BOSTON, Mass. — It had been 73 years since the Dartmouth football team had played at Fenway Park, the last of six games during the 20th century at the historic venue. On Friday night, the Big Green made a triumphant return by blasting Brown, 33-10, in the first game of the Fenway Gridiron Series in front of 12,297 frigid fans.
Quarterback Jack Heneghan threw a pair of touchdown passes to sophomore Hunter Hagdorn for Dartmouth (7-2, 4-2 Ivy) while completing 21-of-31 throws for 263 yards on the evening. Hagdorn led all receivers with 91 yards on just four catches, and sophomore Drew Estrada snared six throws for 57 yards.
Thomas Linta threw for 236 yards on 24-of-44 passing with a late touchdown for the Bears (2-7, 0-6 Ivy). Jakob Prall led the Brown receivers with six catches for 88 yards, and Jaelon Blandburg caught the lone scoring strike.
The icy wind that lowered the chill factor to the mid-teens could not freeze the Dartmouth offense, which gained 436 yards on the night. Brown, meanwhile, was held to 264 yards, including a mere 28 on the ground.
Dartmouth put the first points of the night on the board with just under five minutes left in the opening quarter when Heneghan connected with Hagdorn from 27 yards out. The PAT was blocked by Thomas Kutschke, however, the first career miss for senior kicker David Smith, who had successfully converted 44 in a row, seven shy of the school record set by former NFL kicker Nick Lowery ’78.
The Big Green started at their own 10 on the next possession, but were not deterred as they marched the 90 yards in 11 plays for another touchdown. The key play was a 22-yard pass to Estrada on 3rd-and-12 at the Brown 41, and two plays later senior Ryder Stone — who rushed 16 times for 63 yards — broke through the middle for a 10-yard touchdown run and a 13-0 lead.
A 39-yard pass to Bear wide receiver Jakob Prall later in the second quarter gave Brown an opportunity to put some points on the board, and place kicker Ben Rosenblatt obliged with a 27-yard field goal with 5:14 left in the half, just his second of the season.
But Dartmouth wasn’t done before the intermission, driving 77 yards to the end zone in just seven plays. Hagdorn caught passes of 38 and 16 yards to complete the possession, giving him his second scoring catch of the game and a 20-3 advantage with 56 seconds showing on the clock.
Still the Big Green were not satisfied as they used all three of their timeouts while pinning Brown deep in their own territory to force the Bears to punt. Starting on the Brown side of the 50 with only 20 seconds on the clock, Heneghan quickly completed passes of 14 and 27 yards before spiking the ball. That left Smith three seconds to split the uprights from 28 yards out for a 23-3 lead at the intermission.
In the third quarter, senior Jarius Brown stepped in front of a Brown pass, intercepting it and waltzing 27 yards to the end zone for the Big Green’s third pick-six of the season.
A 26-yard Smith field goal early in the fourth quarter completed the Dartmouth scoring on the night for a 33-3 lead. Brown answered with a 29-yard scoring strike from Linta to Blandburg to give the Bears double digits, but the Big Green ran out the final 6:58 over 11 plays to conclude the affair.
Linebackers Eric Meile and Jack Traynor led the Dartmouth defensive effort with seven and six tackles, respectively, and Ian Hanselman recorded the lone sack of the night. Brown did not only collect his first pick-six, but also the first interception of any kind of his career.
Both teams were victimized once on interceptions, and Brown defensive lineman Richard Jarvis forced the lone lost fumble to give the Bears the edge on turnovers. But only the Big Green could convert a miscue into points thanks to their cornerback Brown.
Jay Williams led all players with nine tackles for Brown, with Antonio Trapp and Jarvis each making eight stops.
Dartmouth will conclude the season next Saturday back at home on Memorial Field at 1:30 p.m. when it hosts Princeton (5-3, 2-3 Ivy), which first plays at home tomorrow against league-leading Yale (7-1, 4-1 Ivy). In order to win at least a share of the title, the Big Green will need the Bulldogs to lose either to the Tigers or the following week against Harvard and beat Princeton in the season finale. And if Yale loses its final two games, Dartmouth could still possibly earn a share of the crown even with a loss to the Tigers.
The game versus Princeton next week will be streamed exclusively on the Ivy League Network with Adam Giardino and Wayne Young ’72 calling the action. The audio broadcast will also be aired on 94.5 ESPN Radio in the Upper Valley and online at 945espn.com.
Notes: Dartmouth last played at Fenway Park against Notre Dame in 1944, the only defeat for the Big Green in their seven games there ... Dartmouth improved to 59-32-4 all-time against Brown and 3-0 at Fenway Park, having defeated the Bears there in 1922 (7-0) and again the following year (16-14) ... Hagdorn had his first career game with two touchdown catches ... with one more touchdown pass next week against Princeton, Heneghan would join Jay Fiedler ’94 as the only Big Green quarterbacks to throw one in every game of a season. Fiedler accomplished the feat in 1992.