#21 PRINCETON HEADS INTO HEART OF IVY SEASON WITH BROWN MATCHUP SATURDAY DURING ALUMNI WEEKEND
When you only play 10 games, every one of them matters. Princeton had three nonleague games this season, and the Tigers put up a trio of strong showings in each.
But there is something different about those seven Ivy League games. The Week 5 matchup with Brown has been extra special, because it signals the start of a six-game Ivy closing stretch for both programs. This particular one takes on a new excitement, as it takes place during Alumni Weekend on campus.
There has been plenty of excitement surrounding Princeton football this fall, but head coach Bob Suracehas been pleased with the way his squad has remained focused on the here and now each week. Brown comes into the weekend having split its last two games, and it opened the Ivy League season with a near-comeback against Harvard in a wild New England showdown.
The Ivy League season is here. The championship chase is on.
|Week 5: Brown (1-3, 0-1 Ivy) at Princeton (4-0, 1-0 Ivy)|
|Date • Time • Location||Oct. 13, 2018 • 1 pm • Powers Field at Princeton Stadium|
|Tickets||Princeton Ticket Office|
|Radio||103.3 FM l Listen Live on the TuneIn App|
|Game Coverage||Live Stats l @PUTigerFootball l @PUTigers|
|All-Time Series||Princeton leads 56-28|
|Last Meeting • Current Streak||Princeton 53, BROWN 0 (2017) l Princeton 3|
|Princeton Information||Note Packet (coming Friday) l Roster l Schedule l Statistics|
|Brown Information||Roster l Schedule l Statistics|
|Ivy League||Standings l Statistics l Weekly Release|
|Last Week||PRINCETON 66, Lehigh 7 l RHODE ISLAND 48, Brown 0|
|Next Week||Princeton at Harvard • Oct. 20, 2018 • 12 pm • ESPN+|
Lights, Camera, Action
Princeton goes into the heart of Ivy League play Saturday when it takes on Brown at 1 pm on Powers Field at Princeton Stadium, a game that will be streamed live on ESPN+. Jon Mozes (play by play), Matt Goldstein (analyst), Marisa Pilla (sideline) will call the game on ESPN+, which will stream the final six games of the Princeton season. Fans can also listen to Patrick McCarthy (play by play) and Matt Rea (analyst) call the game on TuneIn radio and WPRB 103.3 FM.
Princeton junior safety TJ Floyd was a guest on the latest episode of the Original Eleven podcast, which you can listen to below; the podcasts are available each week of the football season, and you can subscribe to the full Princeton Podcast Network — which includes The Bob Surace Show on Thursday nights — by subscribing to ‘Princeton Tigers’ on your preferred podcast device.
The undefeated Tiger football team, coming off a record-setting performance last weekend against Lehigh, has scored 212 points through the first four games of the season. The last time any Princeton team hit the 200-point mark through four games was 1888, when captain Hector W. Cowan and the Tigers routed the likes of Crescent Athletic Club (31-0) and Stevens Institute (80-0) during a dominant opening start.
Point Out The Obvious
Princeton scored 66 points last weekend, which matches the most for any Tiger team since the 1950 season opener, when future Heisman Trophy winner Dick Kazmaier led Princeton to a 66-0 home win over Williams. The last time any Tiger team has scored more was 1934, when Princeton topped Amherst 75-0.
Princeton, which has allowed only 33 points this season, has scored at least 30 points in five of its halves already this fall, including both last weekend.
Princeton gained 733 total yards in the win over Lehigh last week, which smashed its previous record of 645, set two years earlier in a win over Cornell.
Princeton’s 4-0 start has been a balanced effort between both sides of the ball. The Tiger defense has allowed only 33 points through four games. It’s been a while (though less than 130 years) since Princeton has allowed fewer in four games — the 1987 Tigers allowed only 30 points in their first four games.
Rank And File I
Princeton leads all of FCS in both total offense (607.2 yards/game) and scoring offense (53.0 points/game). The Tigers also rank in the Top 10 in both scoring defense (2nd, 8.3 points/game) and total defense (7th, 260.8 yards/game).
Rank And File II
Princeton is in the Top 25 in both the AFCA Coaches Poll (#21) and the FCS Stats Media Poll (#25). This is the highest Princeton has been ranked since Nov. 18, 2013, when the Tigers were ranked #19 after their eighth-straight win, an Ivy title-clinching 59-23 win over Yale.
In the last 20 years, Princeton has entered Week 4 with a 4-0 record only three times (including this year). In 2006, Princeton improved to 5-0 with a 17-3 home win over Brown. Three years ago, Brown ended the perfect start with a 38-31 victory in Providence.
There are only four teams in the FCS that enter this weekend undefeated, including top-ranked North Dakota State. The other three are Colgate, which plays Cornell this weekend, and a pair of Ivy League teams, Princeton and Dartmouth.
No Second Chance
Princeton has allowed six total scoring drives this season, and every one of them has come in the first half of games. The Tigers have yet to allow any points in the second half of a contest this season; in comparison, Princeton had four second-half shutouts combined between the 2014-2017 seasons.
