Results tagged “Football 2011”

HANOVER, N.H. – Despite 11 penalties, despite just 93 yards passing for the game, Princeton still had a chance.
 
This year’s team usually did, unlike the 1-9 Tigers of 2010. But after Chuck Dibilio ’15 gained only two yards on first down at the Dartmouth 19 and quarterback Quinn Epperly ’15 next was buried for a five-yard loss on an option run, Princeton, down seven with just over three minutes to go, faced third-and-13.
 
Coach Bob Surace ’90 rolled the dice. He pulled Epperly, who had run for two touchdowns and 88 yards as a first-time starter, and put in Connor Michelsen ’15, who had not played all season. Michelsen spotted Isaac Serwanga ’12 open on a slant in the end zone, but did not see linebacker Bronson Green lurking nearby. Green picked off the pass, and Dartmouth ran out the clock, sealing the win and extinguishing what little chance remained for Dibilio to win the 2012 Ivy League rushing title.
 
A second consecutive 1-9 Tiger season (1-6 Ivy) ended with another whimper, a 24-17 loss to the Big Green (5-5, 4-3).
 
“We prepared [Michelsen] to run those plays,” said Surace. “It’s like going to the bullpen.
 
“We have quarterbacks who run the ball well and some who throw the ball well. We’ll see [what freshmen] we bring in, but this is the way it’s likely going to be [next season].”
 
Chuck Dibilio '15 crosses the goal line for one of his three touchdowns against Yale. (Beverly Schaefer)
Chuck Dibilio '15 crosses the goal line for one of his three touchdowns against Yale. (Beverly Schaefer)
Regrets? Matt Allen ’12 has had a few in four years of losing Princeton football. But there is only one worth mentioning.
 
“I’m really disappointed that I only got to play with Chuck Dibilio [’15] for one year,” said the guard.
 
So having been told repeatedly that the game you remember the most from your career is your last one, Allen doesn’t see a door closing Saturday, but rather the holes he can open toward the first rushing title by a freshman in Ivy League history.
 
Dibilio goes to Dartmouth with 749 yards in six league games, only 17 behind Big Green senior Nick Schwieger, a head-to-head battle that makes the bus well worth boarding for the long drive at the end of a 1-8 season.
 
“Linemen don’t get stats – you measure your success by how well your running backs do,” said tackle Kevin DeMaio ’12, the only other senior starter on the offensive line. “We really want to get this.”
 

One-thousand and two rushing yards by the sensational Chuck Dibilio ’15 later, Princeton’s football team still is 1-8 – never mind that its turnover and penalty demons largely have been tamed, never mind that the Tigers consistently stop opponents’ runs.
 
So when Yale, up six points with less than four minutes remaining, faced a fourth-and-two at the Princeton 36 yesterday, there was not a person at Princeton Stadium who didn’t know quarterback Patrick Witt would throw, including the Tigers.
          
“It was [Witt’s] second read,” said Tigers coach Bob Surace ’90. “Danny Fitzsimmons got his hand up and [Witt] pulled it in, so at that point, [any stop] has to come from pressure.
 
“We didn’t get it and he made a good throw on the run.”
 
Fullback Keith Coty caught the ball in front of safety Chance Cross ’12 at the 15, and the Bulldogs maintained possession before Philippe Panico’s 27-yard field goal with 3:17 remaining put away the 33-24 victory for Yale (5-4, 4-2 Ivy).
 
Dibilio ran for 178 yards on 31 carries and scored touchdowns on runs of 19, four, and six yards. But Witt threw for 379 and three touchdowns, completing 26-of-33 attempts.
 

(Beverly Schaefer)
(Beverly Schaefer)
With Princeton football entering the Yale game at 1-7 for the second straight year, alumni and diehards are anxious to buy into the youth movement for 2012.
 
