#22 DARTMOUTH (6-0, 3-0) at
#15 HARVARD (6-0, 3-0)
HARVARD STADIUM, CAMBRIDGE, MASS.
FRIDAY, OCT. 30, 2015 • 7:30 P.M.
Televison: NBC Sports Network (Dish 159, DirecTV 220) — Mike Corey (play-by-play), Ross Tucker (analyst)
Live Audio: Ivy League Digital Network and iHeart Radio — Adam Giardino (play-by-play), Wayne Young ’72 (analyst)
Radio: 99Rock WFRD (99.3 FM)
All-Time Series: Harvard leads 68-45-5
Battle of Undefeated Ranked Ivies
Before the season began, Dartmouth’s game at Harvard was circled on the calendar after the two finished 1-2 in the Ivy standings last year. Now with both teams undefeated and among the top 25 teams in the FCS, the anticipation has reached a fever pitch for the 119th meeting (seventh most in FCS history) with the game broadcast nationally on NBC Sports Network. This is just the second Big Green game not played on a Saturday since 1946, and first one on a Friday since the 19th century.
Dartmouth is attempting to shed the Crimson demons of the past 18 years during which Harvard has won all but one of the meetings, that coming in 2003. Should the Green win, they will have the inside track on winning its league-record 18th Ivy title, but first since 1996. A Crimson victory would put Harvard in position to tie Dartmouth with 17 conference crowns.
Last year the two met in Hanover with perfect records in Ivy play, and the Crimson emerged with a 23-12 triumph on their way to a perfect 10-0 campaign. Big Green quarterback Dalyn Williams was poked in the eye early in the fourth quarter with Dartmouth trailing by eight and did not get the opportunity to rally his team in the final minutes.
Dartmouth has not lost since then, however, winning nine straight, the first eight of which were by a margin of 21 or more points. Last week the Green had that streak end, winning by just four against an upset-minded Columbia squad, 13-9, as Dartmouth was flagged 17 times for 161 penalty yards, both of which are school records.
Williams, named to the STATS FCS Midseason National Player of the Year Watch List, put up solid numbers against the Lions, completing 20-of-34 passes for 235 yards and a touchdown. But those numbers are below his season averages of 284.3 yards per game at a 66.2 percent completion rate with 14 scoring strikes against only one interception.
Columbia did a good job containing Williams in the pocket, sacking him six times and holding him to a career-low minus-25 yards rushing, just the third game of his career with negative yardage.
Dartmouth has not had a 100-yard rusher in any game this season, spreading the load among four tailbacks. Sophomore Ryder Stone leads the team with 249 yards on the season at a 5.5-yard clip per carry.
The Big Green have a number of receiving weapons, led by senior Victor Williams with 45 catches for 655 yards and four scores. Senior Ryan McManus is back to full speed after missing two games early in the season with an ankle sprain, and junior Jon Marc Carrier, son of former NFL receiver Mark Carrier, has put his genes to good use.
Defensively these two teams are about as evenly matched as you can get. Both are in the top 10 nationally in fewest allowed points, total yards and rushing yards, as well as passing efficiency defense. Junior linebacker Folarin Orimolade is seventh in the nation in sacks per game (1.0) while senior free safety David Caldwell is sixth in both fumbles recovered and interceptions per game.
Scouting the Crimson
Harvard has certainly earned its spot in the national polls, dominating each of its first six opponents this season on offense and defense, scoring 43.8 points a game (fifth nationally) while yielding just 7.8 (first) as the Crimson has extended their win streak to an FCS-best 20 games.
Leading the potent attack is quarterback Scott Hosch, who has joined Big Green QB Dalyn Williams on the midseason watch list for National Player of the Year. The two have eerily similar numbers with Williams’ just a notch ahead of Hosch’s 61.9 completion percentage, 1,661 yards and 12 touchdowns. Both have thrown just one interception, and Hosch has a slight edge in passing efficiency (162.57).
The Crimson offense is well balanced in the air and on the ground, picking up over 200 rushing yards along with more than 300 passing yards each time out. Paul Stanton, Jr. averages over six yards a carry and 100 yards a game to go with nine touchdowns, while freshman backup Noah Reimers twice has been named the Ivy League Rookie of the Week.
Hosch has plenty of options to throw to, and he particularly likes throwing to his top tight end, Ben Braunecker who has picked up more than 20 yards on his 22 receptions. Wide receiver Andrew Fischer also has 22 catches to tie for the team lead, and three others have at least 13 as Hosch spreads the wealth.
