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Pair of 3-0 Teams Meet in White Mountains

Pair of 3-0 Teams Meet in White Mountains




NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale Football Team, coming off a third straight win to begin the season for the third straight year, returns to Ivy League play against another 3-0 team. The Bulldogs travel to Hanover, N.H., this Saturday to face Dartmouth at Memorial Stadium on the Big Green's homecoming day. The 1:30 kick airs live on Fox College Sports Atlantic and can be heard on the Yale Football Radio Network (ESPN Radio AM-1300 in New Haven).


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This is the 99th meeting between the Elis and the Big Green with Yale leading 53-38-6, including wins in nine of the last 12. Dartmouth, winners of the last three, played at Yale Bowl for 46 consecutive years (1924-1970) because the crowds at New Haven made it more profitable for both schools, and there was no major highway connecting the two. Twelve of the first 15 contests ended in shutouts for Yale, but Dartmouth has had its share of success. The Green took nine straight from 1990 to 1998.

Dartmouth erased a 24-14 halftime deficit to win 38-31. Both quarterbacks threw for over 300 yards, but the Bulldogs had three turnovers. Tyler Varga '15 had 105 yards rushing and wide receiver Deon Randall '15 had 106 receiving. The Yale defense registered seven sacks, led by a pair from DE Earl Chism. Big Green WR Ryan McManus had 12 catches and a 60-yard punt return for a score.

Yale spoiled Lehigh's homecoming day with a 27-12 win that included impressive performances on both sides of the line and special teams. The visitors scored on the opening possession and never allowed the home team to get closer than six points, putting up 529 yards of offense with 29 first downs while averaging six yards per play.

QB Dalyn Williams set a school record by completing 92 percent of his passes (23-of-25) for 336 yards and four touchdowns while running for two more scores as Dartmouth won 41-20 at Penn for the first time since 1997. WR Victor Williams hauled in 12 passes for 213 yards and two scores as the Big Green improved to 3-0 for the first time since 1997.

Four Ancient Eight teams are perfect in 2015, but there will be fewer after Saturday with two squaring off in the White Mountains. A Yale team that ran for 278 yards at Lehigh faces a Dartmouth squad that ranks fourth in the FCS in rushing defense. The Big Green rank second in scoring defense and No. 8 in scoring offense. The Elis are No. 1 in blocked kicks, 12th in passing offense and 14th in total offense.

The Big Green set a school record with 38 completions in 2001... Dartmouth set a record with 419 passing yards in 1992… Yale's five TD passes in 1968 were the most ever scored on Dartmouth… Dartmouth notched a school record with six fumbles recovered against the Blue in 1953… Big Green quarterbacks were picked off nine times in 1939, school records for both teams… The most points allowed by a Dartmouth team were 113 against Yale in an 1884 shutout.

Imagine making your first collegiate start as a tailback on the road in a homecoming day game on a wet, cold day against a team that has won 10 league championships since 1993. Deshawn Salter, who had 51 yards on 17 at-tempts in the first two games, did that and ran into the school's record books. The sophomore ran for 233 yards and two touchdowns in the win at Lehigh. Salter, who averaged eight yards per attempt, registered the fifth-best day for a Bulldog runner while scoring from two and 42 yards. The longer scoring run put the game away late in the third quarter. His previous best day rushing was 36 yards on 11 carries last fall at Cornell.

Sophomore linebacker Matthew Oplinger led the attack on the Mountain Hawks offense with a career-high 11 solo tackles and a pair of ferocious sacks. His unit, which blanked Lehigh in the first half after shutting out Cornell in the second half last week, registered four sacks and six tackles for lost yardage. Oplinger, who switched from No. 44 to 22 this season, is wearing a jersey number that honors his late brother, Eric, who passed away unexpectedly last spring.  The Eli defensive standout had 9-2-11 vs. Dartmouth last year. Oplinger, a versatile threat, has caught two conversion passes and run for another since coming to Yale.

Two Bulldogs earned league honors in the Lehigh game. Matthew Oplinger was named Ivy League Defensive Play-er of the Week, while Deshawn Salters shared the offensive award with Dartmouth QB Dalyn Williams. QB Morgan Roberts (Offense vs. Colgate) and PK/P Bryan Holmes (Special Teams vs. Cornell) have also earned Ivy honors in 2015.
Yale's biggest hit of the day last Saturday was Matthew Oplinger's sack of Nick Shafnisky in the second quarter resulting in an eight-yard loss. "It was a blitz off the edge. I had a clear shot at him and he had no idea I was com-ing," said the Summitt, N.J., native.

