PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Senior Dominick Pierre ran for 94 yards, including the go-ahead touchdown just before the end of the third quarter, and Dartmouth (5-4, 4-2 Ivy) held off host Brown on Saturday afternoon by a final of 24-20. The Bears (5-4, 2-4 Ivy) drove down to the Big Green 30 on their final drive, but an incomplete pass on 4th-and-5 with 1:25 to play sealed their fate.
Dartmouth jumped out to a 14-0 lead before Brown roared back with 17 straight points. Late in the third quarter, sophomore quarterback Dalyn Williams threw a 29-yard pass to freshman Houston Brown, which enable Pierre — battling nagging injuries — to take the handoff on four straight plays before reaching the end zone. The two-yard touchdown gave him at least one rushing score in all nine games this season. It took a concerted second effort after an initial stop at the line for him to burrow his way past the goal line.
The Bears were not done, however, as quarterback Patrick Donnelly drove them into the red zone. But when sophomore cornerback Vernon Harris broke up a third-down pass, Brown was forced to settle for a 31-yard field goal by Alexander Norocea, leaving them a single points behind Dartmouth at 21-20 with 10:48 left in the game.
Both teams went three-and-out on their next possessions before Williams found senior Robbie Anthony streaking across the middle of the field for a 42-yard gain. Pierre posted runs of five and 10 yards before the drive stalled at the Brown four, so freshman Alex Gakenheimer provided a 21-yard field goal for the four-point lead and just 3:23 on the clock.
Brown immediately went to work, returning the ensuing kickoff to its own 35. Donnelly hooked up with Andrew Marks and Jordan Evans on consecutive 15-yard gains, bringing the Bears to the Dartmouth 35. But the Big Green defense stiffened, containing the Bears for five yards on the next three plays, and Donnelly’s fourth-down pass sailed over the head of his receiver. Dartmouth kneeled down three times to run out the clock and preserve its first road win since the season opener at Butler.
After a scoreless first quarter, Dartmouth dented the scoreboard first on a nine-yard pass from Williams to Anthony, his first career touchdown. The drive was kept alive the play before when Williams connected with junior Jordan Aré for an 11-yard gain and his first career catch on a 4th-and-6 play. Gakenheimer provided the point after for a 7-0 Big Green lead.
Brown responded by driving down to the Dartmouth 25 before facing fourth down, which brought Norocea on the field for a 42-yard field goal attempt. The kick, however, sailed by the uprights wide to the right, and the Big Green took over on downs. It took Dartmouth just three plays to add to its lead as sophomore Kyle Bramble broke free for a 70-yard touchdown run, the longest by a Big Green player in 23 years.
Facing a 14-0 deficit with less than five minutes remaining in the half, Brown got a boost by Troy Doles, who brought back the ensuing kickoff 60 yards to the Dartmouth 32-yard line. The Bears drove inside the 10 before facing another fourth down, this time on the three, and decided to go for it. Donnelly rewarded his coaches’ faith by finding Evans in the back of the end zone to cut the Big Green lead in half at 14-7 with 48 seconds until the intermission.
In the second half, Brown continued to gather momentum on offense. The Bears needed just seven plays to travel 68 yards, culminating with a 30-yard pass to Marks. Norocea’s extra point knotted the score at 14.
The next time Brown got the ball, a personal foul against the Big Green pushed the Bears into Dartmouth territory. John Spooney, who finished the day with 166 rushing yards on 27 carries, picked up 19 to bring Brown into the red zone again. Three straight incomplete passes left Norocea with a 30-yard field goal, which he made to give the hosts a 17-14 edge. But Dartmouth was able to gather itself and recover beginning with the Pierre touchdown.
Pierre amassed his 94 yards on 18 carries, while Bramble added 81 on seven rushes, the bulk of which came on his 70-yard run. Williams threw 18 passes and completed 12 for 135 yards and a touchdown. Leading the receiving corps was Aré with his first four catches for 23 yards, while Anthony had 53 yards on three receptions.
While Spooney averaged 6.1 yards on his 27 rushes, it was more than two yards under his season average as the defense worked hard to contain the five-time Ivy League sprint champion. The rest of the Bear roster was held to zero yards on the ground on just nine carries. Donnelly went 23-of-34 throwing the ball for 201 yards and the two Bear touchdowns, plus caught a two-yard pass. The tight end Marks had a game-high six catches for 79 yards.
Brown outgained the Big Green for the game, 369-313, but Dartmouth had a better average per play (5.5 to 5.2) as it ran 14 fewer plays. The Bears also recorded 23 first downs to just 14 for Dartmouth. The Big Green defense was spearheaded by senior linebacker Michael Runger with 14 tackles, matching his season high, including a key stop on a 3rd-and-1 play in the fourth quarter that forced Brown to punt with Dartmouth ahead by just a point. Freshman Folarin Orimolade had the only tackle for a loss for the Green, a 25-yard sack on an intentional grounding.
For the Bears, linebacker Zack Latrell had a team-best 10 tackles, and Ade Oyalowo recorded two of their three sacks.
Dartmouth will play host to league-leading Princeton (8-1, 6-0 Ivy) in the season finale at Memorial Field in Hanover next Saturday at 1:30 p.m. The Tigers’ 59-23 victory over Yale this afternoon eliminated the Big Green from the title chase, but a Dartmouth victory could keep Princeton from winning the crown outright. Brown finishes its season at Columbia (0-9, 0-6) on Saturday at 12:30 p.m.
Notes: The last Big Green player to have a run for at least 70 yards was Shon Page ’90 when he broke free for a 79-yard gain during the 1990 season ... each of the last five games in the series against Brown have been decided by seven or fewer points ... Dartmouth improved to 56-31-4 all-time against the Bears.