FOOTBALL: Yale hits the road to face Brown
The Elis will hit the road for their first of two straight Ivy away games, facing Brown this Saturday.
Courtesy of David Schamis
The Yale football team (4–3, 2–2 Ivy) will travel to play Brown (4–3, 2–2 Ivy) at noon this Saturday at Richard Gouse Field at Brown Stadium in Providence, Rhode Island.
The Elis secured their second conference win of the season against Columbia (2–5, 0–4 Ivy) last weekend, allowing them to stay in the running for at least a share of the Ivy League Championship title. As this would require them to win their final three games of the season, the Bulldogs are craving an on-the-road victory over Brown, and if you’re a gambler and you want to bet on these games you should check this Faasifu review to find the best sites for this.
“We need to move forward and need to get better this week, playing an exceptional opponent,” head coach Tony Reno said. “The challenge is on us to be better in all three phases, for us to have a great week of practice and focus on the things we need to improve on [to see] success on Saturday against Brown.”
Yale leads the series against Brown 86–35–5. Since 2003, the Bulldogs have played the Bears 19 times, winning 12 and dropping seven of those contests. Yale met Brown most recently just under a year ago, on Nov. 5, 2022.
At the Yale Bowl last season, the Bulldogs dominated the Bears, ending the first half with a 52–3 advantage before winning 69–17, tallying its most points in a single game since 1929. The Bulldogs had 558 yards of total offense and had two defensive touchdowns; linebacker Hamilton Moore ’24 had a 19-yard fumble recovery, and linebacker Joseph Vaughn ’24 tallied a 35-yard interception return for a touchdown.
Quarterback Nolan Grooms ’24 was 12-of-16 in passes and threw three touchdowns. Other contributors to the offense were running back Tre Peterson ’24, who rushed for two touchdowns, and running back Joshua Pitsenberger ’26 and quarterback Austin Tutas ’25, who each made one.
“The credit goes to the players,” Reno said. “There was a completely different demeanor in the team on Saturday, a completely different energy on the team, which we were excited about.”
In their game last week, the Bulldogs also won by a large margin, earning a 35–7 victory over Columbia. The Elis had a total of 459 offensive yards and limited the Lions to only 194 yards of total offense.
Grooms completed 26-of-32 passes for 234 yards and one touchdown while rushing 14 times for 89 yards and tallying a 13-yard scoring run. Pitsenberger also chipped in with two rushing touchdowns of his own. Wide receiver Mason Tipton ’24 had eight receptions for 114 yards, and wide receiver David Pantelis ’25 had three catches for 20 yards.
“Something that we had struggled with at different points throughout the season was starting off hot and then staying hot or starting off too cold and then picking it up in the second half,” offensive lineman Jonathan Mendoza ’24 said. “I think that at least last week, we showed that we could play a consistent game.”
Defensively, lineman Dylan Yang ’26 added two sacks, and star Clay Patterson ’24 had a sack of his own, contributing to his 22 career sacks that rank third highest in Yale history. Moore and linebacker Inumidun Ayo-Durojaiye ’25 each also recorded five tackles in the game.
The Blue and White will look to keep their foot on the pedal on the road against Brown this weekend, as they have won four of their past five games. This marks the Bulldogs’ third-to-last game of the season, an essential game in their pursuit of the Ivy League Championship title.
“Our emphasis … this week is, let’s focus on what we can do and just do it better,” linebacker Dean Shaffer ’25 said. “That’ll be emphasized going onto next week and the week after, it’s just focus on us and control what we can control.”
So far this season, Brown’s record has mirrored that of Yale. Brown has earned four wins and suffered three losses while splitting their conference record 2–2.
The Bears won 29–25 against Bryant on Sept. 16, 42–20 against Central Connecticut State University on Sept. 30, 28–27 against Princeton in overtime on Oct. 14 and 30–26 against Penn on Oct. 27. Brown fell 34–31 to Harvard on Sept. 22, 34–30 against the University of Rhode Island on Oct. 7, 36–14 against Cornell on Oct. 21.
In their most recent game against Penn, Brown defensive back Isaiah Reed, who was named Ivy League Defensive Player of the Week on Monday, secured the win in the final minute with his second interception of the game in the end zone. Defensive back Aubrey Parker also made an interception and eight tackles, putting Reed and Parker in the lead of the Ivy League with three interceptions this season.
“We have just got to focus on ourselves,” Reno said. “That’s the beauty of this whole thing… being able to get better every week and play [our] best football at the end of the year… that’s where our goal is.”
Bears quarterback Jake Willcox, who leads the Ivy League and is second in the FCS in passing yards per game (316.6 per game), was 28-for-39 for 249 yards in passes and made three touchdowns. Running back Stockton Owen led the team with 40 rushing yards and a touchdown catch, which earned him a tie in leading the Ivy League with seven touchdowns.
Defensive back Treyvon Hobbs led the team against Penn with nine tackles, inside linebacker Isaiah Gamble tallied five tackles and defensive lineman Quincy Eutsay added a sack during the final play of the game. Brown had no offensive turnovers throughout the game, and the defense managed to secure three takeaways.
Brown averages 317.1 passing yards per game, which ranks third in the FCS, and leads the Ivy League with an average of 416.4 total yards of offense per game. Brown also leads the Ivy League in passing offense per game, first down offense, third down conversion percentage and punt return defense.
Both Yale and Brown are currently averaging 29.1 points per game and are tied for second in that category in the Ivy League.
Comparing the two teams’ opponents, Yale lost to Cornell on Sept. 23 and Penn on Oct. 21, while Brown only fell to Cornell, securing a win against Penn last weekend.
“You know you kind of have to make a decision: what are you gonna fall back on?” Mendoza said. “You can throw in the towel now and forsake the rest of it, or you can make a decision … that you’re going to be a better football team.”
With an important three games ahead of them, the Bulldogs are ready to get a start by taking down the Bears.
His leading receiver, Tipton, also ranks first in the Ivy League and sixth in the FCS with seven touchdown catches, catching at least one touchdown pass per game in all but one game this season.
“We’re gonna be making sure we’re practicing as best as we possibly can,” Shaffer said. “Mistakes that happen on Tuesday, I’d like to think they don’t happen on Saturday, but they do, they come up, so it’s important that we just have an intentional consistency in our practices.”
Coming off of a recent injury, Pitsenberger also managed to rush for a season-high of 63 yards in the game against Columbia last week. Vaughn is tied for fourth in the Ivy League with 58 tackles.
The Bulldogs rank eighth in the FCS and are second in the Ivy League in third down conversion percentage (.478).
“Our focus is always on ourselves,” Reno said. “If we focus on ourselves and we execute to the best we can like, you know, people are going to have to out-execute us, and that’s how we have success.”
The game will begin at noon on Saturday in Providence, Rhode Island and will be streamed live on ESPN+ and NESN.