During Princeton’s Sept. 22 football game at Lafayette, each time the Tiger offense faced a third down, the scoreboard sound system tried to rally the fans, and the defense, with three deep, clock-tower gongs. But by night’s end, the bell was tolling for the Leopards.

Led by quarterback Bill Foran ’08, Princeton converted eight of 18 third-down opportunities — including five of seven yards or longer — to keep key scoring drives alive in a 20–14 Princeton win.

Lafayette had entered the game with the top-ranked defense in Division I Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA), but Princeton’s defense stole the spotlight, holding the Leopard offense to less than 300 yards.

The win provided a boost for Foran, who struggled in the Tigers’ opener Sept. 15, throwing two first-half interceptions in a 32–21 loss to Lehigh. Against Lafayette, he completed 18 of 24 passes for 190 yards, rushed for 45 yards, and helped the Tigers control the ball for nearly 38 of the game’s 60 minutes. “You need to show your teammates that the offense can score,” Foran said after the game. “I think the whole team had something to prove tonight.”

This season, coach Roger Hughes’ offense starts almost exclusively with a shotgun formation and includes an array of motion, reverses, option pitches, and shovel passes. The misdirection does not always fool the opposing defense — Princeton runners or receivers were tackled for losses eight times against Lafayette — but Foran, like his predecessor Jeff Terrell ’07, has shown a knack for salvaging broken plays. “You just have to think that the play’s never over,” said Kenny Gunter ’10, who was on the receiving end of six passes. “Bill’s always going to give us a chance to get more yards. You just have to keep looking, and he’ll get you the ball.”