November 14, 2018

Princeton Football Overruns Yale in 59-43 Victory, Improving to 9-0, Clinching Share of Ivy Crown

TITLE RUN: Princeton University football player Collin Eaddy heads upfield in recent action. Last Saturday, sophomore running back Eaddy gained a career-high 266 yards to help Princeton defeat Yale 59-43 and clinch at least a share of the Ivy League title. The 9th-ranked Tigers, now 9-0 overall and 6-0 Ivy, will look to end the fall undefeated as they host Penn (6-3 overall, 3-3 Ivy) on November 17 in their season finale. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Bob Surace sensed that there could be some offensive fireworks as the Princeton University football team played at Yale last Saturday afternoon.

“On a tough surface, it does favor the offenses in a lot of ways because you know where you are going with the ball with the change of direction,” said Surace, in assessing the muddy surface at the Yale Bowl.

“It is so much easier for an offensive player because you know which way you are going. I thought that if we executed we would be able to do a pretty decent job offensively.”

Princeton ended up doing a very good job offensively, exploding for 489 yards rushing as it defeated Yale 59-43 before 12,882 at the Yale Bowl in a three hour, 41 minute marathon.

The Tigers, who improved to 9-0 overall and 6-0 Ivy, clinched at least a share of the Ivy crown, the 12th in program history, and earned the traditional bonfire on campus that comes with a sweep of Harvard and Yale in the same season.

Sophomore running back Collin Eaddy for the Tigers started on the right foot, racing 75 yards for a touchdown on Princeton’s first play from scrimmage on his way to a career-best 266 yard performance.

“He has battled some injury this year; in the Dartmouth game, he had his explosiveness back and had a great week of practice coming into Saturday,” said Surace.

“I told my son A.J. the night before the game, Collin is going to have 150 yards. I told Collin that in pregame and he smiled. He has that 75-yard run and he was halfway there. He said I have got more.”

Junior running back Ryan Quigley and senior quarterback John Lovett added to the running game, rushing for 113 and 111 yards, respectively.

They really ran hard and we blocked really well,” said Surace. “They really finished; there were some exceptional runs. Even Jesper’s touchdown [a 52-yard play late in the second quarter] where he caught the ball. Typically, he has a defender that was going to hit him after two steps and he just kept going and ran the guy over and scored.”

The Princeton defenders, though, got hit through the air as Yale freshman quarterback Griffin O’Connor passed for 495 yards, breaking the school’s single-game passing yards mark in the process.

“We have got to really work on that; their receivers were terrific,” said Surace.

“The Harvard game [a 29-21 win on October 20] was very similar where we had chances to make the game less exciting and we didn’t do it. We have got to really work to fix that; credit them, some of the catches they made were spectacular. They were really competing for the ball.”

Senior linebacker Mark Fossati made one of the most important catches of the day for Princeton, coming up with an interception in the waning moments of the contest as the Tigers snuffed out the Yale rally.

“He had a great drop and read on the ball,” said Surace. “It literally looked like a Jesper catch, where he toe-tapped the sidelines as he caught it.”

It was great for Princeton to clinch a share of the league title. “You realize how hard it is to win this league; Princeton has only done it 12 times in the 60 plus years of the league,” said Surace. “It is awesome. We got on the bus and we were happy and the we are going to have to dial it back up again when we get to practice.”

If Princeton can dial up a win against visiting Penn in its season finale on November 17, it will not only win the outright  Ivy title but post the program’s first perfect campaign since the 1964 team went 9-0

“The guys are very mature about it, they understand it is another rivalry game this week against another terrific physical Penn team,” said Surace.

“It hasn’t happened very often. We understand the responsibilities and we have to go out and do our best.”

In order to beat the Quakers (6-3 overall, 3-3 Ivy), the Tigers will need one of the best efforts of the season.

“They have aways had a terrific run game, their running back (Karekin Brooks) has been in the top of the league rushing in the last two years,” said Surace.

“We have struggled to stop him and we did not stop him last year. They present a lot of challenges on defense, they get after the quarterback. They always have big, long defensive linemen and athletic linebackers. We are going to have to do a great job if we are going to have success running the ball.”

In the view of Surace, Princeton will be successful if it maintains its intensity level in practice and attention to detail.

“Every game is important; our first full pads practice every week is Tuesday and our guys come out for that and the enthusiasm and energy is off the charts and it has been that way for nine weeks,” said Surace.

“I hope that with the leaders we have, for the 10th Tuesday, they will come out with great energy and excitement, understanding that the margin for error is really close. With the top five teams in the league, it has been close games for the most part. If we are going to win a close game, we have to be detailed.”