38 Days, 38 Sports: Football
As a countdown to the start of the 2013-14 athletic schedule, GoPrincetonTigers.com will take a look at each of Princeton's 38 sports. A new post will be added each day Monday through Friday until the first Princeton athletic event on Aug. 31.
Princeton Football • Thirty Fast Facts
Here are 30 fast facts to get you ready for the 2013 Princeton Football Season:
1) By winning four more games in 2012 (5) than 2011 (1), Princeton had its best single-season turnaround since 1990-1991, when Princeton went from three wins to eight.
2) Princeton earned its 25th “Big Three” sweep and traditional bonfire on Cannon Green last year with a 39-34 win over Harvard and a 29-7 win at Yale.
3) In both victories over Harvard and Yale, Princeton ended the game on a 29-0 run. Against Harvard, it came over the final 11:19. Against Yale, it lasted over the final three quarters.
4) Princeton led in nine of 10 games it played last season, and it had the ball down three points at Lehigh in the final minutes in the 10th.
5) Princeton scored a total of 78 fourth-quarter points in the 2010 and 2011 seasons combined. Last season, it scored 89 fourth-quarter points.
6) Sixteen players scored touchdowns last season. They included a throwback to an offensive lineman (Spenser Huston), a blocked punt (John Hill), a 100-yard interception return (Trocon Davis), an interception return (Phillip Bhaya), a kickoff return on the first play of the Ivy League season (Anthony Gaffney) and two receptions on botched field goal snaps (Mark Hayes and Des Smith).
7) Princeton shut out Brown 19-0; it was the first time Brown did not score in a game since the 1996 season opener. The only points that came off a Brown offensive play was a safety, via a Caraun Reid tackle in the end zone.
10) Princeton won four straight games midway through last season, its longest winning streak since a six-game streak during the 2006 championship season.
11) Mike Catapano became Princeton’s seventh Bushnell Cup recipient when he was named the Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year.
12) Roman Wilson led Princeton in receptions during seven of 10 games, including his 5-111 effort against Harvard. He caught the 36-yard game-winning touchdown pass from Quinn Epperly with 13 seconds remaining.
13) Anthony Gaffney intercepted two passes in the win over Columbia during his first Ivy League game. He was the first Tiger with multiple interceptions in a game since Kevin Kelleher did it, also against Harvard, in 2007.
14) Connor Michelsen was named the Ivy League Offensive Player of the Week after completing 20 of 33 passes for 237 yards and three fourth-quarter touchdowns in the 39-34 comeback win over Harvard.
15) During an 11-drive sequence in Ithaca, Princeton and Cornell combined for eight touchdowns. The other three drives ended with a punt, an interception and halftime.
16) Princeton averaged more points, yards per game, first downs and time of possession in its five road games than it did in five home games. The Tigers were 3-2 on the road (Columbia, Lafayette and Yale) and 2-3 at home (Brown and Harvard).
17) Khamal Brown recorded an interception in Princeton’s win over Lafayette. That would be his final game until at least 2014, as he suffered an aneurism the following week. To read more on Brown’s rehabilitation, click here.
18) In his first year as a starter, Alex Polofsky finished third on the team (and first among returners) with 67 tackles. He had 11 in the win over Harvard, and added eight more the previous week in the shutout of Brown.
19) Princeton scored five touchdowns that accounted for more than 40 yards on the play. The two longest were Davis’ 100-yard interception return (Yale) and Gaffney’s 94-yard kickoff return.
20) Mike Catapano became the 13th player from Princeton to ever get drafted (7th round, Kansas City), although the 10th in the modern era (post-merge), and the first since Dennis Norman was selected by Seattle in 2001. Since the modern era, only two Princeton players have been drafted before him: Jon Schultheis (Philadelphia, 1983, 182nd pick) and Bob Hews (Kansas City, 1970, 156th pick).
THE 2013 SCHEDULE
21) Princeton will open its season against Lehigh (Sept. 21) for the third-straight season and the sixth time in eight years. The only time Princeton won one of those games (2006), it went on to win the Ivy League championship.
22) Princeton will make its first trip to Georgetown Sept. 28 for the seventh game a series that dates back 110 years. It will be Princeton’s second game of the season and first on the road; it will be Georgetown’s fifth game of the season and third at home.
23) Princeton opens the Ivy League season Oct. 5 against Columbia. Lions head coach Pete Mangurian will be looking to duplicate the second-season success he had at Cornell (1999), when he improved by three overall wins and four in Ivy League play.
24) Princeton has won six straight games over Lafayette (Oct. 12), its longest active winning streak against any team on its 2013 schedule.
25) Brown Stadium will host its first Ivy League night game on Oct. 19 when the Bears host Princeton at 6 pm. It will also be Princeton’s first ever road night game in Ivy League play.
26) Princeton will travel to Harvard Oct. 26 in a series that has produced three straight offensive shootouts. Since 2010, the Princeton-Harvard games have averaged 80 points and 1,010 offensive yards per game. Over the three games, there have been 33 touchdowns scored.
27) By the time Cornell comes to Princeton Stadium on Nov. 2, Jeff Mathews will likely have surpassed Princeton offensive coordinator James Perry atop the all-time Ivy League passing list. Mathews needs 964 yards to move past Perry’s career total of 9,294 yards.
28) The Princeton offense has had three straight forgettable trips to Franklin Field, where it will return Nov. 9 to take on the reigning Ivy champion Penn Quakers. Since Princeton’s 30-13 win in Philadelphia in 2005, the Tigers have scored only one touchdown in 12 quarters.
29) Princeton will host Yale for the 136th meeting in this historic series on Nov. 16, as part of Alumni Weekend. It will be looking for its first two-game win streak over the Bulldogs since 2000-01; the Tigers have won at least two straight games over every other Ivy program during the last decade.
30) Since the 1917 Sawhorse Dollar was introduced before the 2004 Princeton-Dartmouth game, Don Dobes has been part of the winning side (2004-09 as Princeton’s linebackers coach, 2010-12 as Dartmouth’s defensive coordinator). The Tigers will try to end that streak in the 2013 season finale on Nov. 23.
Princeton Football • Three To Watch
Anthony Gaffney DB/KR
A preseason All-America (BSN), Gaffney earned first-team All-Ivy honors during his freshman season at cornerback and kick returner.
An All-Ivy League left tackle in 2012, Huston is the anchor on a deeper, improved offensive line, which returns four starters from last season.