DARTMOUTH (7-2, 4-2)
vs. PRINCETON (5-4, 2-4)
Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017 • 1:30 p.m.
League Title Still in Play
Not only is Dartmouth looking to take back the Governor’s Trophy and the almighty Sawhorse Dollar in its rivalry game with Princeton this Saturday, but also hoping it can earn a share of the Ivy League title with a little help.
The Big Green enter the season finale tied for second in the conference standings, trailing the 6-1 Yale Bulldogs by a single game. If Dartmouth can knock off this potent Princeton squad and Yale stumbles at home versus Harvard, the Green would boast its 19th league title, more than any other program.
But the result of The Game won’t matter if Dartmouth doesn’t take care of business against the Tigers. Don’t be fooled by the 2-4 conference record; the four losses are by a combined 12 points.
Last year the Big Green had their personal six-game winning streak against Princeton — their longest in the series — come to an end as the Tigers turned a 14-10 halftime deficit into a 38-21 triumph. Princeton scored four straight touchdowns in less than a 14-minute span over the third and fourth quarters to take home a share of the Ivy title with Penn.
Dartmouth is coming off a trip to historic Fenway Park where it easily handled Brown in a 33-10 victory. It was a welcome change from other Ivy games as the Big Green had their first four games decided by five or less points and the fifth by 10 thanks to a field goal in the final two minutes.
Jack Heneghan has been a solid performer behind center all year, and last week was no different. The senior threw for 263 yards on 21-of-31 passing with a pair of touchdown tosses and one interception. With just 72 passing yards in the season finale, he would join Jay Fiedler ’94 and Dalyn Williams ’15 as the only Dartmouth QBs to post two seasons with 2,000 passing yards.
The two touchdown throws happened to go to the same receiver — Hunter Hagdorn — who despite missing essentially three full games this year, still leads Dartmouth in catches (39), yardage (473) and TDs (5). The Big Green also feature a pair of possession receivers in Emory Thompson (27 receptions, 254 yards) and Drew Estrada (25-239), plus Dylan Mellor (20-284).
The ground game is headed up by senior Ryder Stone, who is fourth in the league with 586 rushing yards. Dartmouth will mix things up with Wildcat QB Jared Gerbino, second on the team in yardage and carries, while Miles Smith and Rashaad Cooper will capably spell Stone in the backfield.
The Big Green defense has been the star the past couple of weeks, yielding just 10 points combined in wins over Cornell and Brown. Overall, Dartmouth is 13th nationally in points allowed (17.3) and has suffocated the running game.
Linebackers Jack Traynor (84 tackles, fourth in Ivy League) and Eric Meile (77 tackles, fifth) lead the charge, and the defensive line has done a terrific job of containing opposing quarterbacks. And Jarius Brown came up with the team’s third pick-six of the year, returning it 27 yards against Brown to seal the win.
David Smith provides a steady leg, having made 8-of-11 field goals this year and all but one PAT in his career. The punting game relies on the spectacular hang time of Davis Brief, who has had only five returns go more than two yards all season.
Scouting the Tigers
Since starting the season 5-1, Princeton has fallen on hard times, losing its last three games by a a total of eight points, including last week’s 35-31 loss to Yale that eliminated the Tigers from the Ivy race. While Princeton isn’t in the title chase any more, it can prevent Dartmouth from possibly earning a share of the crown.
The vaunted Tigers offense, averaging an Ivy-best 37.6 points, 341.1 passing yards and 481.7 total yards, is led by quarterback Chad Kanoff. The senior has thrown for 3,030 yards and 26 touchdowns, plus completed 72.2 percent of his passes to lead the FCS. He has topped 300 yards in a game seven times, 400 twice, including a season-high 454 last week. Part of his success is due to great protection; opponents have sacked Kanoff just eight times all year.
At the other end of those throws are two of the best receivers in the league in Jesper Horsted and Stephen Carlson. Horsted, an outfielder on the Princeton baseball team, is among the top 10 nationally in receptions per game (8.9, second), receiving yards per game (120.8, second) and touchdown catches (12, sixth). Carlson ranks among the top 25 in each of those categories as well, most notably with his 10 scoring snares (seventh). Don’t sleep on aptly named Tiger Bech and his 38 catches for 585 yards and two TDs as he leads the team in all-purpose yards, due to his work as the kickoff and punt returner.
