Football Friday: Bob Surace Talks Run Game, Defense & The Columbia Matchup
WEEK 2 HIGHLIGHTS
In the third installment of the Football Friday series, head coach Bob Surace reflects on the performance of a pair of defensive standouts last weekend, the progression of the Princeton run game and his thoughts on Saturday's Ivy League-opening matchup against Columbia (1 pm, ESPN3).
The Princeton football team will look to build on last week's 50-point outburst at Georgetown and open its Ivy League season with a victory for the third straight year.
Columbia, meanwhile, knows that all of the pains from a pair of September losses will go away with one victory Saturday. That is what happens when you open your league season with a win.
One of these two teams will take a positive step towards the ultimate goal, a 2013 Ivy League championship. The other will probably need a perfect finish to get a piece of the league crown.
The Ivy League season opens Saturday at 1 pm on Powers Field at Princeton Stadium (ESPN3/WatchESPN/WPRB 103.3 FM).
The race is on.
|Columbia Lions (0-2, 0-0 Ivy) at Princeton Tigers (1-1, 0-0)
|Game Time/Location||1 pm • Powers Field at Princeton Stadium • Tickets|
|Game Coverage||ESPN3 Video Stream l Radio l Live Stats l @PUTigers|
|All-Time Series||Princeton leads 66-15-1|
|Last Year||Princeton 33, COLUMBIA 6|
|Last At Site||
PRINCETON 24, Columbia 21 (2011)
|Last Five Years||Princeton leads 3-2|
|Last Columbia Win||COLUMBIA 42, Princeton 14 (2010)|
|Current Streak||Princeton 2|
|Princeton||Game Notes l Roster l Schedule l Statistics|
|Columbia||Game Notes l Roster l Schedule l Statistics|
A Princeton Win Would …
• give Princeton a two-game win streak, its second-longest since 2009
• give Princeton a three-game win streak over Columbia
• give Princeton its first winning record after three games since 2008
• move Princeton into a four-way share of first place with Harvard, Yale and the Penn-Dartmouth winner
WEEK 3 GAME NOTES
Lights, Camera, Action
Saturday’s game, as well as each of Princeton’s three remaining home games, will be shown live on ESPN3. Saturday’s broadcasters will be Dave Popkin and former Delaware head coach K.C. Keeler.
Both the Brown and Harvard road games will be televised nationally on Fox College Sports, while the Penn and Dartmouth road games will be on the Ivy League Digital Network.
Both Princeton and Columbia will be looking to prove the Ivy League media wrong this season. Neither team was picked to finish in the top half of the league in the annual preseason media poll; Princeton was picked to finish fifth, while Columbia was picked to finish eighth.
Here are two points to remember on the preseason poll. The last time Princeton won the Ivy League title (2006), it was picked to finish sixth. Last year, Princeton was picked to finish eighth, and it remained in the league race until the final day of the season.
Out Of The Gates
While neither team will win the Ivy League today, one team will likely lose all margin for error the rest of the season. It has been more than 30 years, specifically the 1982 season, that a team earned a share of the Ivy League title with two losses.
Home Sweet Home
Two seasons ago, Princeton defeated Columbia 24-21 in the first Ivy League victory for
Princeton head coach Bob Surace. Since the series started Nov. 14, 1874, Princeton is 33-4-1 against Columbia at home, and it is 5-2 at Princeton Stadium.
Making Their Point
Princeton scored 50 points last weekend in a four-touchdown victory at Georgetown. The 50-28 victory matched Princeton’s highest point total since a 55-28 win over Brown on Oct. 14, 2000.
Princeton has now scored 78 points in the first two games; that total is the most since 1951, when the Tigers also scored 78 points in beating NYU (54-20) and Navy (24-20). The 1951 season ended with Dick Kazmaier winning the Heisman Trophy.
Princeton rushed for 326 yards and six touchdowns last weekend against Georgetown, and the Tigers are averaging 258.5 rushing yards per game this season. That total is second-highest in the Ivy League and 12th best in all of the FCS.
Last weekend, Princeton rushed for 326 yards, and no Tiger player carried the ball more than 11 times (Brian Mills). Against Lehigh, DiAndre Atwater had a team-high 12 carries. In both games, eight different Princeton players had at least one rush.
