HANOVER, N.H. — Kyle Bramble caught a screen pass and weaved his way 12 yards to the end zone with 24 seconds to play, lifting 21st-ranked Dartmouth to a 17-10 victory over Princeton and keeping the Big Green on top of the Ivy League standings for a share of the conference crown on Saturday afternoon at Memorial Field. The 6,208 fans in attendance got to witness the first Ivy title for Dartmouth (9-1, 6-1 Ivy) since 1996 but 18th overall, more than any other school in the Ancient Eight.
|Cody Fulleton provided this important sack to set the table for the game-winning touchdown.|
Dartmouth, which had trailed for less than a total of 10 minutes all season, played from behind for a majority of the game. Down 10-7 to start the fourth quarter, the Big Green knotted the score when junior Alex Gakenheimer booted a 22-yard field goal with 4:54 to play. Twice the defense shut down Princeton following that field goal, once on a David Caldwell interception, the other on a Cody Fulleton sack on third down.
After Princeton punted away with just over two minutes to play, Dartmouth quarterback Dalyn Williams went to work, starting with a 23-yard pass to senior Ryan McManus. Eventually, the Big Green found themselves on the Tiger 12-yard line with 31 seconds to play when the coaching staff called for the screen pass. Williams drew in the defense before lofting his pass toward the left sideline to Bramble, who followed his blockers and just snuck into the end zone for the go-ahead score. With Gakenheimer’s PAT, Dartmouth enjoyed a 17-10 lead with 24 seconds to go.
|Dalyn Williams finished his terrific Dartmouth career by completing 31-of-45 passes for 262 yards and a touchdown to earn the victory and an Ivy League title.|
Princeton was able to advance the ball to the Dartmouth 44, but when trying to spike the ball to stop the clock in the final seconds, the line was not set, leading to a false start penalty. Since the penalty was on the offense, the clock was run out leading to a rather anticlimactic end to the victory. But the reveling Big Green players did not seem to mind as they stormed the field even before the referees could announce the decision.
Both teams had their share of turnover woes, giving the ball away four times apiece. Five of the eight turnovers came in the first quarter alone, the last of which led to the first and only score of the first half. The Tigers punted with less than a minute left in the quarter, but Dartmouth muffed the fair catch, giving Princeton the ball at the Big Green 28. Joe Rhattigan ran three times before clock expired, taking the ball down to the three. Two plays later, DiAndre Atwater slipped through the line for a one-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead.
The Tigers had a chance to add to its lead later in the second quarter on two occasions. The first came on a 41-yard field goal attempt, but it was pulled just wide to the left of the uprights. And in the final minute Princeton had advanced to the Dartmouth nine-yard line, but junior Folarin Orimolade sacked quarterback Chad Kanoff and jarred the ball loose, allowing senior A.J. Zuttah to pounce on it.
|David Caldwell picked off a Princeton pass in the fourth quarter to end a Princeton threat to breaking the tie score.|
Dartmouth returned to the field for the second half like a team on a mission with junior Danny McManus returning the kickoff to the Tiger 44. Six plays later, sophomore Ryder Stone took a handoff and rumbled 32 yards for a touchdown followed by Gakenheimer’s extra point to knot the score at seven.
The Princeton answer came swiftly as Kanoff completed six straight pass attempts to take the Tigers down to the Big Green four. His seventh throw, however, fell incomplete in the end zone. Nolan Bieck was summoned and provided a 21-yard chip shot to put Princeton back on top, 10-7.
Bieck got another opportunity to tack on three points to the Tiger lead in the third quarter, only to miss wide to the left again from 40 yards out.
But Dartmouth had already missed a pair of field goals itself in the first quarter — the first from 32 yards the second from 47 that fell a yard short — when Gakenheimer converted his 22-yarder with just under five minutes on the clock to tie the score. Before the Big Green took the lead on Bramble’s touchdown, Gakenheimer had a chance to give Dartmouth the lead with a 39-yard attempt, yet it also slipped to the left of the uprights.
|Ryder Stone broke free for a 32-yard touchdown run to tie the score in the third quarter.|
Williams finished the day completing 31 passes (one shy of his career high) in 45 attempts for 262 yards with one interception and the game-winning touchdown, but was sacked seven times, matching the most in his career. Ryan McManus caught a season-high 10 of those completions for 82 yards, while Stone led the Big Green on the ground with 45 yards on just seven carries, including his 32-yard touchdown.
Kanoff completed 24-of-44 throws for 226 yards and one interception while getting sacked three times. Seth DeValve was his favorite target, connecting with him nine times for 110 yards, and Rhattigan led all players with 57 rushing yards on 11 carries. Neither team was able to amass 100 yards on the ground with Princeton totaling 97 and Dartmouth 83.
The true stars of the day were the defenders. Dartmouth broke up 10 passes while Caldwell snagged his Ivy-leading fifth interception. Will McNamara led the Big Green with 10 tackles, while Zuttah, Fulleton and Orimolade each had a sack.
No less than eight Tigers had a hand in the seven sacks with Luke Catarius and Henry Schlossberg each collecting one and a half while Nick Fekula provided a game-high 12 tackles, one of three with at least 10. Brannon Jones recovered a pair of fumbles while Catarius and Matt Arends both forced a fumble.
Dartmouth was the first of the three teams tied atop the Ivy League standings to secure a share of the title, while Penn did so as well with a 34-21 victory over Cornell. Harvard is still playing Yale and holds a 31-13 lead in the fourth quarter, which, if it holds up, would give the Ivy League a three-way tie for the title for the first time since 1982 and just the fourth time since the league first played in 1956.
Notes: Williams ends his four-year tenure with the Big Green holding numerous Dartmouth records, including passing yards (7,458), total yards (8,952), completions (620), completion percentage (62.7) and pass attempts (989), the last three of which he achieved today … this is the third Ivy League title for Robert L. Blackman Head Football Coach Buddy Teevens, the first two of which came during his first stint with the Big Green in 1990 and 1991 … Teevens also won a league title as the Big Green quarterback in 1978 … Dartmouth trailed for 35:23 in the game after trailing for a total of 10:03 all season ... this is the first Big Green when trailing at the start of the fourth quarter since a 21-16 triumph at Brown four years ago.