The dozen points allowed in Pennsylvania last week were the fewest Yale has given up in a road, non-league game since a 24-10 win at a ranked Cal-Poly team in 2013. The Bulldog D, which did not allow a point in four quarters, blanked Cornell in the second half and Lehigh in the first 30 minutes.

Yale junior kicker/punter Bryan Holmes split the uprights on two field goals – the 44-yarder skimmed the top of the cross bar – and punted five times for a 41.6 average while notching two touchbacks on five kickoffs. His late third quarter punt turned out to be one of the key plays in the contest. Punting from his own 40, Holmes launched a sky kick toward the right sideline that was muffed by the Lehigh returner and recovered by DB Dale Harris. Holmes, Ivy League Special Teams Player of the Week after the Cornell game, has four field goals, averages 40.0 per punt and leads the team with 19 points. The 6-foot, 197-pound Eli began his collegiate career as a kickoff specialist his freshman season before exclusively handling the punting duties in 2014. His 2015 responsibilities makes him the first Yale player to handle all three areas since Tom Mante in 2008.

The Bulldogs have come from behind to win in two of the three games. Yale was down by 14 in game one against Colgate and 19 in the second contest before marching back to victory. The 33-point combined deficit was erased by the Elis outscoring the first two opponents 42-7 in the second half. The Bulldogs erased three big deficits last year to register victories over Lehigh, Army and Brown.

The Bulldogs lead the FCS with four blocked kicks this fall. Junior FS Foyesade Oluokun blocked two Colgate field goals on Sept. 19. Marty Moesta knocked down a Cornell PAT, while J. Hunter Roman swatted a Big Red field goal attempt in week two.

Cole Champion, Yale's senior captain, was part of two high school national championships at St. Thomas Aqui-nas in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. The Bulldog strong safety and two-time All-Ivy pick has 184 career tackles and four interceptions. Champion has started the last 29 straight games.

Junior DT Jack Rushin  recently donated marrow to a needy recipient. He is the 32nd donor that has come from the Mandi Schwartz Marrow Drive, which takes place each spring on the Yale campus and honors the memory of the former Bulldog women's hockey player. Rushin, the nephew of Sports Illustrated writer Steve Rushin, was only expected to miss a day of practice to make the ultimate donation.

The five starters on the Yale offensive line have started all 10 games the last two seasons. That is not the case this fall, but there is experience up front in 2015. Center Luke Longinotti has 23 straight starts, while left tackle Khalid Cannon has 13. Guard Jon Bezney and tackle Beau Iverson got their first starts at Colgate this fall; left guard An-ders Huizenga made his initial collegiate start against Cornell.

Yale's three straight 3-0 starts are the first for the program since 1979-81… Austin Reuland, a senior who last spring was converted from WR to TB, got his first official rushing attempts at Lehigh, running nine times for 30 yards. He also caught a pair of passes… Sophomore WR Ross Drwal had his best day as a Bulldog on the field his brother used to dominate. Drwal had five catches for 57 yards and a score. Jake Drwal '12 is third on the Lehigh career re-ceptions list… Saturday's Homecoming Day is the third of four Yale will be visiting this season…The Elis play in six different states this fall… When Yale played at the University of Wisconsin in the 1940s, it was the furthest North the Elis had played. The game at Maine on Oct. 17 will surpass the one at Madison…

Morgan Roberts, a 2014 second-team All-Ivy pick who attended Charlotte Country Day before attending Clemson University, has been Yale's starter since game one of 2014. He played in nine games in 2013 as the No. 2. Since coming to New Haven, Roberts has produced enough to be on the following career lists: 4th in total offense (4,765); 4th in completions (364); 5th in passing TDs (33); 6th in passing yards (4,233) and 6th in passing at-tempts (572). Roberts, who ranks 3rd in the FCS in completions and 7th in passing yards, was named one of HERO Sports' FCS Offensive Studs of the Week after 371 yards and 4 total TD's against Cornell.

Seven players on the current roster earned All-Ivy honors in 2013, 2014 or both. On defense it was: SS Cole Champion '16 – Second-Team 2013, HM 14; DB Foyesade Oluokun '17 – Second-Team 2013, 14 and DL Co-pache Tyler '17 – Second-Team 2014. The offense included: QB Morgan Roberts '16 – Second-Team 2014; C Luke Longinotti '16 – Second-Team 2014; TE Leo Haenni '17 – H M 2014 and RB Candler Rich '17 – HM 2014.

