#23/24 DARTMOUTH (7-1, 4-1) at
BROWN (4-4, 2-3)
BROWN STADIUM, PROVIDENCE, R.I.
SATURDAY, NOV. 14, 2015 • 12:30 P.M.
Video: Ivy League Digital Network
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: Dartmouth leads 57-31-4
Keeping Pace in the Race
Dartmouth is not in control of its own destiny when it comes to the Ivy League title, but it must continue to win to have a shot at claiming at least a share. Last week the Big Green did just that by handing Cornell a 21-3 defeat at Memorial Field while Harvard was fighting off Columbia, 24-16, to maintain its one-game lead in the standings.
While the Crimson will be dealing with a surprising Penn squad that is also looking for a share of first place, Dartmouth will have its hands full with a potent Brown Bears offense. But with the nation’s number one scoring defense, the game will come down to a battle of strengths.
Dartmouth proved its defensive mettle once again last week, yielding just a single field goal to the Big Red. No one player stood out as a star, but as a unit the Green held Cornell to less than 200 total yards, most of which came in the first half. After the first quarter, the Big Red ran a total of two plays on Dartmouth’s side of the field.
Tri-captain Will McNamara leads the defensive unit with 51 tackles from his linebacking position, despite missing a game this fall, and has four interceptions. Joining McNamara with four picks is free safety David Caldwell, who has a nose for the ball as he also leads the squad with three fumble recoveries and nine passes defended.
Up front the Big Green feature tackle A.J. Zuttah and end Cody Fulleton, who have combined for 12 tackles for a loss, half of which are sacks. And with linebacker Folarin Orimolade wreaking havoc with his seven sacks, offensive lines have their hands full from every angle.
Let’s not forget a potent Big Green offensive attack, however. With Bushnell Cup candidate Dalyn Williams behind center guiding Dartmouth to over 430 yards a game with the 15th-best passing attack in the FCS, the Green are just as explosive as Brown. Williams ranks among the top 20 in the nation in seven different offensive categories and is Dartmouth’s all-time leader in passing yards, total yards and completion percentage.
On the other end of Williams’ passes are generally a duo that rank among the all-time greats in program history. Ryan McManus is one of just five Big Green receivers with over 2,000 career yards and will likely end his tenure third in both receptions and yardage. Meanwhile, Victor Williams has merely hauled in 55 passes for 773 yards this year; only five players have amassed 900 yards in a single season.
The ground game got a boost last week as Dartmouth rolled for a season-high 211 rushing yards with no one player racking up more than 60. Both Brian Grove and Vito Penza hit that mark, while Kyle Bramble added 50 and Ryder Stone another 37 in the Big Green’s running backs by committee. And Dalyn Williams just happens to be the all-time leading rusher among Big Green QBs with 1,524 yards to his credit.
The kicking game is headed by Ben Kepley with a third of his 39 punts ending inside the 20. Alex Gakenheimer handles the place kicking but has attempted just seven field goals all year, making three (two at 15th-ranked Harvard). The return game is solid, leading the league on kickoffs while ranking third in punt return average.
Scouting the Bears
Brown has had a down and up and down season thus far. After losing its first two games to Bryant and Harvard, the Bears ripped off four straight wins, the biggest being a 38-31 triumph over Princeton. But Penn and Yale beat them the last two outings to even out their record at 4-4 on the season.
When discussing Brown, everyone starts with the passing attack. That’s because quarterback Marcus Fuller has led the team to the third-best passing yardage in the FCS at over 330 per game. Fuller leads the league with 293 yards each weekend to go with 12 touchdowns, but has also thrown 10 interceptions.
Three Bear receivers are among the most prolific in the country either in receptions or yardage, or both. Alexander Jette averages eight grabs and 111.9 yards, both of which rank among the top five nationally. Trey Doles isn’t far behind in yardage at 108.4 per game, while Brian Strachan hauls in 7.1 passes per contest.
The running game is a different story as Brown ranks in the bottom 10 in the FCS in rushing yardage. The Bears have taken a bit of a committee approach like Dartmouth with three running backs posting between 200 and 300 yards to date. Johnny Pena has done the most damage with 290 yards and six touchdowns, picking up 3.7 yards per carry.
The one thing Brown must do is avoid turnovers, something it has struggled with this year with 12 interceptions thrown and 13 fumbles lost.
