries for 204 yards while adding in two touchdowns. The Bulldogs’ offense built up a lead and matched the Bears score for score, all the while bailing the defense out, as throughout much of the game the Brown offense picked the Yale side apart. The win brought the promise of a share of the Ivy League title, conditional on the Bulldogs taking down both Princeton and Harvard.
Yale vs. Princeton (W, 44–30)
In the penultimate game of the season, Yale faced historic rival — and contemporary Ivy title challenger — Princeton at the Yale Bowl. Yale started out of the gate fast and never looked back. After a blocked punt was recovered for a touchdown by Jaeden Graham ’18, the defense was able to stifle the Princeton offense in a stark contrast to its effort the previous week against the Bears. With three sacks and 12 tackles for a loss, the team stepped up the pressure and held the Tigers to a lesser point total. Quarterback Morgan Roberts ’16 threw for a career-high 405 yards to eight different targets, and running back Tyler Varga ’15 added two touchdowns to lead Yale. The Elis put themselves in position to claim a share of the Ivy League title the next week with a win over Harvard.