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Yale crushes Princeton’s bonfire hopes with 36–28 double overtime win

Princeton player in black and orange uniform down on the football field with Yale players surrounding him.
After tackle after tackle, the Princeton Tigers lost this year's football game against the Yale Bulldogs.
Ammaar Alam / The Daily Princetonian

The oldest rivalry in NCAA football history revolves around Princeton (4–5 overall, 3–3 Ivy League) and Yale (6–3, 4–2). 150 years into this storied rivalry, the two sides met for the 145th time at Powers Field. The Tigers were unable to come out victorious in a high-scoring game, as the Bulldogs beat the Tigers in double overtime, 36–28. 

After a slow first half, both sides were tied at seven. A dramatic, high-scoring second half led to a high-stakes overtime, where a loss for either side would eliminate them from Ivy League title contention.


During overtime, Yale won the coin toss and chose to allow Princeton to start the offense. On a third and six, Princeton senior quarterback Blake Stenstrom completed the pass to junior wide receiver Luke Colella to put the Tigers within 10 yards of a touchdown. After losing yardage, it was third and 13 at the 13-yard line. Stenstrom rushed for 11 yards, putting the Tigers in a difficult situation as they faced a fourth and two.

Head coach Bob Surace opted to go for it on fourth down, but the Tigers failed to convert. The Bulldogs received the ball at the 25-yard line, only needing a field goal or a touchdown to end the game. On a fourth down, Yale kicker Jack Bosman missed a potential game-winning 35-yard field goal, taking the storied rivalry into a second overtime period.

The Bulldogs started the second overtime period with the ball and made good use of their opportunity this time around. A quick two-minute drive ended in a touchdown by Yale running back Joshua Pitsenberger. The mandated two-point conversion was successful after a pass to Yale wide receiver Mason Tipton. 

Down 36–28, Princeton needed to score to keep their Ivy League title hopes — and bonfire dreams — alive.

On an ensuing third and six play, junior running back John Volker tripped and set up a fourth and three for Princeton. A false start pushed the Tigers back even further. With the Tigers unable to complete a pass, the game was lost 36–28 to Yale. 

With the loss, the Tigers will come up short again in their quest for the Ivy League title, and the campus will have to wait another year for a bonfire. As for the Yale Bulldogs, their hopes of an Ivy League title live to see another week, as they travel to Harvard needing a victory. The Tigers, meanwhile, will close out their season in Pennsylvania against the Quakers next Saturday. 


Hayk Yengibaryan is an associate editor for the Sports section at the ‘Prince.’

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