Sophomore receiver Bo Hines (6 catches at Colgate), who transferred from North Carolina State after a highly successful freshman season in the ACC, was candid about his decision to come to Yale in a tweet last December. "I must do what I believe is best for my future, not only as a student-athlete but as a human being." Hines led the Wolf Pack with 45 catches and 616 yards. He scored one TD and was listed as the top punt returner for the second half of the 2014 season but did not have any returns. Hines helped NC State go 8-5 and beat Central Florida in the Bitcoin Bowl.

It's very rare to have an ex-Yale football captain on the coaching staff, but the Elis now have two. Paul Rice '10 (outside LB, special teams), who joined Tony Reno's staff in February of 2013, became the first captain to return as a "full-time" or "primary" coach since Albie Booth in the late 1930s. Chandler Henley '07 (TEs), who led the Elis to a 2006 Ivy title as captain, came back to New Haven last spring. Six Yale graduates currently serve on col-lege coaching staffs. Bob Shoop '88 is defensive coordinator at Penn State. Dartmouth has Kyle Metzler '02, the running game and recruiting coordinator who focuses on the offensive tackles.  AJ Haase '09 is graduate assistant with Iowa, while Josh Grizzard '12 is graduate assistant at Duke.

Pat Graham '01 (see photo), a former Yale tight end and defensive lineman, is a defensive assistant coach for the 2015 Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots. He is in his seventh season at Foxboro. Graham, a Waterbury, Conn., native, was a member of Yale's 1999 Ivy title team. Michael McDaniel '05 is in his ninth NFL campaign and first as offensive assistant with Atlanta. Last year, he was a receivers coach with the Cleveland Browns. He also coached the Houston Texans, Denver Broncos and Washington Redskins. The Yalie with the longest NFL tenure (player/coach) in Ivy history is Dick Jauron '73, who played eight seasons between two teams and then spent 32 years as a coach. His last was 2012 with Cleveland.

It's not easy to make a college football schedule, which is drawn out many years in advance with potential mov-ing parts. This fall just happened to shake out with a school-record (low) four home games for the Elis. Last year, Yale had six at home, this fall it's six on the road.

Here's what the Bulldogs did in 2014.
Ranked 22nd among 124 FCS teams by NCAA simple rating system;
Team (FWAA Team of Week) – Sept. 27 win over Army
FCS Top 5 Stats: Total Offense (571.5) – 1; Third-Downs (.517) – 1; Scoring (41.3) – 3; Passing (323.6) – 5th
Major School (modern) Records Broken: Scoring, 411 points; Touchdowns, 53; Total Plays, 836; Total Offense: 5,715 yards; First Downs in a game, 36 vs. Army
National Stats Leaders: Receiving Yards per game - Grant Wallace (113.0); Scoring – Tyler Varga (15.6)

The Yale JV contests include three games slated this fall: 10/4 at Brown; 10/18 vs Milford Academy and 11/20 vs Harvard. The last two are home games at Clint Frank Field and are scheduled for 1 p.m.

Tyler Varga '15, Yale's All-American running back, made the 53-man Indianapolis Colts roster. Varga played in all four Indy pre-season games and finished with 18 carries for 69 yards, including a touchdown against the Rams on Aug. 29. He had five receptions for 36 yards, made a tackle on special teams and returned a pair of kickoffs. He has played in three of the four regular season games, returning kicks, playing on other special teams and get-ting into the offensive backfield on third downs.

This past summer we mourned the loss of former Yale and Chicago Bears captain Mike Pyle '61, who led the Bulldogs to their last perfect season in 1960. The 2015 Elis honor the fallen legend with a "Pyle 59" sticker on the back of their helmets. The 1960 team will gather on Nov. 21 during the Harvard Game at Yale Bowl.

Chris Getman '64, an ex-Yale baseball player, has been "pitching" Handsome Dan for Yale since 1983. The for-mer lefty hurler has been the caretaker of the school mascot – walking the sidelines of home games - since former AD Frank Ryan asked him to take the role. Getman, whose role at Yale encompasses much more than games at the Bowl, is a community leader and a highly successful owner of Soundview Capital Management Corp. He is on his fourth Yale mascot. Sherman, the 17th edition of Handsome Dan, is eight years old and weighs 65 pounds.

