PRINCETON WELCOMES MONMOUTH FOR 2018 HOME OPENER, ANNUAL COMMUNITY & STAFF DAY CELEBRATION
Opening Night was a smashing success for Princeton. On Saturday, the Tigers will try to bring the same type of show to their home crowd.
Princeton needed all of 26 seconds to score its first touchdown of the season and less than one game to reach the 50-point mark, and the Tigers did both on the road against a team that already posted a FCS Top-25 victory. The Tigers routed Butler 50-7 last weekend, their biggest opening-day win since the 1950 national championship season. It was 44-7 by halftime, and the reserves pitched a second-half shutout.
Act II comes Saturday, and it features Princeton’s first in-state game since 1980. The Tigers have never played Monmouth, a 2017 NCAA playoff qualifier, and they would love nothing more than another victory before opening Ivy League play next Friday night at Columbia in a game televised live on ESPNU. The game will highlight the annual Community & Staff Day at Princeton, which will include a Youth Clinic on Weaver Track and several other family-friendly activities.
Monmouth enters Saturday’s game on a two-game winning streak, which includes a 24-20 comeback win at Lafayette last weekend. Quarterback Kenji Bahar completed 28 of 40 passes for 334 yards, while Pete Guerriero rushed for 110 yards and a touchdown in the victory.
Six of the next nine Princeton games will be played on Powers Field, and the Tigers would love to create a winning foundation Saturday.
|Week 2: Monmouth (2-1) at Princeton (1-0)|
|Date • Time • Location||Sept. 22, 2018 • 4:30 pm • Powers Field at Princeton Stadium|
|Radio||103.3 FM l Listen Live on the TuneIn App|
|Game Coverage||Live Stats l @PUTigerFootball l @PUTigers|
|Last Meeting • Current Streak||first meeting|
|Princeton Information||Note Packet (coming Friday) l Roster l Schedule l Statistics|
|Monmouth Information||Roster l Schedule l Statistics|
|Ivy League||Standings l Statistics l Weekly Release|
|Last Week||Princeton 50, BUTLER 7 l Monmouth 24, LAFAYETTE 20|
|Next Week||Princeton at Columbia • Fri., Sept. 28 • 6 pm • ESPNU|
Lights, Camera, Action
After a brilliant debut last weekend, Princeton will play its 2018 home opener Saturday, Sept. 22, in a 4:30 pm showdown against Monmouth. This game will be Princeton’s first live broadcast on ESPN+ following the summer partnership between the Ivy League and ESPN. Cody Chrusciel (play by play), Matt Goldstein (analyst), and Jon Mozes (sideline) will broadcast the game on ESPN+, while Patrick McCarthy (play by play) and Matt Rea (analyst) will have the radio call on both TuneIn and WPRB 103.3 FM.
The latest edition of the Original Eleven podcast, which you can hear below, featured reflections on the Week 1 victory at Butler, as well as a conversation with All-Ivy League offensive lineman Reily Radosevich.
Bringing The Community Together
Saturday’s game will be Community & Staff Day at Princeton, and it will begin with a Youth Clinic on Weaver Track (located adjacent to Princeton Stadium) that runs from 3-4 pm. Kids (ages 5-12) can interact with a variety of Princeton student-athletes in numerous sports in the leadup to the home-opening football game. The Family Fun Fest also returns, and it will feature games, a bounce house, face painters and more; it will run from 3 pm through halftime.
Members of the Princeton University staff can order up to six free tickets (quantity limited) through Thursday, Sept. 20. Visit GoPrincetonTigers.com/tickets for more information.
Something Old, Something New
On the eve of the 150th celebration of college football in 2019, one of the two oldest programs in the sport — Princeton played Rutgers in the first game on Nov. 6, 1869 — begins its season by playing two brand new opponents. Last week, Princeton made only its third plane flight in more than 50 years to play Butler, a game Princeton won 50-7. On Saturday, Princeton plays its first in-state game since 1980 when it hosts 2017 NCAA tournament qualifier Monmouth.
Princeton made quite the opening statement last weekend with a 50-7 road win at Butler. The 43-point victory was Princeton’s biggest in a season opener since a 66-0 win in the 1st game of the 1950 national championship season (Williams), and it was the first time Princeton scored at least 50 points in an opener since 1951 (54-20 win over NYU).
