ITAHCA, N.Y. – Alex Thomas is showing why he is the most prolific runner in Connecticut High School history. The junior RB from Ansonia, who scored three times in an opening day win last week, rambled for 124 yards on 18 carries (6.9 avg.) to help the Yale football team beat Cornell 21-7 in the Ivy opener for both schools before a homecoming crowd of 16,026 at Schoellkopf Field.
The Elis (2-0, 1-0 Ivy), who outgained the home team in total offense 443 to 270, broke open a 7-7 game in the third with a pair of TDs to end a two-game skid against the Big Red (0-2, 0-1).
“We went into the half with 282 yards of offense and just seven points. We thought we were pressing a little too much,” said Tom Williams, the Joel E. Smilow ’54 Head Coach of Yale Football. “We made the plays we were suppose to make in the second half. We took the ball away and made them pay. That’s the hallmark of a good team.”
Yale drove the ball 93 yards on its second possession to take a 7-0 lead. Patrick Witt (18-32, 232, 1 TD) hit WR Gio Christodoulou over the middle and the speedy senior broke two tackles and outraced a defensive back to the corner pilon for a 69-yard scoring play at 6:01. “I had been in for a few plays and was a little winded. Pat put the ball in the right place and I was lucky to win the race. That took a lot out of me,” said Christodoulou.
A pair of interceptions by Big Red DB Emani Fenton prevented the visitors from adding any points in the first half. Cornell QB Jeff Matthews found TB Nick Booker-Tandy open in the right flat late in the first quarter on an 11-yard pass play to even the score.
The Bulldogs capitalized on Adam Money’s fifth career interception on the opening drive of the second half to take the lead again. Thomas, who had a one-yard run, scored his fourth TD of the season to give Yale a 14-7 lead.
“We wanted the change the momentum in the second half,” said Money, who returned the pick 20 yards and also forced a big special teams fumble. “This was a cohesive, group effort and the defensive line really made our jobs easier today.”
Yale increased the lead to 14 points by converting another turnover. LB Jordan Haynes recovered a fumbled punt on the Cornell 30 late in the third that led to Witt’s one-yard plunge at 1:28.
Senior WR Jordan Forney led the Blue with five catches for 54 yards, but this was more of a defensive day (4 sacks, 2 turnovers) for the visitors. Haynes led Yale with 10 (5-5) total stops while DB Geoff Dunham had six solo tackles and DE Allen Davis notched his first two collegiate sacks.
Davis and his teammates knocked out Cornell’s starting TB on his first carry of the game and made life difficult for Mathews (23-35, 248, 1 TD), a freshman making his first start.