Football Finishing Up Season at Princeton
Location: Princeton Stadium, Princeton, N.J.
Kickoff: Saturday, Nov. 17 at 1 p.m.
Series Record: Big Green lead, 44-43-4
Radio: WFRD 99.3 FM — Dick Lutsk (play-by-play), Wayne Young (analyst)
Online Audio: Dartmouth Sports Network
Video: Big Green Insider (courtesy of GoPrincetonTigers.tv)
Live Stats • Complete Game Notes
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With the final game of the year comes the battle between Princeton and Dartmouth for both the Governor’s Trophy and the Sawhorse Dollar. The Big Green have taken home both prizes each of the past two seasons, but this year, the Tigers are playing for a bigger prize: a share of the Ivy League title.
Dartmouth would have been in the running for the crown as well, but Brown spoiled those plans by rallying to defeat the Big Green at Memorial Stadium last Saturday, 28-24. The Bears trailed by 10 entering the fourth quarter, then proceeded to score two touchdowns in the final seven minutes of the contest to leave Dartmouth wondering what went wrong.
The Big Green enjoyed a sizable advantage in time of possession, having the ball for nearly 39 minutes. Dartmouth outgained the Bears, 421 yards to 384, turned the ball over once to Brown’s two, had fewer penalties and penalty yards and had a better conversion rate on third and fourth downs. Yet it was Brown the came away with the victory.
Freshman Dalyn Williams played well again in his second game as the starter behind center, completing 18-of-27 passes for 240 yards and a touchdown. The rookie has a completion rate of 67.1 percent for 690 yards on the season and a QB efficiency rating of 157.2. He also had a pair of highlight-reel runs that put his athleticism and elusiveness on display.
With Dominick Pierre running at full strength (or close to it), the Big Green ground game was clicking as the junior piled up 136 yards and two scores on a career-high 28 carries. Among his runs was a 33-yard touchdown, matching the longest rush of the season for Pierre.
The tight ends had their most prominent showing of the season as Mitch Aprahamian, Justin Foley and Dean Bakes all set a personal mark. Aprahamian snatched a career-best three passes for 31 yards, Bakes tripled his career total with two catches, and Foley more than doubled his longest reception, picking up 45 yards late in the first quarter to set up the first Dartmouth score of the afternoon.
But senior Michael Reilly and sophomore Ryan McManus continued to lead the receiving corps, combining to catch nine throws for 123 yards, including Reilly’s 10-yard touchdown just before the end of the third quarter for a 24-14 lead. Reilly became the 10th Big Green player to reach 100 career receptions and leads the squad with 41 for 615 yards and five TDs. McManus isn’t far behind with 38 catches for 588 yards and two scores.
The defense has generally been spearheaded by junior Michael Runger, who is second in the league with 9.0 tackles per game. But the Bears did their best to avoid him, leaving sophomore safety Stephen Dazzo to shine as he collected a career-high 13 tackles. More importantly, he also forced two fumbles in the first half (both recovered by sophomore CB Chai Reece) that led to the first two Dartmouth scores.
Dartmouth will likely have to do without junior linebacker Bronson Green, who has missed the past two games with an injury. But senior Miles Gay stepped up last week with a career-best seven tackles in his place.
A victory over the Tigers would give the Big Green their second winning season in the past three years and put them no lower than third in the final Ivy League standings.
Princeton has been one of the biggest surprises in the Ivy League after being pegged to finish dead last in the standings before the season began. With one game remaining, the Tigers still have a shot at earning a share of the conference championship.
In order for that to happen, Princeton will need to beat the Big Green and Penn will have to lose on the road at Cornell, which will likely be playing without star quarterback Jeff Mathews.
Armed with a 10-point lead entering the fourth quarter against Brown, Dartmouth was close to securing a winning season both overall and in Ivy League play. But the Bears had other ideas, tallying two touchdowns in the final seven minutes to steal a 28-24 win from the Big Green. Each of the last three games in the series have been won by the road team, which rallied from a deficit in the fourth quarter. Dartmouth was behind last year in Providence, 16-14, only to come home with a 21-16 triumph, while Brown overcame an eight-point deficit in Hanover two years ago in a 35-28 Bear victory, the last time Dartmouth failed to hold a lead entering the final quarter.
Dartmouth has won five straight road games dating back to last year — the most recent being a 44-28 victory at Cornell — the fourth longest among FCS schools. It is also the longest such streak of success for the Big Green since rattling off 14 straight from 1995-97, with 1997 being the last season with a perfect record on the road.
• In each of the past six games, Dartmouth has amassed more total offense than its opponent, topping 400 yards on four occasions. The last time the Big Green had 400 or more yards in four games in a season came 10 years ago.
• Dartmouth quarterbacks have averaged at least 10 yards per completion in all nine games. Should they manage the feat against Princeton, it would be the first time they have done so in all 10 games since the Jay Fielder teams of 1992-94.
• With his five catches against Brown, senior became the 10th Dartmouth player to accrue 100 receptions in a career. He has 103 to his credit, ninth on the Big Green’s all-time list.
• If manages to have 12 receiving yards against Princeton, it would give the Big Green two receivers with at least 600 on the season for just the third time ever. Ten years ago, Casey Cramer (1,017) and Jay Barnard (899) combined for the best total for two receivers ever at Dartmouth, and in 1993, three receivers — John Hyland (school-record 1,076), David Shearer (627) and Andre Grant (605) — posted at least 600.
• McManus also needs just 50 receiving yards to surpass the best single-season total of his older brother, Timmy, who finished his career last year.
• has not thrown an interception in 79 pass attempts this season, the longest streak for a Dartmouth QB since Alex Jenny had 86 attempts without a pick between the 2008 and 2009 seasons.
Getting a Bit Defensive
• Junior is just two tackles behind the league leader, Zach Olinger of Columbia. If Runger were to finish atop the charts, he would be the first Dartmouth player to lead the league in tackles since Justin Cottrell in 2007.
• Dartmouth forced four fumbles (recovering two) in the 28-24 loss to Brown, its most since causing five (recovering all five) in a 59-31 win over Cornell in 2007.
• As a team, the Big Green are second in the league in total defense (329.8 yards per game) and first in pass defense (196.4).
• The defensive unit allowed 416 yards to Butler in the season opener, the most to any team this season. The last Big Green squad to yield less than that total in every game was the 1993 squad, which surrendered a season-high 402 yards to Harvard in a 39-34 Dartmouth victory (one of just six Crimson losses ever when scoring 30 or more points).
Pierre Shooting for Top 10
Junior running back could move into Dartmouth’s top-10 list for career rushing yards before the season ends. He would need 118 to do so, a total he has surpassed each of the last two weekends. But he has to go up against the second-best run defense in the league in Princeton, on the road no less. After 154 yards against Cornell and 136 more versus Brown, Pierre stands at 1,549 for his career, 12th all-time at Dartmouth.
Sophomore must have seemed omnipresent to the Brown offense as the safety racked up a career-high 13 tackles against the Bears. Even more impressive were the two fumbles he forced, both of which were recovered by cornerback that led to the first two Big Green scores for a 10-7 lead.