The defense, second only to Dartmouth against the run, relies heavily on a talented linebacking corps that has four of the Crimson’s top-five tacklers. Jacob Lindsey leads the way with 40 stops while Matt Koran has 31.
Eight of Harvard’s 12 sacks on the season have been provided by linemen, however, with Dan Moody’s three the most. The secondary features Asante Gibson with his two interceptions and Jordan Becerra with his four pass breakups.
On special teams, Kenny Smart is 3-of-4 on field goals with a long of 31, and 34-of-36 on extra points.Punter Zach Schmid has been solid with a modest 36.3-yard average, but the Crimson coverage has allowed just 12 punt returns yards all year. Their own kick return men are dangerous in Andrew Fischer and Justice Shelton-Mosley, both of whom are threats to break off a long run.
Harvard is coached by Tim Murphy, now in his 22nd year in Cambridge and 27th overall as a collegiate head coach. The boyhood friend of Dartmouth head coach Buddy Teevens is 153-62 during his Crimson tenure with eight Ivy championships to his credit, and 185-107-1 in a career that has included stints at Maine and Cincinnati.
Both Dartmouth and Harvard enter this contest with impressive streaks on the line. The Big Green have won nine straight games overall and seven straight on the road, both of which are tied for second-longest in the FCS. The team with longer streaks? That would be Harvard at 20 overall and 13 on the road. True, the Crimson are not playing on the road. Their home win streak is a mere 10 games, second only to Illinois State. But Harvard’s 14 straight conference wins are the most in the nation.
The longest win streak in Big Green history is 15, accomplished on four occasions (1924-26, ’61-63, ’70-71 and ’96-97). The only other win streaks greater than nine were an 11-gamer (1964-66) and a pair of 10-gamers (1907-08 and ’20-21). This nine-game streak is tied for eighth longest in program history.
Eight Years Since Ranked Ivies Met
Dartmouth debuted in the STATS FCS Poll on Oct. 19 for the first time since the end of the 1996 season, and this week find itself 22nd in both polls. Harvard has been ranked most of the season, sitting 15th in the STATS Poll and 16th in the coaches poll. The last time two ranked Ivy teams squared off on the gridiron was the Yale-Harvard showdown in 2007. The 11th-ranked Bulldogs, undefeated entering the game, were handed a 37-6 defeat at the Yale Bowl by the 25th-ranked Crimson.
Big Green on the Small Screen
This is the 85th time Dartmouth has had one of its football games televised with a 30-53-1 record entering this contest. But the cameras have been a bit more accommodating recently with the Big Green winning five of their last six, including the 41-20 triumph at Penn four weeks ago. Against Harvard on TV, Dartmouth is 6-11-1 with five straight losses dating back to 2008.
Special Teamer of the Week
The Ivy League named junior Ben Kepley as its Special Teams Player of the Week on Oct. 26. In the 13-9 win over Columbia, the punter performed his duties a career-high 11 times, kicking out of his own end zone three times with the ensuing possessions leading to a mere three points. Seven of his punts were fair caught and four were downed inside the 20. Kepley is the first pure punter to earn the honor for Dartmouth since Alex Ware in 2001, though Riley Lyons did take home the award in 2012 as the punter and placekicker. No other Big Green punter has won the award since its inception in 1999.
Go With the Flo
Linebacker Folarin Orimolade — “Flo” — has been a terror to Ivy offenses during his three seasons in Hanover. The junior from Burtonsville, Maryland, leads the league in per game averages for tackles for a loss (1.3), plus is second in sacks (1.0, also seventh in the nation) and forced fumbles (0.3).
6-0 Start Best in 19 Years
With the 13-9 win over Columbia, Dartmouth is off to its best start since the 1996 team began the season at 6-0 en route to a perfect 10-0 campaign. This is the seventh time the Big Green have won their first six games since the advent of Ivy League play in 1956. Good news for Dartmouth fans — the Green won at least a share of the title in each of the previous six instances — 1962, ’65, ’69, ’70, ’71 and ’96.
Back to .600
Early in the 2009 season, Dartmouth was struggling on the field and saw its all-time winning percentage drop below .600 for the first time since 1904. Thanks to the recent winning surge of the last few years, the Big Green finally got back to .600 following the win over Columbia on Oct. 24. The all-time record of 682-447-46 puts them exactly at .600.
