By Justin Feil, Assistant Sports Editor
The Princeton University football was missing several key performers from previous weeks, but the Tigers remained unbeaten behind some emerging names.
Isaiah Barnes caught a career-high eight passes, John Lovett rushed for a career-high four touchdowns, Charles Volker scored his first career touchdown and three fellow freshmen enjoyed their first catches of the season in a 44-20 win over Colgate on Saturday.
“We had some injuries unfortunately that forced some of the decision making,” said PU head coach Bob Surace after improving to 4-0. “Some of them are just working hard and getting better and earning their playing time.
“They’ve been playing. Alex Parkinson has been playing. Whether it’s been the weather with it raining or the defense, we just hadn’t gotten it to him a lot, Jesper Horsted and Cody Smith have been playing. Isaiah is getting better and better so we’re giving him more things. With Seth (DeValve) out and hopefully some other guys that will hopefully be back soon, we’ve been trying to get these guys more involved.”
Chad Kanoff continued his impressive start. The junior quarterback completed 25 of 41 passes for 277 yards. Joe Rhattigan was tops in the rushing department with 66 yards rushing to pace an offense that generated 245 yards on the ground. Volker’s 64-yard touchdown run late in the game was the longest rushing touchdown for a Tigers player since 2009. Princeton played without its top two runners, Dre Nelson and DiAndre Atwater due to injuries.
The defense did its part after allowing an opening touchdown. Rohan Hylton had 11 tackles and Dorian Williams had 10. Matt Arends blocked two field goals as well to keep Princeton in control.
“Colgate is a really good team and typically they’re one of the better teams in the Patriot League,” Surace said. “On all three sides of the ball, we did well. Defensively we didn’t get off to a great start, but then we settled down, played our responsibilities and played well for three quarters. Offensively, we came out of the chute and were good. We were 11 for 15 on third downs, so we were good on third downs. Special teams, we’re doing a good job in coverage units and kicking and we blocked two kicks.”
The blocked kicks kept momentum on the Tigers’ side. They kept points off the board and helped Princeton get back on offense.
“We prepared,” said Surace of the blocked kicks. “I wouldn’t say it was a weakness, but we said if we’re going to get any, it’s through these gaps. Matt Arends, he had both blocks. He did a great job of getting through on those.”
The Tigers offense ran a season-high 90 plays against Colgate. Princeton extended drives consistently with third-down conversions, which have been a staple this season.
“On our short yardages we’ve been really effective,” Surace said. “Our third and mediums, in situations where you’re mostly passing, we’ve been really efficient. Chad is throwing the ball well. We’ve caught it well. We’re doing a good job in those situations. Because we get those third-and-7s, 7 for 15 becomes 11 for 15.”
Princeton’s offense will again want to control the ball and stay on the field when it travels to Brown on Saturday for the first of six Ivy contests to finish the season. The Bears have the top passing attack in the Ivy League, while the Tigers rank first in the ground game.
“Brown is one of the best passing teams in the country,” Surace said. “Their quarterback is second in FCS football in yards per game. They have the first, third and fifth leading receivers in the conference. They are throwing it at a very high level. Defensively, they’re always good.
“They had a tough game vs. Harvard. We’ve been there, where everything that can go wrong does, and it got away from them early. Other than those five or six minutes, they’ve played extremely well.”
Brown will be at home, and they are fighting to end Princeton’s three-game winning streak in the series. Whoever’s offense is most effective and whichever defense can thwart their opponent will go a long way in determining the winner.
“We’re going to have to be great with our responsibilities,” Surace said of his defense. “They’ll threaten you with double moves and have good timing routes. They’ll throw a lot of quick passes, so it’ll be tough go get to them on those. Getting our hands up and disrupting his passing lanes will be important. If one or two of those get deflected, we have to catch them. Lehigh was a great example. We capitalized on a couple balls that got knocked up in the air.”
Princeton will be looking for just their second win in their last six trips to Brown. The Tigers have confidence in whomever on their roster they have to turn to after knocking off Colgate to set up the rest of their Ivy schedule.
PRINCETON: New names, same results as Tigers remain unbeaten
By Justin Feil, Assistant Sports Editor