The Yale football team will remain in the Bowl this week as Ivy opponent Brown comes to town. However, seeing as the Yale-Brown series has been won by the visiting team for 14 of the last 19 matchups, home-field advantage might not help the disheartened Bulldogs, who are looking to recover from two straight conference defeats. If the Elis can force the Bears’ quarterback to throw early, attack Brown’s weak secondary and focus on moving the chains, they can stop their slide and get back on track.
FORCE FULLER TO THROW EARLY
The scouting report on Brown is simple: the Bears really like to throw the ball. Nearly 58 percent of the team’s offensive plays are passes, which contextualizes quarterback Marcus Fuller’s inflated numbers. Fuller, who throws for a league-high 311.3 yards per game, will face a Yale defense that allows an average of 243.4 yards through the air.
Unlike the last two quarterbacks the Bulldogs have faced, Alek Torgersen of Penn or Skyler Mornhinweg of Columbia, Fuller is more of a pocket passer than a dual-threat option. That bodes well for an Eli defensive line that has successfully pressured quarterbacks throughout the season. If the front seven can collapse the pocket, get to Fuller and force him to release the ball early, the team can shut down Brown’s potent aerial attack and severely cripple its offense.
EXPLOIT A WEAK SECONDARY
Despite his recent issues, quarterback Morgan Roberts ’16 is still capable of picking apart any defense. Especially with so many running backs sidelined by injury, Yale might be able to kickstart its offense by emulating Brown and emphasizing its passing game. The Bears’ secondary allows 269.0 yards per game — third-worst in the conference.
Robert Clemons III ’17, Christopher Williams-Lopez ’18 and Ross Drwal ’18, last week’s starting wide receivers, in conjunction with veteran tight end Stephen Buric ’16, form a formidable receiving corps despite a slew of injuries. With Clemons and Williams-Lopez back from ailments that sidelined them at various points of the season, the four players have combined to play 23 of a possible 28 games this year. The group is more than capable of resuscitating an offense that put up five total first downs last week.
MOVE THE CHAINS
First downs are an area in which the Bulldogs have struggled immensely. Yale’s third-down conversion percentage, last in the Ivy League, bottomed out with an 8 percent conversion rate against Columbia in a 1–13 effort. With Roberts averaging 6.0 yards per attempt and only one running back — Deshawn Salter ’18, whose status this week is unclear after not playing last week — averaging more than 4 yards per carry, the team cannot afford to gamble on first or second down and put itself in third-and-long situations.
The Elis should rely on their uptempo offense to spread the ball, utilize the width of the field and drive down the gridiron with short-yardage plays. This year’s team does not have the same deep threats that last year’s offense possessed, and the team needs to be judicious with its play calls.