Hanover, N.H. - It was a tale of two halves and then some as Colgate (2-1) came back from a 28-0 deficit to defeat Dartmouth (0-1), 31-28 in overtime after a 36-yard field goal by Mike Buck.
The Big Green led 28-0 well into the third quarter before the Raiders scored 28 unanswered points in 21 minutes to tie the contest and force overtime. Dartmouth opted to go for it on fourth down in the extra time but senior quarterback Tom Bennewitz (Weston, Conn.) was picked off by Colgate’s Uzi Idah. Colgate’s Jordan Scott rushed on three plays to set up the game winning field goal on fourth down.
“Obviously we are disappointed with the end result today. I felt we played hard and we’re a different football team - I hope people saw that,” said Buddy Teevens, Dartmouth’s Robert L. Blackman Head Coach. “This kind of game rips your heart out when you put yourself in a position to achieve success. For the first time in a long time we weren’t playing catch up and we were in a position to do the things we’d talked about doing.”
Big Green junior running back Milan Williams (Mobile, Ala.) rushed for a career-high 179 yards including 111 in the first half and scored one touchdown.
Making his first start since being injured in last year’s season-opener at Colgate, Bennewitz had had a solid afternoon, completing 16 of 29, passing for 178 yards and three touchdowns.
Dartmouth scored on its first two drives of the game to mount a 14-0 lead just five and a half minutes into the contest. Bennewitz threw for both scores, with a 16-yard pass to Eric Paul (The Woodlands, Texas) for the first and a three-yard toss to Carroll Papajohn (Gulf Breeze, Fla.) for the second. Senior kicker Andrew Kempler (Westport, Conn.) connected on both extra point attempts to put the Green up 14-0.
The teams traded a pair of empty possessions before Jordan Scott got Colgate off to a good start with a pair of rushing plays on its second drive. Quarterback Alex Relph lofted a pass on the second down that was picked off by Dartmouth senior safety Ian Wilson (Burbank, Calif.) at the Dartmouth 20.
Williams rushed for a nine-yard touchdown after Dartmouth’s Chris Blanco (La Mirada, Calif.) picked off Relph late in the half. Wilson would grab his second interception of the day and Dartmouth’s third just before halftime, equalling last season’s total of three to preserve the 21-0 halftime lead.
In the third quarter, Dartmouth picked up where it left off when Brian Evans (Fairfield, Texas) caught a 60-yard touchdown pass from Bennewitz and Kempler nailed the extra point to go up 28-0 just two minutes into the half.
The tables turned for Colgate when Scott rushed for two touchdowns in the third quarter along with one good extra point and a failed two-point conversion to make it 28-13 Dartmouth going into the fourth quarter.
After a missed field goal by Kempler on Dartmouth’s first drive of the fourth quarter, Colgate made it a one-possession game when Relph found Pat Simonds in the end zone on a 17-yard pass with 10:31 remaining.
Wilson forced a fumble by Relph on Colgate’s next drive, putting the Big Green at the Colgate 14 with a chance to seal the win but Williams coughed it up and Chris Ekpo recovered the ball and rushed to the 37 yard-line to start the Raiders’ game-tying drive.
Scott rushed for a 33-yard touchdown run on third down to make it 28-26, Dartmouth, before Relph connected with Simonds for the two-point conversion to tie the game.
Dartmouth burned nearly six minutes off the clock on its next possession and got the ball to the Colgate five-yard line with less than a minute remaining to get a game-winning score. Williams got the ball on third down but fumbled at the seven-yard line, recovered by Colgate’s Ted Marshall.
The Raiders took a knee, setting up the overtime period and their eventual victory.
Evans led the Big Green receiving corps with five catches for 105 yards and one touchdown. Wilson and John Pircon (Whitefish Bay, Wis.) were defensive stalwarts for Dartmouth with 13 and 11 tackles, respectively, including seven solo takedowns each. Wilson added two interceptions on the day.
Scott was the game’s leading rusher with 211 yards on 38 carries and three touchdowns while Relph passed for 236 yards on 20-31 passing despite three interceptions. Mike Gallihugh paced the Colgate defense with 15 total tackles.
Dartmouth returns to action next Saturday, Sept. 22 at Granite State rival New Hampshire at 12:00 p.m.