Game Day Central

Date & Time: Saturday, October 4, 1:30 p.m. Dartmouth Stats Penn
Location: Hanover, N.H. // Weather 1-1 Record 0-2
Stadium: Memorial Field Lost 1 Streak Lost 6
All-Time Series: Quakers lead 47-32-2 27.0 Points/Game 19.0
Tickets: Information 326.5 Total Yards 340.0
Broadcast: Fox College Sports Atlantic - Eric Frede (play-by-play), Steve DeOssie (analyst) 162.0 Passing/Game 190.0
Radio: 99Rock // WFRD 99.3 FM - Dick Lutsk (play-by-play), Wayne Young (analyst) 164.5 Rushing/Game 150.0
Logistics: Directions // Parking // Seating Chart 503.0 Yards Allowed 480.0
Twitter: @DartmouthSports // @DartFootball 38.5 Points Allowed 37.5
Dartmouth Links: Home // Roster // Schedule // Stats // Teevens Teleteaser // Notes (PDF) 100.0% Red Zone % 83.3%
Penn Links: Home // Roster // Schedule // Stats // Notes (PDF) 24:39  Time of Possession  26:23
Game Program Brothers McManus feature (PDF) 72.0 Penalty Yards

Ivy Opener on Fox College Sports
Coming off lopsided losses against teams ranked among the top 10 in the FCS, both Dartmouth and visiting Penn are aiming to leave a better impression with the Fox College Sports Atlantic viewing audience in the Ivy League opener for the two squads.

The results in the series have been lopsided of late as well with the Quakers winning the last six meetings and 15 of the last 16. Last year’s loss was especially heartbreaking as the Big Green fell, 37-31, in the longest game in Ancient Eight history — four overtimes at historic Franklin Field. As it turned out, that loss kept Dartmouth from a share of the league title as the Green finished one game behind co-champions Harvard and Princeton.

This is the 25th consecutive year these two have squared off to start the Ivy season. In the 58 seasons of official Ivy League play, the team (or teams) that have finished atop the standings have had at least six wins 53 times. That means that whichever squad comes up short will be behind the eight ball in staying relevant in the chase for the crown.

Dartmouth has its share of offensive firepower with junior Dalyn Williams back at quarterback. Although his statistics last week were modest, he did manage to surpass 3,000 passing yards and 4,000 total yards in his career with nearly two full seasons ahead of him. Williams also boasts the best touchdown-to-interception ratio in Big Green history at 23-to-6.

Joining him in the backfield is junior Kyle Bramble, averaging 4.4 yards per carry and four receptions per game. Sophomores Abrm McQuarters and Jacob Siwicki have shown themselves to be capable reserves, and junior Brian Grove (who had played in 18 of his first 20 college games) is back in the mix after missing the first two contests with an injury.

The receiving corps has several accomplished veterans, including seniors Ryan McManus and Bo Patterson. The former racked up 117 yards on six catches in the season opener, and the latter has 11 TD catches in his career. Add senior Kirby Schoenthaler (44 career receptions) and junior Victor Williams (39) into the fray, and Williams has plenty of choices at his disposal.

The defense, which led the Ivy League last year in scoring and passing yards allowed, has struggled in the early going, yielding 1,006 total yards. Forgive Big Green fans for having a sense of déjà vu, however — last year’s defensive unit surrendered 1,005 yards in the first two games before hitting its stride.

Junior linebacker Zach Slafsky has blossomed into a force in the middle of the field, leading the team with 19 tackles and the lone Dartmouth sack. Right behind him with 18 stops is senior strong safety Troy Donahue, and junior nose guard A.J. Zuttah leads the linemen with 12 tackles.

Special teams have been a bit inconsistent, flashing moments of brilliance but committing costly mistakes as well. Schoenthaler was named the Ivy League Special Teams Player of the Week after returning seven kickoffs a school-record 198 yards, one of which went 92. Sophomore Alex Gakenheimer converted both field goals at UNH, the second from a career-long 41 yards, and punter Ben Kepley has averaged 37.7 yards per punt.

Scouting the Quakers
Penn would like nothing more than to earn one more title for long-time coach Al Bagnoli, in his 23rd year at Penn, as he has announced his retirement following this season. But the host Big Green would much rather send off the dean of the Ivy League coaches, who is 18-4 against Dartmouth, the same way he began his Quaker tenure — with a loss at Memorial Field.

The good news for Dartmouth is that Penn quarterback Billy Ragone finally completed his eligibility last year and won’t be vexing the Big Green defense. Alek Torgersen has taken over behind center to lead the offense, completing 32-of-63 passes for 380 yards with just one touchdown and four interceptions over the first two games. He has shown the ability to run as he is tied for the team lead in rush attempts, but five sacks have deflated his average to less than two yards per carry.

