The 2017 Princeton football team will line up one final time this Saturday, and it will look to punctuate a season of highs and lows with a winning record when it heads to Dartmouth for a 1:30 matchup Saturday on the Ivy League Network.
After three straight heartbreakingly close losses that knocked the Tigers from title contention, Princeton could play the role of spoiler Saturday for a Dartmouth team one game back of first place. While team success has always mattered most to senior tri-captain Chad Kanoff, the quarterback could have a historic day of his own. He is chasing several Princeton and Ivy League single-season and career marks at the end of a brilliant fall, which included a 454-yard, four-touchdown performance last weekend against Ivy leader Yale.
|Week 10: Princeton (5-4, 2-4 Ivy) at Dartmouth (7-2, 4-2 Ivy)|
Lights, Camera, Action
Princeton will conclude its 2017 at Memorial Stadium in Hanover, N.H., with a 1:30 pm showdown against Dartmouth. The game will be streamed live on the Ivy League Network. Fans can listen to Cody Chrusciel and Craig Sachson live on the Princeton IMG Sports Network (103.3 FM WPRB in Princeton) or through the TuneIn app (search “Princeton IMG Sports Network”). The RWJ Barnabas Health pregame show begins 30 minutes prior to kickoff.
This is the 96th game between Princeton and Dartmouth, a series the Big Green leads 48-44-4. While the overall series has been close, both teams have traded series-best six-game win streaks over the last 13 years. From 2004-09, Princeton won all six games, including a 27-17 win in 2006 that clinched the Tigers’ ninth Ivy League title.
The series flipped in 2010, when Dartmouth won six straight, including the 2015 finale (17-10), a comeback win that assured the Big Green a share of the Ivy League title. Princeton was able to end that drought last year with a 38-21 home win that (you guessed it) clinched the Tigers’ 11th Ivy League title.
Yankee Doodle Dandy
Saturday will be the Tigers’ last trip to Hanover until the 2021 season. On Nov. 9, 2019, only three days after the 150th anniversary of the first college football game ever — played between Prince-ton and Rutgers — Princeton will play its next road game against Dartmouth at Yankee Stadium.
While Princeton was officially eliminated from the Ivy League race last weekend, Saturday’s game could have championship implications once again. Dartmouth enters the weekend with a 4-2 Ivy mark, one game behind Yale in the standings (Dartmouth handed Yale its only Ivy loss this season). Yale and Harvard play at 12:30; a Harvard win would allow both Dartmouth and Columbia (which hosts Brown) an opportunity to share the Ivy title.
That Winning Feeling
A Princeton win on Saturday would end the Tigers season with a 6-4 record and give the team back-to-back winning seasons. Princeton has put together back-to-back winning seasons only one other time since the 1994-95 seasons (2005-06).
Armed And Ready
Princeton quarterback Chad Kanoff has put together a historic 2017 season, and he is chasing several top team and Ivy League marks in the final game of his career this Saturday.
Single-Season Passing Yards: Kanoff needs 145 to break Doug Butler’s 34-year Princeton record of 3,175 yards (1983). He is currently 12th in Ivy single-season passing yards, but he is only 225 away from second place (held by former offensive coordinator James Perry), and 382 away from the Ivy record set by Cornell’s Jeff Mathews in 2011.
Career Passing Yards: Kanoff needs 225 to break Butler’s Princeton career record of 7,291 (1983-85). Realistically, Butler is also the only player Kanoff could pass on the Ivy career chart; Butler is sixth, one spot ahead of Kanoff, while fifth-place Gavin Hoffman of Penn is 476 yards ahead of Kanoff.
Touchdown Passes: Kanoff set the Princeton single-season touchdown passes record last weekend, when he completed his 26th of the season (moving past Butler and Quinn Epperly). He is second on the career TD passes list, though he trails Butler by seven.
There are more detailed breakdowns of these record pursuits in the PDF version of the game notes, which you can access above.
Playing The Percentages
Chad Kanoff currently has a 72.2 completion percentage this season, while the Princeton single-season record is 66.5, set by current Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett. If Kanoff throws 20 straight incompletions to open Saturday’s game, he would still be ahead of Garrett by percentage points. Kanoff currently has a 63.7 career completion percentage, which is sixth-best all-time.
Garrett holds the Ivy League record (66.5); Kanoff would need to complete his first 71 passes next weekend to catch Garrett … and he would set every other single game record possible.
Watch And Learn
Chad Kanoff was named to the Walter Payton Award Watch List this week, which honors the top offensive player in the FCS. The Payton Award, first handed out in 1987, has had past winners such as Steve McNair, Tony Romo, Brian Westbrook, and Jimmy Garoppolo.
Head Of The Class
Chad Kanoff was named a semifinalist for the prestigious William V. Campbell Trophy, one of the top scholar-athlete honors in college football. Candidates for the award must be a senior or graduate student in their final year of eligibility, have a GPA of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale, have outstanding football ability as a first-team player or significant contributor and have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship.
