Turkey Bowl by the numbers: The New Canaan-Darien football rivalry

Rivals Darien and New Canaan will clash for the 94th time since 1928 when Dunning Field hosts the annual Turkey Bowl football game at 10 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day.

The Blue Wave (9-0) carries an undefeated record and the state’s No. 1 record into the game, while the Rams (8-1) are riding a three-game win streak.

94

Meetings between the New Canaan and Darien football teams during the 93-year history of the rivalry. The Rams lead the rivalry all-time 53-38-2 and have won the last three contests.

1928

Year of the first football game between Darien and New Canaan. Darien won that first meeting, 26-6, in a game played at the Ox Ridge Hunt Club on Middlesex Road in Darien. New Canaan won the following year, 13-12. While Darien was already known as the Blue Wave, New Canaan was not yet called the Rams, instead going by its colors as the “Red and Black.”

1994

The year the New Canaan-Darien rivalry game moved to Thanksgiving and was dubbed the “Turkey Bowl.” The Rams took that first edition of the holiday game, 14-0, and also won the following year, 28-7, before Darien picked up its first Turkey Bowl win, 21-20, in 1996.

16-9-1

New Canaan’s advantage in the Turkey Bowl series from 1994 to 2019.

4

Years in which Darien and New Canaan have played twice. The results has been three splits (1999, 2013 and 2014), and one Rams’ sweep (2008). The Wave and Rams could make it five this season, with each team having clinched a Class LL playoff berth.

26-16-1

Record of New Canaan head coach Lou Marinelli against Darien. Marinelli, who joined the Rams in 1981, was 11-11 through 22 meetings, but New Canaan’s 11-game win streak in the 2000s opened up that gap.

20-0

Score of New Canaan’s victory in the 2019 Turkey Bowl. QB Drew Pyne threw a 31-yard touchdown pass to Christian Sweeney and then ran for a 13-yard score to stake the Rams to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter en route to the win.

9-0

Darien’s record. The Blue Wave is the only unbeaten team in Class LL and is just one of just five undefeated teams in the state. Bloomfield, Ansonia and Cromwell/Portland are all 9-0 in Class S, and Killingly is 8-0 in Class M.

1

Darien’s ranking in the GameTimeCT Top 10 poll and in the CIAC Class LL standings. The Wave can clinch the No. 1 spot in the Class LL playoffs with a win over New Canaan, and even with a loss, would receive a home game for the quarterfinals.

8-1

New Canaan’s record. The Rams lost to Wilton 20-17 on Oct. 23, but have won their last three games against Greenwich, Ludlowe and Warde by a combined score of 74-20.

3

New Canaan’s ranking in the GameTimeCT Top 10 poll and in the CIAC Class LL standings. The Rams have clinched a state tournament berth, and could secure a quarterfinal home game with a win on Thanksgiving. If New Canaan loses, it could still host a game, but that would hinge on other results from this week.

44

Points per game scored by the Blue Wave. The Darien offense is explosive, led by quarterback Miles Drake, running back Tighe Cummiskey and wide receiver Matt Minicus.

14

Touchdown receptions for Minicus. The senior, who has 37 catches for 649 yards, has at least one TD in eight of nine games this fall. He had eight in a two-week span in October, including three in Darien’s biggest win of the season so far: A 42-14 rout of St. Joseph on Oct. 30.

29

Sacks for the Darien defense. David Evanchick leads with 13, Cole Murphy has eight, and Sean Quick has three.

79

Points allowed by the New Canaan defense this season. That averages less than nine points per game. The Rams have given up just 10 touchdowns in nine games, and have allowed one or no TDs in six of those games.

70

Tackles for Vin Cognetta, who leads the Rams in that category. The linebacker/running back has been key for New Canaan with eight tackles for a loss, five sacks, three forced fumbles and three interceptions. He also leads the Rams in rushing yards (578) and has scored five touchdowns.

441

Receiving yards for Mack Seelert. The team’s top WR, Seelert has 34 catches and six touchdowns, and has rushed 14 times for 76 yards.

10

New Canaan’s Turkey Bowl undefeated streak which ran from 2002 to 2011. The Rams won 40-22 in 2002; the 2003 game resulted in a 14-14 tie; and New Canaan then went on an eight-game winning streak.

12

Darien’s longest winning streak in the rivalry. The Blue Wave’s streak ran from 1947 through 1964. That run also includes the largest margin of victory in the rivalry’s history, as Darien won 70-0 in 1962. The two teams did not play from 1950-55.

5

Consecutive Darien wins in the Turkey Bowl from 2012 to 2016. The 2013 and 2014 Thanksgiving games doubled as the FCIAC final.

david.stewart@hearstmediact.com; @dstewartsports