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Bulldogs Fall in OT, 31-28

Rouse tied the Yale record with his 100-yard return (John Coleman image)
Rouse tied the Yale record with his 100-yard return (John Coleman image)

Holy Cross Comes Back for Win

WORCESTER, Mass. – Melvin Rouse, Alan Lamar, JJ Howland and Reed Klubnik scored touchdowns and Ryan Burke made 11 tackles, but the 2018 Yale Football Team opened its season with a 31-28 overtime loss against Holy Cross.

The Bulldogs, who scored all their points in the first half, had leads of 21-0 and 28-14 with multiple chances to put the game away over the last 30 minutes against a team playing its third game. Eleven penalties could have been the thing that prevented the Bulldogs from finishing off the Crusaders (1-2).

"We had a lot of first-game mistakes including the penalties. It wasn't the [penalty] yards that hurt, it was the big plays [they prevented], said Tony Reno, Yale's Joel E. Smilow '54 Head Coach.

Sophomore running back Zane Dudek rushed for a career-high 217 yards on 22 carries. He needed just one more yard in OT on fourth down to keep the initial drive alive, but the Holy Cross defense was ready to stop him for no gain.

 "Zane Dudek had a lot of big runs called back, and there were numerous opportunities to put the game away," said Reno.

The Crusaders kicked a 45-yard field goal after three OT plays, and the home team pulled off the improbable comeback win. 


WR Melvin Rouse gave the Elis the best start they could imagine by taking the opening kickoff 100 yards.  Rouse, who tied the school record set by Kenny Hill in 1978 vs. Cornell, lifted the spirits somewhat for the folks back home in East Charlotte, N.C., battling Hurricane Florence. He covered much more than 100 yards on the play. Rouse signaled for a fair catch and then dropped the kick. Standing on the goal line knowing he had to run with the ball, Rouse ran up the middle to take a left turn and try along the sideline. He circled back and went down the right sideline. The only other opening day kickoff return for TD was by Steven Santoro vs. San Diego in 2006. 


QB Patrick Conte threw a 23-yard TD pass to JJ Howland on a muddle-huddle field goal situation… Zane Dudek's 217 yards rushing are 10th best on the Yale all-time list… LB John Dean's first-quarter interception set up a 42-yard Alan Lamar scoring run to make it 14-0… WR Reed Klubnik (8 catches) made a great play on a fade route in the end zone with a perfect throw from Kurt Rawlings to give the Elis a 28-14 lead… Yale is now 6-4 overall in OT games... Yale opens the Ivy season next Saturday at Cornell. 

By Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director