Nov. 13, 2004
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Yale junior Rob Carr rushed for 160 yards and a pair of touchdowns to lead the Bulldogs to a 21-9 victory over Princeton Saturday afternoon in front of 15,296 at the Yale Bowl. The loss drops Princeton to a 4-5 overall and 2-4 in the Ivy League, and leaves next week's game with Dartmouth as Princeton's last chance to earn a .500 season.
Princeton tried to climb out of a 14-3 hole in the first quarter by clamping down on the defense and moving the ball in range for Derek Javarone to drill a pair of short field goals. With momentum firmly on the Princeton sideline, junior returner Greg Fields, who leads the Ivy League in punt returns and is in the national Top 10 in all-purpose yardage, muffed a punt that was recovered by Yale. The play led to a quick Yale touchdown and killed Princeton's positive energy. "I thought we clawed our way back into it," head coach Roger Hughes said after the disappointing loss. "I really feel like that play changed the momentum of the game. We have to do a better job scoring touchdowns. We made too many mistakes with penalties in the red zone."
Senior quarterback Matt Verbit threw for 205 yards and became the 12th quarterback in Ivy League history to throw for more than 5,000 yards in a career. Verbit, who has now thrown for 5,049 yards, completed 23 of 39 passes and wasn't intercepted. Fields caught nine passes for 106 yards while Joel Mancl caught five passes for 18 yards. The rushing attack was a balanced effort, with seniors Jon Veach (45 yards) and Branden Benson (35) leading the way.
Justin Stull led the Princeton defense with seven tackles, while Zak Keasey had six tackles and a sack. Jay McCareins broke up a pair of passes while James Williams recovered a fumble.
Yale took the opening kickoff and drove the ball 80 yards in 3:15 to take an immediate 7-0 lead. Carr did most of the damage, including a long run on the first play from scrimmage. Cowan hit two passes on the drive, a third-down conversion pass to Chandler Henley and a 18-yard touchdown pass to Alex Faherty in the back left corner of the end zone. It was Faherty's third touchdown reception of the season and the 16th thrown by Cowan, who threw a touchdown pass on the final play of regulation last year to help lead Yale to a 27-24 overtime win at Princeton.
Princeton answered with a long drive of its own, and it included a couple of long third-down conversion passes from Verbit. The first went down the middle of the field to tight end Jon Dekker, and the second went to Greg Fields, who went across the field and made the catch along the Princeton sidelines before turning upfield and staying inbounds until he got past the marker. Yale held strong once Princeton got in the red zone, but Derek Javarone overcame a false start penalty on fourth down and drilled a 34-yard field goal to complete a 14-play drive that took 6:56 off the clock, making it the longest Princeton scoring drive of the season by 1:06.
Carr's 51-yard kickoff return on the ensuing drive set up another score for Yale. Ralph Plumb made the key play of the drive, taking a pass from Cowan on a 3rd-and 13 and breaking two tackles to get the first down at the Princeton 22-yard-line. The catch moved Plumb past San Francisco 49ers' tight end Eric Johnson into first place on the Yale all-time leading reception chart. Four plays later, on 4th-and-inches, Carr broke through the line to score a 13-yard touchdown and give Yale a 14-3 lead with 30 seconds remaining in a quick and exciting first quarter.
Yale had a pair of chances to build on that lead later in the half, but Bulldog kicker Andrew Sullivan missed a pair of field goals after the Princeton defense tightened up insdie the red zone. The final miss came in the final seconds of the half and seemed to give Princeton a bit of its momentum back heading into the second half.
Princeton would cut the deficit to 14-9 at the end of the third quarter when Javarone connected on field goals of 19 and 22 yards. Princeton controlled the ball for 12:20 in the quarter, but red zone mistakes hurt the Tigers' efforts to get into the end zone. The defense was getting the job done, slowing Carr and Cowan down and allowing the offense the opportunity to get back into the game.
The defense stood tall again on Yale's first drive of the final quarter, but Tyson Crawford's punt was fumbled by Fields at the Yale 27-yard-line. The ball bounced off various players until it was recovered by Yale's Matt Baker at the Princeton 17-yard-line. Three rushes by Carr later, the final one from five yards out, put Yale up 22-9. The Bulldog defense gave up yardage but no scores. On Princeton's final two drives, Verbit threw incompletions on fourth down, and a final first down rush for Carr secured Yale's fifth win of the season.
Princeton will return home next weekend to play the final game of the 2004 season against the Dartmouth Big Green, which won its first game of the season Saturday with a 20-7 win against Brown.