MONDAY FOOTBALL NOTES: FOSSATI CLAIMS DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK; TIGERS BREAK INTO TOP 20
After three straight weeks of seeing fellow captain John Lovett take home Ivy League Offensive Player of the Week honors, senior linebacker Mark Fossati won one for his side of the ball this week. The Garden State native led Princeton with 12 tackles, including two for loss, and a sack in Saturday’s 48-10 victory over Brown, and he earned the Ivy League Defensive Player of the Week award for that performance.
Fossati, who now ranks sixth in the Ivy League with 7.8 tackles per game, has been a driving force for a unit that is ranked second nationally in scoring defense (8.6 points/game), sixth nationally in total defense (253.0 yards/game), and seventh nationally in rushing defense (85.6 yards/game). After missing the majority of last season with a broken foot (see the Beyond The Stripes feature on his comeback here), Fossati and classmate Tom Johnson have led the middle of a Princeton defense that hasn’t allowed more than 10 points in a game yet this season, a feat unmatched at Princeton since 1935.
Saturday’s win over Brown kept Princeton in a first-place tie with Dartmouth in the Ivy League standings, and it helped the Tigers move up in both national polls this week. Princeton is tied with North Carolina A&T for 18th in the AFCA FCS Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, and it moved to #23 in the STATS FCS Top 25 media poll.
This is Princeton’s first time inside the Top 20 in either poll since Nov. 18, 2013, after Princeton had clinched a share of the Ivy League title with a 59-23 win over Yale. That victory was Princeton’s eighth in a row, the only stretch this decade longer than the Tigers’ current five-game win streak. It is also the highest Princeton has been ranked since Oct. 23, 2006, following a 31-28 win over Harvard that moved the Tigers to 6-0 on the season. That is the last time Princeton has opened the season with six straight wins, a run the Tigers hope to match this Saturday when they head to Harvard for a noon showdown on ESPN+.