Four freshman and five sophomores are already playing first string, and fans may wonder what is holding back coach Bob Surace ’90 from moving on from Tommy Wornham ’12 to Quinn Epperly ’15, the presumed quarterback of the future. The coach thanks them for their interest and asks them to send him their crystal balls.
 
“We may have another freshman next year who is better than Quinn Epperly,” said Surace.   “There is no saying he is going to be it.”
 
Wornham will remain the starter and Epperly the change-of-pace backup Saturday against the Bulldogs on Powers Field at Princeton Stadium, subject to changes like those that occurred the previous two weeks against Cornell and Penn.
          
“I expected Connor Kelley [’14, converted quarterback-to-wideout] to take 10 reps a game at quarterback minimum,” said Surace. “When we lost him [to season-ending knee surgery], we tried to find ways to add that package back.
 

PHILADELPHIA – Wearing are the red-zone failures, the big plays surrendered, the turnover ratio of minus-13 for the season, and the losses, which reached 16 in the last 18 games for Princeton’s football team with a 37-9 defeat here Saturday by Penn.
 
Chuck Dibilio '15 ran for 130 yards and increased his season rushing total to 824, an Ivy League record for freshmen. (Beverly Schaefer)
Chuck Dibilio '15 ran for 130 yards and increased his season rushing total to 824, an Ivy League record for freshmen. (Beverly Schaefer)
Certainly Chuck Dibilio, who with 130 yards rushing broke Brown’s Marquis Jesse’s Ivy League season record for a true freshman (Harvard’s Clifton Dawson, who had 1,197 yards in 2003 to Dibilio’s 824 in 2011, was a transfer), remains at least one Tiger not worn down by failure. But Princeton’s lack of other weapons makes Dibilio a bullseye in an eight-man box whenever the Tigers get inside the 20, which is amazingly often for a 1-7 team.
 
Princeton’s Will Powers ’15 and Seth DeValve ’15 both blocked first-quarter punts, each time setting up the Tigers at the 11-yard line, and they settled for two Patrick Jacob ’12 field goals.
 
With Princeton (1-4 Ivy) suspect on pass defense, there was little way for them to beat Penn (5-3, 4-1) three points at a time.  No wonder that trailing 14-6 on his next opportunity, Coach Bob Surace ’90 decided to fake a field goal from the 9-yard line.
 
“If we didn’t have a good fake, I wouldn’t have done it,” said Surace. “[Penn] had seven guys on the one side, four on the other, and with two of them dropping off, it should have been a walk in, but there was penetration.”
 
The shovel pass by holder Otavio Fleury ’12 for fullback Jason Ray ’14, was easily broken up, another opportunity died, and though Jacobs nailed his third field goal of the day on the next possession to make the score 14-9 at the half, it remained only a matter of time until Penn abandoned the run and started to make big plays against the Princeton secondary.
 
It’s good to have options. Since Princeton’s football team, now assured of a fifth consecutive losing year, doesn’t consider quitting as one of its alternatives, the bonus is having games remaining with both Penn and Yale, two grand opportunities for a season-salvaging win.
 
“We don’t have that one rival a lot of teams have,” said Coach Bob Surace ’90. “For the majority of the alums it’s either Harvard, Yale, or Penn – multiple rivals, which is good.”
 
Penn, which plays the Tigers at Franklin Field on Saturday, has won 14 of the last 18 meetings, including the last two by a combined score of 94-17. The Quakers might want to know: With rivals like this, who needs friends?
 
But flashes of Princeton competitiveness – like a 30-point rally to within three points in the final quarter at Harvard – still keep the Tigers believing they can put a complete game together. So with Penn being followed by Yale next week in a contest on Powers Field at Princeton Stadium, animosity remains the fuel for a Tigers team that refuses to believe it is on fumes.
 
“We can’t go into this game looking at what has already gone on but as our chance to shock the league,” said defensive captain Mike Catapano ’12. “They have won the league two years in a row and have a chance this year, so this is our championship fight.”
 

