Undefeated Yale Comes to Memorial Field for Homecoming Game
Location: Memorial Field, Hanover, N.H.
Kickoff: Saturday, Oct. 12 at 1:30 p.m.
Series Record: Bulldogs lead 53-37-6
Television: Fox College Sports Central (channel finder), DirecTV Channel 608
Radio: WFRD 99.3 FM — Dick Lutsk (play-by-play), Wayne Young (analyst)
Online Audio: DartmouthSports.com
Online Video: Big Green Insider (restricted to international audience)
Live Stats • Complete Game Notes
If there is one thing that Robert L. Blackman Head Football Coach Buddy Teevens needs his team to be this week, it is resilient.
Dartmouth suffered a 37-31 loss at Penn last Saturday in four overtimes — the longest game in Ivy League history. Twice the Big Green had an opportunity to win the game outright with field goals, only to be stymied each time. Twice they had touchdowns called back due to penalties, including one in the final overtime period.
Each of Dartmouth’s three games to date have been decided with less than a minute to play, and it looked like the Green would come out on top against the Quakers when they lined up for a 21-yard field goal with four ticks on the clock. But Riley Lyons’ kick was blocked, sending Dartmouth into its first overtime game since its last trip to Philadephia in 2010.
Lyons got another chance to give the Big Green their first win at Penn in 16 years during the first overtime, but his 34-yard field goal sailed wide. He did redeem himself in the third overtime by drilling a 40-yard field goal to force the history-making fourth extra period.
The defeat overshadowed fine performances on the offensive side, particularly running back Dominick Pierre who ran for 151 yards on 21 carries (7.2 avg.) with a touchdown. The senior, second in the league in rushing average (122.7 ypg) is on the verge of become the third Big Green player to amass 2,000 yards in a career, needing just 58 yards to do so.
Sophomore Dalyn Williams put up some career-high numbers with 26 completions and 292 passing yards while throwing a pair of touchdowns and running for another. And his 369 total yards rank among the top 10 totals in a game for Dartmouth, giving him four of the top 25 after just six career starts.
The receiving corps was led by junior Kirby Schoenthaler — playing in his first game after an appendectomy last month — with a career-best eight catches for 65 yards and a touchdown. Sophomore Victor Williams had another electric outing, hauling in five tosses for 113 yards, his first 100-yard game. Two of his catches went for 48 yards apiece.
The defense had its moments during the game, holding Penn to two offensive touchdowns during regulation. Both safety Troy Donahue and linebacker Michael Runger picked off Quakers passes, each one setting up a Dartmouth touchdown. Runger, last year’s leading tackler in the Ivy League, also made a season-high 13 tackles.
Senior captain Bronson Green spearheads the defense, averaging eight stops a game thus far. The Big Green are looking to put more pressure on the quarterback, however, having registered just four sacks in the first three games.
How Dartmouth responds to the gut-wrenching loss will be played out on national television this week with the game being broadcast on FCS Central. The Big Green have not fared particularly well on TV over the past decade-plus, however, with a 4-27 record since 2000. On top of that, they have lost their last five games at home.
Last year Dartmouth ended a personal nine-game skid against Yale by scoring 21 unanswered points in the second half for a 34-14 triumph. Pierre ran for 91 yards before leaving with an injury, and replacement Brian Grove ran for two touchdowns to help secure the victory.
Scouting the Bulldogs
A year after finishing last in the Ivy League, Yale was not expected to be among the top teams in the Ivy League. Yet here they are, undefeated after three games, coming off a victory over a top-20 team in Cal Poly, on the road no less, by a convincing 24-10 final.
So what has made the marked difference? It’s not running back Tyler Varga, a first-team All-Ivy selection as a sophomore last year. He has been just as good this year, leading the league with over 150 yards a game on the ground.
One can look no further than a position switch for senior Henry Furman late last year. After playing on the junior varsity squad his first two seasons, then lining up as a wide receiver last year, he was moved back to quarterback as injuries mounted at the position for the Bulldogs. That change has paid great dividends this year as Furman has completed nearly 70 percent of his passes for 681 yards and five touchdowns, plus has run for four more scores.
The return of Chris Smith has certainly helped the Bulldogs’ fortunes as well. A second-team All-Ivy pick as a receiver and returner in 2011, the senior missed the 2012 season completely. Back in the fold, Smith is one of the team’s top receivers with 16 catches for 182 yards and a touchdown, teaming up with Deon Randall (25 receptions, 298 yards, 3 TD) to make for a formidable one-two combination.
With this quartet leading the way, Yale has more than doubled its scoring output from a year ago to nearly 34 points a game. Coupled with a defense that leads the Ancient Eight in fewest points allowed, and the Bulldogs are without a doubt a team with which to be reckoned. The Yale defense, yielding 357.3 yards per game, will test a Dartmouth squad that has amassed at least 496 in each of its first three contests.
