Football Looks To Continue Week 2 Winning Ways Under Lights vs. Bucknell
Princeton has won seven straight games during Week 2, including a wild double-overtime win over Lafayette last season. This Saturday night, Princeton welcomes back an old friend as it looks to claim its first victory of 2011.
|Date/Time||Sept. 24/6 p.m.|
|Field||Powers Field at Princeton Stadium|
|All-Time Series||Princeton 13-2|
|Last Year||no game
|Last At Site||none|
|Last Five Years||0-0|
|Current Streak||Bucknell 1|
Game Notes • Week 2
A Few Fast Facts To Get You Ready…
The belief that teams improve the most from Week 1 to Week 2 has held true for Prince-ton during the last decade. Princeton has won in Week 2 seven straight times and in nine of the last 10 seasons. Last year, Princeton rallied for a 36-33 double-overtime victory that will be remembered most for Jordan Culbreath’s game-winning touchdown.
While Princeton has been winning its Week 2 games, it has been hard work. In its last four years, Princeton has won in Week 2 by an average of 3.8 points per game.
Pass The Buck
Princeton and Bucknell are playing each other for the first time since the 1996 season, when the Bison earned a 10-6 home victory. Princeton owns a 13-2 edge in the series, which dates back to 1903, and has never lost at home to Bucknell. Bucknell opened its 2011 season with a 2-0 record before losing last weekend at Cornell 24-13. The Bison gave up two touchdowns of more than 60 yards in the final 17 minutes of the game to lose a 13-10 lead.
Bucknell head coach Joe Susan is in his second year with the Bison. He spent eight as the offensive coordinator at Princeton and was on the Tiger staff when it last took on Bucknell. He was also a teammate and roommate of Princeton associate head coach Steve Verbit as a member of the Delaware football team. Also on the Bison staff is Matt Borich, who was the defensive line coach at Princeton from 2004-09.
Both Princeton assistant coaches Jared Backus (defensive coordinator) and Bill McCord (outside linebackers) spent time at Bucknell previously.
Ivan The Great
Senior Ivan Charbonneau recorded Princeton’s first kickoff return for a touchdown since the 2005 Harvard game when he scored on a 92-yard return against No. 16 Lehigh last weekend. His score was the first Princeton touchdown of the season. Charbonneau averaged 45 yards per kick return last weekend; last season, Princeton averaged 18.6 yards per return.
Princeton has defeated at least one Patriot League team in each of the last seven seasons. Since the Tigers’ final non-league opponent is Hampton, this will be Princeton’s last chance to continue that streak.
Princeton freshman Chuck Dibilio was honored as the Ivy League Rookie of the Week after rushing 14 times for 86 yards and scoring on a 26-yard reception last weekend against #16 Lehigh. Dating back to last season, Princeton has had the Ivy League Rookie of the Week twice in the last three opportunities; in Week 9 last season, Connor Kelley was honored after throwing for 122 yards, including a 45-yard touchdown pass, at Yale.
Princeton saw three key players return from season-long injuries last weekend. Quarterback and tri-captain Tommy Wornham threw for 232 yards and a score in his first game since a Week 5 injury against Brown. Senior linebacker and tri-captain Steven Cody was injured in the 2010 season opener, and he returned with eight tackles. Junior defensive lineman Caraun Reid was also injured in the opener, and he returned with six tackles, a pass breakup and a blocked field goal.
Princeton radio voice Dan Loney will be part of the new “Inside Ivy League Football,” an in-depth look at both the on-field action and all the news and notes surrounding Ivy football. The 10-episode show will air Wednesdays at 7 p.m. on BlogTalkRadio.com, and will feature interviews with players and coaches, as well as analysis on each of the Ivy teams.
Princeton was picked to finish in a tie for seventh with Cornell in the 2011 Ivy League preseason poll; the Tigers have never been picked below sixth in the poll. The last two times Princeton was picked sixth were 2010, when the team finished last in the league, and 2006, when the team
The Crystal Ball
Princeton will welcome Columbia to Powers Field at Princeton Stadium next weekend in the Ivy League opener for both teams. Though Princeton holds a 64-15-1 advantage in the all-time series, Columbia has dominated this match-up the last two seasons. The Lions have averaged 40 points per game and won by an average margin of 33 points. In the last meeting at Princeton Stadium, Columbia won its second road game ever in the series with a 38-0 shutout.
A Princeton Win Would …
• give Princeton a Week 2 victory for the eighth consecutive year.
• end a nine-game losing streak, dating back to last season.
• give Princeton a win over a Patriot League school for the eighth consecutive
• give Princeton a win over Bucknell in the two teams’ first meeting on Powers Field at Princeton Stadium; the last Princeton home game was 1995.
• keep Princeton undefeated at home all-time against Bucknell (currently 12-0).
• give Princeton momentum heading into next weekend’s Ivy League opener against Columbia, which begins at 6 p.m. on Oct. 1.
Offensive Notes and Anecdotes…
Freshman Chuck Dibilio made his collegiate debut a memorable one last weekend, rushing for 86 yards on 14 carries and scoring on a 26-yard reception in the fourth quarter. He had the third-most rushing yards in the Ivy League last weekend, and his 6.1-yard average was second-best in the league.
The performance of Dibilio was no surprise to members of the Lehigh media, who watched the Nazareth graduate gain 4,902 career all-purpose yards, including 4,366 rushing yards, and score 57 career touchdowns in his all-state career. His performance earned him Ivy League Rookie of the Week honors.
