Football Friday: Bob Surace Talks Resolve, Line Play & The Brown Showdown
In Week 5 of the Football Friday video series, Bob Surace looks back at the comeback win over Lafayette, the veteran play in his defensive line, and he looks ahead to Saturday's nationally televised showdown with Brown (6 pm, Fox College Sports Pacific).
To watch the video, click on the link in the photo above. Please note that, if you receive this release through an email subscription, you must access the video directly from GoPrincetonTigers.com.
Game notes are below.
In a young season already filled with offensive highlights, as well as more points than Princeton scored in three of the last four seasons, nothing would mean more to this Tiger squad than a victory Saturday night at Brown (6 pm, Brown Stadium, Fox College Sports Pacific).
After all, highlights at Brown Stadium haven't come often for Princeton. In fact, Saturday's game will be almost 10 years to the day when Princeton quarterback Matt Verbit, the son of longtime defensive coordinator Steve Verbit, hit Clinton Wu for a 99-yard touchdown pass during a 34-14 victory in Providence.
That would be Princeton's last road win at Brown, marking the Tigers' longest active road losing streak against any Ivy League team.
But this is a far different team than many of the ones who traveled to Providence. Princeton has won its last three games, and it has scored at least 42 points in each of them. It ranks among the national leaders in both scoring and rushing offense, and it ranks in the top three of several team defensive categories in the Ivy League as well.
It is also coming off a 19-0 victory over Brown last season, a game that ended a 162-game scoring streak for the Bears, as well as a five-game win in the series.
But Brown remains one of the toughest obstacles in the Ivy League. The Bears are 3-1, and their lone loss came in a shootout at Harvard. They will be home, under the lights and in front of a national audience, and they will be looking to get right back into the league race.
Both teams will start a season-ending six-game Ivy League streak this weekend in one of the most anticipated match-ups of the first half of the league schedule.
|Princeton Tigers (3-1, 1-0 Ivy) at Brown Bears (3-1, 0-1 Ivy)
|Game Time/Location||6 pm • Brown Stadium • Tickets|
|Game Coverage||Fox College Sports Pacific l Radio l Live Stats l @PUTigers|
|All-Time Series||Princeton leads 52-27|
|Last Year||PRINCETON 19, Brown 0|
|Last At Site||
BROWN 34, Princeton 0 (2011)
|Last Five Years||Brown leads 4-1|
|Last Princeton Road Win||Princeton 34, BROWN 14 (2003)|
|Current Streak||Princeton 6|
|Princeton||Game Notes l Roster l Schedule l Statistics|
|Brown||Game Notes l Roster l Schedule l Statistics|
A Princeton Win Would …
• be Princeton’s first road win at Brown in a decade
• assure Princeton either a two-way or three-way tie for first in the Ivy League
• be Princeton’s fourth straight win, matching the program’s best in seven seasons
• be Princeton’s fourth road win in its last five attempts
• be Princeton’s ninth win in 13 games, its best streak since 2006-07
WEEK 5 GAME NOTES
Lights, Camera, Action
Princeton will play its first of two straight games on Fox College Sports this Saturday when it takes on Brown at 6 pm. The game is being aired live on the Fox College Sports Pacific channel, and on tape delay Sunday at 12:30 am on Fox College Sports Atlantic. Check your local listings to see which channel is available on your network package.
Princeton will also be on ESPN3 in its final two home games of the season (Nov. 2 vs. Cornell and No. 16 vs. Yale), and it will be on the Ivy League Digital Network in games at Penn and Dartmouth.
What’s The Point
Princeton has scored 173 points this season for an Ivy-League-best average of 43.2 points per game, a total that ranks fourth in the FCS. The Tigers have already scored more points than it did in both the 2009 (129) and 2010 (165) seasons, and they are only one point behind their total for the 2011 season (174).
This is the most points Princeton has scored in its first four games of the season since 1907, when the Tigers topped Stevens Institute, Wesleyan, Bucknell and Villanova by a combined 197-5.
Point It Out
While Princeton has averaged more than 43 points in its first four games this season, it hasn’t even averaged 10 points in its last five meetings against Brown. Since a 31-10 home loss to the Bears in 2008, the Tigers are averaging only 9.8 points per game against the Bears.
