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Schwieger Sets School Record to Help End Skid

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Celebrating the win     By Mark Washburn


HANOVER, N.H. — Sophomore Nick Schwieger ran for 242 yards to set a new Dartmouth single-game record to help end the Big Green’s 17-game losing streak in a rain-soaked 28-6 homecoming victory over Columbia at Memorial Field on Saturday afternoon. Dartmouth (1-5, 1-2 Ivy) forced three turnovers and never trailed in the game, scoring on the game’s first possession. Columbia dropped its third straight game to fall to 2-4 overall and 1-2 in the league.

Schwieger set the record by carrying the ball 29 times for an 8.3-yard average. At the end of the first quarter, he already had 69 yards as Dartmouth opened up a 14-0 lead in the opening period, and he surpassed 100 for the game on his second rush of the second quarter, a 35-yard jaunt.

“All the credit [for the record] goes to the offensive line,” said Schwieger after the game. “They make it really easy for a back when they open up holes like they did today. It felt great to break some runs, something we need to do for the rest of the year.”

The previous rushing record was 229 yards set by Al Rosier in 1991, the last year current Dartmouth head coach Buddy Teevens served as the Big Green’s head coach during his first tenure at his alma mater.

Sophomore Nick Schwieger ran for a school-record 242 yards.

“The guys played with confidence today,” said a smiling Teevens in the postgame press conference. They came out hooping and hollering, which was orchestrated at first, but as the game went on became very genuine. The sense of relief for this team is huge, because there is no doubt that as the streak got to 15, 16, 17, it weighed on everyone. But seeing the school take such great pride in the team and victory by rushing the field was the best thing to see.”

Dartmouth took control from the outset of the game, despite committing three penalties that cost the Big Green 25 yards on the opening drive. Schwieger carried the ball seven times for 45 yards, and sophomore quarterback Conner Kempe completed all four of his passes, including a 24-yard touchdown pass to senior Niles Murphy.

After the Dartmouth defense held Columbia to just one first down on its first drive, the Lions were forced to punt. But the snap went over punter Greg Guttas’ head, and when he recovered, junior Luke Hussey was able to get a piece of the kick, which went just two yards past the line of scrimmage to the Lion 36. Seven plays later, Kempe found sophomore Michael Reilly in the corner of the end zone for a seven-yard touchdown and a 14-0 lead in the first quarter.

The rain continued to pour as neither team could dent the scoreboard during the second or third quarters, although Columbia twice attempted field goals. The first came from 37 yards out, but went wide to the left. The second try came on the first drive of the second half, but sophomore Shawn Abuhoff was able to get a piece of the ball and send it careening off to the right.

The defensive unit really put the clamps down after that second field goal attempt. Late in the third quarter, senior free safety Pete Pidermann picked off a pass from Lion quarterback M.A. Olawale at the one-yard line, thwarting a Columbia drive. The next Lion possession ended in a similar fashion as sophomore cornerback J.B. Andreassi came up with his first career interception, this one at the Dartmouth 36-yard line.

Senior Pete Pidermann picks off a pass in front of the goal line.

The biggest defensive play came on the next Columbia possession, however, when Abuhoff leveled receiver Austin Knowlin right after a catch, jarring the ball loose. Junior defensive end Charles Bay scooped up the loose ball and rumbled 39 yards for the touchdown and a 21-0 lead with 10:35 to play.

An excessive celebration play forced Dartmouth to kick off from its own 15, and a personal foul penalty on the return put the Lions on the Big Green 34, leading to the lone Columbia score of the game. Olawale finished off the seven-play, 34-yard drive with a one-yard dive into the end zone. The extra-point attempt was fumbled, however, and the Lions failed to reach the end zone on the broken play, leaving the score at 21-6.

Looking to just run the clock, the Big Green placed a triumphant stamp on the game when Schwieger broke free on a 3rd-and-10 run around the left side, and he went 66 yards for the touchdown and the single-game rushing record. Now leading 28-6 with barely six minutes to play, Dartmouth finished off the win by holding Columbia to just one more first down.

“I didn’t want to leave the field,” said sophomore defensive tackle Eddie Smith. “I just wanted to celebrate with my friends, my family and especially my teammates. This feeling is addictive, and now we just want to keep on winning.”

Dartmouth had 354 total yards for the game, 279 coming on the ground, its most rushing yards since going for 281 against Yale in 1996. Kempe finished the game 8-for-22 for 75 yards as the slick ball led to several drops. Pidermann and junior linebacker Alex Johns led the defense with 10 tackles apiece, while Smith and sophomore Mark Dwyer each had a sack of Olawale.

Olawale was just 12-for-32 for 89 yards and his two interceptions while rushing for a team-high 82 yards, just one more than running back Ray Rangel who had 81. Lion free safety Adam Mehrer led all players with 16 tackles in the game.

Dartmouth heads to Cambridge next weekend to take on the Ivy co-leader Harvard (4-2, 3-0 Ivy), which defeated Princeton today, 37-3. Game time is slated for noon and will be broadcast on Sirius Satellite Radio. Columbia heads home for a televised game against Yale at 1 p.m.

Junior Charles Bay scoops up the loose ball then heads for the end zone.