Football Looks To Honor Senior Class, Knock Off Ivy Leader Yale, During Alumni Weekend Showdown
The most historic rivalry in the Ivy League will be renewed on Powers Field Saturday afternoon, and for the fourth time in the last five seasons, it will have championship implications in the Ivy League.
Yale (7-1, 4-1 Ivy League) comes to Princeton alone atop the Ivy League standings with only two weekends remaining. A victory Saturday would secure at least a share of Yale’s first Ivy title since sharing the 2006 title with the Tigers (who won the head-to-head matchup 34-31 in New Haven).
A loss sets up one of the wildest final weekends in league history.
Princeton remains mathematically alive in the Ivy League race, but the Tigers’ immediate focus is getting rid of the bad taste from last week’s controversial loss at Franklin Field. They would also love to send out their seniors with a 14th home victory in their Powers Field finale, and what better time to do so than in the 140th meeting between two of the most historic programs in all of college football.
Lights, Camera, Action
Princeton returns to Powers Field Saturday at 1 pm in a game that will be televised on Eleven Sports, and streamed on the Ivy League Network. Bill Spaulding (play-by-play) and Jack Ford (color) will broadcast the game, while Seth Cantor will be on the sideline. Fans can listen to Cody Chrusciel and Dave Giancola live on the Princeton IMG Sports Network (103.3 FM WPRB in Princeton) or through the TuneIn app (search “Princeton IMG Sports Network”). The RWJ Barnabas Health pregame show begins 30 minutes prior to kickoff.
This is the 140th meeting between Princeton and Yale, a series the Bulldogs lead 76-53-10. It is the second-longest active rivalry in the NCAA, trailing only Lehigh-Lafayette (who meet for the 153rd time next Saturday). The two teams first met Nov. 18, 1873, with Princeton earning a 3-0-0 victory over Yale.
Princeton and Yale have split the last two, four, six, and eight meetings, with no team winning more than two in a row. The Bulldogs won the last meeting on Powers Field, and they own a 6-3 advantage all-time at Princeton Stadium.
Over the last four meetings, one team needed a win to have a chance to win the Ivy League title the following week (Princeton in 2013/2016, Yale in 2014). That team won each game, and the average margin of victory was 26 points.
So You’re Saying There’s A Chance?
No two-loss Ivy team has claimed a share of the league title since 1982, but Princeton is trying to take that to the next step this season. The Tigers are mathematically alive to be a three-loss champion, a fate they could share with six other teams (seriously).
We’ll save that for next week, but for the time being, Princeton’s championship hopes rely on a victory Saturday over Yale — a loss would eliminate the Tigers.
Cheer On Old Nassau
Tiger fans won’t be the only ones rooting for Princeton today. Every other Ivy League matchup this weekend includes at least one two-loss team, meaning that team would move into first place with a victory and a Yale loss. That’s right, even Harvard is rooting for the Tigers Saturday.
Armed And Ready
Senior quarterback Chad Kanoff is putting together a historic season leading the Princeton offense. He ranks first in the FCS in completion percentage (74.4), second in completions per game (28.0), fifth in passing efficiency (166.6), and fifth in passing yards per game (325.8).
Kanoff has taken assault on both the Princeton and Ivy League record books this season, and he has a chance to break the single-season passing record of Doug Butler ’84, who threw for 3,175 yards during the 1983 season. Kanoff has thrown for 2,576 through eight games, meaning he needs to average 300 yards per game in the final two weeks to break that record. He needs to average 340 per game to break Butler’s career passing record of 7,291 yards.
Watch And Learn
Chad Kanoff was named to the Walter Payton Award Watch List this week, which honors the top offensive player in the FCS. The Payton Award, first handed out in 1987, has had past winners such as Steve McNair, Tony Romo, Brian Westbrook, and Jimmy Garoppolo.
Head Of The Class
Chad Kanoff was named a semifinalist for the prestigious William V. Campbell Trophy, one of the top scholar-athlete honors in college football. Candidates for the award must be a senior or graduate student in their final year of eligibility, have a GPA of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale, have outstanding football ability as a first-team player or significant contributor and have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship.
There have been only three 1000-yard receiving seasons in Princeton football history (Derek Graham 1, Kevin Guthrie 2), but Jesper Horsted is making a strong push at the fourth. Horsted, who ranks second in the FCS in receptions per game (9.3) and fifth in receiving yards per game (119.9) needs only 71 today to reach the 1,000-yard mark.
Horsted, who has caught at least one touchdown pass in six of Princeton’s last seven games, is averaging 10.7 catches and 154.3 receiving yards per game over the last three weeks.
Jesper Horsted is also in position to break the single-season touchdown receptions record, though he could do so this year and still not actually hold the record.
Confused? Horsted comes into the game with 10 touchdown catches this season, only one behind the record of 11, held by both Derek Graham ’84 (1983) and Roman Wilson ’14 (2013). However, Stephen Carlson is also on the chase; he currently has nine touchdown catches, and he was the player whose apparent touchdown last weekend was waved off in the final seconds of a 38-35 loss to Penn. Carlson has been a bit overshadowed by Horsted, but he is having an incredible first season as a starter; he ranks third in the league in receptions (57) and fourth in receiving yards (723).
Princeton ranks first in the FCS with a 52.8 third-down conversion percentage this season. Over the last four weeks, Princeton has converted 27 of 50 third downs (54%) and six of seven fourth downs (86%).