On the other side of the ball, Brown has had its share of struggles as well. The opposition has gained nearly 420 yards and scored 34 points per game. Safety Zachary Gillen leads the team with 54 tackles, three going for a loss, while linebacker William Twyman has done a bit of everything with 52 stops, 3.5 for a loss, an interception, a forced fumble and five pass breakups.
The Bears don’t have a dominant pass rusher as no one player has more than two sacks on the season, but end Richard Jarvis is the most likely to blow up a play in the backfield. And 10 different players have been in on a sack for Brown.
Grant Senne is the Bear kicking game, converting 8-of-12 field goals with a long of 45 yards as well as 27-of-29 PATs, plus owns a 37.3-yard average on 28 punts. Jette is a threat to return any kickoff or punt to the house as one of the Ivy League’s top return men.
Head coach Phil Estes, in his 18th season guiding the program, is the second winningest coach in Brown football history and won his 100th game with the Bears on Oct. 11 of last year. He has three Ivy crowns, including the Bears’ first outright title in 2005, and was a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Award each of those years. Born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, he grew up in Laconia, New Hampshire, and is a member of the Laconia High School Hall of Fame. A first-team all-conference and -region selection as a senior at UNH, Estes earned his diploma in 1980.
Three Named Academic All-District
Dartmouth had three of its players named to the Capital One Academic All-District I Football Team — junior NB Lucas Bavaro, senior RB Kyle Bramble and senior C Jacob Flores. Bavaro is an economics major with a 3.31 GPA, Bramble an engineering major with a 3.36 GPA and Flores is studying religion and sports a 3.47 GPA.
Three Others Named to Watch List
The College Football Performance Awards announced its Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) Defensive Awards Watch List last week, and three members of the Dartmouth Big Green were recognized — free safety David Caldwell, and linebackers Will McNamara and Folarin Orimolade. The watch list includes 32 defensive backs, 32 linebackers and 34 defensive linemen from the FCS, but all FCS players remain eligible for the award throughout the season. The award winners will be announced on Jan. 13, 2016.
Defense Shines in Win Over Cornell
For the sixth time in eight games this season, Dartmouth did not allow more than 10 points in a game in the 21-3 victory over Cornell on Nov. 6. And it is the third time the defense did not allow a touchdown following a 35-3 win over Yale and a 34-7 win at CCSU (the Blue Devils TD came on a fumble recovery). The Big Green have surrendered a mere 9.1 points and 73.6 rushing yards per game this year, both of which are the lowest totals in the FCS.
A pair of reserve defensive players managed to record the first interceptions of their careers in the win over Cornell on Nov. 6. First, sophomore safety Colin Boit, with a total of five tackles to his name, plucked a pass out of the air late in the first half to help preserve a 7-3 lead and set up the second Big Green touchdown. Then junior cornerback Danny McManus, the third brother in the clan to play for Buddy Teevens, had the final Dartmouth defensive play of the evening with his pick near midfield, securing the triumph.
First TD of the Season for …
One of Dartmouth’s most prolific receivers of all-time, and this year’s second-leading receiver, Ryan McManus had two 100-yard games to his credit this year entering the contest versus Cornell. But the fifth-year senior had not scored a touchdown all season. That is, until he hauled in a Dalyn Williams pass from eight yards out just before halftime, his first and only scoring grab this year. In 2014, McManus led the Big Green with eight touchdown catches.
Big Green on the Small Screen
With the Cornell game being televised by NBC Sports Network, Dartmouth has appeared in a televised football game 86 times, sporting a 31-54-1 record. Even with the agonizing 14-13 loss at Harvard on Oct. 30, another contest shown on TV, the cameras have been a bit more accommodating recently with the Big Green winning six of their last eight. Against Cornell on TV, Dartmouth is 8-2, its best mark against any Ivy team.
Trailing a Rarity in 2015
When Cornell took a 3-0 lead in the first quarter on Nov. 6, it was just the third time the Big Green had trailed in a game all year. Dartmouth managed to take the lead just under seven minutes later, which was more than twice as long (3:08) as it had trailed all season. And the only time the Green were behind after an offensive possession came at 15th-ranked Harvard, which ended the game.
Dalyn Williams is working on rewriting the Dartmouth record book while etching his name in the Ivy annals as well:
- Williams’ 203 yards versus Cornell made him the first Dartmouth QB with 7,000 yards to his credit (7,086, 7th all-time in the Ivy League) and 5,000 Ivy yards (5,166, 6th) as well.
- Williams became just the ninth Ivy QB to post seven or more 300-yard passing games with his 311-yard performance at 15th-ranked Harvard.
