Defense Rises Again in 31-3 Win At Yale; Tigers Will Compete Saturday For Ivy League Championship
Box Score Princeton head coach Bob Surace — who knows a little something about this — gathered his players just outside the Yale Bowl and congratulated them on a ‘professional’ win. His squad handled the program’s most historic rival in impressive fashion Saturday, a feat that is cause for celebration on its own.
This one, though, was a little different. This one put Princeton back in first place in the Ivy League.
This one set up a championship opportunity on Powers Field next Saturday, the final day of the 2016 Ivy League season.
Aided by Friday night’s 27-14 Penn victory over Harvard — when the Quakers scored 13 points in the game’s final 30 seconds to break open a fourth-quarter thriller — Princeton moved into a three-way tie for first place in the Ivy League with a 31-3 win over Yale. While John Lovett rushed for three touchdowns to move within one of Keith Elias’ single-season Princeton record (19), the story of the game was the Princeton defense, which has been on a stretch of dominance like few others in a generation.
Princeton’s rushing defense, which entered the game ranked seventh nationally, limited Yale to only 36 rushing yards and kept its opponent out of the end zone for the second straight week. A good chunk of that run dominance came from five sacks, including one by Dorian Williams that rocked quarterback Kurt Rawlings and caused a fumble that all but clinched a second straight game without an opposing touchdown.
The Princeton defense has now allowed one touchdown (when it led 35-0) and one field goal (when it started inside its own red zone following a turnover) over its last 44 drives in regulation. The senior inside linebacker duo of Rohan Hylton and Luke Catarius combined for 16 tackles, two sacks and four tackles for loss in the win. Senior safety Sam Huffman added seven stops, while junior Kurt Holuba had six tackles, including two for loss, and a sack. Senior Henry Schlossberg added five tackles, a pass breakup and a fumble recovery.
While Lovett scored Princeton’s final three touchdowns, all of which came from either the 1 or 2 yard line, it was a 46-yard sprint by AJ Glass on an early third down that got the Princeton offense rolling. Facing 3rd and 3 just past midfield, Glass took a handoff, went off the left guard and sprinted untouched for his second career touchdown.
“I remember thinking after running 15 or 20 yards, just don’t trip,” Glass said with a laugh afterwards.
Glass led Princeton with 64 yards on eight carries, while sophomore Charlie Volker added 53. Senior quarterback Chad Kanoff completed 14 of 25 passes for 128 yards, while sophomore Jesper Horstedposted a career-best 95 yards on six catches. His biggest came on a 48-yard completion from Kanoff that set up Lovett’s first touchdown and opened a two-possession lead for Princeton.
The Tigers also had a strong performance from all of its special teams units. Senior punter Tyler Rothaveraged 43.3 yards per punt, while freshman Tavish Rice drilled a career-long 40-yard field goal to open a 10-3 lead in the second quarter. The kickoff coverage unit kept Yale at or inside the 20 on all six kicks.
Now Princeton turns its attention to the only team it hasn’t beaten since Surace took over prior to the 2010 season — Dartmouth. The Big Green, one of three teams to share the 2015 Ivy League title, nearly pulled off a dramatic fourth-quarter comeback against Brown Saturday, but it fell to 4-5 with a 24-21 loss.