Four different Princeton players (Nicolas Ramos, 40; Jesper Horsted, 38; Charlie Volker, 36; John Lovett, 36) have scored more points in 2018 than Tiger opponents have over the first four weeks of the season (33).
Princeton has been the least penalized team in the nation this season. The Tigers lead the entire FCS in both penalties per game (2.25) and penalty yards per game (20.0).
Princeton’s rushing defense ranks ninth nationally, allowing only 88.0 yards per game. Last weekend, the Tigers limited 2017 All-America tailback Dominick Bragalone to only 2.4 yards per carry in the win over Lehigh. Princeton has allowed only one rushing touchdown this season.
Senior John Lovett earned his third straight Ivy League Offensive Player of the Week award following the win over Lehigh. He has now won this honor seven times in his career, which ties him for the fourth-most in Ivy League history. The league record is nine, held by Brown graduate and former Princeton offensive coordinator James Perry. Lovett is tied with three other players for fourth, including former Princeton placekicker Taylor Northrop ’02, who won the Special Teams honor seven times. Lovett holds the most Offensive Player of the Week honors, as he surpassed both Keith Elias ’94 and Quinn Epperly ’15 this week.
You Gotta Lovett
John Lovett, the 2016 Ivy League Player of the Year, leads the FCS in points responsible for per game (27.5), ranks second in passing efficiency (187.5), and fourth in rushing yards per carry (8.98). The Princeton single-season record-holder for rushing touchdowns (20, 2016), he needs only three more to match Quinn Epperly ’15 for second on the career list with 38; Keith Elias ’94 holds the Princeton record with 49.
Lovett ranks in the Ivy League Top 3 in both rushing yards (101.0) and passing yards (233.0) per game this season. No other player is even in the Top 10 in both categories.
Born To Run
Senior running back Charlie Volker, who has Ivy League titles in both football and track & field, moved into eighth on the all-time Princeton rushing touchdown list last weekend when he scored twice, his 24th and 25th career scores. He needs two more to catch another football/track standout, Cameron Atkinson ’03.
Volker had a career day last year against Brown. He set a Princeton record for longest run from scrimmage (96 yards) in the Tigers’ 53-0 win in Providence, and he set a career high with four rushing TDs that day.
Head Of The Class
Jesper Horsted was named one of the national semifinalists for the 2018 William V. Campbell Trophy, an award that recognizes an individual as the top football scholar-athlete in the nation. Candidates for the awards must be a senior or graduate student in their final year of playing 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.
Princeton ranks second nationally in third-down conversion percentage (52.2%), and it is coming off a game where it converted seven of 12 third downs (and two of two fourth downs). Princeton hasn’t punted more than twice in a single game yet this season, and it has only punted one time in the second half of games this season.
Driven For Success
Princeton has had more drives result in a touchdown (28) than every other possible result combined (18). Of the 18 other results, eight of them ended in either a field goal (five) or the end of a half (three).
Twice As Nice
Junior safety TJ Floyd, a guest on this week’s edition of the Original Eleven podcast, recorded a pair of interceptions in the Ivy League opener against Columbia, and he has three total over the previous three games. He is tied for second in the Ivy League in interceptions.
Senior Mike Wagner led the FCS in sacks last fall when he suffered a season-ending injury during the Week 5 matchup at Brown. He already leads Princeton in sacks (3) and tackles for loss (3.5) this season, and he leads the Ivy League with two forced fumbles this season.
On The Mark
Senior Mark Fossati saw his 2017 season end prematurely when he broke his leg in a loss to Columbia. He has returned as one of the team captains, and he leads Princeton with 27 tackles in 2018.
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 is Tom’s backup at middle linebacker, and the duo already ranks second (Tom, 21) and fifth (James, 17) on the team in tackles this season.
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.
Senior Steve Carlson has caught four touchdown passes over the last three games, including a pair of scores in the Ivy opener against Cornell. He is now fifth on Princeton’s career TD receptions list with 15, one behind the tandem of Kevin Guthrie ’84 and Roman Wilson ’14. The all-time Princeton leader is the guy on the other side of the field; senior Jesper Horsted, who caught three TDs in the home opener against Monmouth, has 20 career touchdown catches.
Rewriting The Record Book
While Jesper Horsted already has the career record for touchdown receptions, he has a chance at breaking the records for both career catches and receiving yards as well (see chart on page 3 of notes packet). He currently has 146 receptions, eight shy of joining Chisom Opara ’03 and Matt Costello ’15 for third on the all-time list. He also has 2,028 receiving yards, fourth most in program history, and needs 170 to match Opara for third on the Princeton list.
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. Two weeks ago, Caraun Reid ’14 signed a contract with the Dallas Cowboys.
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+.
There are 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 Thursday nights as a replay of the radio show held each earlier that night at Alchemist & Barrister in Princeton.
You can have both podcasts downloaded automatically — as well as the full library of Princeton Athletics podcasts — by subscribing to “Princeton Tigers.”
The Crystal Ball
Princeton heads to Cambridge, Mass., next Saturday for a noon showdown with Harvard, which follows the Tigers’ 52-17 road win over Crimson last season. You can watch the game live on ESPN+.