Princeton ended a 162-game scoring streak for Brown last season when it recorded a 19-0 home shutout over the Bears. The Tigers held Brown to 17 rushing yards and a 20% conversion rate on third downs in the team’s first win over Brown since the 2006 season.
Princeton plays its first of four Ivy League road games this season against teams picked to finish higher than the Tigers in the preseason media poll. Princeton was picked to finish fifth, while Brown (third), Harvard (second), Penn (first) and Dartmouth (fourth) will each host the Tigers over the next six weeks.
Home Sweet Home
Brown has won four straight and six out of its last seven home games over Princeton, with the lone exception coming in a 34-14 Tiger win in 2003. During Brown’s four-game home win streak over Princeton, the Tigers have led for only 17:01 of the 240 total minutes.
In the first six league games of the Ivy season, the home team has won five of six.
Princeton has won five of its last six road games, dating back to last season, including a 50-22 win at Georgetown in its lone road game of the 2013 season. The last time Princeton won five of six road games came between the 2006-07 seasons; the Tigers’ last Ivy League title came in 2006.
Princeton ranks first in the Ivy League and ninth nationally in rushing offense with 253.5 yards per game. It has been a team effort to get there, though, as the Tigers don’t have anybody in the Ivy Top 6 in individual rushing; instead, DiAndre Atwater (68.2), Brian Mills (46.0) and Quinn
Epperly (43.0) rank seventh, eighth, and ninth, respectively.
Princeton has spread its carries around this season; no player has rushed more than 13 times in any single game this season.
Just Quinn, Baby
Junior quarterback Quinn Epperly ranks second nationally in points responsible for per game (25.5). He has thrown nine touchdown passes and rushed for eight more during four games this season; no other player in the national Top 30 has eight touchdowns in both rushing and passing categories, and all other non-Ivy teams have played at least six games this season.
Epperly has the chance to become the second Princeton player in program history to both rush and throw for 10 touchdowns in a single season. The only other player to do so was Ron Landeck, who rushed for 10 scores and threw for 13 during the 1965 season.
Senior wideout Roman Wilson has scored at least one touchdown in eight of Princeton’s last nine games, including each game this season. In the last two games, he has caught five touchdown passes; for the season, he has six touchdown receptions, all from Quinn Epperly (he rushed for a touchdown at Georgetown).
Wilson has 75 career receptions for 1,116 yards and 11 touchdowns. He needs four catches to move into the Top 15 all-time at Princeton, and he needs 21 to move into the Top 10. He is also 104 yards away from moving into the Top 10 in career receiving yards. His 11 receiving touchdowns ranks fourth at Princeton; he is two behind Kevin Duffy ’97 for third and five behind Kevin Guthrie ’84 for second.
Junior Connor Kelley, who played quarterback as a freshman during Bob Surace’s first season and missed nearly the entire 2011 season due to a knee injury, had a career effort in last weekend’s win over Lafayette. He caught eight passes for 102 yards and a touchdown, and his diving 29-yard catch on 4th-and-5 late in the third quarter set up a touchdown pass to Des Smith.
Princeton is +3 in turnover margin this season, and it has won the turnover battle in each of its three victories this season. During Bob Surace’s time as head coach, the Tigers are 8-8 when they are either even or ahead in turnovers. When they are behind, they are 1-16.
Saturday’s game will feature the top two ranked defenses in the Ivy League. Brown leads the league in total defense, allowing only 322.5 yards per game, while Princeton ranks second and has allowed 348.2 yards per game. Both teams are also far ahead of the rest of the league in third down defense; Princeton ranks first, allowing a conversion 30.5% of the time, while Brown ranks second with a 31.6% conversion rate. No other team allows less than a 38% conversion rate.
Over the last three games, Princeton has not allowed a single point in the fourth quarter. During those games, Princeton has allowed only two third-down conversions and has possessed the ball for an average of nine minutes during the fourth quarter.
Reid It And Weep
During his 2012 All-America season, Caraun Reid’s best game came against Brown. He recorded six tackles, including four for losses, and added 2.5 sacks. He also tackled Mark Kachmer in the end zone for his first career safety.
Sophomore Matt Arends made his first career start at cornerback in last season’s win over Brown. He has started every game since, though he moved to safety for the 2013 season.
Arends set a career high with 10 tackles last weekend against Lafayette, and he added a tackle for loss and a pass breakup in the win.