Quarterback Quinn Epperly '15 tries to break free from a Cornell defender. (Beverly Schaefer)
Quarterback Quinn Epperly '15 tries to break free from a Cornell defender. (Beverly Schaefer)
 
Whatever fire Princeton thought it had kindled with a sudden and remarkable 30-point second half in last week’s loss at Harvard was doused Saturday by the wind, snow, rain, and Cornell on a slippery Powers Field. Quarterback Tommy Wornham ’12 went down with a left-hand injury early in the third quarter and ultimately so did the Tigers, 24-7.
 
When the conditions got better in the second half, so did Cornell, which completed 80- and 73-yard touchdown drives while Princeton floundered.
 
“What kills a passing game is wind,” said Coach Bob Surace ’90. “The first half it was horrendous, wasn’t just snow on the ground but whipping in guy’s faces. It was hard to see signals on both ends.”
 
The X-rays on Wornham’s left (non-throwing) hand proved negative, and Surace said that swelling permitting, the senior still will be the quarterback next week against Penn at Franklin Field.  
 

Out of the deep blues of 12 losses in the previous 13 games, Princeton scored 30 offensive points in 8:31 of possession time last Saturday to improbably shrink a 26-point Harvard lead down to three.
 
But even at a thinking man’s university like Princeton, it is not incumbent on the engineer of that rally to explain it as much as it is his duty to sustain it.
 
“I don’t know exactly what it was,” said quarterback Tommy Wornham ’12. “I just think no one was overthinking anything, trying to score a million points on one play. [We were] just playing the game we practiced all week.
 
“Like [offensive coordinator James] Perry has said for a year and a half. ‘That three touchdown flurry will come – trust it.’”
 
Now, can anyone at Harvard Stadium who saw it trust his or her eyes? The Tigers still gave up two fourth quarter touchdowns and fell to 1-2 in the Ivy League (1-5 overall) with a wild 56-39 loss. Exhilarating as that second half was, it only represented progress should it carry over into Saturday’s 1 p.m. game on Powers Field at Princeton Stadium against Cornell, still winless in the league.
 

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. –  Difficult as it might be to find a place to start this report, following 95 points and 1,116 yards, Princeton’s 56-39 loss to Harvard Saturday came down to the Tigers’ inability to get a stop.
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Princeton     39
Harvard        56
_____________________
 
What a wild ride it was, though. Down 35-9 in the third quarter, seeming inexorably on their way to a 13th loss in 14 mostly dismal games, the Tigers’ offense suddenly caught fire, with quarterback Tommy Wornham ’12 making throws he had not consistently made all year and Princeton finally finishing the drives it hadn’t in two seasons.
 
With running back Chuck Dibilio ’15 seeming to get stronger with each of 23 runs, with the quarterback playing pitch-and-catch with Matt Costello ’15 and Shane Wilkinson, ’13, and with the help of successful onside kicks, the Tigers scored three touchdowns and two two-point conversions to incredibly get the score back to 42-39 with 13:09 to play.  
           

After a 1-9 season in 2010, Bob Surace ’90 said he found out who the fighters were. And at 1-4 this year, the Princeton coach is about to identify them again.
 
The Tigers, who finished off Columbia and who were one play away from a remarkable upset at Hampton, were flattened last week in a 34-0 loss at Brown. Next we’ll see whether their spirits were crushed.
 
 “They are angry, frustrated,” said Surace. “We’ll see whether they channel it, the way I am, into Harvard.”
 
Just at the point where they believed they were finding themselves, the Tigers were manhandled, albeit by an Ivy League contender. Another, Harvard, waits for them Saturday in Cambridge, so the schedule has not become the Tigers’ friend. But Princeton has proven to be its own worst enemy at times because of repeated failures to make well-timed plays on both sides of the ball.
 
“The red zone [five touchdowns for the Princeton offense in 22 visits] is the elephant in the room,” said Surace.
 

