This Saturday, Princeton football (0–0) will have its home opener against Butler (1–2) as the second leg of a home-and-home between the 2018 and 2019 seasons. In last season’s matchup in Indiana, the Tigers dominated from the beginning, leading 17–0 at the end of the first quarter and 44–7 at the half.
Princeton’s top three offensive contributors — John Lovett ’19, Charlie Volker ’19, and Jesper Horsted ’19 — have all since graduated, and now the Tigers will look to this year’s seniors and other players to take a larger role. One of those players will be senior co-captain Graham Adomitis, who was a first-team all-Ivy League selection last year in the tight end position. He has made a name for himself not only as a receiver but also as a blocker. Adomitis’s blocking talents were particularly highlighted last year, as he only caught 10 passes for 61 yards. However, the year before, in his first season as a starter, he caught 20 passes for 173 yards and two touchdowns.
The story on the offense will be who starts at quarterback, as Lovett, a two-time Bushnell Cup Offensive Player of the Year winner, is with the Kansas City Chiefs. Of the current players on the roster, only senior Kevin Davidson has started a game, which he did last year against Brown when Lovett was hurt. Davidson led Princeton to a 48–10 win, completing 26 of 39 passes for nearly 300 yards and four touchdowns. Davidson would have large shoes to fill, as for the last three years Princeton has produced Ivy League Offensive Players of the Year from the quarterback position with Chad Kanoff ’18 winning the year between Lovett’s two wins.
Looking around the rest of the offense, beyond Adomitis, Princeton has strong returners at the running back position and offensive line. The Tigers have two strong upperclassmen at running back, junior Colin Eaddy and senior Ryan Quigley, who both had four touchdowns last year. Eaddy’s standout performance was his 266-yard game against Yale last season. Princeton returned two starters on the offensive line with its left tackle, sophomore Henry Byrd — someone who saw a lot of time last year in rotation. The two guard positions are looking to be filled and may be filled by rotation from several different returning players.
On defense, the Tigers are returning eight of 11 starters, including three of four defensive linemen and all four defensive backs. Princeton’s defense was one of its strong points last season, allowing more than 14 points in only two games against Yale and Harvard. The defense allowed an average of only 297.3 yards per game last season compared with its offense average 536.8.
Lastly, Princeton is returning all of its starters in its special teams unit, a group that was strong last season. The Tigers outpunted their opponents on net punt average. The field goal unit was also strong, making 58–61 point-after tries and eight of 11 field goals.
Princeton will start its conference play on Oct. 5 against Columbia at Powers Field at Princeton Stadium and will have one more non-conference game between then and the Butler game, facing Bucknell. One exciting event Princeton fans should have on their calendar is the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the first game of football between Princeton and Rutgers, when Princeton travels to Yankee Stadium to take on Dartmouth on Nov. 9. Princeton was voted to finish third in the Ivy League preseason poll behind Yale and Dartmouth.