Yale Athletics

The Yale football team (6–3, 4–2 Ivy) fought to the very end in double overtime of their 145th all-time game against Princeton (4–5, 3–3 Ivy) at Powers Field in Princeton Stadium last Saturday, claiming a 36–28 win.

The game was pivotal for Yale; if the Bulldogs win next weekend against Harvard (8–1, 5–1 Ivy), the two teams will share the Ivy League Championship title. It is also possible for Dartmouth to share the title with Yale and Harvard if they win their upcoming game against Brown. 

The Bulldogs began the scoring first on Saturday when quarterback Nolan Grooms ’24 made a 24-yard run into the endzone, capping a 13-play, 75-yard drive. Kicker/punter Jack Bosman ’24 added the extra point. 

Princeton answered back just over five minutes later with a 5-yard run by running back John Volker, who rushed a total of 90 yards in the contest, and kicker Sam Massick added the extra point, evening the score at 7–7. 

The remainder of the first quarter and the entire second quarter went scoreless until Princeton resumed its offensive at the start of the second half.

Just over two minutes into the half, Princeton backup quarterback Blaine Hipa entered the game and punched in a 1-yard run, ending a 6-play, 75-yard drive, which gave Princeton a seven-point lead.

Seven minutes later, however, Yale retook lost ground when running back Joshua Pitsenberger ’26 secured a touchdown on a 1-yard run, tying the score yet again.

Under four minutes into the fourth and final quarter, Grooms threw a 12-yard pass to wide receiver Joey Felton ’24 in the endzone to reestablish Yale’s lead. The play finished off a 64-yard drive.

Less than ten seconds later, Princeton had an impressive turnaround. Quarterback Blake Stenstrom launched a 75-yard pass off a flea-flicker to wide receiver Luke Colella for a touchdown to immediately level the score for the third time in the contest. Colella finished the game with a total of seven catches for 121 yards. 

Four minutes later, the Elis went back to work on offense, making a 7-yard drive into Tiger territory after getting possession of the ball in a favorable field position. Pitsenberger converted a 21-yard run into the endzone to cap the drive and put Yale in the lead.

With 18 seconds remaining in the game, to the Bulldogs’ dismay, Princeton added another touchdown when Hipa completed his first career pass to Colella and tied the game at 28–28, forcing the game into overtime. 

On Princeton’s first drive in overtime, Team 150 captain and cornerback Wande Owens ’24 made a pivotal play, breaking up a 4th-down pass by Stenstrom to Colella at the Yale 2 and giving Yale possession of the ball.

Needing a score to win the game, the Bulldogs drove the ball to the Princeton 18-yard line to set up a potential game-winning field goal. However, the field goal sailed just wide and the teams went into a second overtime session. 

While the first overtime period remained scoreless, Yale regained momentum in the second. For his third touchdown of the afternoon, Pitsenberger put Yale in the lead, tallying his final trip to the endzone on a 3-yard run.

After the touchdown, the Elis went for the two-point conversion and got it, with a successful pass to wide receiver Mason Tipton ’24, giving Yale an eight-point lead. 

Despite the Tigers’ offensive effort at the end of double overtime, Owens secured Yale’s win, breaking up a 4th-down Stenstrom pass at the Yale 12 intended for tight end Tyler Picinic.

Yale’s win marks the sixth in its past seven contests and its third consecutive victory, giving the Bulldogs the opportunity to compete for a share of the Ivy League Championship. 

The Elis finished the game with 429 yards of total offense, compared to Princeton’s 397. Yale edged Princeton 197–154 in total rushing yards and led in first downs and offensive plays. 

The Elis also went 8-of-16 in third-down conversions, in comparison to Princeton’s 4-of-17. 

Pitsenberger had one the strongest games of his college career Saturday afternoon, tallying 131 rushing yards and three touchdowns, both career highs.

Grooms went 23-of-30 for 232 yards and had one touchdown, his 20th of the season. Tipton also tallied 10 receptions for 130 yards.

Defensively, the Bulldogs also had key contributors make big plays throughout the afternoon. Linebacker Joseph Vaughn ’24 led the Elis with 12 tackles, and defensive linemen Ezekiel Larry ’26 and Mitchell Tyler ’24 tallied two sacks and one sack, respectively. 

Yale’s overtime victory has given them the momentum they need to face Harvard, which is also coming off of a conference win, next weekend. Harvard secured a 25–23 overtime win of their own against the University of Pennsylvania on Saturday to guarantee themselves, at minimum, a share of the Ivy Championship. 

The Bulldogs will return home to the Yale Bowl this Saturday for The Game against Harvard, which will start at noon. The Game will be nationally televised on ESPNU.

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.