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Coming off a 1-9 season and starting similarly slowly this year, the Tigers has insisted that the feeling nevertheless has been different. And a win over Columbia followed by a remarkably close loss at Hampton last week seemed to back up the team’s optimism.
 
But that was before Princeton went backwards Saturday in almost every way during a desultory 34-0 loss to 4-1 Brown.
 
“You think you see progress and then the other team makes more plays than you, out executes you, ” said Coach Bob Surace ’90. “It’s not good.”
_____________________

Princeton    0
Brown        34
_____________________
 
Princeton’s 34-9 loss to an average-at-best Bucknell team in week two was maddening for the self destructiveness of six turnovers. This one was just a dreary manhandling from start to finish.
 
There was one deflating turnover: the third interception run back from a touchdown off quarterback Tommy Wornham ’12 this season, on the game’s third snap. But 59 minutes remained and never did Princeton (1-4 overall, 1-1 Ivy) get a big stop or cash an opportunity.
 
The Bears, despite a narrow loss to Harvard in their Ivy opener, might still turn out to be the best team in the league, and they proved far superior to a Princeton squad that had believed itself improving enough to hang with the Ivy elite.
 
Instead, the Tigers struggled, beginning with the Wornham interception. When it looked like they would at least get on the scoreboard before halftime, a fourth-down drop by a receiver Matt Costello ’15 halted the drive. Linebacker Tom Kingsbury ’13 had a chance to intercept a deflected pass but could not hold on.
 
While that best chance for a turnover wound up on the ground, Princeton still committed just that one turnover of its own and only three penalties. The game’s result was a lot more about what Brown did to Princeton than what Princeton did to itself.
 

Princeton leads the Ivy League in rushing with 180 yards per game. Chuck Dibilio ’15 ran for 147 at Hampton last week to become the Ancient Eight’s rookie of the week for the second time in four games and followed Brian Mills ’14 as the second 100-yard-plus gainer for the Tigers in two weeks.
 
“In the last two years, I haven’t seen an offensive front and running backs play as well as ours did against as good a defense as Hampton’s,” said offensive coordinator James Perry. “They really have some athletes.”
 
The Tigers pounded for 256 ground yards against a Hampton defense believed to have more talent than any in the Ivy League. Saturday afternoon at Brown, the Tigers’ next challenge will be pushing through for the final yards in drives: Princeton has only two rushing touchdowns this season and has converted just five of 19 opportunities inside their opponents’ 20-yard line.
 
Princeton’s red-zone package has been damaged by the loss for the season of Connor Kelley ’14 (knee), a quarterback-turned-receiver who was expected to take some snaps in a Wildcat formation. Another quarterback, Quinn Epperly ’15, ran an end-around option for a first down on Princeton’s one touchdown drive in the 28-23 loss to Hampton and will get further opportunities, as will Isaac Serwanga ’12 , who had his best game with seven catches at Hampton and has the size (6 feet, 3 inches) to come down with balls thrown into the end zone against mostly smaller cornerbacks.
 
Against Columbia, quarterback Tommy Wornham ’12 shook off a second interception return in two weeks to lead the Tigers back to their first win in 10 games. He could have had a better day, however, at Hampton. Wornham (19-for-39 with one interception) warmed up in the second half but still failed to complete a pass into the end zone on Princeton’s final three offensive plays.
 
 “Yeah, [receivers] were open,” Wornham said. “I need to throw the ball harder, make better decisions earlier, put the ball into a better spot.
 
“The routes were there, we had good designs down there. Hampton did play more [man-to-man coverage] in the end, made the windows a little tighter, but I’m a college football player. I need to put those balls in there.”
 
The quarterback’s performance has been up and down, but his confidence remains high, which is reflective of the team. There is a clear vibe that the Tigers feel they are improving.
 

HAMPTON, Va. - The last of six catches by Matt Costello ’15, following a 15-yard Hampton punt, put Princeton just nine yards away from a go-ahead touchdown.
 
