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 Game Day Central

Date & Time: Saturday, October 11, 1 p.m. Dartmouth Stats Yale
Location: New Haven, Conn. // Weather 2-1 Record 3-0
Stadium: Yale Bowl Won 1 Streak Won 3
All-Time Series: Bulldogs lead 53-38-6 28.3 Points/Game 51.3
Tickets: Information 326.0 Total Yards 631.0
Broadcast: Ivy League Digital Network 143.7 Passing/Game 329.7
Radio: 99Rock // WFRD 99.3 FM - Dick Lutsk (play-by-play), Wayne Young (analyst) 182.3 Rushing/Game 301.3
Live Stats: 463.0 Yards Allowed 435.7
Logistics: Directions // Parking // Seating Chart 30.0 Points Allowed 33.0
Twitter: @DartmouthSports // @DartFootball 100.0% Red Zone % 85.7%
Dartmouth Links: Home // Roster // Schedule // Stats // Teevens Teleteaser // Notes (PDF) 27:17  Time of Possession  31:41
Yale Links: Home // Roster // Schedule // Stats // Notes (PDF) 72.0 Penalty Yards

Tough Test on Tap at Yale
Coming off a convincing 31-13 victory over Penn this past Saturday, Dartmouth will attempt to keep its Ivy League record spotless against a surprising Yale team. While the preseason poll had the Bulldogs pegged for fifth place, they are playing more like a title contender as they own a perfect 3-0 mark for the second straight year while leading the FCS in scoring (51.3 points per game) and total offense (631.0 yards).

The Big Green defensive numbers don’t fare very well in the early-season rankings, but last week Dartmouth showed signs of shoring up its defense despite 350 passing yards by the Quakers. On the flip side, the Green yielded just 33 rushing yards — the fourth fewest allowed over the past 16 seasons — and registered four sacks and a pair of interceptions to counter the air attack.

While Dartmouth can’t match the gaudy offensive numbers that Yale boasts, it is no slouch when it comes to putting points on the board (28.3 ppg). Junior Dalyn Williams is the field general for the Big Green and is a threat through the air and on the ground. Fourth in the league in passing efficiency with a 5-to-1 TD-to-interception ratio, he ran for a career-high three touchdowns against Penn and briefly held the school record for rushing yards by a quarterback before losing yards late in the game.

Williams is one of several Big Green weapons on the ground with junior Kyle Bramble posting his second career 100-yard game versus the Quakers and classmate Brian Grove successfully returning to the field last week by averaging over eight yards on his seven carries (not to mention a 60-yard gain negated by offsetting penalties). As a team, Dartmouth averages over 180 rushing yards a game, fourth among Ancient Eight schools.

The veteran receiving corps saw more action against Penn, but the steady rain kept most of the gains to relatively short yardage. Senior Ryan McManus hauled in five passes for 48 yards, while senior Bo Patterson and junior Victor Williams each grabbed three. McManus is seventh in the Ivy League in both receptions (4.0 per game) and receiving yards (59.0).

The smallest of the defensive starters provided some of the biggest plays against the Quakers as 5-9 nickelback Frankie Hernandez posted 11 tackles, broke up two passes and recovered a fumble to garner Ivy League Defensive Player of the Week honors. The secondary also contributed to both interceptions as senior strong safety Troy Donahue picked off one pass and batted away another that ended up in the arms of sophomore DT Brendan Cooper.

Speaking of linemen, senior Evan Chrustic was his usual disruptive self, supplying 1.5 sacks among his five tackles. Juniors Cody Fulleton and Sawyer Whalen each helped out on a sack as well, while sophomore linebacker Folarin Orimolade matched Chrustic’s 1.5 sacks. In addition, junior LB Will McNamara had a quiet 11 tackles to tie for game-high honors with Hernandez.

The kicking game continued to perform well with sophomore Alex Gakenheimer booting a 35-yard field goal and Ben Kepley netting 36 yards per punt. Gakenheimer remains perfect on field goals in his career at 6-for-6.

Scouting the Bulldogs
Yale sent shockwaves through not just the Ivy League, but the FCS ranks as well with its 49-43 overtime victory over Army on Sept. 27 for the league’s first win over an FBS school since 1986. The Elis then followed that up with a 51-13 thrashing of Cornell on the road, piling up 585 yards in the process, which oddly enough is a season low.

Leading the charge is quarterback Morgan Roberts, a transfer from Clemson. The junior has completed 72.7 percent (80-of-110) of his passes for 978 yards with 10 touchdowns and just two interceptions. He ranks among the top two nationally in five separate categories, including average yards per game (326.0) and total offense.

The biggest beneficiary of all those yards through the air has been All-Ivy receiver Deon Randall who leads the FCS in receptions per game (9.3) and is second in yardage (118.3). Another senior receiver in Grant Wallace ranks among the top 20 in both categories as well, and the duo have combined for six of the 10 touchdowns via the pass.

