Defense leads Lafayette to win at Yale
Lafayette held Yale scoreless in the second half of a Patriot League-Ivy League matchup on Saturday at the Yale Bowl. The Leopards' 20-10 victory improved their overall record to 4-2 with a 2-1 mark against Ivy League opponents.
In his first career start, junior Dion King made 13 tackles at linebacker while sophomore Shane Black came up from his safety spot to make 11 tackles while also picking off a pair of passes. Freshman linebacker Chris Brockman had eight tackles.
"I am certainly happy that we've been able to rebound from two tough weeks. We needed this game badly to head into the league and gain some confidence and momentum," said Lafayette head coach Frank Tavani. "We really started out slowly offensively, but we always depend on our defense, as we always have, to keep us in games until we can get our motor running a little bit."
Senior QB Andrew Shoop's motor seemed fine at Yale, a week after missing the Princeton game due to a concussion. He completed 20-of-33 for 243 yards and two touchdowns and took over eighth place on Lafayette's career passing yardage list (3,026 yards) and touchdown ledger (23).
In the first quarter, Lafayette (4-2) picked off Yale twice but had no points to show for it, also turning it over on a fumble.
Yale (1-4) broke through 30 seconds into the second quarter, finishing off a six-play, 55-yard with a 25-yard pass from Eric Williams to Michael Leunen.
The Leopards evened the score midway through the second quarter. A 20-yard pass from Shoop to Mark Ross set up the Leopards' initial score, advancing the ball to the 15. Shoop picked up 11 yards on the ground before finishing off the drive with his arm on a four -yard play-action pass to Greg Kessel across the middle. The six-play scoring drive knotted the game at 7-7.
The Bulldogs added a field goal with 4:39 left in the half and led 10-7 going into the locker room.
The Leopards controlled the second half. On their second drive after intermission, Lafayette took the lead for good, covering 78 yards on 12 plays over five minutes. The Leopards converted a 3-and-22 when Shoop zipped a 25-yard pass to Rodney Gould. Ross drew a pass interference penalty before pulling down a 10-yard TD pass from Shoop. Ross garnered 105 yards in the air, his third straight game with 100-plus yards. Ryan Gralish's PAT made it 14-10 with 3:58 left in the third quarter.
Black's second interception of the game came in the red zone, stopping a five-minute drive that began the fourth quarter. The game was decided on Yale's next drive. The Bulldogs had the ball 4-and-1 at the Lafayette 28 when freshman linebacker Mark Dodd worked his way though the line to stuff Mordecai Cargill for a loss of two yards.
The Leopards took the ensuing drive 70 yards on seven plays over the next three minutes. Ross Scheuerman opened the possession with a 38-yard run into enemy territory. After a Shoop sack, Lafayette faced a 4th-and-12 situation at the Yale 34. Shoop to Ross worked again, this time for 32 yards. Two plays later, Scheuerman followed the lead block of fullback Pat Creahan through the line into the endzone with 2:19 left in the game. The PAT was blocked.
Chris Brockman intercepted Yale quarterback Eric Williams on the final drive of the game. Brcokman, Black and Jared Roberts combined to pick off four passes from Williams who completed 23-of-34 with one touchdown. Tyler Varga finished with 110 yards on the ground for Yale while fellow tailback Mordecail Cargill had 98.
Lafayette returns home and to Patriot League action on Oct. 20, hosting Holy Cross. Kickoff on Homecoming Weekend is set for 1 p.m.
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