Princeton is the first team in Ivy League history to have two players catch 10 touchdown passes in a season. Junior Jesper Horsted set the Tiger single-season record last weekend when he caught his 12th, though he could possibly own that mark for all of a week. Stephen Carlson moved into fourth place on that single-season list when he caught his 10th last week, and Carlson already has one three-TD game this season (San Diego).
Jesper Horsted has 80 catches this season, fourth-most in team history. He needs eight to match the 34-year-old record of 88 catches, set by Kevin Guthrie during the 1983 season.
Horsted also produced Princeton’s fourth 1000-yard receiving season in history (Derek Graham 1, Kevin Guthrie 2). He enters this weekend third on the single-season list with 1,057 yards, and he’d need more than 200 to move past either Kevin Guthrie or Derek Graham.
Sophomore wideout Tiger Bech may have been overshadowed by Horsted and Carlson during the first half of the season, but he has been an impact player for the offense over the last three weeks. Since the start of the Cornell game, Bech has caught 18 passes for 350 yards, including a 58-yard touchdown catch against Yale last week. He also ranks second in the Ivy League with a kickoff return average of 23.9 yards per return.
Tackling The Issue
Junior Tom Johnson earned a starting position at inside linebacker, and he has been the heart of an injury-ravaged Tiger defense this season. Johnson currently ranks third in the Ivy League in tackles (86), and he has produced 16-tackle performances in two of the last three weeks (Cornell, Yale).
A Kurt Response
Defensive lineman Kurt Holuba has suffered season-ending injuries in both the 2015 and 2017 seasons, and Princeton has felt his loss both times. Since the start of the 2015 seasons, Princeton is 16-3 in games Holuba has started and 2-8 in games he hasn’t.
From Weeks 1-7 this season, Princeton allowed a total of 592 rushing yards (84.6 per game), but lost a total of five starting defensive linemen between those weeks. In the last two weeks, Princeton has allowed a total of 526 yards, 263 per game.
Due to graduations in the defensive backfield and injuries at the defensive line and linebacker position, the coaching staff has used freshmen far more than usual over the last few games. Six freshmen (DL Sam Wright and Connor Mills; LB James Johnson; DB CJ Wall, Delan Stallworth and Trevor Forbes) saw significant action over the last three weeks, and each made multiple tackles vs Cornell.
While Wall has been a starting cornerback since the opener, Forbes has been the starting nickelback all season. Stallworth has played every game and is the top reserve cornerback. Johnson has been a staple on special teams and moved into the linebacker rotation after the Fossati injury.
Princeton has had three players selected in the NFL Draft over the last five years (Mike Catapano ’13, Caraun Reid ’14, and Seth DeValve ’16). Both Reid and DeValve have scored multiple touchdowns in their young NFL careers, and DeValve has ranked among the NFL’s top tight ends early in his second season.
Princeton head coach Bob Surace ’90 is the reigning Ivy League Coach of the Year, and he is a three-time finalist for FCS National Head Coach of the Year honors. Earlier this season, he earned a win over former teammate and close friend John Garrett ’88, who is in his first year as the head coach at Lafayette.
See You Next Season
Princeton thanks its great fans for all the support this season. The next time we see you at Powers Field will be Sept. 22, when Princeton meets Monmouth for the first time. The Tigers are also set for home games against Lehigh (10/6), Brown (10/13), Cornell (10/27), Dartmouth (11/3), and Penn (11/17). Dates are tentative, and times will be announced this summer.
Princeton Football • By The Numbers
1 • latest Princeton ranking among universities by U.S. News & World Report
6 • televised Princeton games this season; eight of the 10 games will also be shown on the ILN or ESPN3
9 • Princeton football players who have been awarded Rhodes Scholarships
11 • Ivy League Championships won by Princeton since the league officially formed in 1956
15 • Princeton players picked in the NFL Draft; three were taken in the last five years
22 • career interceptions by Dean Cain, former “Superman” star; total remains an Ivy League record
26 • Princeton players and coaches who are in the College Football Hall of Fame
28 • national titles won by Princeton; no college football program can claim more
42 • number worn by 1951 Heisman Trophy recipient Dick Kazmaier; no Princeton player has worn the number since
43.7 • points per game scored by the Ivy champion 2013 Princeton Tigers; total remains an Ivy League record
72 • Princeton’s total first-team All-America honorees; John Lovett (2016) is the most recent
153 • points Princeton scored during its last four must-win games of the 2016 title season; the opposing teams combined for only 31
193 • career receptions for Kevin Guthrie, the all-time Princeton leader
1869 • the year of the first college football game, played between Rutgers and Princeton
1878 • Princeton’s first “Big Three” title; the University celebrates with a bonfire on Cannon-Green when the Tigers sweep Harvard and Yale
4,208 • career rushing yards for Keith Elias, the Princeton record holder
27,800 • seating capacity at Princeton Stadium, which celebrates its 20th year in 2017, and where our tradition continues this season