The Tigers, who scored one touchdown in six previous red-zone opportunities, first put the ball in the hands of Chuck Dibilio ’15, who gained the last of three of his 147 yards straight into the line, leaving the Tigers too far away to run it three more times.
_____________________

Princeton      23
Hampton       28
_____________________
 
“Now, we’re in a passing situation,” said Coach Bob Surace ’90. “Hampton’s safeties are so good and play so close to the line, it’s very hard to run the ball in from there.”
 
It got harder when Matt Allen ’12 was called for holding, putting the Tigers in third-and-goal from the 16. Ultimately Hampton wrapped up its 28-23 win on fourth and long, when Tommy Wornham ’12’s pass for Dibilio was broken up the in the end zone by Delbert Tyler, dropping the Tigers to 1-3.
 
Coming oh-so-close to what would have been a remarkable win on the road against a team thought to be out of Princeton’s class only will begin to pay dividends if next week at Brown, the Tigers score more than one touchdown and don’t take two holding calls – including a previous drive-killing one by Kevin Mill ’13 – that nullify field position inside the 10.
 
Hampton may be the fastest team Princeton will face all season, and keeping with that theme, we’ll get to the point quickly:
 
If the Tigers’ offense stops turning over the ball and committing red-zone penalties, the defense appears strong enough to carry this team back to respectability. 
 
Last Saturday Coach Bob Surace ’90’s squad stopped the critical miscues just long enough to break a school record 10-game losing streak with a 24-21 victory over Columbia.
 
Princeton held Columbia, whose quarterback Sean Bracket had hit five touchdown passes against the Tigers a year ago, to only two of 15 third-down conversions and made another stop on fourth down. Through three games, including one against Football Championship Subdivision offensive powerhouse Lehigh, Princeton opponents are converting on only 30 percent of third downs.
 
“We had only five missed tackles last week,” said Surace. “Last year there would have been five in a series.”
 
Jason Ray ’14 (No. 43) celebrates Princeton’s second touchdown, a third-quarter run by Brian Mills ’14. (Beverly Schaefer)
Jason Ray ’14 (No. 43) celebrates Princeton’s second touchdown, a third-quarter run by Brian Mills ’14. (Beverly Schaefer)
Of course it wasn’t going to be easy, not with another nine penalties and three turnovers, not after a school record 10-game losing streak, not after 23 long months since Princeton’s last Ivy League win and last home victory.
 
And for all the interminable days the Tigers suffered during a 1-9 season in 2010, the final three minutes of their 24-21 victory over Columbia Saturday night on Powers Field at Princeton Stadium still seemed to take 22 of those months. Coach Bob Surace ’90, with the best field goal kicker in the Ivy League in Patrick Jacob ’12, twice tried to run out the clock on fourth down at the Lions’ four yard line and twice failed, leaving Columbia only a field goal from an overtime.
 
On the Lions’ first crack, Steve Cody ‘12 and Andrew Starks ’13 ran down quarterback Sean Brackett a yard short on fourth down. And on Columbia’s last gasp, an interception by defensive back Harrison Daniels ’12 sealed the deal, despite repeated attempts by the Tigers, hard as they played, to make themselves miserable for another week.
_____________________

Columbia       21
Princeton       24
_____________________
 
 
“I really thought to go from the five to the opponent’s 30, that’s a lot of yards,” said Surace. “If they get their [kick] returns out to where they were getting them, somewhere between the 30 to the 40, they only have to go 30 yards.
 
“Our defense was playing really well. We were missing three guys [Jaiye Falusi ’12, Blake Clemons ’12, and Phil Bhaya ’14] in our secondary who started in the opening game. And against the best quarterback in the conference last year and the best scheme we go against all year long, I thought we executed really well.”
 
