MATCH-UP: Lafayette (3-2) travels to Connecticut to play its final non-conference opponent of the 2012 season. The Leopards have taken the last two games from Yale (1-3) in a series that dates back to 1912, but has included just three meetings in the new millennium. Both teams are coming off 20-point home losses last week, the Leopards losing 35-14 to Princeton and the Bulldogs surrendering a 34-14 setback to Ivy League foe Dartmouth.
A WIN OVER YALE WOULD...make Lafayette 4-2 and equal the season win total from 2011. It would run the series winning streak to three games with wins also coming in 2009 and 2011. A victory would also place Lafayette 2-1 against the Ivies, their first winning record against Ancient Eight foes since posting a 4-0 record against Penn, Yale, Columbia and Harvard in 2009.
SURFACE NOTE: Saturday's game at the Yale Bowl is the only game Lafayette will play on grass in 2012. Lafayette was 0-2 on grass last season (Holy Cross and Lehigh).
TURNOVER TALES: Turnovers have told the story for Lafayette in 2012. The Leopards are +6 on the season (+10 in three wins and -4 in two losses), a year after going -14 for the 2011 campaign. In Lafayette's last outing vs. Princeton, Lafayette was -2 after giving up two interceptions. Lafayette is currently ranked 12th in the nation in turnover margin at +1.2 per game.
THE CENTURY MARK: Junior WR Mark Ross is coming off consecutive 100-plus yard receiving games. Ross made five catches for 103 yards and a touchdown vs. Princeton (10/6). The week prior, playing in front of a hometown crowd at Robert Morris, Ross turned in the best receiving game of his career. The Aliquippa, Pa. native caught a school-record 13 passes for 151 yards and two touchdowns, tying Mark Layton's 13-catch effort from Nov. 13, 2010 vs. Holy Cross.
A DIFFERENT MARK: Freshman LB Mark Dodd has seen his playing time increase steadily. Dodd has played in the team's last three games including Princeton when He made 5.5 tackles with a half-sack.
INTERCEPTION NUMBERS: Lafayette is second is the nation in passes intercepted with 11 through five games (2.2 per game). Individually, sophomore safety Jared Roberts is fifth in the nation at .60 per game (3 interceptions in five games).
DEFERENTIAL TREATMENT: Lafayette has won the opening coin toss in every game this season and has deferred its choice each time.
IN A RUSH: Lafayette snapped an eight-game streak without a 100-yard rusher with Ross Scheuerman's 125-yard rushing performance vs. Princeton. The Leopards' last 100-yard performance was Pat Mputu's 116-yard effort against Fordham on Oct. 22, 2011.
THE LONG RUN: Sixty five of Ross Scheuerman's career-best 125 yards came on a touchdown run 13 seconds into the fourth quarter. It was the longest run of his career and Lafayette's longest play from scrimmage this season. It was also the first run of 50-plus yards by a Lafayette player since Shaun Adair's 62-yard scamper at Lehigh on Nov. 22, 2008.
Yale comes in with a 1-3 record while playing its third game of a four-game homestand that includes two Patriot League and two Ivy League opponents. Yale opened with a 24-21 win over Georgetown, followed by losses to Cornell (45-6), Colgate (47-24) and Dartmouth (34-14).
Yale finished 5-5 in 2011, tied for second in the league standings. Fourteen starters return, nine on offense and five on defense.
Fr. Eric Williams has been the Bulldogs' QB, completing 64 percent of his passes (84-of-131) with five touchdowns and eight interceptions through four games. Williams' older brothers, Scott '13 and Sean '11, both played at Yale. His father, Larry, who is currently the A.D. at Marquette, played college football at Notre Dame and then spent nine seasons in the NFL.
On the ground, another freshman is making an impact. Tyler Varga leads the rushing attack, carrying 55 times for 319 yards, three touchdowns and 5.8 yards per carry. He did not play against Dartmouth. Senior Mordecai Cargill has 182 yards on 47 carries (3.9 yards per carry).
The Yale defense is allowing nearly 450 yards (218 rushing and 228 passing) and 37 points per game.
Senior LB Will McHale leads the team in tackles with 37, including three tackles for loss in the Bulldogs' 3-4 lineup.
Yale is -7 in turnover margin, giving up 8 INT and 4 fumbles.
Tony Reno (Worcester St. '97), a former Harvard and Yale assistant, is in his first season at Yale.
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