HANOVER, N.H. — The visiting Brown Bears overcame a 10-point, fourth-quarter deficit as quarterback Patrick Donnelly completed the comeback with an 18-yard scoring strike to Jonah Fay with 1:14 remaining for a 28-24 victory, spoiling Dartmouth’s Senior Day and eliminating the Big Green from a possible share of the Ivy League title.
Donnelly threw for 233 yards and two touchdowns on the afternoon, plus ran for 48 yards on eight carries and the other two scores for Brown (6-3, 3-3 Ivy) to help his squad exact some revenge against Dartmouth (5-4, 3-3 Ivy). Last year the Big Green defeated the Bears in Providence, ending Brown’s run at a share of the conference crown in the penultimate weekend of the season.
Dartmouth had a huge advantage in time of possession in the game as its offense was on the field for nearly 39 minutes while amassing 421 yards. Freshman quarterback Dalyn Williams completed 18-of-27 passes for a season-high 240 yards and a touchdown, while junior Dominick Pierre ran for 136 yards and two touchdowns on a career-high 28 carries
At the half, the Big Green held a slim 17-14 lead, then had an opportunity to increase the advantage on its second possession of the third quarter with a 1st-and-goal at the Brown six-yard line. But a third-down sack left Dartmouth to settle for a 28-yard field goal, only to see it go wide to the left.
Next trip down the field, Dartmouth would not be denied as the Big Green marched 88 yards in 10 plays. Williams connected with senior Michael Reilly across the middle inside the five, and Reilly fought through a tackle and stretched across the goal line to finish off the 10-yard touchdown reception. Sophomore Reilly Lyons added the extra point to make give Dartmouth a 24-14 lead with nine seconds left in the third quarter.
The Brown defense gave the Bears the scoring opportunity they were looking for with a third-down sack of Williams at the Big Green two. Lyons could only manage a low 39-yard punt from the back of the end zone, and A.J. Cruz brought it back to the 21. Five plays later from the three on third down, Donnelly was flushed out of the pocket and chased 15 yards behind the line before escaping the linemen and scrambling into the end zone to bring the Bears back within three and 6:39 on the clock.
Instead of kicking deep, Brown tried to surprise Dartmouth with an onside kick. The strategy might have worked, but the ball traveled only nine yards before pulling a U-turn as the Big Green covered up on the Bear 43. But after a first down, the drive stalled at the 33, and instead of attempting a 51-yard field goal, Robert L. Blackman Head Football Coach Buddy Teevens elected to fake it and try a pooch punt, which landed at the eight and bounded into the end zone for a touchback with 3:30 left in the game.
Donnelly went right to work, completing all six of his throws and evading a rush for an 11-yard gain. His 18-yard toss to Fay on a post pattern finished off the drive and gave the Bears the 28-24 edge with 1:14 to go.
Williams was able to get a couple of first downs in the two-minute offense, one with his legs and another with his arm, but time ran out on the final play that ended at the Brown 36.
The Bears took a 7-0 lead in the first quarter thanks to a Big Green turnover at the Dartmouth 28. It took three plays for Brown to capitalize as Donnelly connected with Andrew Marks in the end zone from 11 yards out.
Just before the end of the first quarter, Dartmouth safety Stephen Dazzo jarred the ball free at the end of a 55-yard completion, allowing sophomore Chai Reece to scoop up the ball and return it 18 yards to the Big Green 39. Williams led the offense down the field and had 1st-and-goal at the three, but the Green were forced to settle for a 23-yard field goal as the Bear defense made its goal-line stand as the second quarter began.
Dazzo and Reece teamed up again on another fumble during the next Brown possession, giving Dartmouth the ball four yards past midfield. This time the Big Green did not stop until reaching the end zone. Pierre burst through a hole in the line and sprinted 33 yards for his first touchdown of the day and a 10-7 Dartmouth lead.
The Big Green offense continued to click as it embarked on a touchdown drive that lasted 7:42, its longest of the year. Mixing in a few completions with a methodical rushing attack, Pierre completed the journey with a six-yard scoring run.
But Brown was not done, closing to within three by traversing 64 yards in less than 90 seconds. Three times Donnelly was forced to fun, gaining eight, 13 and finally two yards to cross the goal line with 10 seconds left before intermission.
Dazzo led the Dartmouth defense with a game- and career-high 13 tackles and forced two Brown fumbles, while sophomore cornerback Vernon Harris made nine stops. Adewole Oyalowo paced the Bears with 11 tackles, with Cruz and Stephen Zambetti collecting 10 apiece.
Dartmouth will complete its season at Princeton (6-3, 4-2 Ivy) — which still has Ivy title hopes — next Saturday, taking on the Tigers at 1 p.m. Brown returns home to play Columbia (3-6, 2-4 Ivy) at 12:30 p.m.
Notes: Reilly led Dartmouth with five receptions, giving him 103 in his career and making him the 10th Big Green player to reach triple digits … Pierre went over 800 yards for the season and ranks ninth on Dartmouth’s single-season chart with 805 … Dartmouth outgained Brown in the game, 421-384, the sixth straight game and seventh overall the Big Green have amassed more total yards this year.