O Captain, Our Captains
Princeton has four captains for the 2018 season. Senior John Lovett is the lone captain from the offense, while Mark Fossati, Kurt Holuba, and Tom Johnson are captains from the defensive side of the ball. Of those four, only Johnson was healthy for the entirety of the 2017 season, when he earned first-team All-Ivy League honors.
Lovett Or Leave It
John Lovett, the 2016 Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year, made his return last weekend at Butler, and he put together a game very reminiscent of his 2016 All-America season. Lovett threw for two touchdowns and rushed for two more in the 50-7 win over Butler. Here is a reminder of Lovett’s top accomplishments while winning Ivy Player of the Year honors:
• he broke Princeton’s single-season touchdown rushing record (20)
• he accounted for 31 TDs (20 rush, 10 pass, 1 receive), which was more than five Ivy League teams scored all season
• he accounted for a Princeton-record 7 TDs in a single game at Cornell (4 rush, 2 pass, 1 receive)
• he completed over 66% of his passes and averaged 4.2 yards per rush during the season
• he threw a 95-yard touchdown pass to Isaiah Barnes in the win over Cornell
John Lovett moved into the full-time quarterback role this season following the graduation of Chad Kanoff ’18, who followed Lovett’s Bushnell Cup-winning 2016 season by earning the 2017 Ivy Offensive Player of the Year award. Kanoff signed a contract with the Arizona Cardinals in the offseason, and he is a current member of the team’s practice squad.
That Winning Feeling
Since the start of the 2015 season, Princeton is 14-4 in games Lovett plays, and it is 5-8 in games he doesn’t play. He has accounted for at least one touchdown in each of his last 16 games, and he has accounted for multiple touchdowns in 14 of those 16 games; in his season opener last weekend, he threw for two touchdowns and rushed for two more in the 50-7 win at Butler.
Quite The Catch
Senior Jesper Horsted, who is coming off one of the greatest receiving seasons in Ivy League history, caught seven passes for 140 yards and a pair of touchdowns last weekend. He needed only 26 seconds to score his first touchdown of 2018, a 63-yard sprint down the right sideline.
The All-American broke Princeton single-season records in both receptions (92) and TD receptions (14) last season, and he was named to the Walter Payton Award Watch List, which honors the top offensive players in the FCS.
Rewriting The Record Book
While Jesper Horsted broke several single-season records last season, he could break all three major Princeton career receiving records this season. He has 131 career catches, and he needs 62 more to match Kevin Guthrie’s record total of 193. Horsted has 1,796 career receiving yards, and he needs 1,002 yards to match Deker Graham’s record of 2,798. The closest career record within his reach is touchdown receptions; Horsted currently has 17, only two fewer than Graham’s current record total of 19.
Not to be outdone, Monmouth receiver Reggie White Jr. (son of the Chargers’ Reggie White, not the former Eagles lineman) also set a program record last year when he caught 74 passes. He leads Monmouth with 20 catches for 308 yards already this season.
Jesper Horsted is a multiple-time All-Ivy League honoree in two sports at Princeton; he earned first-team All-Ivy League honors as a centerfielder on the baseball team last spring. During the 2016 calendar year, Horsted won Ivy League championships for both the baseball and football teams. Horsted has been an All-Ivy football player over each of the last two seasons.
The Williams Way
Both Princeton offensive coordinator Sean Gleeson and Monmouth offensive coordinator Kevin Morris were quarterbacks at Williams College. In Gleeson’s 11 games as offensive coordinator, dating back to the start of the 2017 season, Princeton has averaged 39.3 points per game.
While his teammate may have grabbed most of the receiving headlines last season, Stephen Carlsonposted a Top-10 all-time season for a Princeton receiver last year. Carlson earned All-Ivy honors after ranking 4th in the Ivies in both receptions (71) and receiving yards (935). He caught 11 TDs, which was a Princeton record entering the year, though Jesper Horsted ended the season with 14.
Senior running back Charlie Volker became the 10th Princeton player to reach 20 career rushing touchdowns last weekend, and he matched Hank Bjorklund for ninth on the all-time list when he scored his 21st during the first half. Volker, who needs only 19 yards today to reach the 1500-yard mark for his career, has scored 16 touchdowns since the start of the 2017 season. He averaged 11.6 yards per carry at Butler, a performance that included a 47-yard carry and touchdowns of 2 and 19 yards.
