Longest Game in Ivy Football History Ends in Agonizing Loss
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — Kyle Wilcox scampered 20 yards into the end zone on a third-down play in the fourth overtime to help host Penn stave off Dartmouth in the Ivy League opener for both teams and the longest game in conference history, 37-31. The Quakers (2-1, 1-0 Ivy) snapped the Big Green’s seven-game road winning streak while beating Dartmouth (1-2, 0-1 Ivy) for the sixth straight year, the last five of which have been decided by just one score.
The Big Green twice had opportunities to win the game outright, but one field-goal attempt was blocked on the final play of regulation, and another went wide in the first overtime after the Dartmouth defense had kept Penn off the board.
Penn had its opportunity in the fourth overtime to win the game after holding the Green without a point as Riley Lyons’ 42-yard field goal attempt had the distance but sailed side to the left. When the Quakers took over, they advanced five yards on the first two plays before handing off to Wilcox. The converted defensive back started up the middle, then bounced to the outside where he was able to get around the corner and beat the defense to the end zone to end the game.
It was Lyons who sent the game into the fourth overtime when his 40-yard field goal split the uprights after Penn had taken the lead, 31-28, on a 38-yard three-pointer by Connor Loftus.
Penn took the ball first at the start of overtime, only to have the Dartmouth defense stuff Wilcox on a 4th-and-1 at the five-yard line. Needing any type of score to win the game, Lyons lined up for a 34-yard game-winning field goal on fourth down, But his kicked veered left, extending the game.
In the second overtime period, the Quakers had to reach the end zone due to a 12-yard Big Green touchdown pass from sophomore Dalyn Williams to junior Kirby Schoenthaler. The outcome for Dartmouth looked promising when a false start penalty pushed Penn back into a 3rd-and-12 from the 27, but quarterback Billy Ragone scrambled out of the pocket and found open field. He zigged and zagged his way all the way for the touchdown, and Loftus tied the game with the extra point.
Although neither team led by more than seven points, the roller-coaster ride began in earnest during the fourth quarter. Trailing 21-14, the Big Green were in need of a touchdown. Senior Dominick Pierre, who finished the game with his sixth career 100-yard rushing game, burst through the line on a 3rd-and-1 play and bolted for a 58-yard gain down to the Quaker two to set up a two-yard bootleg run by Williams for the score. Lyons provided the PAT to tie the score with 10:18 to play.
Penn managed to advance into Dartmouth territory, but elected to punt on a 4th-and-2 at the 35. Luckily for the Green, the kick reached the end zone for a touchback. Two plays later, Williams found sophomore Victor Williams streaking downfield and connected on a 48-yard completion. led the Green down to the 22 before being picked off by Brion Wood, ending his streak of pass attempts without an interception to start his career at 216, a Dartmouth record.
Wilcox quickly gobbled up 30 yards on three rushes, but the Big Green defense stiffened, forcing the Quakers to attempt a 52-yard field goal that fell well short.
That left Dartmouth with 1:21 — and no timeouts — to get into field goal range starting at its own 34. Three swing passes to Pierre and a completion to Schoenthaler on the first four plays pushed the Green to the Penn 34. Another completion to junior Bo Patterson went for 10 yards and, with the clock winding down, Williams scrambled for a 16-yard gain down to the four-yard line. He spiked the ball to stop the clock with four seconds, and after a Quaker timeout to ice Lyons, the junior lined up for a 21-yard attempt. Penn linebacker David Park got in the way of the Big Green victory as he got a hand on the kick, which fell a little short of its target, sending the game into overtime.
Shortly after the opening kick, Dartmouth appeared to have a 67-yard touchdown bomb only to have Patterson whistled for offensive interference. Even though the Big Green were forced to punt later in the drive, junior safety Troy Donahue picked off a Ragone pass, giving Dartmouth the ball at the Quaker 26. A few plays later, Pierre was burrowing into the end zone from a yard out for a 7-0 lead.
Ragone redeemed himself on the next Penn drive, connecting on a 52-yard pass to Ryan Mitchell before finding Ty Taylor in the back of the end zone from four yards out, tying the score at seven.
In the second quarter, Dartmouth had a golden opportunity to take the lead after Williams lofted a 48-yard bomb to his namesake, , to put the Green on the Penn 26. Eventually a 40-yard field goal went wide right, but the drive was kept alive by a Quaker personal foul. Then with the Big Green facing third down at the 16, Williams cocked his arm to throw only to have Sam Chwarzynski knock the ball free. David Park then scooped the ball up and rumbled 84 yards for the Penn touchdown and a 14-7 lead, stunning the large Dartmouth contingency in the stands.
Senior linebacker Michael Runger picked off a Ragone pass early in the third quarter, setting up an 11-yard scoring strike from Williams to a sliding senior tight end Dean Bakes. Lyons provided the PAT to knot the score at 14.
Penn answered with a drive that took up nearly half of the third quarter to retake the lead. Ragone completed all five of his passes during the 78-yard drive, and nine methodical runs capped by three-yard jaunt into the end zone by Mike Elespuru gave the Quakers a 21-14 advantage. From there, the wild finish was just beginning.
Williams finished the game with a career-high 292 passing yards, completing 26-of-45 in the process with a pair of touchdowns, and also ran for 77 yards on 19 carries. Pierre did the heavy lifting on the ground, taking the ball 21 times for a season-best 151 yards. finished the day with 113 yards on five receptions, his first career 100-yard game. Leading the receiving corps, however, was Schoenthaler — who just returned from an appendectomy a month ago — with eight catches for 65 yards and a touchdown.
Dartmouth piled up 534 yards of offense, compared to 449 for the Quakers. Ragone finished the marathon completing 17-of-28 passes for 213 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions, both of which led to the Big Green’s first two scores. Wilcox fell just short of 100 yards with 94 on 18 carries while Ragone complemented him with 13 carries for 60 yards. Wide receiver Ryan Mitchell just reached the century mark by catching six throws for 100 yards even.
Runger led all players with 13 tackles and collected his first career interception with his third-quarter pick.
Next week Dartmouth will begin a three-game homestand with its homecoming game when Yale, which won its Ivy opener last week against Cornell, travels to Hanover. Fox College Sports will televise the game, which kicks off at 1:30 p.m. Penn hits the road to play its final non-conference game, taking on Williams & Mary at 3:30 p.m.
Notes: Three other Ivy games had lasted three overtimes previously, including the Harvard-Holy Cross tilt today … the last time Dartmouth played an overtime game was three years ago, also at Penn, a game the Quakers won, 35-28 … Pierre needs just 58 more rushing yards to become the third Big Green player to amass 2,000 in a career … Dartmouth had gone 25 quarters without throwing an interception before the fourth-quarter pick. The last interception thrown was in the second quarter against Harvard last year … the 534 total yards are the second most over the past decade for the Big Green and their most on the road in the past 40 years.