NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Yale outgained Albany in total offense 312-276, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Bulldogs’ special teams struggles in a 23-20 loss to the Great Danes at the Yale Bowl, Class of 1954 Field Saturday afternoon. Yale suffered a blocked field goal, blocked extra point, and a blocked punt that led to an Albany touchdown.
“We made too many mistakes today,” said Tom Williams, Yale’s Joel E. Smilow ‘54 Head Coach of Football. “I am very concerned about special teams. We’re starting to think too much instead of executing, and we have to get that fixed.”
On Yale’s first possession of the game, the Elis capped off a 61-yard drive with a 24-yard touchdown strike from Patrick Witt (21-46, 231, 2 TD, 1 INT) to Jordan Forney. The ensuing extra point was blocked by Albany. The special teams woes continued at the end of their second drive when Alex Barnes’ punt was blocked and returned 7 yards for a touchdown by freshman free safety Justinian Mason.
With three minutes left in the second quarter, the Great Danes would add another touchdown on a 16-yard pass from Dan Di Lella (15-24, 132, 1 TD) to wide receiver Jameel Gay. Less than two minutes later Albany would add a field goal from Herb Glass following an interception by Witt, increasing the Albany lead to 17-6.
With less than a minute remaining, the Elis would respond and take momentum into the locker room. With 11 seconds remaining in the half, Witt scrambled 22 yards to the Albany 28-yard line setting up a 45-yard field goal attempt with one second remaining. Yale faked the field goal and Forney took the snap 28 yards before diving to the left pylon to score as time expired in the half.
Yale (2-1, 1-0 Ivy) had an opportunity to take the lead late in the third quarter after a 45-yard pass from Witt to Gio Christodoulou landed the Bulldogs at the Albany three-yard line. Albany’s defense tightened up again and not only prevented a Yale touchdown, but blocked the 20-yard field goal attempt by Barnes.
Following a scoreless third quarter, Albany (2-2, 0-1 NEC) marched down the field 80 yards in 16 plays for a one-yard touchdown run by Dillon Romain.
After a three-and-out by Albany on the next possession, Witt found a wide-open Chris Smith in the right corner of the end zone to bring Yale within three points.
Although Yale put up strong offensive numbers, it was not enough to overcome missed opportunities and key mistakes on special teams.
Forney, who caught four passes for 65 yards and a touchdown along with his 28-yard TD run, was disappointed yet optimistic after the defeat.
“I am very disappointed in the loss, but I know we are going to bounce back. Even though we were down, this team has the attitude that we are always in the game and can come back”, said Forney.
The Bulldogs look to bounce back next Saturday at Dartmouth, while the Great Danes will take on Saint Francis (Pa.).