Charlie Volker, the Ivy League 60m indoor champion as a freshman in 2016, is the starting running back and a threat to break off a long run every time he touches the ball. He leads the Tigers with 560 rushing yards on 122 carries, 11 ending in the end zone, while Collin Eaddy has the best average per carry (6.0) on about half of the attempts. Ryan Quigley will also get some time in the backfield, totaling 215 yards on 51 carries with three scores.
The defense has not been as effective, ranking sixth in the league in yards allowed per game at nearly 400 and fifth in points allowed (23.4). Middle linebacker Tom Johnson has been particularly active with 86 tackles, third in the league, with 7.5 going for a loss and 1.5 sacks. When it comes to the pass rush, end Kurt Holuba provides the most pressure with his four sacks, but the Tigers miss the presence of lineman Mike Wagner who had 6.5 sacks in the first five games before being sidelined with an injury.
The secondary is headed up by cornerback C.J. Wall who leads the Ivy League with 10 passes defended, including three interceptions with a touchdown. Free safety T.J. Floyd has broken up six passes while picking off a pass as well.
The kicking game features Tavish Rice who is 8-for-11 on field goals and 36-of-40 on PATs. Princeton has punted just 23 times, by far the lowest in the Ancient Eight, with QB Kanoff providing 15 of those kicks.
The Tigers are under the care of the Charles W. Caldwell Jr. ’25 Head Coach of Football, Bob Surace, finishing up his eighth campaign with the Tigers with a current record of 38-41 and two conference crowns (2013, ’16) to his credit. Prior to coming to Princeton, he served as an assistant coach with the Cincinnati Bengals, helping the team to an AFC North title in 2009. His other head coaching experience came at Western Connecticut State where he led the Colonials to an overall record of 18-3 in 2000 and ’01. He was an All-Ivy first-team center back in 1989 at Princeton, which won a share of the conference crown.
Last Time Against the Tigers
Dartmouth took a quick 7-0 lead at Princeton last year when Jack Heneghan scrambled 20 yards into the end zone on the Big Green’s first possession. At the break, Dartmouth still held a 14-10 advantage, but the Tigers roared back in the second half with four touchdowns before the Green could answer, running away with a 38-21 victory. Heneghan threw for 314 yards, but the ground game provided little more. Princeton had a balanced attack with 219 yards rushing and 230 more through the air with Charlie Volker running for 111 yards — the last opposing player to top 100 yards against Dartmouth.
Ivy League Race
While seven teams were still alive in the race for the Ivy League title before last weekend, just three remain going into the final Saturday of action. Yale clinched a share of the crown by defeating Princeton, 35-31, and both Columbia and Dartmouth picked up wins to stay within a game of the Bulldogs in second place. The Big Green are hoping Harvard can defeat Yale in The Game, which kicks off at 12:30, and they can knock off the Tigers at Memorial Field at 1:30 in order to grab a share of its 19th league championship, more than any other Ivy League team.
Fabulous Fun at Fenway Park
For the first time in 73 years, Dartmouth played a football game at historic Fenway Park. The Big Green made it a memorable affair, knocking off Brown by a final of 33-10 on Nov. 10 in front of a national audience on NBC Sports Network. It was the seventh game at the venerated venue for Dartmouth, improving its record to 6-1 in the park and 3-0 against the Bears. Here is a list of games at the site:
• Nov. 21, 1914 — Dartmouth 40, Syracuse 0
• Nov. 6, 1915 — Dartmouth 7, Penn 3
• Nov. 25, 1922 — Dartmouth 7, Brown 0
• Nov. 10, 1923 — Dartmouth 16, Brown 14
• Nov. 13, 1943 — Dartmouth 20, Cornell 0
• Oct. 14, 1944 — Notre Dame 64, Dartmouth 0
• Nov. 10, 2017 — Dartmouth 33, Brown 10
Two Named Academic All-District
Seniors Jack Heneghan and Ben Hagaman have been named to the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-District I Team. The honor recognizes the nation’s top student-athletes for their combined performances on the field and in the classroom. Heneghan, an economics major with a 3.79 GPA, has led Dartmouth to a 7-2 record as the starting quarterback, while Hagaman, a history major with a 3.32 GPA, has protected Heneghan as the starting right tackle.
