Surace Relies On Some Special Advice

  • November 14, 2016


In addition to doing an impeccable job of holding the ball for Tavish Rice, senior punter Tyler Roth’s opinion is held in high regard, too.

“I talk to Tyler after every pregame to get a feel for the effect of the wind,” said Coach Bob Surace Sunday. “I get his thoughts on the right distance for field goals and punts and Tyler said Tavish was killing it going that way.”

The freshman placekicker, who came into Saturday’s game at the Yale Bowl just four-for-11 on field goals, drilled a 40-yarder to up Princeton’s lead to 10-3 in the second quarter of the Tigers’ eventual 31-3 victory.

“The sideline erupted,” said Surace. “We see what Tavish does in practice and to see him hit one in a big spot was great for us.”

The Tigers were travelling in the opposite direction in the fourth quarter, when they twice went for it on fourth down rather than have Rice kick what would have been 33 and 36 yarders.

“Against the wind we had to be more conservative on what I call the 50-50 kicks,” said Surace. “Also, they were a fourth-and-two and a fourth-and-one, not fourth-and-18 when you might think differently.”

It was a good day as usual for Roth for punting in addition to consulting. With Princeton leading by only two touchdowns in the third quarter the Tigers started series at their own eight and 12 yards lines. When they went three-and-out on one of those series, a Roth 47-yarder sent the defense back out with the ball in Yale territory.

On the second of those two possessions, two Jesper Horsted first-down catches got Princeton out of trouble, enabling Roth to flip-flop the field position with a 49-yard punt punctuated by a Luke Catarius special teams tackle. Yale had to start at its own 11, punted and, with the help of a pass interference call on Isaiah Barnes, the Tigers got their put-away touchdown drive going.

“The other great special team play was James Frusciante’s (second quarter) punt return (of ten yards) to the Yale 35 (leading to the Rice field goal),” said Surace.

Roth had a 50-yarder among his six punts, averaging 43.3. He put two kicks inside the 20.


“(Kurt) Holuba (six tackles and a sack among two tackles for losses) was absolutely terrific,” said Surace after watching the video. “He was either pressuring the quarterback or being held, every play. Kurt, (Henry) Schlossberg, and (Ty) Desiré had some really good pressure when we didn’t blitz. They forced some hurried throws.”

Yale was three-for-17 on third downs.


After Glass’s run, the next longest for Princeton was a 16-yarder by Charlie Volker. The inability to get first downs during a second half when Princeton was trying to run clock enabled Yale to hang around deep into the fourth quarter. The Tigers averaged only 3.7 yards per rush, below their 4.0 average coming into the game.

“They (Bulldogs) weren’t putting an extra guy in the box but they were twisting (men of a certain age refer to this as stunting) and that means they will give up some big ones,” said Surace.  “They guessed better than we did on a number of plays.

“But their run defense is only giving up three yards-per-carry each game, which is pretty exceptional. We knew coming in this would be a grind. And (the absent Joe) Rhattigan is a grinder.”


A.J. Glass on what he was thinking, when Erik Ramirez buried the safety on a quick hitter off left tackle and suddenly there was nobody between the runner and the goal line for a 46-yard touchdown: “Don’t trip,” Glass said. . . . A Princeton win over Dartmouth, Penn victory over Cornell and Harvard triumph over Yale on Saturday would produce the second three-way tie for the title in two years, but only the fourth since the formation of the Ivy League in 1956. Princeton got a piece of the one in 1966.

Surace on Horsted’s 48-yard catch from Chad Kanoff on a third-and-12 that set up Princeton’s second touchdown: “He ran a terrific route, almost the same route that (Johnny) Lovett had dropped earlier,” said the coach. “It was a really challenging catch and most important was the way he tucked the ball away. Their safety, who has caused a lot of fumbles, was behind him. That was exceptional to not fumble there.”

The Tigers were penalized only twice, still twice more than Surace was ready to completely forgive. “False starts,” he said. “Controllable penalties.

“Well I guess they all are controllable, but the hold or the pass interference, bang-bang plays, those will happen. After both of those false starts we had to punt. But yeah, I thought we played a really clean game. On the film I didn’t see any other grey area calls that could have gone against us and there were a lot that could have gone against them. That makes you feel very good as a coach that we played with discipline.”