POSTGAME AUDIO: Bob Surace
Another week, another milestone in the historic freshman season for running back Chuck Dibilio. The five-time Ivy League Rookie of the Week stated his case for a sixth such honor by rushing for 178 yards and three touchdowns in a tight 33-24 home loss against Yale Saturday during Alumni Weekend.
The 178 yards put Dibilio's season total at 1,002, making him the first true freshman in Ivy League history to reach 1,000 rushing yards in a single season. He will enter next weekend's season finale at Dartmouth with a real chance to become the first freshman to ever win the Ivy League rushing title.
The league rushing title is determined by rushing yards in league games only. Dibilio will enter the season finale with 749 yards in the first six league games, a total that will trail only Nick Schwieger, who has 766 rushing yards.
Schwieger, by the way, plays for Dartmouth. So the two will likely battle head-to-head for the rushing title, assuming nobody else has an unbelieveable final day.
"He's such a competitor," head coach Bob Surace said. "His respect, his humility, his class … he just does things right. He has handled everything. He has obviously come to us as a mature football player from a good program, and he has been able to step in and play well all year."
Dibilio also became the first Princeton player to rush for three touchdowns in a single game since the 2002 season finale, when Cameron Atkinson recorded a trio against Dartmouth. He scored on runs of 19, four and six yards, with the first one coming on a play that started towards the sidelines and ended back in the middle of the field, an exhibition of the vision that Dibilio has demonstrated since his first game.
Once again, Princeton posted a huge rushing total (277 yards), but Yale's passing attack was just as dominant and made more big plays. Yale quarterback Patrick Witt completed 26 of 33 passes for 379 yards and three touchdowns, including a 59-yard score to Cameron Sandquist that came off a tip from intended receiver Jackson Ligouri.
Princeton got to within one possession twice in the second half, but it never gave its offense the chance to tie or go ahead. After Dibilio's four-yard touchdown run, Yale's Alex Thomas broke a run off the right side of the line and sprinted 62 yards for a touchdown.
After both teams failed on a pair of drives, Princeton went 57 yards in eight plays and scored on a six-yard run for Dibilio, who has now scored eight of Princeton's 15 offensive touchdowns. That left the deficit at six points, as Yale missed the extra point following Thomas' touchdown, but the Bulldogs never gave Princeton a chance to get ahead. Witt led Yale on a 15-play, 58-yard drive that took 6:18 off the clock and included two third-down conversions and one fourth-down conversion. Philippe Panico atoned for his missed extra point with a 27-yard field goal that all but iced the game.
While senior quarterback Tommy Wornham wasn't able to get much going in the pass game, he rushed 10 times for 64 yards. Freshman Matt Costello came back after missing the Penn game and caught two passes for 23 yards, while junior Mark Hayes added three catches for 12 yards.
The defense was led by Caraun Reid, who continues to state his case for first-team All-Ivy League honors. He recorded a career-best 11 tackles, including 3.5 for losses, and added two sacks. Fellow lineman Mike Catapano added six tackles, including two for losses, and recorded a sack and a pass breakup. Junior linebacker Tim Kingsbury added nine tackles, while both senior Chance Cross and freshman Khamal Brown added eight apiece.
Princeton will conclude its season next Saturday at Memorial Field at 1:30 p.m.