The Princeton offense, which has ranked between 60th and 75th nationally in total offense over the last three years, currently ranks sixth in the FCS. Princeton averages 521.5 yards per game and 6.6 yards per play.
Princeton has gained more than 500 yards of total offense in both games this season. It reached that mark only once last season and three times in last three years combined.
Just Quinn, Baby
Junior Quinn Epperly became the first Princeton player to score four touchdowns in one game since Keith Elias did so against Holy Cross Oct. 2, 1993. Epperly’s four touchdowns came on his first four rushes of the game, including a 59-yard score on 4th-and-inches.
Dating back to last season, Epperly has accounted for 14 touchdowns (nine rushing, five passing in his last seven games.
The last time Columbia came to Princeton, Brian Mills rushed for 117 yards and a touchdown in a victory, and he would be named Ivy League Player of the Week. Since then, Mills has been moved to defensive back for the 2012 season, and then moved back to tailback for this season.
That decision paid off last week, as Mills rushed for a game-high 110 yards, and his 53-yard touchdown opened a 22-12 lead in the first quarter.
Senior wide receiver Roman Wilson currently ranks seventh nationally in the FCS with 114.5 receiving yards per game; in his last home game, he caught nine passes for a career-best 168 yards and a touchdown.
Wilson, who rushed for a touchdown last weekend, was an All-Ivy honoree last season and led the league with 17.5 yards per reception. He has scored at least one touchdown in eight of Princeton’s last ten games, dating back to last season.
Line It Up
Princeton has three offensive linemen who have started at least 15 games in their career. Leading the way is center Joe Goss, who will make his 31st career start this weekend. Both right guard Max Coale and left tackle Spenser Huston will be making their 17th career starts against Columbia.
One lineman who will be looking for better memories from the Columbia game will be starting left guard Jack Woodall. After starting the first three games last season, Woodall broke his foot against the Lions and missed the rest of the season.
Return To Sender
Sophomore Anthony Gaffney opened his Ivy League career in dramatic fashion last year, returning the opening kickoff at Columbia 94 yards for a touchdown. He also added the first two interceptions of his career in a 33-6 victory.
Gaffney was the lone Princeton freshman to earn first-team All-Ivy League honors last season. He was named to the first team at both the cornerback and kickoff return positions.
Shut The Dor-ian
While several freshmen have already made an impact on the field early this season, nobody has had a day like nickel cornerback Dorian Williams had at Georgetown. He recorded both his first interception and his first sack in the 50-22 win, and his interception set up a touchdown drive for the Tigers.
On The Mike
Junior Mike Zeuli, who moved from safety to linebacker during the offseason, currently leads the Ivy League with 13 tackles per game. He had a career-best 18 in the season opener against Lehigh.
Junior Garrit Leicht suffered an injury late in the 2012 preseason, and it kept him out of the first month of the season. With several games from last year and a full preseason under his belt, Leicht is thriving in the middle linebacker spot. He had a career-high eight tackles in Princeton’s victory at Georgetown last weekend.
Cornering The Market
While Anthony Gaffney is set as one of Princeton’s cornerbacks, the competition for the other spot was one of the focal points of the preseason. Both sophomore John Hill and junior Jakobi Johnson had impressive showings last weekend; Hill recorded a career-high seven tackles and added two pass break-ups on potential long plays, while Johnson recorded a fourth-quarter interception.
One other player in the rotation is Trocon Davis; he set a Princeton record with a 100-yard interception return for a touchdown last year at Yale.
One week after Lehigh converted on nine of 17 third downs and two of two fourth downs, Princeton limited Georgetown to only three conversions on 16 third-down attempts last weekend.
Speaking of conversions, Princeton has scored the opening touchdown in each of the first two games this season. On both, the Tigers followed with a successful two-point conversion.
Just For Kicks
Sophomore Nolan Bieck has six career field goals for Princeton. Four of them came last season in the 33-6 win over Columbia. He was named Ivy League Special Teams Player of the Week after going 4-for-4.
The Crystal Ball
Princeton remains home next weekend for its final non-league game of the season next Saturday when it hosts Lafayette at 1 pm. The Tigers have won seven straight games over the Leopards, including a 35-14 road win last season.
Surace’s first victory as the head coach at Princeton came in a 36-33 double-overtime victory over Lafayette in 2010. The winning touchdown was scored by Jordan Culbreath, who returned after missing the previous season following his diagnosis of aplastic anemia.
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.