The Game: Dartmouth (3-1) vs. Sacred Heart (1-4)
Location: Memorial Field, Hanover, N.H.
Saturday, Oct. 13 at 1:30 p.m.
Series Record: Tied, 1-1
Online Video: Big Green Insider — Dick Lutsk (play-by-play), Wayne Young (analyst), produced by NSN
Radio: WFRD 99.3 FM; Online - Dartmouth Sports Network
Live StatsComplete Game Notes

Final Non-Conference Tilt
If Dartmouth can defeat Sacred Heart today, it would mark the second time in three years that the Big Green have won all three of their non-conference games. Back in 2010, these Pioneers were one of the victims in a thrilling 21-19 contest in which Dartmouth had to survive a last-minute field goal attempt that went wide.

But Sacred Heart exacted its revenge last year, turning the tables by booting the winning field goal with a minute to play, then blocking a 53-yard attempt on the game’s final play.

The Big Green are coming off a 34-14 road victory at Yale, snapping a nine-game skid against the Bulldogs. For the third straight week, Dartmouth found itself trailing at the half, albeit by a single point this time at 14-13, but it came back to win its fourth straight road game dating back to last year.

While sophomore Alex Park was cementing his status as the starting quarterback by throwing for 204 yards without an interception, Robert L. Blackman Head Coach Buddy Teevens still managed to shuffle three signal callers in and out of the game at Yale. Freshman Dalyn Williams got a few snaps in the second quarter, and senior Greg Patton returned to the field following his recovery from a torn Achilles suffered last spring. The latter ran the offense out of the Wildcat formation, keeping the ball seven times for 52 yards, including a 31-yard run.

Dartmouth got one effective runner back in Patton, but may have lost another in starting tailback Dominick Pierre. The Ivy League’s second-leading rusher was sidelined midway through the third quarter with an ankle injury, and his status for Saturday is up in the air. Despite playing barely more than a half, Pierre still managed to rack up 91 yards on 19 carries with a touchdown.

Stepping in for Pierre was freshman Brian Grove, who merely ran for the Big Green’s two fourth-quarter touchdowns to put the game away. His performance earned him the Ivy League’s Rookie of the Week award, the fifth weekly honor for a Dartmouth player this year, which leads the league.

Park, whose completion percentage (64.5) would be the highest ever for a Dartmouth quarterback, spread the wealth around on his 15 completions, connecting with nine different receivers. Sophomore Ryan McManus led the Green with five catches and 76 yards, while the team’s leading receiver, senior Michael Reilly, hauled in two passes for 39 yards. A trio of players hauled in their first reception of the year — sophomore Bo Patterson (who led Dartmouth in receiving yards last year), senior Mitch Aprahamian and sophomore Charlie Storey, the last of which was also the first of his career.

No one player stood out on defense for Dartmouth, which held the opposition scoreless in the second half for the third time this year. Junior linebacker Bronson Green recorded nine solo tackles on the day, with Michael Runger contributing seven of his own to keep his season average for tackles in double figures (10.0), tied for second most in the Ivy League.

Special teams play was a big factor in the game as Yale scored its second touchdown on a pass on a fake field goal. But the Bulldogs were thwarted later on another fake field goal try as well as a fake punt. Speaking of punts, each team had just one, the fewest combined punts in a Big Green game since 1999.

Yale-tide Cheer
With Dartmouth’s 34-14 victory at Yale on Oct. 6, the Big Green ended a nine-game skid in the series for their first win since 2002, and first in New Haven since the year prior. The 34 points equaled the total Dartmouth scored in its five previous games at the Yale Bowl, and are its sixth most scored against the Bulldogs ever.

Grove Joins Elite Group
Rookie Brian Grove, who replaced an injured Dominick Pierre at running back in the third quarter at Yale, ran for the Green’s final two touchdowns against the Bulldogs to become just the fifth freshman to run for two scores in one game. He finished the game with 38 yards on the ground on 10 carries, plus one reception for nine yards. His effort earned him the Ivy League’s Rookie of the Week honor, making him the first Big Green player to earn the award since linebacker Bronson Green in 2010. Three players in the elite group are currently on the roster, with the complete list of freshmen below:

Date Player Opponent TD
Nov. 4, 1995 Dylan Karczewski at Columbia 2
Oct. 27, 2001 Evan Love at Harvard 2
Nov. 7, 2009 Greg Patton vs. Cornell 2
Sept. 25, 2010 Dominick Pierre vs. Sacred Heart 2
Oct. 6, 2012 Brian Grove at Yale 2

Stout Second-Half Defense
Dartmouth has one of the stingiest defenses when it comes to scoring. While just third in the Ivy League in scoring defense, the 14.75 points the Big Green allow rank 10th nationally in the FCS. But their best work comes after halftime as the opposition has scored a grand total of eight points thus far in the four games in the second half. Those eight points came in the 28-21 loss to Yale. In each of the three victories, the other side has failed to score.

3 TDs on the Ground Bodes Well
It seems quite logical that when a team scores three touchdowns in a game, it is putting itself in position to potentially win the game. But when the Big Green run for at least three touchdowns in a game, they have proven to be almost unbeatable. Since 1975, Dartmouth has achieved the feat 61 times, posting a 56-5 record, a .918 winning percentage. Now consider that when scoring at least three touchdowns through the air, the Green are 21-11-1 (.652) in that same span. Still quite good, but that figure pales in comparison.

Spreading the Wealth
Dartmouth had no fewer than nine receivers catch at least one pass from sophomore QB Alex Park on Oct. 6 at Yale, the most for the Big Green since the final game of the 2009 season at Princeton. Well, one of those passes against the Tigers was batted at the line and caught by lineman Will Montgomery, so to find a game in which nine eligible receivers caught a pass, you would have to go back just a little further to the Penn game that same year. Two of the receivers in the Princeton game also caught a pass at Yale — seniors Michael Reilly and Mitch Aprahamian. Senior Justin Foley caught passes in the Penn and Yale games.

Harvard Game To Be Televised
Before playing at Yale, Dartmouth announced that its homecoming game against Harvard on Oct. 27 will be televised by Comcast SportsNet New England (CSNNE). If the Big Green are to challenge for an Ivy League record 18th title, they will need to find a way to beat the defending champion, who have won an FCS best 13 straight games overall and own a n eight-game winning streak in the series.

Slowing Down the Sacks
In each of the past two seasons, Dartmouth was among the nation’s leaders in fewest sacks allowed. After three games this year, Big Green opponents had dropped the quarterback 11 times, surpassing the total from 2010 (7) and 2011 (9). But at Yale, the offensive line did not yield a single sack to stem the tide. It hasn’t seemed to bother quarterback Alex Park much, however, as twice in those first three contests he completed at least 70 percent of his passes. The last time Dartmouth QBs attained that mark twice in one season? Try 1983.