Bob Surace ’90 says the issue is “not confidence, but frustration.” But when a team turns over the ball six times in one game and an offensive line that performs like the Six Blocks of Granite through midfield commits rockhead penalties in the last 20 yards, it seems to look like plain old hyperventilation regardless.
 
The Tigers suffocated themselves with mistakes in a desultory 34-9 loss to Bucknell last week that looked depressingly like repeated defeats on the way to last year’s 1-9. But the Ivy League portion of the schedule begins at 6 p.m. Saturday against 0-2 Columbia on Powers Field at Princeton Stadium. So it’s not just hot air that fresh air can still blow away the smell of an 0-2 start.
 
“We’ve got to believe everything is up for grabs right now,” said defensive end Mike Catapano ’12. “It doesn’t matter what happened last year or who won last week by how much.”
 
Columbia beat Princeton the last two years by a lot, a combined 80-14. But that’s not as big an issue heading into this game as how much more failure Princeton can take before this season dissolves like the last.
 
 “We have three coaches who were at Temple, which hadn’t won much until the last few years,” said Surace. “Princeton hadn’t won an Ivy title in [20] years until my senior year, and Brown had gone through a stretch like that when (offensive coordinator James) Perry got there and helped turn things around.
 
“We have a little bit of a glass jaw. There has to be something to get you over your frustration of trying to score two touchdowns on one play. Or, as a defensive player, getting angry and trying to close more than one gap. And that’s my job to get them through that.
 
 “You aren’t going to win every play. You go to the next play.”
 
Linebacker Andrew Starks '12 brings down Bucknell quarterback Brandon Wesley in the second half. (© Beverly Schaefer)
Linebacker Andrew Starks '13 brings down Bucknell quarterback Brandon Wesley in the second half. (© Beverly Schaefer)
If there is nowhere to go but up for a Princeton football team that has lost 10 straight games over two seasons, that’s because it would be impossible to gift wrap a game any more thoroughly than the Tigers did Bucknell’s 34-9 victory Saturday night on Powers Field at Princeton Stadium.
 
The Tigers could not block defensive end Josh Eden, who personally collapsed the left side of the Tigers offensive line in tackling Chuck Dibilio ’15 for a safety, leaped to intercept a pass by Tommy Wornham ’12 and ran it in for a touchdown, and fell on a fumble on a snap that went through the Princeton quarterback’s hands, setting up a first Bucknell touchdown drive of only nine yards.
 
But that only begins to detail the horror of Wornham’s night. Twice, on Princeton drives of some promise – one to end the first half, the other to begin the third quarter – he threw the ball up in the end zone to nobody but easily-intercepting Bucknell defenders.
_____________________

Bucknell       34
Princeton       9
_____________________
 
Wornham also overthrew an open Isaac Serwanga ’12 three times. And not surprisingly, the crisis of confidence spread throughout the offense. “I played horrible,” said Wornham, who was 15-for-33 for 174 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions. “I had a horrible game.  
 
“I run the offense. I need to get us playing faster and better. I need to do more research during the week and prepare better.”
 
If that sounded like a harsh self-indictment for unpreparedness, coach Bob Surace ’90 said he never could have envisioned his team playing this terribly after the week of practice it had.
 
“The way we worked, I didn’t see any of that coming,” said Surace.
 

Princeton’s strong safety says there is absolutely no safety in having one more tune-up before the Ivy League portion of the Tigers’ football schedule begins.
 
“It’s imperative to win this week,” said Mandela Sheaffer ’13.
 
In the looking glass, the Tigers liked some things they saw in their 34-22 opening loss to high-powered Lehigh. But as your side-view mirror says: “Objects are closer than they appear.” And the Tigers’ 1-9 season in 2010 will continue to tailgate them until they win some games.
 
The next one, 6 p.m. Saturday on Powers Field at Princeton Stadium against 2-1 Bucknell, certainly seems winnable enough that the consequences of losing are potentially unsettling.
 
