Football Will Need Winning Road Show To Ascend Above Preseason No. 5 Rank
Princeton went 2-1 on the road in Ivy League games last season, including dominant efforts at both Columbia and Yale. To move beyond the No. 5 spot, where it landed Tuesday in the 2013 Ivy League media preseason poll, it will need to be impressive on the road again this season.
After being ranked at the bottom of the Ivy League poll the last two seasons, Princeton moved up three spots to the No. 5 position, it was announced during Ivy League Football Media Day. Princeton finished below its four road opponents this season, including reigning champion and preseason favorite Penn, and above the three teams it will host.
Penn (11), Harvard (5) and Brown (1) all earned at least one first-place vote in the poll — which included two voters from each school's local media, as well as one national correspondant — and Princeton will play each of those three teams on the road during a four-week stretch (Oct. 19-Nov. 9), beginning with a night game at Brown Stadium.
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 last season. The Tigers were 3-2 on the road (Columbia, Lafayette and Yale) and 2-3 at home (Brown and Harvard).
Princeton will open its Ivy League season Oct. 5 at 1 pm against Columbia, and then will play its final six games in the league, starting with the Brown game. That will include home matchups against both Cornell (Nov. 2) and Yale (Nov. 16).
The No. 5 ranking is the highest in the four-year tenure of head coach Bob Surace, and it actually matches the third-highest spot for Princeton since 2000. Princeton was picked to finish eighth last season, but it shared third place in the league after a 4-3 Ivy mark. That matched the program's highest jump since 2000; the other came in 2006, when Princeton moved from sixth in the preseason poll to a share of its ninth Ivy League title.
Princeton will enter the season with several key pieces from the 2012 team, including Preseason All-America defensive lineman Caraun Reid and All-Ivy offensive honorees Roman Wilson and Spenser Huston. Both quarterbacks Connor Michelsen and Quinn Epperly enter their junior seasons, while first-team All-Ivy defensive back/return specialist Anthony Gaffney will enter the 2013 season as a sophomore.
Princeton will have to replace a pair of key defensive pieces, who now hope to continue their playing days on Sunday. Defensive end Mike Catapano, the 2012 Bushnell Cup recipient as the Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year, was drafted in the seventh round by the Kansas City Chiefs, while linebacker Andrew Starks signed a free agent contract with the Chicago Bears.
As the Princeton preseason draws near, GoPrincetonTigers.com will have full coverage of the 2013 football season, including another set of video previews featuring Jay Greenberg of PrincetonTigersFootball.com and Dan Loney, the voice of Princeton football.
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