The Quakers’ top rusher is Kyle Wilcox, who is gobbling up 6.4 yards every time he takes the handoff. Lyle Marsh, granted a sixth year of eligibility after missing most of two seasons with injuries, was expected to be the top running back, but he suffered another injury in the opener at Jacksonville and did not play last week.

Torgersen does have a trio of terrific receivers at his disposal, one of whom is Conner Scott, the younger brother of former Big Green receiver Tanner Scott ’11. While Scott has six catches for 56 yards, Justin Watson leads the Quakers with eight receptions. Spencer Kulcsar has provided the biggest plays, however, averaging 23.5 yards on the six throws he has grabbed.

While the offense has managed just 340 yards per game, the defense has surrendered 480, which ranks among the bottom 20 among FCS schools. But after just two games, don’t be quick to label this defense as poor — Dartmouth is also among the bottom 20 as well after leading the Ivy League in total defense last year.

Linebacker Dan Davis is a top-notch defender and already boasts a pair of sacks among his 11 tackles. On the line, Tyler Drake leads the Quakers with 16 stops, and all-name team member Feerooz Yacoobi has three tackles for a loss, including an eight-yard sack. Mike Laning leads the secondary with 15 tackles from his strong safety position, and cornerback Dan Wilk has the team’s lone interception.

Penn has a new placekicker this year in Jimmy Gammill, but he has yet to be seriously tested having converted all five of his PATs and the only field goal he has attempted — from 18 yards out. Hunter Kelley is second in the league in punting, and both Kulcsar and Tre Solomon are effective return men on punts and kickoffs, respectively.

Special Teamer of the Week
Having numerous opportunities to return kickoffs in one game is not exactly what a team strives for, but senior Kirby Schoenthaler made the most of his opportunities to earn the Ivy League Special Teams Player of the Week award on Sept. 29. He brought back seven kickoffs a total of 198 yards, setting a school record, with his longest going 92 yards to the New Hampshire two. It is tied for the eighth-longest return ever by a Big Green player, and the longest that didn’t conclude in the end zone. Dartmouth has at least one player earn the honor in each of the past six seasons.

Williams Hits Milestone Marks
With his 108 yards through the air and his 43 on the ground at New Hampshire on Sept. 27, junior Dalyn Williams achieved a pair of career milestones — 3,000 passing yards and 4,000 total yards. He is the eighth Big Green QB to top 3K and needs just 71 more to move up to seventh on the program’s all-time list. In addition, he is the seventh Dartmouth player to reach 4K and is a mere 261 yards from moving into fourth on the career charts. The top 10 for both categories can be found on page five. The next milestone for Williams to reach is 1,000 career rushing yards; he needs just 57 more to hit the mark and 73 to have the most rushing yards by a Big Green quarterback ever (Jon Aljancic ’97 had 1,015).

Less Than 50/50 Chance
The New Hampshire Wildcats scored 52 points on Sept. 27, becoming the first team to put 50 on the board against the Big Green since Brown did so on Nov. 10, 2007 in a 56-35 game in Providence. Since formal Ivy play began in 1956, an opponent has tallied 50 or more just 11 times, or about once every 50 games.

One in the Sack
It took nearly two full games, but the Dartmouth defense finally got its first sack of the year when junior LB Zach Slafsky brought the UNH quarterback to the turf for a 12-yard loss in the fourth quarter on Sept. 27. Slafsky also leads the Big Green with 19 tackles, just four shy of his total all of last season.

Sophomore Subs
The sophomore duo of Abrm McQuarters and Jacob Siwicki made the most of their opportunities at running back against New Hampshire, combining to pick up 73 yards on 12 carries. McQuarters added a four-yard reception to his 32 yards on six carries, while Siwicki twice broke free for big gains of 19 and 17 yards. With the return of junior Brian Grove to the mix after he missed the first two games with an injury, Dartmouth has four capable running backs to keep everyone fresh on the field.

Showing a Little Leg
Prior to the game at New Hampshire, sophomore Alex Gakenheimer had never attempted a kick in college from further than 26 yards from the goalposts. In the third quarter, he was summoned to try a 41-yard field goal and knocked it through with plenty to spare. For his career, he is now 5-for-5 on field goals.

Approaching 1,000
Senior wide receivers Ryan McManus and Bo Patterson are both closing in on 1,000 career receiving yards, a figure that just 17 other Big Green players have reached. McManus enters the Penn game with 920 yards to his credit, Patterson at 879. Three times in his career, McManus has surpassed 80 yards, while Patterson’s career high is 90.