Hagdorn Hogging TDs
Sophomore Hunter Hagdorn caught two touchdown passes in the 33-10 win over Brown on Nov. 10, his first career game with two scores. This is becoming a trend, however, as the last four TDs on passes have all gone to Hagdorn, spanning the last three games. The last receiver to score after catching a pass was Drew Estrada with a 38-yard grab in the fourth quarter against Columbia back on Oct. 21.
Brown Pilfers His Namesake
My previous note isn’t entirely accurate, and I’ll explain why. Senior Jarius Brown likely wanted to take advantage of playing against the university named after him (that might not be accurate), and did he ever. Early in the third quarter with Dartmouth holding a 23-3 advantage, the cornerback stepped in front of a Brown pass and intercepted the throw, returning it 27 yards for a touchdown for the third pick-six of the season. The Big Green had not had three interceptions returned for a TD in a season since 1935, a span of 82 years. As for the previous note, Brown did catch a pass and score a touchdown, it just wasn’t a Dartmouth pass.
Ten Straight Games with TD Pass
With his two touchdown tosses against Brown, Jack Heneghan became just the second Dartmouth quarterback to throw one in 10 consecutive games. The only other Big Green QB to do so was Jay Fiedler ’94, who set the program record of 11 by connecting in every game in 1992 and the season opener in 1993. And only Fiedler has thrown a TD pass in every game of a season, no matter how many games were played in that year, having done so in all 10 games of the 1992 campaign. Heneghan’s opposing quarterback, Princeton’s Chad Kanoff, has also had a TD throw in each of the last 10 games for the Tigers, with at least two in every game this season.
Senior Jack Heneghan became the fourth Dartmouth player to surpass 5,000 total yards in a career with his 250 against Brown at Fenway Park on Nov. 10. He won’t climb any higher on the charts, however, as the player third on that list is Brian Mann ’20 with 6,518. But Heneghan will have an excellent chance to reach 2,000 passing yards for the second time in his career, needing just 72 against the Tigers to be the third Big Green QB to do so in two seasons.
Return of the Field Goal Before Half
In each of the first five Big Green games this season, there had been a field goal kicked either just before the end of the second quarter or as the half expired. The first three of those kicks were provided by David Smith, while Dartmouth opponents had one in each of the next two games. Smith brought that tradition back in the 33-10 win over Brown, booting a 28-yard field goal as time expired. The only game this season in which one team did not score in the final minute of the second quarter was in the 10-0 win over Cornell. And against the Bears, Dartmouth actually had two scores in the final minute having scored a touchdown with 56 seconds on the clock as well.
A Little Breathing Room
With a 10-point margin of victory against Cornell, followed by a 23-point win over Brown, Dartmouth ended a string of six straight games decided by five points or less. The Big Green won the first four in that stretch by a combined eight points before losing the next two by eight. But the breathing room didn’t come until there was 1:19 left in the game when David Smith booted a 33-yard field goal to make it a two-score game, effectively sealing the victory. Then against Brown, Dartmouth scored two touchdowns in the first quarter and the Bears never got closer than 10 points the rest of the night.
Stone’s Throw from 20 TDs
Senior RB Ryder Stone produced a 10-yard touchdown run at Harvard and another against Brown, giving him 19 rushing scores in his career. With just one more on the ground, Stone would become the 10th Big Green player ever to run for 20 in a career. Of the nine to do so, only three have come in the last three decades — Jon Aljancic ’97 (21), Nick Schwieger ’12 (26) and Dominick Pierre ’14 (30). The school record is 33 held by Myles Lane, Class of 1928. In addition, his career average per carry of 4.87 yards is 10th best in Dartmouth history, just ahead of Schwieger (4.85).