Princeton Football enters 2014 at number 21 in our rankings. Check out our Top 25 Season Preview for more on the top college teams to watch this fall. Can’t find your team in the Top 25? View our full rankings to see where every team stands.
Last Season: 8-2 (6-1) Ivy League
One of the two oldest football clubs in the world was one game away from a perfect 2013 Ivy League season when they lost 28-24 at Dartmouth in the season finale. Down 21 in the second quarter, Princeton football rallied back thanks to the arm and legs of Quinn Epperly, but never took the lead as the Big Green managed to punch in another score late in the third quarter. The loss put the Tigers at 6-1 in-conference and lost them half the Ivy League title. Frustratingly, they were forced to share the Ancient Eight title with Harvard, a team they beat earlier in the season.
If the Ivy League allowed member institutions to compete in the FCS playoffs, the Tigers would have received the automatic bid, but Ivy schools don’t compete in the playoffs. Administrators cite worries that the start of the playoffs would interfere with finals studies during the week after Thanksgiving, so half the Ivy title had to suffice.
-Joe Goss C – First team All-Ivy, 38 career starts at offensive line
-Max Coale OL – Second team All-Ivy
-Roman Wilson WR – First team All-Ivy 86 catches, 919 yards, 11 TDs
-Caraun Reid DL – Third team FCS All-American, first team All-Ivy, 26 tackles, 11 TFL, 6.5 sacks, 1 INT, 1 blocked kick
-Jason Ray LB – Second team All-Ivy, 60 tackles, 12 TFL, 3.5 sacks, 3 pass defences
-Phillip Bhaya DB – Second team All-Ivy, 65 tackles, 1.5 TFL, 3 INTs, 9 pass defences
-Elijah Mitchell DB – 13 tackles, 5.5 TFL, 5.5 sacks, 1 INT, 2 FFs
What to Watch For
Receptionists – Roman Wilson led the team in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns as he tied the Princeton football single-season record with 11. He had the longest receiving play as well – 57 yard score. Now that he’s gone – Seth DeValve, Matt Costello, and Connor Kelley will have to step up in a big way to make up for his lost production.
The Tigers were the number two scoring offense in the FCS last season at 43.7 points per game. They also finished eighth in total offense (511.6 ypg), tenth in defensive passing efficiency (107.04), and tied for sixth in turnover margin (+1/game). If you asked just about any coach which two stats in which he’d like to see his team finish in the top ten (aside from winning percentage of course), scoring offense and turnover margin would be high on the list.
This season, many of the players responsible for their statistical and on-field dominance will be back. Quarterback Quinn Epperly will be a senior, and looks like an early favorite for the Walter Payton award after he finished tenth in the voting last season and won the Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year award. He’ll have most of his weapons from last year surrounding him as well. With a lot of turnover at rival Harvard, Princeton will be in the Ivy League driver’s seat this season.