HANOVER, N.H. — The Ivy League released its 2012 Football Preseason Media Poll today with Dartmouth predicted to finish sixth in the conference standings a year after tying for second place. Harvard, the 2011 league champion, was chosen to defend its title and claimed 13 of the 17 first-place votes to garner 132 points.
Both Penn and Cornell received two first-place votes with the Quakers slated for second place with 111 points and the Big Red in third with 100 points. Brown came in fourth with 84 points, followed by Yale (66), Dartmouth (52), Columbia (36) and Princeton (31).
The fact that the Big Green graduated nine of their 10 players that earned All-Ivy honors last season, including All-America running back Nick Schwieger, surely weighed heavily on the voters’ minds. But Dartmouth’s Robert L. Blackman Head Football Coach Buddy Teevens is not as cynical as the media about his team’s prospects this season.
“There is no doubt that we graduated a lot of good players who played quite a bit throughout their careers,” Teevens said during a conference call with the media this morning. “But we also have a lot of returning players that have played a lot of snaps, either as starters or reserves. And with the facility improvements over the past several years, the impact on recruiting is taking hold as we continue to build this program back to the top of the Ivy League.”
One of the players to which Teevens is referring is tailback Dominick Pierre (6-0, 200), who enters his junior campaign with more rushing yards (744) and a higher average per carry (5.0) than Schwieger had after two seasons on the Big Green roster, despite starting just one game thus far. Another boon to the offense will be the return of senior Michael Reilly (6-1, 190), who sat out last season after amassing over 1,000 receiving yards in his first three campaigns. He will be joined on the flanks by sophomores Bo Patterson (6-2, 180) and Kirby Schoenthaler (6-0, 185), Dartmouth’s top two receivers as rookies in 2011.
Another veteran player who missed all of last season and is returning to complete his eligibility is senior offensive lineman Patrick Lahey, who will join seniors Rob Bathe and John Scheve, as well as junior Cohle Fowler, to comprise a formidable front line. Behind center, the Big Green will be replacing Conner Kempe, who finished his career third on the program’s lists for career passing yardage (4,499) and touchdown tosses (26). Sophomore Alex Park (6-1, 195) impressed with his spring performance to take control of the job during the spring but is untested in game situations.
“Dom and Schwieger made a great running duo spelling for each other, and now Dom will pair off with Greg Patton. We are confident in our capabilities with the run game. But we will need to be more productive from a pass standpoint,” Teevens commented. “Our completion percentage has been an emphasis point, and it helps that Alex has more snaps under his belt to go with an experienced group of receivers.”
The defense has a number of experienced upperclassmen on the line, while the linebacking unit is anchored by junior Bronson Green (6-1, 215), who has started the last 13 games. The secondary will miss the talents of Shawn Abuhoff, a two-time All-Ivy first-team cornerback and return specialist, but his departure via diploma will be mitigated by the return of senior cornerback Chase Womack (6-0, 190) and senior safety Garrett Waggoner (6-2, 205), both of whom were limited to two games last year after the former tied for the team lead in interceptions in 2010 and the latter topped the team in tackles two years ago.
The season opens in Hanover on Sept. 15 when Dartmouth hosts Butler in the second-ever night game at Memorial Field at 7 p.m. Dick Lutsk and Wayne Young ’72, with Dave Collins in the studio, will bring all the action live over the airwaves on 99Rock WFRD (99.3 FM) and on the official website of Dartmouth athletics — DartmouthSports.com — all season long.
Video of the game, produced by Northeast Sports Network, will be streamed live in HD through the Dartmouth website with a subscription to Big Green Insider. Fans can purchase a season pass to watch six of the 10 contests, or pay on a game-by-game basis. Simply log on to DartmouthSports.com for more information on how to become a subscriber.