Stamford Advocate

Healthy Oldacre seeks to help defense’s consistenc­y

- By Michael Fornabaio mfornabaio; @fornabaioc­tp

Hiatus past, injury past, safety Miles Oldacre was back on the field at Yale Bowl last weekend, breaking up a pass on a key third-down attempt, helping the Bulldogs secondary contain Holy Cross.

“I’ve been able to help others elevate their play, and they’ve been able to do the same for me, whether I’m on or off the field,” Oldacre said. “We’ve been able to keep pushing that standard higher and higher, whether it is me on the field or others.”

Oldacre, a junior from Texas, said he’d been dealing with chronic groin injuries, a strained tendon wouldn’t heal, in a spot without much blood flow.

He managed to get healthy over the past spring and summer as the Bulldogs prepared to return to the field after losing the 2020 season.

“I’m healthier than ever,” Oldacre said earlier this week ahead of Saturday’s Ivy League opener against Cornell (noon, ESPN+). “I had some good support from the guys on the team and the staff as well.”

He filled his stat line in the 20-17 loss to Holy Cross , in on seven tackles, forced a fumble, had that key breakup in the second quarter.

The defense had a bunch of big plays like that but had moments of inconsiste­ncy, too. In a game that was tied to the last minute, they proved costly.

“I feel really good about our defense. Like Coach (Tony Reno) mentioned, the effort is there, right?” Oldacre said. “And that’s something that’s non-negotiable for us.”

Yale’s defense held Holy Cross to 2-for-13 on third down, and only only six of the 13 chances (and one conversion) were 5 yards or fewer to go.

The Crusaders were also 1-for-2 on fourth down. The conversion was on the winning drive at the Yale 40.

“Third down, we were able to get off the field,” Oldacre said. “That’s a crucial thing for us, to be able to be a consistent defense on third down.”

Reno has called the Holy Cross game the toughest his teams have had in his nine seasons, between the Crusaders’ game experience and talent.

“Our guys play really hard, but we execute at a very high level. We didn’t have that execution on Saturday,” Reno said.

They’ll probably need it this Saturday against another veteran team. Cornell, Reno noted on Tuesday, had 38 seniors or fifthyear players on its twodeep; Yale listed 10 senior starters. The listed Big Red starters included a sophomore nose tackle and juniors at right guard, middle linebacker and on kick return.

One of those fifth-year players is one of a handful of Connecticu­t players on Cornell’s roster, tight end Ryan Fitton of Westport. The former Staples standout, who spent one year at UConn, caught his first career pass in the Big Red’s loss to VMI last weekend.

“As we know, this is Ivy League football. It’s won on the last possession,” Reno said. “You’ve got to be ready to put everything on the line and win it on the last possession.”

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