“It is very important, especially since we haven’t had one in a while,” said coach Bob Surace ’90.
 
Indeed nothing succeeds like success, which the Tigers last enjoyed in week two of 2010 against Lafayette. That victory, inspirational as it seemed when Jordan Culbreath ’11, coming back from aplastic anemia, scored in overtime, turned out to be a springboard to nothing but the doctor’s office as key player after key player went down.
 
This Saturday, the Tigers will be missing only one starter, wideout Connor Kelley ’14. (Cornerback Phillip Bhaya ’14 is questionable.) That makes them much more hale and hearty at this point of this season than they were in 2010. But nobody wants to find out about their mental health should they be 0-2 headed into Columbia, which has mauled Princeton in successive seasons. 
 

At first look, the 2011 football Tigers bore too much resemblance to the 2010 version.
 
Four red-zone opportunities did not become touchdowns because of penalties, drops, and missed throws during a 34-22 loss to Lehigh (2-1) Saturday night on Powers Field at Princeton Stadium.
 
_____________________

Lehigh            34
Princeton       22
_____________________
Two electrifying touchdowns – one a 92-yard kickoff return by Ivan Charbonneau ’12, the other a 26-yard catch and run by Chuck Dibilio ’15 following a successful onside kick – drew Princeton back within five points in the fourth quarter. But in the end the Tigers, who did not force a single turnover, were worn down on 61-yard clinching touchdown drive culminating in Keith Sherman’s two-yard run.
 
“I told them before the game and after the game there are no moral victories.” said coach Bob Surace ’90. “We had chances, a lot of energy in that first half and we didn’t get the jump on them.”
 
Chuck Dibilio '15 (Office of Athletic Communications)
Chuck Dibilio '15 (Office of Athletic Communications)
Moving the ball crisply until the final 20 yards, Princeton had chances. Its first drive, keyed by a Tommy Wornham ’12 shovel pass to Akil Sharp ’13 on a third-and-eight at the Lehigh 40 yard line, ended at the Mountain Hawks’ seven when Wornham threw high and wide for Matt Costello ’15 in the end zone. The Tigers had to settle for a 25-yard field goal by Patrick Jacob ’12.
 
A second drive, looking similarly promising, died at the Lehigh 37 when Wornham was chased down on a third-down rollout. Later in the half the quarterback threw another shovel pass to Sharp, this one behind-the-back, that went for 44 yards before a run by the quarterback on third-and-five gave the Tigers a first down at the five. But two holding penalties killed that drive too, and the Tigers settled for the second of three Jacob field goals.
 
The only thing longer than some of the plays Princeton gave up last year was its 1-9 season. And when everything goes wrong, the offseason becomes even more interminable.
 
“We gave them Thanksgiving off but had them in the weight room the following Monday and did not give them a break,” said coach Bob Surace ’90. “We went straight through to spring ball except for a week off for finals.”
 
And those were just the players who finished the season in any kind of condition to build conditioning. By week two of 2010, six starters already were gone for the season. So are the Tigers ready to kick it off at 6 p.m. Saturday night on Powers Field at Princeton Stadium against 1-1 Lehigh?
 
Does the Triangle Club show end with a kick line?
 
“For me, this is the longest time coming since week five,” said quarterback Tommy Wornham ’12, referring to last year’s Brown game, when he was injured and lost for the season. “Some of our guys were out from week one.
 
“Yeah, I’d say we are ready. I haven’t seen this kind of excitement around here in a long time.”
 
That’s a good thing, of course, unless an explosive Lehigh team turns it into a bad thing. Composure will be critical.
 
Princeton’s All-American linebacker, Steve Cody ’12, its best two defensive linemen, Mike Catapano ’12 and Caruan Reid ’13, top offensive lineman, Kevin Mill ’13, and Wornham are hale and hearty again after missing all or huge chunks of 2010. All of them believe the Tigers’ improvement can be more than just incremental.
 

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