The kicking game has been up and down, however, as Yale ranks last in the league in punting. The field goal unit has supplied four three-pointers in six attempts, including the longest field goal by an Ivy kicker this year at 46 yards.
Guiding the Bulldogs is Tony Reno, now in his second year as the Joel E. Smilow ’54 Head Coach. The 38-year-old graduated from Worcester State College in 1997 and was the special teams coordinator and defensive secondary coach at rival Harvard for three years before returning to New Haven. He originally served on the Bulldog staff for six years.
The Never-Ending Game
- Dartmouth and Penn played the longest game in Ivy League football history on Oct. 5, with the Quakers emerging victorious in the fourth overtime period, 37-31. Some quick shots from the game:
- Dartmouth has lost 22 straight games when allowing 30 points or more. The last win came against Cornell, 59-31, on Nov. 3, 2007.
- Conversely, the Big Green had won 10 straight games when scoring at least 30. The last loss came one week after that win over Cornell, falling at Brown, 56-35, on Nov. 10, 2007.
- Dartmouth has lost its last eight games at Penn’s Franklin Field.
- Penn has beaten Dartmouth 15 of the last 16 meetings and each of the last six. The last five games were all decided by seven points or less.
- The last overtime game for the Green came in 2010 at Penn, which the Quakers also won, 35-28.
- was picked off late in the fourth quarter, the first interception in his career. He began his career with 216 pass attempts without a pick, besting the record of 146 held by Charlie Rittgers ’06. As a team, Dartmouth went 25 quarters without throwing an interception dating back to last year’s Harvard game.
- Williams also set career highs in completions (26), attempts (45) and passing yardage (292), while posting the eighth-most total yards in a game every by a Big Green player (369).
- topped the century mark in rushing yards (151) for the sixth time in his career and the second straight week, plus posted his most all-purpose yards (194).
- The Big Green are now 4-6 all-time in overtime.
- The offense piled up 534 yards, its second-most in the past decade and the most in a road game in at least the last 40 years.
- Sophomore caught five passes for 113 yards, the first 100-yard game of his career.
- Not one, but two Big Green touchdowns were called back due to penalties: one on the third play from scrimmage in the game, a 67-yard pass to Bo Patterson; the other a 12-yard completion to Pierre in the fourth overtime. Pierre has scored 22 touchdowns in his career, but not one has come on any of his 34 receptions.
The new video scoreboard debuted two weeks ago with the home opener against Holy Cross, but it is being officially dedicated during halftime of the showdown with Yale. A generous gift by the Stephen Lewinstein family, Classes of 1963 and 1998, has enabled the Dartmouth athletics department to provide Big Green football fans with a 16-foot-high by 23-foot-wide LED, high-definition video display, which will feature instant replays, game statistics, vivid graphics, colorful animations, and sponsor recognition.
Pierre On Verge of 2,000 Yards
Senior galloped for 151 yards on just 21 rushes at Penn on Oct. 5, his sixth career 100-yard game. He won’t need 100 yards today to become just the third Dartmouth player to compile 2,000 rushing yards in a career as he is just 58 yards shy of the milestone.
Quarterback is going on the offensive when it comes to total offense this season. The sophomore is averaging nearly 360 yards per game (264.3 passing, 94.3 rushing) and has posted Dartmouth top-20 single-game yardage in each of his first three starts. Not only does Williams lead the Ivy League in this category, he also ranks fifth nationally. He is well on pace to break the school single-season record of 3,306 total yards held by ’02, who also happens to be the sideline reporter for Fox College Sports at this game.
In his six career starts, Williams has led Dartmouth to amass at least 400 yards in each game, the longest such stretch since the Lambert Trophy-winning 1970 squad did it in each of its final eight games. And the 1,527 yards in the first three games are the most in any three consecutive contests since the 1969 season.
With Halloween approaching, perhaps this note should be entitled “Television Terror.” Dartmouth has not fared well in recent years when playing a televised football game. Including the 31-28 loss to Holy Cross as seen on Fox College Sports two weeks ago, the Big Green are just 3-20 when playing in a televised game since head coach Buddy Teevens returned to Hanover in 2005. But this is not a phenomenon relegated to Teevens. Since 1999, Dartmouth’s record on TV is a mere 5-30, and overall is 25-52-1 dating back to 1953.
No Return to Sender
In the first three games this year, Dartmouth has not allowed any of its opponents to return a punt even one yard forward. The Big Green lead the country in punt return defense with opponents averaging negative yards on punt returns. So while freshman punter Ben Kepley has averaged a modest 38.9 yards per punt (72nd nationally), Dartmouth ranks 15th in net punting.
Secure Air Attack
Although had his streak of passes without a pick come to an end at 216 last week at Penn, that remains the only interception that Dartmouth has thrown this season. Only one team in the FCS (Montana) has not thrown an interception yet, and only two others have thrown just one. One of those two schools, however, is today’s opponent, Yale.