#30 Yale 2018 FCS Football Preview

Yale Bulldogs
Overall Rank: #30
#1 Ivy League
 Yale Logo
Coming off their first outright Ivy League title since 1980, Yale will look to do it again 2018. The Bulldogs lost just one game last year and that was just by one point at Dartmouth in early October. This group does have some holes to fill and the traditional powers in the Ivy League will be looking to make this a dramatic race once again, but Yale has enough to win another title.
2017 Record: 9-1, 6-1
2017 Postseason: None
Coach: Tony Reno (33-27 at Yale, 33-27 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Kevin Cahill
Defensive Coordinator: Sean McGowan
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Zane Dudek, RB, 1,133 yards
Passing: Kurt Rawlings, QB, 2,320 yards
Receiving: JP Shohfi, WR, 427 yards
Tackles: Kyle Mullen, DE, 32
Sacks: Charles Callender, DE, 6.0
Interceptions: Deonte Henson, DB, 2
Other Key Returnees: DB Malcolm Dixon, OL Sterling Strother, P Alex Galland
Key Losses: RB Deshawn Salter, WR Christopher Williams-Lopez, TE Jaeden Graham, OL Jon Bezney, OL Karl Marback, DL John Herubin, DB Hayden Carlson, DB Foyesade Oluokun, DB Jason Alessi, LB Matthew Oplinger, DB Spencer Rymiszewski
Quarterback Kurt Rawlings returns after a superb sophomore season in which he threw for 2,320 yards and 19 touchdowns. Rawlings completed 67.3 percent of his passes and was intercepted just six times. The passing game does need to replace wide receiver Christopher Williams-Lopez and tight end Jaeden Graham, but JP Shohfi is a good piece to rebuild around. Last season Shohfi caught 25 passes for 427 yards and four touchdowns. Yale will do most of their damage on the ground though. Last year this team ranked 17th in the FCS with 216.8 yards per game on the ground. Zane Dudek was the team’s top rusher last year, tallying 1,133 yards as a freshman. Fellow sophomore Michael Purvey could play a larger role this year too.
The defense has a lot of reloading to do in 2018. Gone are the top five tacklers. The front four will be in decent shape with ends Kyle Mullen, Charles Callender and J. Hunter Roman providing a solid pass rush. Ryan Burke has a little experience at linebacker and there are some other more experienced options like Jarett Balter, but there are some very big holes to fill in the middle of the Yale defense and not many proven options to do it. Tosan Agbeyegbe, Deonte Henson and Malcolm Dixon are a decent group to build around in the secondary. Overall, this is a pretty young defense. There were quite a few freshmen who played a surprisingly large role last year and now they will need to use that experience and develop into consistent sophomores.
The Bottom Line:
Most expect this to be another Ivy League season that comes down to the final weekend. And that is, of course, when Yale plays Harvard. This year The Game is at Harvard, but expect that contest to have an effect on who wins the Ivy League title.
Projected Postseason: None
2017 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 216.8 (17th in nation, 1st in conference)
Passing Offense: 233.9 (37, 3)
Total Offense: 450.7 (11, 2)
Scoring Offense: 34.5 (13, 2)
Rushing Defense: 73.1 (2, 1)
Pass Defense: 229.7 (80, 4)
Total Defense: 302.8 (13, 1)
Scoring Defense: 15.6 (8, 1)
Turnover Margin: 0.40 (37, 2)
Sacks: 3.90 (2, 1)
Sacks Allowed: 1.20 (22, 3)
HERO Sports 2018 Recruit Rankings:
#4        Trenton Charles       
#32      Tate Goodyear         
#57      Nick Henkel  
#79      Brian Abraham        
#86      Elliott McElwain      
#94      Miles Oldacre           
#99      Griffin O'Connor     
#106    Nicholas Sligh           
#204    Oso Ifesinachukwu  
#206    Josh DeStJean