Sharp Dressed Man
Junior Akil Sharp made his first start at tailback last weekend and led Princeton with 138 all-purpose yards on 18 touches, including 12 rushes. He averaged 4.4 yards per carry and 15 yards per catch; his 60 receiving yards was the most for Princeton last weekend.
After rushing for a total of 11 yards in Princeton’s first seven games last year, Sharp has rushed for 164 yards in the last four Tiger games.
Senior Tommy Wornham started his third straight season opener last weekend and threw for 232 yards and a touchdown. He has thrown at least one touchdown pass in five of his last six starts, with the lone exception being the game he was injured. Wornham has now thrown for 2,967 yards and needs 33 yards to become the eighth Princeton quarterback to throw for at least 3,000 career yards.
Moving Up The Charts
If Tommy Wornham can average the 232 yards passing he recorded against Lehigh for the remainder of the season, he would become the third Princeton quarterback ever to throw for more than 5,000 career yards. The next person on the list is 2004 graduate David Splithoff, who threw for 3,446 yards between 2000-2002. Wornham needs 479 yards to tie Splithoff for eighth.
Junior Shane Wilkinson caught 11 passes all of last season, but he was Princeton’s leading receiver last weekend with six receptions for 47 yards. Three of his six catches came on the fourth-quarter scoring drive that got Princeton to within five points.
Eight players caught at least one pass for Princeton last weekend, including five for 42 yards for senior Isaac Serwanga.
Just For Kicks
Senior placekicker Patrick Jacob followed his 2010 All-Ivy season with a strong start to 2011. He made each of his three field goal attempts last weekend and now has 17 career field goals. He needs 10 more to move past Charlie Gogolak for fifth place all time, despite the fact that he has played only 11 games.
Jacob earned preseason All-America distinction this season after making 14 of 18 field goals last season.
After averaging only 4.1 points in the fourth quarter of games last season, Princeton scored two touchdowns against Lafayette. The Tigers only scored multiple fourth-quarter touchdowns once last season (Cornell), and didn’t score a single point in the final three games.
Defensive Notes and Anecdotes…
Tackling The Issue
Junior defensive back Mandela Sheaffer, now in his second year as a starting safety, led Princeton with 12 tackles last weekend, a total that was second-most in the Ivy League. Last season, Sheaffer finished fourth on the team with 60 tackles, though he never had 12 in a single game. Sheaffer added one tackle for loss and had one of Princeton’s three pass break-ups.
Senior linebacker Steven Cody returned after missing the final nine games of the 2010 season and finished with eight tackles last weekend. Cody, a two-time All-Ivy League selection, has led Princeton in tackles twice during his career (2008, 2009).
Like Steven Cody, junior defensive lineman Caraun Reid played his first game since suffering a 2010 season-ending injury at Lehigh. Reid had six tackles, including one for loss, and blocked a field goal attempt against the Mountain Hawks.
Quick As A Cat
Senior tri-captain Mike Catapano, who also earned preseason All-America distinction this season, led the Princeton defensive line last weekend with seven tackles, including one for loss.
Junior Matt Landry recorded Princeton’s first sack of the season last weekend against Lehigh.
What Can Brown Do For You?
Freshman Khamal Brown had the greatest defensive impact of any member of the Class of 2015. Playing cornerback, he made five tackles and three solo stops. Fellow freshmen Garrit Leicht and Mike Zeuli also saw time and recorded one tackle apiece.
Give It Back
Princeton recovered its first onsides kick of the season on its first try, as well as on the first play of freshman Brandon Sofen’s career. The backup kicker hit a perfect, high-bouncing kick in the fourth quarter last weekend that was recovered by Jaiye Falusi. That play set up the Dibilio touchdown drive and got Princeton back within five points in the final minutes of the game.
Last Week: Lehigh 34, PRINCETON 22
When its 2011 season opened last Saturday night, Princeton showed plenty of signs that it was heading in the right direction. It showed that it was working towards being a very good football team. Unfortunately, it did so against Lehigh, which is already a very good team; the result was a 34-22 home loss that went from bleak to thrilling in a wild fourth quarter.
Trailing 27-9 early in the fourth quarter, Princeton senior Ivan Charbonneau, a member on the Ivy League champion track & field team, took the kickoff down the middle, cut towards the Lehigh sideline and sprinted past two final defenders. The 92-yard touchdown was both Princeton’s first touchdown of the season and its first on a kickoff return since 2005.
Freshman Brendan Sofen came on and stunned Lehigh with a brilliant, high-bouncing onsides kick that was recovered by senior Jaiye Falusi. That started an eight-play, 70-yard drive that ended with senior quarterback Tommy Wornham hitting freshman tailback Chuck Dibilio on a shovel pass for a 26-yard touchdown.
Just like that, it was 27-22. But the Lehigh offense, which came into the game averaging 45 points per contest, answered with a 10-play, 61-yard touchdown drive that put the game away.
Wornham, in his return from a season-ending injury midway through the 2010 campaign, completed 23 of 41 passes for 232 yards and a touchdown. Junior Shane Wilkinson caught six passes for 47 yards, while senior Isaac Serwanga caught five passes for 42 yards.
Surace left the game feeling even more pleased about the depth in his backfield. While sophomore Brian Mills missed the game with an injury, Surace was encouraged by the play of both Dibilio and junior Akil Sharp. Dibilio led the team with 86 yards on 14 carries, while Sharp started the game and rushed for 53 yards on 12 carries.
Junior safety Mandela Sheaffer led the defense with 12 tackles, including one for loss, and a pass breakup. Senior linebacker Steven Cody, playing his first game since breaking his leg against Lehigh last season, added eight tackles. Junior Caraun Reid recorded six tackles, including one for loss, and blocked a field goal.