Tackling The Issue
Junior Tom Johnson earned a starting position at inside linebacker, and he has been the heart of an injury-ravaged Tiger defense this season. Johnson currently ranks fourth in the Ivy League in tackles (70), and he had a career effort two weeks ago with 16 tackles against Cornell.
Tom and James Johnson are not the only members of their family on the Princeton team. Junior Sam Johnson, a reserve tight end, is the cousin of both. Sophomore Will Johnson, who moved from wide receiver to cornerback in the offseason, is not related.
Bayless Is More
Senior reserve Nico Bayless made the most of his first chance at significant playing time last weekend at Penn. The outside linebacker made six tackles, including two for loss, and added a fumble recovery to be named to the Ivy League Honor Roll.
Due to graduations in the defensive backfield and injuries at the defensive line and linebacker position, the coaching staff has used freshmen far more than usual over the last few games. Six freshmen (DL Sam Wright and Connor Mills; LB James Johnson; DB CJ Wall, Delan Stallworth and Trevor Forbes) saw significant action over the last two weeks, and each made multiple tackles vs Cornell.
While Wall has been a starting cornerback since the opener, Forbes has been the starting nickelback all season. Stallworth has played every game and is the top reserve cornerback. Johnson has been a staple on special teams and moved into the linebacker rotation after the Fossati injury. Both Wright and Mills have seen more action following four defensive lineman injuries over the last three games.
Princeton has had three players selected in the NFL Draft over the last five years (Mike Catapano ’13, Caraun Reid ’14, and Seth DeValve ’16). Both Reid and DeValve have scored multiple touchdowns in their young NFL careers, and DeValve has ranked among the NFL’s top tight ends early in his second season.
Princeton head coach Bob Surace ’90 is the reigning Ivy League Coach of the Year, and he is a three-time finalist for FCS National Head Coach of the Year honors. Earlier this season, he earned a win over former teammate and close friend John Garrett ’88, who is in his first year as the head coach at Lafayette.
The Crystal Ball
Princeton heads to Hanover, N.H., next weekend for its 2017 finale at Dartmouth. The game is set for a 1:30 kickoff, and it will be streamed on the Ivy League Network.
This will be the last season that Princeton will conclude its season against Dartmouth, which it has done every year since 1986. Next season, the Tigers will play Dartmouth during Week 8, and Penn will move into the rotation as Princeton’s Week 10 opponent.
See You Next Season
Princeton thanks its great fans for all the support this season. The next time we see you at Powers Field will be Sept. 22, when Princeton meets Monmouth for the first time. The Tigers are also set for home games against Lehigh (10/6), Brown (10/13), Cornell (10/27), Dartmouth (11/3), and Penn (11/17). Dates are tentative, and times will be announced this summer.
Princeton Football • By The Numbers
1 • latest Princeton ranking among universities by U.S. News & World Report
6 • televised Princeton games this season; eight of the 10 games will also be shown on the ILN or ESPN3
9 • Princeton football players who have been awarded Rhodes Scholarships
11 • Ivy League Championships won by Princeton since the league officially formed in 1956
15 • Princeton players picked in the NFL Draft; three were taken in the last five years
22 • career interceptions by Dean Cain, former “Superman” star; total remains an Ivy League record
26 • Princeton players and coaches who are in the College Football Hall of Fame
28 • national titles won by Princeton; no college football program can claim more
42 • number worn by 1951 Heisman Trophy recipient Dick Kazmaier; no Princeton player has worn the number since
43.7 • points per game scored by the Ivy champion 2013 Princeton Tigers; total remains an Ivy League record
72 • Princeton’s total first-team All-America honorees; John Lovett (2016) is the most recent
153 • points Princeton scored during its last four must-win games of the 2016 title season; the opposing teams combined for only 31
193 • career receptions for Kevin Guthrie, the all-time Princeton leader
1869 • the year of the first college football game, played between Rutgers and Princeton
1878 • Princeton’s first “Big Three” title; the University celebrates with a bonfire on Cannon-Green when the Tigers sweep Harvard and Yale
4,208 • career rushing yards for Keith Elias, the Princeton record holder
27,800 • seating capacity at Princeton Stadium, which celebrates its 20th year in 2017, and where our tradition continues this season
|Week 9: Yale (7-1, 4-1 Ivy) at Princeton (5-3, 2-3 Ivy)|
|Date • Time • Location||Nov. 11, 2017 • 1 pm • Powers Field at Princeton Stadium|
|Watch Live||Eleven Sports l Ivy League Network|
|Tickets||Princeton Ticket Office|
|Radio||103.3 FM l Listen Live on the TuneIn App|
|Game Coverage||Live Stats l @PUTigers l @PUTigerFootball|
|All-Time Series||Yale leads 76-53-10|
|Last Meeting • Current Streak||Princeton 31, YALE 3 l Princeton 1 win|
|Princeton Information||Game Notes l Roster l Schedule l Statistics|
|Yale Information||Game Notes l Roster l Schedule l Statistics|
|Ivy League||Standings l Statistics l Weekly Release|
|Last Week||PENN 38, Princeton 35 l YALE 34, Brown 7|
|Next Week||Nov 18: Princeton at Dartmouth (1:30 pm; Ivy League Network)|