On The Mark
Senior linebacker Mark Fossati returned to the field last weekend after suffering a broken leg during the Week 3 game against Columbia last season. Through the first two games last season, Fossati was the Ivy League leader in tackles (11.5 per game) and had received the team’s defensive game ball in both victories. He picked up right where he left off, recording a team-high seven tackles despite playing a minimal amount in the second half.
Johnson & Johnson
Senior Tom Johnson started all 10 games at the middle linebacker position last season, and he earned first-team All-Ivy honors after ranking third in the Ivy League with 95 tackles. His younger brother James, Tom’s backup at middle linebacker, actually had Princeton’s second-most tackles last week, as he recorded six while leading the second-half defense.
The Johnson family has another branch, as backup tight end Sam Johnson is the cousin to both Tom and James. Cornerback Will Johnson is unrelated.
The Johnsons aren’t the only set of brothers on the team. Backup offensive lineman Stefan (guard) and Nikola (center) Ivanisevic are also brothers; Stefan is a senior, while Nikola is a junior.
Line It Up
Princeton saw an avalanche of injuries to its defensive line last season, a run that coincided with the team’s season-ending losing streak. Between the season opener (Jake Strain) and the Cornell game (Matt Hampson and Joe Percival), Princeton lost five starting offensive linemen over a seven-week stretch. Those injuries allowed for the early development of players like Jay Rolader and Samuel Wright, both of whom recorded a sack in the victory of Butler. Princeton also returns Joey DeMarco and Jeremiah Tyler, both of whom missed the full 2017 season.
Princeton was one of only two Ivy League teams (Columbia) to force multiple turnovers without committing one during the opening weekend.Historically, that ratio has worked well for Princeton; the Tigers are 15-3 this decade when they are +2 in turnovers for any game. In fact, the Tigers are 25-8 under Bob Surace when they are at least +1 in turnover margin.
Princeton brought in the FCS’ top-ranked recruiting class (per HeroSports.com and 247sports.com) last summer, and several members made their collegiate debuts last weekend at Butler. Among the highlights: Matthew Jester recorded his first collegiate sack, while Trey Gray rushed 12 times for 26 yards.
Princeton was picked to finish second to reigning Ivy champion Yale in the 2018 preseason media poll. Five different teams received at least one first-place vote, though Yale (11) and Princeton (3) were the only teams to receive multiple ones. Princeton will play the teams picked first (Yale), third (Harvard), and fourth (Columbia) on the road this season.
Seth DeValve ’16 became Princeton’s highest-drafted player in the modern era when the Cleveland Browns selected him in the fourth round of the 2015 NFL Draft. He entered his third season with 70 catches and three touchdowns for the Browns, where he plays tight end. Chad Kanoff ’18, the reigning Ivy Offensive Player of the Year, signed a contract with the Arizona Cardinals in the offseason and made the team’s practice squad.
The new partnership between the Ivy League and ESPN means that all Princeton home games, as well as Ivy League road games, will be streamed live on ESPN+; that partnership extends throughout all Princeton sports, meaning the majority of Princeton home games will be streamed at ESPN+. A monthly ($4.99) or yearly ($49.99) subscription is less expensive than the Ivy League Network subscription would be, and it gives you access to the full platform of live events and other features of ESPN+.
Princeton will make its return to ESPNU later this season as well; the Tigers will head to New York City this Friday to face Columbia at 6 pm.
There will be two weekly podcasts during the football season for Princeton fans. The “Original Eleven” returns for its second season, and it will be available at the beginning of each game week (typically Monday, Tuesday at the latest) to recap the previous game and chat with a member of the team. The new “Bob Surace Show” will be available on Thursday nights, and it will be a replay of the radio show held each Thursday at Alchemist & Barrister at Princeton.
You can have both podcasts downloaded automatically — as well as the full library of Princeton Athletics podcasts — by subscribing to “Princeton Tigers.”
Coach ‘Em Up
Princeton head coach Bob Surace ’90, the 2016 Ivy League Coach of the Year, is a three-time finalist for FCS National Head Coach of the Year honors. He is one of two men to win an Ivy League championship as both a player (1989) and a head coach (2013/2016).
The Crystal Ball
Princeton plays its Ivy League opener next Friday night in New York City at Columbia (6 pm, Wien Stadium). This was a back-and-forth thriller last season, with Columbia winning on a 63-yard TD pass with 1:12 remaining. The game will be televised live on ESPNU.