After a much-needed win against Columbia, the Yale football team now has a chance to string together its first consecutive wins of the season. The Elis (2–5, 2–2 Ivy) will face a vulnerable Brown (2–5, 1–3) squad that Yale mauled 41–14 last season behind three touchdowns from running back Deshawn Salter ’18. To repeat last season’s outcome, the Bulldogs need to rely on their ground game, minimizing their mistakes and let Brown beat itself.
Hit the ground running
Yale’s run-first offense has carried the Elis through their struggles this season. The Bulldogs have run the ball on 53 percent of their offensive plays and would have likely kept to the ground more had they not played down by multiple scores so often this season. With quarterback Kurt Rawlings ’20 making his first collegiate start, establishing the run game will help the freshman manage the game and also keep Brown’s offense off the field. In the first half against Columbia, the Bulldogs controlled the game in terms of field position and time of possession, contributing to their 31–23 success. If Yale can recapture some of the offensive magic of its 324 rushing yards performance against Fordham, the Elis will wear down the Brown defense while giving their own a rest.
Continue avoiding the flags
Yale enters Saturday’s game having committed the third fewest penalties per game of any team in the Football Conference Subdivision, averaging just 4.0 per game. The Bulldogs had their first turnover-free game of the season last weekend against Columbia after averaging 2.8 giveaways per game entering the contest. By minimizing penalties and turnovers, the Elis will not afford the lackluster Bears offense any breaks on field position or first downs.
Additionally, quarterback Tre Moore ’19 was sacked three times in the first quarter of the Columbia contest before the offensive line tightened up for the remainder of the game. Brown defensive end Richard Jarvis leads the Ivy League in tackles for loss, and the defense as a whole is second only to Harvard in sacks the season. Yale’s offensive line will need to play a complete four quarters against Jarvis and company if they are to give Rawlings a fighting chance.
What can Brown do for you?
Brown has struggled to avoid unforced errors so far this season, losing eight fumbles and getting picked off six times. The turnover margin could be even worse for the Bears thus far, as they have recovered an additional six of their own fumbles. Yale will have a prime opportunity to profit off Brown’s mistakes in Providence. Last week, the Bulldog defense forced five turnovers, including picks by cornerbacks Marquise Peggs ’19 and Jason Alessi ’18 and a multitude of forced fumbles, one of which was returned 61 yards for a score by defensive end John Herubin ’18. Yet outside of this defensive score, the Eli offense was only able to turn the other four turnovers into seven total points. If the Bulldogs can cash in off the Bears turnovers, they will be in a great position to win.