What started out as a season of promise is quickly turning into a nightmare. The Princeton football team was blown out for the second straight game last weekend, losing 44-10 to Colgate. The Tigers fell to 1-3, and things don’t get any easier this week, as 2-2 Brown comes to town. The Bears thumped preseason league favorite Harvard in their Ivy League opener but have dropped two straight since then.
Through three games, the Bears’ offense lived up to its reputation, averaging 28.7 points and 370.7 yards per game. Princeton’s injury-plagued defense has struggled all season, and it would seem that the Tigers might be headed for another long day. But Brown suffered a serious injury of its own at the end of its Oct. 2 contest with Rhode Island: All-Ivy quarterback Kyle Newhall-Caballero suffered a broken wrist and is lost for the season. Without their record-setting quarterback under center, Brown managed only 13 points in a loss to Holy Cross last week.
Princeton leads the all-time series 51-25, but the Tigers have dropped three in a row and four of the last five. Last season, the Tigers fell to Brown 34-17. The pain of defeat was intensified by the loss of senior captain and inside linebacker Scott Britton.
In that game, the Tigers entered the locker room at halftime down only three, after a Ben Bologna ’10 field goal had made the score 20-17. But Bears receiver Buddy Farnham returned the opening kickoff of the second half 92 yards for a touchdown. Later, Brown put the final nail in the coffin with an 11-minute touchdown drive that ended with less than two minutes remaining. Farnham had 10 catches for 199 yards and one receiving touchdown.
Princeton defensive tackle Caraun Reid ’13
Reid went down with a leg injury in week one. The team is hopeful the interior lineman will return this week. He is perhaps the team’s most talented defensive lineman. The recipient of Princeton’s top defensive freshman honor a season ago, Reid totaled 4.5 tackles for loss and four pass break-ups last year. With Reid, middle linebacker Steve Cody, and safety Matt Wakulchik out for the last three games, the Tigers have struggled mightily on defense. Reid’s return could go a long way toward fixing that.
Brown senior wide receiver Alexander Tounkara
Tounkara is the Bears’ big-play threat. The senior has caught 32 passes for 432 yards through four games. Princeton’s secondary has looked very vulnerable, and Tounkara might be the best wide receiver the team has faced all season. At 6-feet, 4-inches, his size could pose problems for Tiger cornerbacks Blake Clemons ’12 and Glenn Wakam ’11, both of whom are under 6 feet tall.
Princeton remains without starting center Mike Muha and safety Matt Wakulchik. Left guard Matt Allen remains injured as well and will be replaced by junior Chris Grous. Aside from Reid’s potential return, the starting lineup should be otherwise unchanged.
With Newhall-Caballero out, the Bears will turn to sophomore Pat Donnelly and senior Joe Springer at quarterback. Donnelly got the majority of the snaps last week.
Around the Ivies
Last weekend, Harvard and Columbia each coasted to two-touchdown wins, defeating Cornell and Lafayette respectively. Penn traveled west to Bucknell and knocked off the Bison 31-10. Yale eked out a 23-20 win at Dartmouth, while Brown fell at Holy Cross.
“Obviously he’s familiar with the players on their squad and things they’ve done, but at the end of the day it comes down to blocking and tackling and playing responsibilities.”
– Head coach Bob Surace ’90 on the perceived impact that Princeton offensive coordinator and former Brown quarterbacks coach James Perry could have on the game