Volker’s Record Run, Smothering Defense Power Princeton To 53-0 Victory At Brown
Charlie Volker was already having a special day before he took a handoff from inside his own end zone, burst through the center of a dominant offensive line and showed off his Heptagonal-championship speed.
Some 96 record-breaking yards later, his day became a historic one.
Princeton made a major statement in its return to Ivy League play Saturday, shutting out Brown 53-0 during a rainy afternoon in Providence. Princeton scored on six of its first seven drives, limited Brown to 12 first downs and dominated in every phase of the victory, which was only the Tigers’ second at Brown since 2003.
Princeton, which had found itself trailing within the first minute of two of its last three trips to Brown, took over Saturday’s game on the first play of the game. A strip and fumble recovery on the opening kickoff was a sign of things to come for the Tigers, who kicked a field goal on that drive, and then touchdowns on each of the next five. Four of those scores belonged to Volker, who scored on rushes of 10, 1, and 8 yards to help Princeton open a 22-0 lead early in the second quarter. The Tiger defense, which overwhelmed Brown throughout the opening half, forced another punt on the ensuing drive. The punt went out of bounds at the 4, and Brown seemed like it had a chance to finally turn the tide.
Volker had other thoughts.
That touchdown broke a 65-year record for longest rushing score in program history; the previous record was a 93-yard touchdown by Homer Smith, set against Yale on Nov. 15, 1952. Princeton hadn’t had a rush of more than 90 yards since Nov. 11, 1995, when Brock Harvard went for a 92-yard touchdown during the Tigers’ Ivy championship season. Ironically, Brown Stadium is also the site of Princeton’s longest passing touchdown, a 99-yard pass from Matt Verbit to Clinton Wu during a Tiger win in 2003.
“The whole first half, I was seeing great holes,” Volker said after rushing 16 times for 163 yards and four touchdowns. “The offensive line was doing a great job. On that particular run, I hit a hole that was wide open, saw a wideout running off a D back on the backside, and I knew I had a free run.”
With the offense taking care of business early, the defense looked to complete its dominant effort with its first road shutout in more than a decade. A two-sack effort from All-America Kurt Holuba led a defensive charge that was overwhelming at all three levels. Linemen pressured both of Brown’s quarterbacks, linebackers shut down the run game and defensive backs thwarted four passes and covered Brown’s wideouts throughout the game; the end result was Princeton’s first shutout since a 28-0 win over Penn last season, and its first road shutout since a 30-0 win at Dartmouth during the 2005 season finale.
Princeton quarterback Chad Kanoff completed 21 of 27 passes for 231 yards and two touchdowns, including a brilliant grab by Tiger Bech. Kanoff moved into 21st place on the all-time Ivy League passing list; he now has 5,500 career yards, which leaves him 20 outside the Ivy Top 20. Junior Jesper Horsted, who entered the game leading the Ivy League in receptions, caught seven passes for 92 yards, and he added his sixth touchdown reception of the season, a four-yard catch early in the third quarter.
Freshman Collin Eaddy‘s day was overshadowed by Volker, but he had a strong showing in his own right. Eaddy rushed 10 times for 77 yards and scored his first career touchdown from four yards out in the fourth quarter.
Junior Tom Johnson had four tackles, a breakup and a key tackle for loss to thwart an early Brown drive, and that wasn’t even the most tackles in his own family. Freshman brother James Johnson, who has been a standout performer on special teams through the first month, had five tackles in the game. Naturally, his signature play came on special teams, as he recovered the opening fumble that ignited Princeton’s brilliant first half.
Princeton (4-1, 1-1 Ivy) will continue a New England road trip Friday night when it heads to Harvard Stadium for a 7:30 showdown against the Crimson on the NBC Sports Network. The Crimson, a 38-10 winner over Lafayette Saturday, will enter the game with a 1-1 Ivy record as well. The game will be the first Ivy League road night contest ever for Princeton.