Kanoff, Horsted Set Single-Season Records, But Tigers Drop 35-31 Shootout To Ivy Leader Yale
Chad Kanoff and Jesper Horsted broke 34-year-old single-season records on the same play and the Princeton defense got another heroic effort from junior linebacker Tom Johnson, but the Tigers dropped a third straight heartbreaker 35-31 in front of 11,229 fans at Powers Field Saturday to be officially eliminated from the Ivy League race. Yale scored the lone touchdown of the fourth quarter and held off a late Tiger drive to remain alone atop the Ivy League standings heading into the final weekend.
Head coach Bob Surace, though disappointed by the result, reflected on the pride he felt for his squad after the game.
“I couldn’t be more proud of our guys,” he said. “That was one of the great efforts you’ll see, and it came against a team as good as Yale. It was a great game, and while we needed to execute better at times, you can’t question the fight and resolve that they showed.”
Kanoff continued his historic senior season with another career effort; he completed 23 of 41 passes for 454 yards and four touchdowns, the last of which came on a 12-yard strike to Horsted that broke two records. It was Kanoff’s 26th touchdown pass of the season, which broke the previous record of 25 held by both Doug Butler (1983) and Quinn Epperly (2013); it was also Horsted’s 12 touchdown catch of the season, which broke the record of 11 held by Derek Graham (1983) and Roman Wilson (2013). Kanoff’s 454-yard effort was the third-highest single-game passing total in Princeton history, trailing only Bob Holly (501) and Doug Butler (469).
While Horsted broke the single-season touchdown record, it was teammate Tiger Bech who led all players with 175 receiving yards, including a 58-yard touchdown reception just before halftime. That wasn’t even the longest scoring play of the first half, as Kanoff and Horsted opened their historic afternoon by connecting on an 88-yard touchdown pass late in the first quarter.
Both teams relied on their offensive standouts to carry the day, and each responded. Yale freshman running back Zane Dudek helped the Bulldogs stay atop the Ivy League standings by rushing 35 times for 180 yards and three touchdowns. He became only the second true freshman in Ivy League history to rush for more than 1,000 yards, joining only Princeton’s Chuck Dibilio (2011) in that elite company.
Dudek scored on a four-yard run early in the fourth quarter to open a 35-31 lead. Yale would get a stop and had an opportunity to go up two possessions, but Johnson and Ben Ellis had key tackles that ended a 13-play drive that nearly took 8:00 off the clock, and the Bulldogs missed a 41-yard field goal to give the Tigers a chance to go ahead on their final possession.
Princeton got into Yale territory, but Kanoff was hit on a fourth down pass, which was intercepted by Foyesade Oluokon to clinch the Bulldog win.
The Tigers will conclude the 2017 season next weekend in Hanover, N.H., against a Dartmouth team that is still alive in the Ivy League race. Kickoff is set for 1:30 pm, and the game will be streamed on the Ivy League Network.