The last time a head coach brought two different teams to the Bowl to play Yale in consecutive years was Earl "Red" Blaik with Dartmouth in 1940 (Yale win, 13-7) and then Army in 1941 (20-7 Army). When Columbia comes to town on Halloween, Al Bagnoli will become the next guy to do that. The former Penn coach, who brought the Quakers to the Bowl in 2014, took over this year at Morningside Heights.

Yale is now 6-3 in OT games after the win against Army in 2014. The Elis are 4-1 at home in extra sessions, the only loss against Harvard in triple OT in 2005. Yale has a pair of triple-session OTs (Penn, 2007) and a two dou-ble-dippers (Princeton, 2003; Holy Cross, 2008)

Tony Reno, the Joel E. Smilow '54 Head Coach of Yale Football, and some of his players are at world famous Mory's (306 York Street) every Tuesday at noon for the Dick Galiette Yale Football Media Luncheon. This event is limited to media only. Please contact Yale Sports Publicity Director Steve Conn ( if you would like to attend. Cole Champion, Spencer Rymiszewski, Robert Clemons, Sebastian Little and Hayden Carlson have attended the events this season.

You can listen to legendary coach Carm Cozza and Ron Vaccaro '04 call the action of Yale Football this fall on ESPN Radio1300 (AM 1300) or News Radio 960 WELI (AM 960), depending on the game, as well as iHeart Ra-dio, and on the Yale Football Radio Network, which includes Talk of Connecticut radio sta-tions WDRC (AM 1360 Hartford), WWCO (AM 1240 Waterbury), WMMW (AM 1470 Meriden), WSNG (AM 610 Torrington) and WDRC (FM 102.9 HD -3 Hartford). Yale Sports Publicity Director Steve Conn also takes part in the broadcasts.

The 2015 Yale football team includes 34 high school football captains and 23 guys who were captains of other sports before coming to New Haven. There are also 32 National Honor Society members.

Dick Jauron '73, the All-American Yale running back who became a pro football star before earning AP Coach of the Year honors as an NFL head coach, is now in the College Football Hall of Fame. Induction for the class of 2015 hall of famers takes place Dec. 8, 2015, at the 58th NFF Annual Awards Dinner in New York City's historic Waldorf Astoria.

Two former Yale football players and an ex-Yale hoopster are now working for the Miami Dolphins. Former DB Max Napolitano '14 is a business analytics specialist for the NFL team, while Grant Wallace '15, one of the school's most prolific receivers, is a college scout. In addition, former women's basketball star Zenab Keita works in the marketing department.

Eight of Yale's 10 football games this fall air live on TV including five broadcasts between NBC Sports Network and Fox College Sports that are part of the 2015 Ivy League TV Package. Yale's Ancient Eight TV games begin on Oct. 10 at Dartmouth on Fox. The Bulldogs' first-ever Friday Ivy League Game is on NBCSN on Oct. 23 at Penn's Franklin Field. That's the second of two Eli games that require lights this season. The season finale against Harvard begins at 2:30 on Nov. 21 and can be seen on NBCSN as well. All games on NBCSN will also be availa-ble on NBC Sports Live Extra. In addition to the league package, all three non-league contests are on a mix of lo-cal and national TV. The season opener at Colgate aired on New York's Time Warner Cable. The second road trip, at Lehigh on Oct. 3, was on in the Lehigh Valley's Service Electric 2 Sports. Finally, the Elis make their first visit to the University of Maine for an Oct. 17 game broadcast on the local ABC affiliate, which will share it with Fox Col-lege Sports.

Two of Yale's games can be seen on the Ivy League Digital Network, while the other eight are on national or re-gional TV or another streaming network. Available at, fans can have a year-long Yale channel for $89.95. The package includes live home and selected away games in HD as well as on-demand programming. There is also a four-month pass for $34.95, a one-month pass for $10.95 or a single-day pass for $9.95.

The Bulldogs, off on Mondays, are on Clint Frank Field from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday. Fridays are walk-through days either at Yale Bowl or on the road and times vary. Players and coaches are available for inter-views with working media following the Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday practices if there is no student-athlete scheduling conflicts. All schedules are subject to change. Media must check with Steve Conn at least 24 hours in advance to attend a practice.

The Yale Bowl press box has a true taste of New Haven with Yorkside Pizza & Restaurant and Blue State Coffee available to media. Yorkside, a family operated business since 1969, provides pies, pasta and salad Blue State, an 11-year-old business that donates a portion of sales to area non-profits, has the best coffee in town.

filed by Steve Conn, Yale Associate AD & Sports Publicity Director