Monday, October 23, 2017

Quite A Night In Cambridge

TigerBlog didn't figure that he'd be spending some of his weekend explaining to people that no, it wasn't that Edgar Allan Poe.

TigerBlog read some of Edgar Allan Poe's stuff in high school and college. Let's just say that he's not TB's favorite author.

Anyway, ol' Edgar, who seemed to have something of a dark side, had a nephew who played football at Princeton and set a bunch of records back before the modern rules of football existed. He was also the captain of the team of 1890.

That team was the last Princeton team to score at least 50 points in three straight games. Before the 2017 team, that is.

Princeton has now put up 50, 53 and 52 points in its last three. Those numbers could have been higher too, had the Tigers not called off the dogs.

The most recent outburst was also the most shocking. Princeton put those 52 up at Harvard Friday night, coming home with a 52-17 victory that was complete dominance from start to finish.

TB, for one, was not expecting that game to be a blowout. In fact, his exact pregame words were "this one will be tough from start to finish."

As it turned out, it wasn't. 

TigerBlog didn't watch the game on TV from the start. He was at women's hockey instead.

From Baker Rink he checked his phone to get scoring updates from Cambridge. It was 7-0. Then 10-0. Then it was 17-3.

At one point, he stopped looking at just the score and went to the livestats, to see if anyone was having a big game.

Turned out, someone was. More than one someone, actually.

Chad Kanoff, when TB first looked, was 6 for 6. Then he was 10 for 10. Then 14 for 14.

What? No incompletions?

TigerBlog was the PA announcer the day Quinn Epperly set the NCAA record by completing his first 29 passes in a win over Cornell. Would Kanoff approach that?

As it turned out, he wouldn't. His 22nd pass would be incomplete. This came after about as good a first half as it is possible to play.

Kanoff  finished the first half 20 for 20 for 323 yards and two touchdowns. That's absurd, by the way. You can watch football forever and never see a quarterback have those kinds of numbers for a half.

His second half was 11 for 15, for another 98 yards. Most of that time was spent trying to keep the clock moving, of course.

Added together, Kanoff was 31 for 35 for 421 yards and the two scores. Add everything together and he's completing better than 76 percent of his passes. That means if he completes three of his next four, his percentage will go down. That means that Kanoff is having a ridiculous year.

Kanoff was just short of the FCS record for completion percentage by an individual in a game. Ah, but if you add in Jesper Horsted's 1 for 1 (for a TD to Stephen Carlson) then Princeton set the record for team completion percentage in a game.

Speaking of Horsted, he looked completely unstoppable as well. He caught 12 passes for 246 yards and two touchdowns. Horsted, who had the third best single-game receiving yardage total in program history, now has 55 catches for 712 yards and eight TDs.

He's now tied for 13th on Princeton's single-season receptions list and on pace to be No. 1, with 9.17 catches per game. That would take him to 91, with the record of 88 held by Kevin Guthrie from 1983.

He's also fifth in touchdown catches in a season with those eight. The record is 11.

With all the attention focused on Kanoff and Horsted, it's easy to overlook a few people. Stephen Carlson had 11 catches for 103 yards and a touchdown. Charlie Volker had three more three rushing touchdowns, giving him seven in two weeks. And the defense was outstanding, pretty much wiping out Harvard until long after the matter had been decided.

Pretty much anyone who played for Princeton was great. The offensive line kept Harvard off Kanoff, and when that happens, you saw what the result is.

Harvard, keep in mind, came into the game ranked eight in the FCS in total defense.

So what does it all mean?

Well, Columbia is the lone Ivy unbeaten. There are four teams at 2-1, including Princeton and Cornell, who meet at 7 Saturday on Powers Field at Princeton Stadium.

Princeton needs to keep winning, is what it means. Keep winning and hope Columbia loses.

Each game is like its own season. There are four little seasons to go - Cornell, at Penn, Yale, at Dartmouth. Yale and Dartmouth are the other two 2-1 teams, so none of this will be easy.

Before you worry about that, though, take a minute to think about what Princeton has done the last three weeks, and especially last Friday.

It's not easy to go into Harvard Stadium and do that to Crimson. Nobody had done that there since Princeton did it in 1967 with a 45-6 win.

And also take a second to think about what Kanoff did in the first half, because you won't see that again for awhile.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

TB, was there an extra spring in your step this weekend after Princeton defeated Harvard 52-17 in football, 3-0 in field hockey and 6-1 in women’s soccer? While a tie in men’s soccer prevented us from replicating the 2012 sweep of Harvard weekend, the magnitude of the wins was a pleasant surprise in the three sports where we still have championship hopes.

I see that, beginning next fall in 2018, our football season finale will replace Dartmouth with Penn and that our usual home/away treatment of the Harvard/Yale games will permanently end. Instead, every year going forward, both Harvard and Yale will be either home together or away together.

This will disrupt what had been simple to schedule alumni weekends which always coincided with a visit from one of our two most historic and meaningful rivals. For the many Princetonians with a graduate degree from Harvard (or Yale), this will change what had always been an enjoyable Harvard alumni weekend with a visit from the Tigers in Cambridge (or New Haven).

Frankly, I’m surprised that the Princeton Alumni Council would approve of building an alumni weekend around a game without Harvard or Yale. Was any part of the alumni or development infrastructure at Princeton, Harvard or Yale even consulted before the football schedule was revised?

If the goal of all three Alumni Councils is to maximize attendance at their respective alumni weekend activities, it goes against logic not to take advantage of the attraction of an HYP football game.

To change my point from a statement to a question, what was the rationale to proactively discontinue an alumni weekend tradition and schedule which seems to have worked well for Princeton, Harvard and Yale for literally over a century?