THE GAME: Bulldogs offensive line leads the way
The Yale football team has dominated opponents on offense with the best rushing attacks in the Ivy League, led by a strong group of offensive linemen.
Ariane De Gennaro, Illustrations Editor
The Yale football team (7–2, 5–1 Ivy) prides itself on being a physically dominant team. Nowhere is that more prevalent than on their offensive line.
Led by starting center and captain Nick Gargiulo ’23, the line has paved the way for the number one rushing attack in the Ivy League, which generates 5.5 yards a carry and an average of 234 yards a game.
“This year we’ve been able to have consistent play with the five guys that are out there,” the 6’5’’ and 290 pound Gargiulo said. “Just a constant and never-ending improvement from week to week to be able to put a good product out on the field.”
That effective running game has led to success for the Bulldogs, even when other teams know that it is coming. At 380 rushing plays on the season, Yale’s coaching staff has opted to run the ball more than any other team in the Ancient Eight, while amassing more than 600 total yards higher than the next best rushing attack.
The line is also quick to point to the complementing styles of their running backs. With lots of newly implemented gap scheme plays that take time for the line to set their blocks, the linemen appreciate the patient style of their running backs, namely three-time Ivy League Rookie of the Week Joshua Pitsenberger ’26.
“It just allows the play to develop,” left guard Cubby Schuller ’23 said, regarding Pitsenberger’s patience. “We have certain schemes that, they’re not immediate, they’ll take a second for two guys to get together and move the defensive lineman off the ball, so I think that [Pitsenberger’s] play style fits very well with our blocking scheme.”
At 6’6” and 301 pounds, it is easy to understand the power of any double team involving Schuller, especially if the play is to the left, where the second man coming to the double team would be 6’5”, 318 pound left tackle Kiran Amegadjie ’24.
At left tackle for his junior season, Amegadjie knows the importance of his and the o-line’s job. Several of the returning members of the unit felt that last season left lots of room for improvement.“Specifically talking about the offensive line, I think that we were one of the weaker links and we didn’t want to be that coming into this season,” Amegadjie said. “We were coming into the film room
on Sunday after games last year and being like ‘you know this is the same stuff that keeps showing up, the same mistakes.’ That’s where this offseason came into play and we didn’t want to be that group anymore.”
While much of the offseason for the players was spent improving technique and in the weight room, they also undertook the tall task of learning a different running offense.
As head coach Tony Reno has said, much of the offseason for the coaching staff was spent “really researching a lot of really good teams and how they run the football” and then implementing what they saw into their own playbook.
With the threat of a running quarterback and dangerous running backs, the offensive line never finds a shortage of work in each game, as they are ninth in the FCS in rushing offense.
When asked what his favorite play was, Amegadjie had a quite straightforward answer.
“The most physical run play we have is ‘duo,’” Amegadjie said. “It’s just two double teams and that’s my favorite play cause me and Cubby [Schuller] just get to double-team guys. Put ‘em, take ‘em ten yards down the field.”
The Bulldogs lead the Ivy League in rushing touchdowns with 20.