Saturday, Oct. 4, 2008
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. -- After playing to a 7-7 deadlock at the half, Dartmouth could not hold off host Penn over the final 30 minutes as the Big Green lost, 23-10, in the 800th game for the Quakers at Franklin Field in front of 12,433 fans Saturday afternoon. Mike DiMaggio ran for 123 of his 129 yards in the second half to help lift Penn (1-2, 1-0 Ivy) to its first victory of the year in the Ivy League opener for both schools. Dartmouth (0-3, 0-1 Ivy) was left still searching for its first win of the year.
"I'd like to think that we didn't get worn down in the second half, but there is a significant time of possession difference," said Dartmouth Head Coach Buddy Teevens after the game. "We had our opportunities to win this game, but we need to do a better job of executing. And I need to do a better job of putting our players in a position to succeed."
Neither team could run the ball in the first half, with Dartmouth gaining 13 yards on the ground and the Quakers just one. That changed for Penn in the second half as it gobbled up 138 rushing yards, thanks mostly to DiMaggio. Penn more than doubled the Big Green’s total yardage for the game, 425-191. Of Dartmouth’s 191 total yards, 186 came through the air.
Penn quarterback Robert Irvin completed 22 of his 39 pass attempts for 270 yards and a pair of touchdowns and two interceptions. His favorite target was Kyle Derham who caught five passes for 97 yards.
Like a pair of prize fighters feeling each other out in the ring, the first quarter featured a defensive stand-off with each team having four possessions without much luck. Penn did gain 94 yards and four first downs to the Big Green’s 10 yards without a first down in the opening stanza. The real victory came in the battle for field position as the Quakers gradually pushed the Big Green further and further back into their own territory.
Dartmouth got its first first down early in the second quarter, but Penn landed the first good blow when it recovered a fumble at the Big Green 18. Penn followed with a haymaker on the next play when Robert Ivrin hit a wide-open DiMaggio in the end zone for a 7-0 Quaker lead with 11:03 to play in the half.
Less than three minutes later, Dartmouth landed its own combination when freshman Royce Egeolu (San Antonio, Texas) forced a fumble, scooped it up and stumbled to the Penn one-yard line. Senior Hudson Smythe (Menlo Park, Calif.) put the points on the board on his second rushing attempt, stretching the ball just across the goal line. The extra point by freshman Foley Schmidt (Inver Grove Heights, Minn.) tied the game at seven.
Just before the half, the Quakers tried to mount a drive down the field, but on 4th-and-5 at the Penn 37, Dartmouth cornerback Peter Pidermann (Hialeah, Fla.) picked off an Irvin pass with four seconds left on the clock. A kneel-down allowed the clock to run out, leaving the score tied at the half.
Both teams made solid adjustments during the intermission, with Dartmouth getting the first crack on offense. Three receptions by sophomore Tim McManus (St. Paul, Minn.), the third coming on an acrobatic steal from a defender for 38 yards, put the Big Green at the Penn six. Although Dartmouth could not punch it into the end zone, Schmidt provided the 27-yard field goal for Dartmouth’s first lead of the game at 10-7.
DiMaggio broke his first big run of the day on a 33-yard jaunt to the Big Green 20 on Penn’s third play of the half. Four plays later, Irving found Tyler Fisher in the end zone for a nine-yard touchdown toss and a 14-10 advantage which the Quakers would not relinquish.
The next time the Quakers got the ball, they kept a drive alive thanks to a fake punt with punter Kyle Olson tossing a 16-yard completion to Tyson Maugle. But the Big Green got even when freshman Shawn Abuhoff (Hialeah, Fla.) picked off a pass at the Dartmouth 45.
Early in the fourth quarter, Penn drove into the red zone, but stalled at the 10. Andrew Samson put three more points on the board for the Quakers with his 27-yard field goal for a 17-10 lead.
Dartmouth tried its own fake punt after three straight incompletions, and although the pass from punter Brian Scullin (Alexandria, Va.) to junior Matthew Dornak (Austin, Texas) was caught, Penn was not caught off-guard, stopping Dornak short of the first down at the Big Green 44. The turnover on downs led to a 33-yard field goal by Samson for a 10-point Penn lead with 11:24 to play.
A nine-play, 70-yard drive that consumed 4:23 was the knockout blow as Samson added another 27-yard field goal, his career-best third of the game, with 3:53 remaining on the clock for the final score of the game.
McManus was the offensive star for the Big Green, catching eight passes for 99 yards. He also briefly spelled quarterback Alex Jenny (Wayland, Mass.) in the fourth quarter, completing 3-of-4 passes for 11 yards. Jenny finished the afternoon completing 20-of-41 of his passes for 169 yards and one interception on the final play of the game. Senior Milan Williams (Mobile, Ala.) caught seven passes for 38 yards as well.
Dartmouth returns home next Saturday to host preseason co-favorite Yale at 12:30 p.m. Penn is scheduled to play at Georgetown at 2 p.m.