Recent history has not been kind to the sprint football team: Princeton has not won a league game in more than a decade, and its last win of any kind came in October 2005 against Virginia Military Institute. The Tigers had a couple good chances this month to end that streak but fell short both times.
Princeton opened October with a tight game against rival Mansfield. The Tigers held the visitors scoreless in the second half and had two potential game-winning drives in the fourth quarter, but the Mountaineers’ defense held tough in a 10-6 victory. The four-point loss was Princeton’s best result since a 12-7 victory over Cornell in 1999.
One week later, the nation’s longest-tenured sprint football program (80 years) hosted the newest, Post University (two games). Although the Waterbury, Conn.-based newcomer had proven itself a worthy opponent by taking a lead into the fourth quarter at Cornell, the Eagles were still looking for their first win in program history when they came to Princeton Stadium Oct. 8.
The Tigers took the field without top running back Kevin Infante ’12, who was responsible for two-thirds of Princeton’s carries and rushing yards before suffering a concussion late against Mansfield. John Moffat ’13 stepped in to fill the injured junior’s shoes. Moffat was given the ball for most of Princeton’s first scoring drive – scoring from 10 yards out on a swing pass from Jason Zachariah ’13. He also added a first-quarter interception.
But the Eagles bookended Moffat’s touchdown with two of their own and then extended the lead to 14 points on a 57-yard touchdown pass. Quarterbacks Darryl Johnson and Cody Kingsley torched the Princeton secondary for nearly 200 passing yards in the first half.
Princeton caught a break early in the third quarter, recovering a bad snap in the end zone for a touchdown, bringing the Tigers back within one possession. And after Post drove for a score, Moffatt countered with a 50-yard run, setting up a six-yard touchdown by Andrew Gabriele ’11.
The Eagles marched right back to the end zone against a tired Princeton defense. It looked like the Tigers would answer yet again, but a 42-yard drive stalled at the goal line. A 59-yard pass to Kees Thomson ’13 with seven minutes remaining gave the hosts one more chance until a Moffat fumble dashed their hopes. The Eagles regained possession and ran out the remaining clock with a long drive to seal their first victory, 33-18. Despite scoring 18 points – the most since 2007 – the Tigers fell to 0-4.