My rants and insight into Colgate athletics and Patriot League sports

Friday, October 07, 2005

Princeton Scouting Report

New year, same situation. Princeton plays Colgate starting out 3-0 and looking for that win to catapult them into the Ivy season. Last year we were able to come from behind with some sheer athleticism and determination. This year could prove to be a similar battle that goes down to the wire.

Princeton comes into this game flying high off a 43-3 thrashing of Columbia. Other wins include a three point win over San Diego and a two point win over the Patriot League's own Lafayette. This is their last game of a three game homestand.

Looking at the Tigers, in many ways they have a lot in common with the Big Red. I can only hope that they will have the outcome in common as well.


Princeton, much like Cornell, has been working two quarterbacks. Jeff Terrell looks to be the main signal caller for the Tigers, with Bill Foran as the other option. Terrell is a junior that probably won't be the one to beat Colgate but is a threat to throw and run and hasn't been making that many mistakes. Terrell enjoys an all senior offensive line that has only allowed one sack so far this year.

The Tigers have a tandem in the backfield as well, with Cleo Kirkland looking to be the larger threat. He ran well last weekend, picking up 130 yards against Columbia. The name Kirkland should be familiar to Colgate fans, as his brother Andrew is a freshman defensive back your very own Raiders (good choice by the way Andrew). Rob Toresco compliments Kirkland in the backfield and gets a large amount of the touches. That one-two punch accounts for a big portion of their offense.

Greg Fields is supposed to be the go to wideout, however Princeton's third receiver, Brenden Circle, is leading the team in most statistics. We've done a great job of keeping Fields under wraps in past games, so if the Tigers need to pass, Circle might be the one moving the chains on third down. Princeton will use their tight end, so our linebackers and safeties will have to keep an eye on John Dekkar underneath.

Although the Tigers erupted for 43 points last weekend, looking a little closer to the details shows that they have had a little trouble finishing off a drive. In eight trips to the red zone against Columbia, five field goals were kicked. Apparently Princeton has burned some time outs trying to get the offense set, so apparently there is still some indecision there.


In another Cornell similarity, Princeton is feeling pretty good about their defense, especially their running stopping capability. They lead the Ivy in run defense and are eighth in all of I-AA. This defense hasn't yet to surrender a first half touchdown this season.

The heart of the Tiger D is Justin Stull; Stull is Princeton's Jared Nepa. He's a two time captain and leads the defense in tackles from his linebacker position. He also had a big game against the 'gate last year with 13 tackles, two tackles for a loss and a sack. You will probably hear his name a lot.

Brett Barrie at the nose guard position is a force on the defensive line and is joined by mostly veterans on the line. Jay McCareins looks to be leading the defensive backfield and had three picks in the game against San Diego, but lets not all forget about Tim Strickland. Strickland picked off three passes of his own last year right in Hamilton.

All told, this is an experienced defensive group that focuses on stopping the run and can be opportunistic with turnovers (just ask Lafayette).

Special Teams

Colgate might be able to exploit this area of the game much like we did against Cornell. Princeton has given up some big returns in their past two games against Columbia and Lafayette. Geoff Bean is the real deal at the return spot so if they can I expect the Tigers to try and kick away from him.

Senior placekicker Derek Javarone has been solid throughout his career and needs one more field goal to tie the career Princeton record. He had a Ivy record day last Saturday, booting five field goals and scoring 19 points, both records for a kicker.

The Skinny

Colgate will need a similar performance against the Tigers like they did against the Big Red in order to be victorious. It seems like a simple formula: good defense, smart quarterback play, varied play calling, 100+ yards rushing from a tailback and big returns on kicks. Easy, right?

Let's all hope so. Princeton is never an easy game and in fact the loss to them in 2002 is the reason why Colgate sat home for the playoffs. I'm quietly optimistic for some consistency this week, and think that Colgate will be the more athletic team on the field tomorrow. If Saraceno can make the right decisions, they should not have an answer for our receivers. DeWayne Long, Kenny Parker, Erik Burke and Brent Dillingham at tight end have made themselves into a serious offensive threat that will demand respect from Princeton. Hopefully that opens up the running game for Jordan Scott, and Colgate is in business.

On defense, Colgate just needs to bring a quality game with no mental mistakes. I think our defensive backs will be able to keep the Tiger receivers in check, so it could be another eight man in the box day. I'm slightly concerned about Terrell's mobility, but he does not run as much as Kuhn for Cornell. We should be able to contain him.

The weather could be a factor with rain in the forecast.

As always, Let's Go 'Gate!


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