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Football Falters in Season Opener to Colgate, 34-15

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Sophomore receiver Michael Reilly     By David Silverman(

Box score

HANOVER, N.H. — Colgate tailback Jordan McCord carried the ball 44 times for 212 yards and two touchdowns as the visiting Raiders defeated Dartmouth on Saturday afternoon, 34-15, in the season opener for the host Big Green at Memorial Field. Colgate improved to 3-0 on the season by winning its 11th straight regular-season game, while Dartmouth dropped to 0-1 despite converting a rare defensive extra point, its first in 16 seasons.

Colgate’s offense held on to the ball for nearly three-quarters of the game (44:30) thanks to 63 rushes for 292 yards. Quarterback Greg Sullivan, besides rushing for 51 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 10 carries, completed 12-of-19 passes for 172 yards and a touchdown. Preseason All-America receiver Pat Simonds was held to just three catches for 64 yards and a score. As a team, the Raiders racked up 464 yards on 82 plays.

The Dartmouth offense had just one drive of longer than six plays, that being of 11 plays coming late in the second quarter which led to a field goal. Of the Big Green’s 11 possessions, seven ended in under one minute. The running game was held in check with just 26 rushing yards, with sophomore Nick Schwieger carrying the ball 14 of the 16 attempts for 38 yards.

Shawn Abuhoff returned a blocked PAT for a rare defensive extra point.

Senior quarterback Alex Jenny, who had 343 yards passing against Colgate a year ago, was held to less than half that total at 147 yards on 11-of-28 passing with one touchdown, a 57-yard bomb to sophomore Michael Reilly in the first quarter. Reilly led all receivers with four catches and 87 yards, including his first career score.

“We had our opportunities to make some plays today,” stated Dartmouth head coach Buddy Teevens, ”but we missed too many assignments and that really cost us. We competed very well, but we cannot afford the mental mistakes if we want to beat a football team as good as Colgate.”

Colgate got on the board first on a 12-yard touchdown pass from Sullivan to Simonds, capping a nine-play, 60-yard drive with 3:45 on the clock in the first quarter.

Jenny wasted no time in tying the score at seven on the first play from scrimmage after the ensuing kickoff with his bomb to Reilly.

In the second quarter, Colgate methodically marched 79 yards in 13 plays, culminating on a Sullivan 15-yard keeper. The extra point, however, was blocked by sophomore defensive tackle Eddie Smith. The ball was scooped up by sophomore Shawn Abuhoff and he outran the Raiders to the opposite end of the field for a defensive two-point conversion, making the score 13-9 in favor of Colgate.

The Big Green tacked on three more points to close within a single point when their 63-yard drive stalled at the Raider four, leading to a 21-yard field goal by sophomore Foley Schmidt.

As time expired in the half, Colgate had an opportunity to get those three points back, but Evan Colborne’s 30-yard field goal attempt went wide left to keep the score at 13-12.

Dartmouth took its only lead of the game at the outset of the second half. Abuhoff brought the kickoff back 42 yards to the Raider 28. Six plays later, Schmidt booted a 29-yard field goal for a 15-13 Big Green lead.

The lead was short-lived, however, as Colgate needed little more than four minutes to traverse the field. Sullivan pushed his way into the end zone from the one on 3rd-and-goal for the go-ahead touchdown, and Colborne added the extra point for a five-point advantage at 20-15.

After just one play from scrimmage, Dartmouth found itself in Raider territory, but safety Vinnie Nicosia got to Jenny on a blitz before he could throw the ball, forcing a fumble which was recovered by Lamont Sonds at the Raider 48. That led to another Colgate touchdown, this time on a seven-yard run by McCord, pushing the Raider lead to 12.

Abuhoff nearly made it a one-possession game early in the fourth quarter when he broke free on a punt return. But punter Evan Goldszak, the last man to beat, was able to get just enough of Abuhoff’s foot to trip him up after a 39-yard return. The Colgate defense was able to keep Dartmouth in check and force a punt.

The Big Green gained just 10 yards over the last 19 minutes of the game, and McCord sealed the Colgate victory with a 12-yard burst into the end zone with 4:56 to play.

No less than five Big Green defenders posted at least 10 tackles, led by senior safety Tony Pastoors with 16 stops. Sophomore linebacker Royce Egeolu had 13 tackles, fellow sophomore Diego Fernandez-Soto 12, and junior defensive end Charles Bay and sophomore cornerback J.B. Andreassi had 10 apiece. In addition, sophomore Mark Dwyer contributed a pair of sacks to the effort while forcing a fumble on one.

Abuhoff was a jack-of-all-trades for the Big Green, intercepting a pass, breaking up another, returning a both kickoff and a punt into enemy territory, plus scored the defensive extra point.

Dartmouth faces a difficult task next Saturday as it travels to in-state rival New Hampshire (2-0), currently ranked among the top 10 in the FCS, for the Granite Bowl. Since 1979, UNH is 16-0-2 against the Big Green. Colgate returns to Hamilton, N.Y., to host Fordham in its Patriot League opener.

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