Whistle While You Work
Against Columbia on Oct. 24, Dartmouth set a dubious school record by getting hit with 17 penalties that were accepted by the Lions. Those flags translated into 161 penalty yards, another school record. Coaches will tell you that racking up a lot of penalties is a bad thing, but in the last 40 years, the Big Green are 9-2 when whistled for at least 100 penalty yards and 26-8-1 when penalized at least 10 times. The FCS record you ask? How about 23 penalties for Idaho in 1992, and 260 penalty yards against Southern in 1978.
Dalyn Williams is working on rewriting the Dartmouth record book while etching his name in the Ivy annals as well:
- He needs 113 passing yards to pass former NFL QB Jay Fiedler ’94 as the Big Green’s all-time leader. And with 428 more yards, he will become just the seventh Ivy QB to hit 7,000 in a career.
- With another 348 yards, he will become the first Dartmouth QB and sixth Ivy Leaguer to amass 5,000 in Ivy games alone.
- Williams did pass Fiedler in career total yards earlier this season and currently has 8,044, third most in Ivy League history.
- He set a school record by completing 92 percent of his passes (23-of-25) against Penn. The previous record was held by Bill King since the 1962 season.
- Another school record fell the following week with 435 passing yards against Yale, breaking the mark held by Fiedler.
- Yet another school record: 453 total yards vs. Yale, breaking his own mark. He has also topped 400 yards four times in his career, one more than everyone else combined.
- Became the first Dartmouth QB to top 300 passing yards (336 at Penn, 435 vs. Yale) in three straight weeks (had 313 against Sacred Heart).
- Led Dartmouth to its first win at Penn since 1997.
- Named national FCS Offensive Player of the Week by STATS, College Football Performance Awards and College Sporting News after the Penn game, plus was named the Ivy League Offensive Player of the Week after Penn and Yale, giving him six in his career (one shy of Fiedler’s school record seven). Also earned the Gold Helmet Award from the New England Football Writers for a second time.
As a freshman, quarterback Dalyn Williams had eight completions go for at least 30 yards. He increased that number to 10 as a sophomore, and boosted it to 14 last year. This season, Williams has already connected on 17 passes of 30 or more yards, eight of which have gone to his namesake, Victor Williams. As a team, Dartmouth has 18 such passes (Jack Heneghan added one against Sacred Heart).
Mid-Season POY Watch List
The College Football Performance Awards unveiled its Mid-Season Watch List for its FCS National Performer for the Year, and quarterback Dalyn Williams was one of the 32 included, as he was on the preseason watch list. The senior is among the top 10 nationally in five offensive categories, including pass efficiency, total offense and completion percentage.
With the 34-7 win at Central Connecticut State, Dartmouth has now won all three of its non-conference games four times since the implementation of the 10-game schedule in 1980 — 1995, ’96, 2010 and ’15.
Making Good Points
In four of the six games thus far this season, Dartmouth has surrendered less than 10 points (with another hitting 10 exactly). The only team to top that mark was Penn, but only after trailing 42-7 in the fourth quarter. At 9.3 points allowed per game rank, the Green rank second in the FCS with just Harvard ahead of them at 7.8. and the last Dartmouth team to hold a team to single digits four times was the 1997 squad, while the 1996 team accomplished the feat six times.
The Big Green had scored at least 30 points in eight straight games before Columbia limited them to just 13. Dartmouth had also scored a touchdown in 20 of the first 22 quarters this season, then failed to score a point in the second half against the Lions. Still, the Green have scored more points in the first quarter alone (69) than opponents have all season (56). Same is true for the second quarter (62).
Columbia may have ended a streak of 10 straight quarters in which the Big Green defense did not allow a touchdown, but it only mustered 167 yards of offense, the fewest by any opponent this year and fourth straight opponent with less than 300 total yards. The last Dartmouth squad that did not allow 300 or more yards in a game five times for a season was the 1997 squad, while the last Ivy champion in 1996 accomplished the feat six times.
Sharing the Load
During the current nine-game winning streak, in only one game has Dartmouth had a 100-yard rusher, against Brown last year. True, there were two 100-yard rushers for the Green that day — Ryder Stone, 114, and Dalyn Williams, 100 on the nose — but because no running back has carried the ball more than 13 times in these nine games, getting to 100 is a big challenge. Only Williams topped 13 carries once, that being in that Brown game with 18.