While Yale is coming off its best performance of the year, an impressive 21–13 win over Ivy League rival Dartmouth, the Bulldogs face a tough test when they travel to Fordham on Saturday. Yale has not fared well against Patriot League opponents this season, falling to Colgate and Lehigh by a combined 70 points. Though conditions will not get any easier against Fordham, which boasts the third-highest scoring offense in the Football Championship Subdivision, the Elis will have a chance to succeed if they feed the run game, contain Rams’ running back Chase Edmonds and minimize turnovers.
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The run game will once again be essential if the Bulldogs are to come away with a victory. Quarterback Tre Moore ’19 showed improvement passing the ball against Dartmouth, but the ground attack remains Yale’s strength and thus must be effective if the offense is to move the ball efficiently. The Elis are lucky to have several serviceable ball carriers, but Alan Lamar ’20 has earned a large share of the carries after last week’s dominant performance. With 180 yards and two touchdowns on almost eight yards per carry, the five-foot-nine, 185-pound Mississippi native exhibited a rare blend of speed and strength up the middle. Deshawn Salter ’18 could contribute to the Bulldog backfield if he is able to return from injury, and Candler Rich ’17 could provide a spark in certain situations. Salter’s potential return could minimize the need to play Dale Harris ’17 at running back and allow the senior more consistent time at cornerback, where Yale is more vulnerable.
CHASE DOWN CHASE
Corralling Rams running back Chase Edmonds will likely be the toughest challenge Yale will face all season. No other runner in the FCS has accumulated more rushing yards or touchdowns this season. Last year as a sophomore, Edmonds finished fourth in FCS Offensive Player of the Year voting and received a spot on the Associated Press All-American Second Team, among a plethora of other accolades. Yale will not be able to completely stop Edmonds or even keep him off the scoreboard and minimizing the damage done will require a group effort. Gap integrity will be crucial for the Yale interior defenders — Edmonds is both a powerful and elusive back and can break off big runs against overly-aggressive defenders. To help captain and linebacker Darius Manora ’17 and the front seven limit Edmonds’ impact, Yale might need to bring down at least one of their safeties closer to the box. Either Hayden Carlson ’18 or Foye Oluokun ’17, two of the surest tacklers on the team, could step up on Saturday.
While the Fordham defense is very beatable, Yale cannot afford to waste offensive opportunities if it wants to keep up with the high-scoring Rams’ offense. Moore’s presence last week alleviated the Bulldogs’ early season interception debacle, fumbles have become an issue in recent weeks. Moore was strip-sacked twice last week against Dartmouth and was involved in a botched handoff to one of his running backs, which the Big Green also recovered. The sophomore gunslinger, who threw two interceptions against Lehigh in Week 3, must also account for a Rams defense that has forced seven interceptions in just five games this season. Yale will need to make the most of its offensive possessions, and this cannot happen if drives are cut short by turnovers.