Location: Memorial Field, Hanover, N.H.
Kickoff: Saturday, Sept. 28 at 7 p.m.
Series Record: Tied 36-36-4
Television: Fox College Sports (channel finder)
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
Home Opener Under the Lights
Dartmouth welcomes the Crusaders of Holy Cross on Saturday night for the third-ever night game at Memorial Field. The Big Green are attempting to win their fourth straight home opener and improve to 2-0 for the third time in the past four seasons. But that 35-7 victory over Butler — also under the lights — to start the 2012 season is the last time the Green won in Hanover having lost their last four home games.
Since Holy Cross enjoyed a six-game winning streak in the series from 2004-09, Dartmouth has won two of the last three meetings, all of which have been decided by eight points or less. Last year in Worcester, the Big Green recovered a fumble with 11 seconds left, allowing Riley Lyons to kick a 31-yard field goal before the final horn sounded for a 13-10 triumph.
Last week Dartmouth survived its longest road trip in 75 years in a 30-23 victory at Butler. The Big Green built up an early 21-3 lead and led by as many as 20 in the fourth quarter before withstanding a Bulldog rally. Butler managed to drive into Dartmouth territory in the final seconds, but the defense bent without breaking to give the Green their seventh straight road win, the second longest such streak in the Football Championship Subdivision.
Sophomore quarterback Dalyn Williams earned a share of the Ivy League Offensive Player of the Week award by throwing for 228 yards and rushing for a career-high 119 more with a touchdown. Overall Dartmouth racked up 497 yards of offense with senior Dominick Pierre contributing 93 rushing yards and the other three touchdowns.
Williams spread the love around as nine different receivers caught at least one pass, led by sophomore Victor Williams and junior Ryan McManus with six receptions apiece. Making his debut as a tight end, senior Cole Marcoux snared four passes for 46 yards as well.
The defense spent much of its time trying to contain quarterback Matt Lancaster, who threw 68 of the 70 pass attempts for the Bulldogs, the most ever by a Dartmouth opponent. He was able to complete 42 (another record against the Big Green) for 395 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Unlike Dartmouth, which featured a balanced attack of 238 yards rushing and 259 through the air, Butler amassed just 85 on the ground to finish with 480 total yards. Since 1974, the Big Green had won just seven times when allowing that many yards in a game, compared to 47 defeats.
Senior linebacker Bronson Green led the defense with nine tackles, while six others racked up at least five stops. With all of those passes flying, Dartmouth was able to break up 10 of them with sophomore corner Vernon Harris batting down three himself. All eight tackles by the other cornerback, senior A.J. Dettorre, were solo stops with one going for a two-yard loss, plus he broke up two throws.
Fitting that this game against Holy Cross is being televised, courtesy of Fox College Sports, as this is essentially the 60th anniversary of the first-ever nationally televised New England college football game. These same two schools met on a gridiron in Lynn, Mass., back on Sept. 26, 1953 with the Crusaders emerging victorious, 28-6. Holy Cross was the last team the Green beat in a televised game, just last season during a local broadcast in Worcester.
Ivy Offensive Player of the Week
Sophomore quarterback , making his fourth career start, earned his third Ivy League Player of the Week honor but first award as the top offensive player, sharing the distinction with Harvard quarterback Conner Hempel. Twice in the last three weeks of the 2012 campaign, Williams was recognized as the conference Rookie of the Week.
He garnered this honor for amassing 347 total yards (among the top 20 at Dartmouth), throwing for 228 (third straight 200-yard game) and running for 119 more (first career 100-yard game) against Butler. For good measure, he scored the first Big Green points of the season with his one-yard sneak on the team’s first possession of the game.
The last Dartmouth player to be named the Offensive Player of the Week was
Pierre Marching Toward 2,000
Senior has been the Big Green’s starting running back for just one full season, yet he is on pace to become just the third Dartmouth player to amass 2,000 rushing yards in a career. In fact, with his 93 yards at Butler, he tied Jeff Dufresne ’81 for 10th on the Green’s all-time rushing list with 1,667 yards, leaving him just 333 yards shy of 2,000. And his three touchdowns on the night give him 20 in his career, a total achieved by just eight other Dartmouth backs, half of which came prior to World War II.
Not Passing Up the Opportunities
The Dartmouth secondary were tested against Butler like no other in Big Green history as the Bulldogs heaved up 70 passes in the season opener. That total, as well as the 42 completions, are the most ever by a Dartmouth opponent. But all of those throws allowed the Green to break up no less than 10 passes, their most since a wild 59-31 win over Cornell in 2007. The school record is 14 PBUs, set against Yale in 1980.
Punting Game Keyed by Freshmen
Head coach Buddy Teevens has entrusted his punt squad to a pair of freshmen in punter Ben Kepley and long snapper Graydon Peterson, and the duo came through at Butler in their first collegiate game. Kepley wasn’t called upon often, but when he was, he was effective, dropping three punts for an average of 34.7 yards. That average may not be eye-popping, but it was his perfectly placed, 36-yard boot that pinned the Bulldogs on their own six with barely a minute to play.
Speaking of Kicking ...
Junior , after handling all of the kicking duties a year ago, is now focusing all of his efforts on placekicking, and boy is he ever. Of his six kickoffs at Butler, four went for touchbacks (including one that nearly split the uprights), and he also converted a 42-yard field goal, the second longest of his career.
A heralded quarterback recruit back in 2010 after winning a spot in the US Army All-America Bowl by winning a reality competition known as “The Ride,” senior never got off the ground behind center with the Big Green. Instead, the 6-5, 240-pounder switched to tight end last year, and the change is paying dividends this season. At Butler, he snared four passes for 46 yards, including a 19-yarder to start the second quarter for his first career reception.
Running Breeds Success
It is difficult to beat the Big Green when they run the ball a lot during a game. Against Butler in the season opener, Dartmouth rushed 49 times for 238 yards, leading to a 30-23 victory. Since 1975, the Green have kept the ball on the ground on at least 49 plays a total of 107 times. Of those 107 games, Dartmouth won 94 of them, lost only 10 and tied three for an .893 winning percentage.
That’s a First Down
While Dartmouth moved the chains 28 times at Butler, the host team did so even more with 31 first downs. Never before had the Big Green yielded so many first downs on defense yet still won the game. The previous high had been 30 in a 32-17 win over Yale in 2001. And the 25 first downs by passing are the most Dartmouth has ever allowed.