- His 360 total yards against the Crimson made him the first Dartmouth QB and sixth Ivy Leaguer to top 5,000 yards in Ivy games alone (currently 5,214, 8th all-time).
- Williams passed former NFL QB Jay Fiedler ’94 in career total yards earlier this season and currently has 8,610, 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.
- In the Ivy League annals, he also ranks in the top 10 in career completions (578, 7th), career Ivy completions (413, 7th), career accuracy (62.7 percent, 6th), career passing efficiency (144.62, 3rd) and career touchdown passes (54, tied for 6th).
- Became the first Dartmouth QB to top 300 passing yards (313 against Sacred Heart, 336 at Penn, 435 vs. Yale) in three straight weeks.
- 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.
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 entered the Harvard game 22nd in both polls while Harvard was sitting in 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.
The Agony of Defeat
Conjuring up images of the old ABC Wide World of Sports opening is appropriate for a game that is being hailed as an instant classic. Needing a victory at 15th-ranked Harvard to extend its winning streak to 10 games and take sole possession of the Ivy League lead in the standings, Dartmouth fell one point short in the final minute after leading for nearly the entire game. The Big Green’s seven-game road win streak also came to a halt, and they must now rely on another team to topple the Crimson in order to have a chance to earn a share of its first Ivy League crown in 19 years.
What’s the Point
The 14-13 loss to Harvard on Oct. 30 was the 37th time Dartmouth played in a game decided by exactly a single point, although the first one might seem strange at 1-0 over Amherst — back in 1881, touchdowns counted as a single point. Some interesting tidbits about one-point games:
- The last one-point game came 11 years prior to the day, a 13-12 loss to Harvard in 2004. Dartmouth failed on a two-point conversion with less than three minutes to play in an attempt to upset the Crimson, which went on to a perfect 7-0 league record while the Big Green went 1-6.
- Dartmouth is 20-17 in one-point games.
- The Big Green have had six games against Harvard decided by one point (going 2-4).
- Every Ivy team has played at least two one-point games versus Dartmouth, with Cornell the most often at seven (Big Green 4-3) and Princeton the least with two, both Big Green wins.
Goal Line Stand for the Ages
With Dartmouth holding a 13-0 lead early in the fourth quarter, Harvard managed to drive down to the one-yard line and had 1st-and-goal. Five times the Crimson snapped the ball in an attempt to push past the goal line (an offside call gave them an extra opportunity), and five times the Big Green defense was up to the task. Many people in attendance, including NBC Sports Network analyst Ross Tucker, called the stand the best they had ever seen.
McNamara Picks His Spots
For the second time in his career, senior linebacker Will McNamara recorded two interceptions in a game with his pair of picks against 15th-ranked Harvard. The first INT came at the Big Green five just before halftime ended to thwart a Crimson scoring opportunity, and the other came on Harvard’s first possession of the second half. He is the second Dartmouth defender with two interceptions in a game this year; David Caldwell turned the trick against Yale on Oct. 10.
Remember Them for Centuries
Both Ryan McManus and Victor Williams managed to collect more than 100 yards receiving in the loss at 15th-ranked Harvard on Oct. 30. McManus hauled in nine passes for a season-high 135 yards, his sixth career 100-yard game, while Williams snagged seven for 103, also his sixth. McManus’ first catch pushed him over 2,000 yards for his career, just the fifth Big Green player to reach the milestone. Williams fell off the pace to set a single-season Dartmouth record for yardage last week with just 15 yards, but breaking the mark remains a possibility as he needs to amass 304 in the final two games to do so.
Speed Limit of 70
In Dartmouth’s last 10 games, no one opposing player has managed to amass 70 rushing yards against the Big Green defense. Harvard’s Paul Stanton came closest with 67 on Oct. 30, and the last player to do so was Cornell’s Luke Hagy with 110 a year ago.
6-0 Has Been a Harbinger
Dartmouth won its first six games of the season for the first time 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.
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, is second in the league in per game averages for tackles for a loss (1.2), sacks (0.0, also 14th in the nation) and forced fumbles (0.4, eighth in the FCS).
Dartmouth has enjoyed one of the best turnover margins in the country (+1.4, 2nd in FCS), and one big reason for that has been free safety David Caldwell. The senior is among the top 15 nationally in both interceptions per game and fumbles recovered, securing seven turnovers from the 21 the Big Green have gained control of this year.