Saturday, September 29, 2007
HANOVER, N.H. - Dartmouth earned its first Ivy League opening win since 1997 as the Big Green defeated Penn, 21-13, at Memorial Field on Saturday afternoon.
It didn't come easy for the Big Green (1-2, 1-0 Ivy) as the Quakers mounted a fourth quarter comeback to climb within a touchdown. Penn (0-3, 0-1 Ivy) recovered the onside kick, but Bryan Walker's fourth down pass from the six yard line fell incomplete and Dartmouth held on for the 21-13 victory.
"It's nice to come out on top," said head coach Buddy Teevens. "It's satisfying to get a win against a quality opponent like Penn, who has been one of the top teams in this league for a number of years."
Senior quarterback Tom Bennewitz (Weston. Conn.) completed 18-of-26 passes for 286 yards with two touchdown passes. Junior wide receiver Eric Paul (The Woodlands, Texas) was his main target all afternoon as Paul caught five balls for 90 yards and a touchdown.
Defensively, Dartmouth gave up 406 total yards to Penn, but the Big Green played its best when backed up in red zone. The Quakers got into the red zone seven times and came away with only 13 points.
Dartmouth took a 7-0 lead with an impressive 12-play, 90-yard drive, which was highlighted by two of Paul's three receptions in the series. Junior tailback Hudson Smythe (Menlo Park, Calif.) pounded it in to put the Big Green on top with less the two minutes remaining in the first quarter.
Penn answered with its own drive that resulted in a 23-yard field goal by Andrew Samson to cut the lead to 7-3 with 11:53 left in the half. The Quakers marched 65 yards and had a first and goal, but the Big Green defense stuffed Quaker running back Joe Sandberg and forced the kick.
At the end of the half, Penn took advantage of good field position with a 45-yard field goal from Samson with 11 seconds remaining as the Quakers inched closer, 7-6.
Just 13 seconds into the second half, Dartmouth committed the first turnover for either team when Bennewitz went deep intended for Paul, but Chris Wynn stepped in for his third interception of the season. The Big Green, however, erased the turnover, forcing a three and out.
Dartmouth increased its lead to 14-6 on a 35-yard touchdown pass from Bennewitz to senior wide receiver Brian Evans (Fairfield, Texas) at the 8:42 mark of the third quarter. Bennewitz was under heavy pressure and found Evans on the post route in the back of the end zone.
Penn once again marched down the field, but the Dartmouth stiffened in the red zone. On third and short, strong safety Ian Wilson (Burbank, Calif.) had a big tackle and the result was a missed field goal by the Quakers.
After the missed field goal, Dartmouth dug a hole on three-straight procedure penalties and faced a 1st down and 27. After gain on a run, Bennewitz found Evans for a 15-yard reception for the first down. Bennewitz continued to spread the ball out with back-to-back 18-yard gains to Paul and Evans. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Bennewitz connected with Paul again for a 29-yard touchdown to put the Big Green up, 21-6.
Penn reached the end zone for the first time all day after the Quakers forced a blocked punt. Walker found Braden Lepisto from nine yards out with 2:17 left in regulation.
Dartmouth will be on the road next Saturday as the Big Green travels to Yale to face the Bulldogs for a 12:30 p.m. kickoff. The game will be televised live by NESN (New England Sports Network).