On The Mike
Junior linebacker Mike Zeuli ranks fourth in the Ivy League with 8.8 tackles per game. After playing safety his first two seasons, he moved to strongside linebacker this year to replace Andrew Starks.
Corner The Market
Both of Princeton’s starting cornerbacks, Anthony Gaffney and John Hill, recorded interceptions against Lafayette last weekend. For Gaffney, a first-team All-Ivy defensive back last season, it was his first interception since the Brown game last season, while Hill got the first interception of his career. Both will be challenged by Brown senior quarterback Patrick Donnelly, who has only three interceptions this season.
Leicht It Up
Junior Garrit Leicht, who missed the first half of last season because of injury, had seven tackles, a forced fumble and a pass break-up last weekend. He has moved into the Top 15 in the Ivy League with 6.8 tackles per game.
Princeton has led at the end of 14 of 16 quarters this season. The lone exceptions were the end of the Lehigh game, when the nationally ranked Mountain Hawks rallied for a 29-28 win, and the first quarter last weekend, when Princeton trailed Lafayette 20-11.
The biggest quarter for the Tigers this season has been the second, when they have outscored their opposition 60-13.
Princeton has been successful on a two-point conversion attempt in all four games this season. The players who have scored the conversion have included a linebacker (Jason Ray), a defensive lineman (Matt Landry), a fullback (Joe Bonura) and a tight end (Des Smith). Three conversions came through the air; two were from punter/holder Tyler Roth, while the other was thrown by wideout Connor Kelley.
Just For Kicks
Sophomore placekicker Nolan Bieck made his first two field goals of the season last weekend, including a career-high 40-yard kick that gave Princeton a 21-20 lead going into halftime.
The Crystal Ball
Princeton will continue its New England road trip next weekend when it heads to Harvard for a 1 pm showdown on Fox College Sports Atlantic. Harvard has won three straight home games over Princeton, through the Tigers rallied from 24 points down with 12 minutes remaining to shock the Crimson 39-34 on Powers Field last season.
The Ivy League® Digital Network is the Ivy League’s first-ever digital sports network at IvyLeagueDigitalNetwork.com.
Featuring live and on-demand video and audio content from home and away contests across a variety of sports, the nine-channel network features a channel for each of the eight schools and a League-wide channel showcasing all available digital content across the conference.
Powered by NeuLion, The Ivy League® Digital Network includes an easy-to-navigate interface, a League-wide network schedule and new interactive features, such as simultaneous four-game viewing, full DVR controls and social media integration. These new features enhance the viewing experience for the expanded range of events and other content offerings, all of which are available on computer, mobile and tablet devices, all without the use of an app.
Packages for the League-wide channel are $119.95 for 12 months, $49.95 for four months and $15.95 for one month and include multi-camera HD coverage of all available home and select away games in football and men’s and women’s basketball and selected home and away games in men’s and women’s ice hockey. Every available Ivy League contest in those sports will be shown on the network.
Packages for the school-specific channels, which feature live and on-demand video and audio content from available home and away contests across a variety of sports, are $89.95 for 12 months, $39.95 for four months, $10.95 for one month and $9.95 for a single day.
On The Inside
“Inside Ivy League Football,” a weekly online radio show dedicated to Ivy League football, returns for its third year for the 2013 season but now has a new home on The Ivy League® Digital Network.
Airing Wednesdays at 7 p.m. and hosted by Princeton radio commentator Dan Loney and Brian Seltzer, “Inside Ivy League Football” takes an in-depth look at all the on-field gridiron action and all the news and notes surrounding football in the Ancient Eight.
Each episode is packed with highlights, statistics and expert analysis in its ‘Around the Ancient Eight’ segment. With its interview segments ‘Program Profile’ and ‘Alumni Spotlight,’ the show visits with players, coaches and administrators who impact Ivy League football, both past and present in exclusive one-on-one conversations.
Fans and alumni can engage with the show via Facebook (facebook.com/InsideIvyLeagueFootball) and Twitter (@insideivyfb, #IvyFootball) and contribute content for its ‘Social Media Mash’ segment with chances to win prize packs courtesy of The Ivy League.
Check IvyLeagueSports.com each week for this season’s episode schedule and guest lineups.
Every episode from the first two seasons are also available on The Ivy League® Digital Network at IvyLeagueDigitalNetwork.com.