Yale Athletics

The Yale football team (5–2, 3–1 Ivy) will look to build momentum for the final few games of the season when the Brown Bears (3–4, 1–3 Ivy) come to New Haven on Saturday.

Following a dominant 41–16 win over Columbia University last Friday, the Bulldogs have their destiny in their own hands, a position every team looks forward to. If the Blue and White tally consecutive wins​​ over their final three games, they will at least tie for the Ivy League Title.

“I think this past week was a great team win,” tight end Ryan Belk ’25 said. “We’re going to need to have that same level of focus and preparation for our game this week if we want to keep our momentum going.”

The Bulldogs are currently tied with both Harvard University and Princeton Universitywith 3–1 Ivy records. 

Brown began their season with a double-overtime win against Bryant on Sept. 17 but have struggled to find a consistent winning formula. In Ivy play, Brown lost 35–28 to Harvard, 35–19 to No. 17 Princeton and 24–21 to Cornell.

Last Saturday, however, the Bears edged out a 34–31 victory over a previously undefeated Penn. Bears quarterback Aidan Gilman was named the Ivy Offensive Player of the Week, as he set career-highs for completions, passing yards and touchdowns. 

The Bulldogs, on the other hand, seem  to have found their footing in Ivy play, with victories over Cornell University, Dartmouth College and Columbia, winning 38–14, 24–21 and 41–16, respectively.

Despite their overall success, the Elis faltered in their game against Penn, where a late Quaker touchdown lifted Penn to a 20–13 victory over Yale. The Bulldogs made a comeback, though, in their most recent game against Columbia. 

“It’s about us doing our job to the best of our ability,” starting left tackle Kiran Amegadjie ’24 said. “You know whatever play is called, whoever we’re playing, whatever defensive front we’re facing, as long as we do our job to the best of our ability, execute at a high level and we play fast and play physical, nobody can stop us.”

Over the previous 10 matchups between the two teams, Yale has won seven. In their last game on Nov. 16 of last year, the Bulldogs triumphed over Brown, winning 63–38. Quarterback Nolan Grooms ’24 threw for a then-career-high 330 yards and three touchdowns during the contest. 

The Bulldogs as a team scored nine touchdowns, with two defensive scores. Their 63 points marked the most the Elis have tallied since the 1930 season, when Yale defeated Alfred University, 66–0. The greatest number of points Yale has ever scored against an Ivy opponent was 113 against Dartmouth in 1884. 

This year, a core aspect of the Bulldogs’ strong season has been depth, with a number of players capable of stepping into starting roles following injuries.

“The defensive line is stepping in for Oso [Ifesinachukwu ’23], and the [defensive backs] really stepping in,” head coach Tony Reno said. “Sean Guyton [’25] has done a great job…Daquan Gonzalez [’26] has done a great job stepping in for Dathan [Hickey ’23]. [Those were] two critical injuries for us, but guys have done a great job, our coaches have done a really good job of developing and our players have done a really nice job of being ready for their opportunity.”

In their matchup last weekend against Columbia, Yale established a 24–16 lead by halftime and added another 17 points by the end of the contest. In total, Grooms completed 16 passes, with wide receiver Ryan Lindley ’24 leading the way with six receptions for 100 yards and two touchdowns. In his first appearance of the season after injury, Chase Nenad ’24 added three receptions for 117 yards and a touchdown.

“It was a really big bounce-back win for us and really fun to be back out there after being hurt,” Nenad said. “Our offense really showed what we are capable of doing, and I hope we can carry this momentum for the rest of the season.” 

The Elis are 32nd in the FCS for their defense, allowing only 341.3 yards per game and are 17th in total sacks. Yale also possesses the 15th-ranked rushing offense in the FCS with 210.3 yards per game and ranks 38th in the FCS with 406.6 total yards per contest.

Even though the Bears are coming off their first home Ivy win since 2016 and are ready to fight for their first win at the Yale Bowl since 2011, the Bulldogs know they cannot overlook any opponent at this point in the year and will give their all to take home the Ivy League title. 

Saturday’s game kicks off at noon at the Class of 1954 Field at the Yale Bowl.

Amelia Lower covers football, men's ice hockey and men's lacrosse. She is a senior in Jonathan Edwards College from Rye, New York, double-majoring in Spanish and the History of Science, Medicine and Public Health.
Spencer King is an Editor for the Sports desk. He has covered the Yale football and women's ice hockey teams. He has also previously covered the Yale men's lacrosse team and most things Bulldogs sports. Spencer is a junior in Davenport College and is majoring in Political Science.