The Bulldogs offense is not, however, solely an air attack as the ground game has amassed the fourth most rushing yards per game (301.3) in the country. Tyler Varga has averaged 140 yards per game, seventh in the country, and crossed the goal line seven times. All seven players that have run with the ball this season have averaged at least four yards per carry, including the QB Roberts with 24 carries for 104 yards and a pair of scores. Candler Rich is more than capable to spell Varga with 173 yards on 26 rushes (6.7-yd avg.) this season.

Somewhat like Dartmouth, the defense took a couple of games to find its bearings before a strong performance in week three. Yale held Cornell to less than 200 yards, and the only offensive touchdown came with barely a minute to play.

Free safety Foyesade Oluokun leads the Elis with 23 tackles, one for a loss, plus has one of the squad‘s four picks. Three players each have a sack, including freshman linebacker Matthew Oplinger, who also has an interception to his credit. But to demonstrate the issues the defense has had, none of the top nine tacklers is a lineman as opponents have averaged 5.5 yards per rush.

Yale has excelled on special teams over the first three games. Kyle Cazzetta has been perfect on 17 PATs and has converted 3-of-5 field goals with a long of 41. The punting game, with Bryan Holmes handling those duties, is fourth nationally in net yards at 40.0. And the few kicks that have been returned by the Bulldogs have generally been for sizable gains thanks to Jamal Locke on kickoffs (24.4 ypr) and Randall on punts (11.0 ypr).

Tony Reno, the Joel E. Smilow ’54 Head Coach of Football, is in his third season leading the Bulldogs with a record of 10-13 entering this contest. He previously spent six years as an assistant at Yale before joining the Harvard staff for three years. A 1997 graduate of Worcester State, Reno was a three-year starter at free safety, helping his team to the league championship his final two years.

Frankie Goes to the Woods
Memorial Field, a.k.a. “The Woods,” was the site for Dartmouth’s latest Ivy League Player of the Week as nickelback Frankie Hernandez was honored as the top defensive player in the conference last week. In the 31-13 victory over Penn on Oct. 4, the junior recorded a career-high 11 tackles to tie for the most in the game, batted away a pair of passes and recovered a key fumble in the second quarter that set up a Big Green touchdown drive. Hernandez is the first Dartmouth defensive player to earn the award since Michael Runger ’14 received it each of the final two weeks of the 2013 campaign.

Pounding the Ground
Whether it was on offense or defense, Dartmouth owned the ground in the 31-13 win over Penn. The Big Green ran for a season-high 218 yards with nearly half (104) provided by junior RB Kyle Bramble with his second career 100-yard game. And while Bramble ran for the first Dartmouth touchdown, junior QB Dalyn Williams ran for the last three, the most by a Big Green player since Dominick Pierre ’14 matched that total in the 2013 season opener at Butler. On the other side of the ball, the Dartmouth D allowed just 33 rushing yards, the fourth fewest for an opponent in the last 16 years.

Picking Penn Apart
Senior strong safety Troy Donahue recorded his second career interception with his first-quarter pick against Penn on Oct. 4. Later in the game, he batted away a pass that was caught by sophomore DT Brandon Cooper. Apparently there is something about Quaker passes that Donahue particularly enjoys because his first INT came last year at Franklin Field against Penn last year as well.

Williams All-Time ... Wait, No
At fourth-ranked New Hampshire on Sept. 27, junior QB 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 passing yards and the seventh Dartmouth player to reach 4K total yards. But he was also 57 yards shy of 1,000 rushing yards and 73 from breaking the school career rushing record for a quarterback. In the first half versus Penn, Williams went to work on surpassing both marks and did so with 75 yards on the ground at the intermission. But after a couple of fumbled snaps and some big losses in the second half, he fell all the way back under 1,000 yards. Which simply gives him the opportunity to do it again this week, needing four for 1,000 and 20 for the QB rushing record.

Sack Attack
It may have taken 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. The floodgates opened after that as the Big Green posted four sacks in the 31-13 victory over Penn, including 1.5 each from DE Evan Chrustic and LB Folarin Orimolade. The latter now has 10 career tackles, 3.5 of which are sacks.

Mixing Green with Red Zone
Opponents may want to keep Dartmouth out of the red zone if it keeps converting at its current rate. The Big Green have successfully turned each of their 12 trips to the red zone into points — 10 with touchdowns, the other two with field goals. Meanwhile, the opposition is just 10-for-15 on red zone opportunities. Yet somehow Dartmouth has been outscored thus far (if ever so slightly), 90-85.

TV Terror
Dartmouth football will be featured on television broadcasts three times this fall, which had been a kiss of death for the Big Green for a while. Before winning two games on the boob tube last year, Dartmouth had lost 15 of its last 16 televised games, dating back to the start of the 2008 season. The Big Green continued to get over their camera shyness with a 31-13 victory over Penn on Oct. 4. Up next is Harvard on Nov. 1, which will be shown on NBC Sports Network regionally.