CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Dartmouth junior Tanner Scott caught seven passes for 116 yards with a touchdown, but Harvard racked up 521 yards of offense and six touchdowns to maintain its perfect Ivy record by defeating the Big Green 42-21 on blustery Saturday afternoon at Harvard Stadium. Running backs Gino Gordon and Treavor Scales combined for 239 yards and five touchdowns to carry the Crimson (5-2, 4-0 Ivy) past Dartmouth (1-6, 1-3 Ivy).
Gordon needed just eight rushes (three going for touchdowns) to attain his 119 yards on the ground, while Scales carried the heavy load with 20 rushes for a game-high 120 yards and two scores. Crimson quarterback Collier Winters had an efficient day passing the ball, completing 12-of-15 passes for 204 yards and Harvard’s final touchdown of the game.
Dartmouth lost the services of sophomore running back Nick Schwieger — last week’s FCS Player of the Week — at the start of the second quarter due to a broken hand after he had managed just 18 rushing yards. Senior Rob Mitchelson filled in admirably, going for 61 yards on 14 carries. The majority of the Big Green’s 262 yards of offense came through the air as sophomore Conner Kempe amassed 198 yards by completing 17-of-34 with a touchdown, but also two interceptions.
The first quarter was mostly a war of attrition in field position, and with Dartmouth going into the strong wind, the Crimson won that battle. Harvard missed on a 28-yard field goal try, but after a quick defensive stop, Scales took the first play of the next drive 40 yards for a touchdown and a 7-0 Crimson lead.
The next time Harvard got the ball, it was going into the wind in the second quarter. But the Crimson were able to gobble up yards on the ground, traversing 84 yards in just nine plays with six first downs. Gordon took a handoff 15 yards to finish off the drive with a touchdown and Patrick Long provided the PAT again.
Dartmouth started moving the ball effectively in response, getting down to the Crimson 39. But a Kempe pass was picked off by Ryan Barnes, who brought it back almost to the line of scrimmage at the 38. On the strength of a 27-yard pass to Gordon (and an interception by sophomore Shawn Abuhoff getting called off due to a roughing-the-passer penalty), Harvard was able to score its third touchdown of the day. This one was just a one-yard push by Scales on third-and-goal, giving Harvard a 21-point lead.
But the Big Green did not pass up the chance to advance the ball with just 1:33 remaining in the half. Kempe orchestrated an efficient six-play, 63-yard drive with three completions and a little help from a pass interference penalty. The touchdown came on a 12-yard zinger to a diving Scott just inside the right sideline.
Harvard got those points back to start the second half, traveling 93 yards in just seven plays, the last one a 48-yard scamper by Gordon.
The Big Green offense had its own quick response, starting its drive with a 43-yard pass to Scott to the Harvard 21. The drive appeared to stall out at the 15, but Dartmouth pulled off a fake field goal with sophomore Michael Reilly taking the snap 10 yards for a first down. Two plays later, Kempe scored from a foot out on a keeper, bringing the Green back with 14.
A surprise onside kick by junior Donald Kephart nearly worked to perfection. Although senior Chris Burns recovered the kick, Dartmouth was penalized for touching the ball just before it traveled the requisite 10 yards. That gave Harvard possession at the Big Green 39, and it took the Crimson six plays to reach paydirt with Gordon handling the honors on an eight-yard score.
Harvard got its only passing touchdown of the day on the next possession when Winters connected with fullback Kyle Juszczyk in the end zone from 31 yards out.
The two teams traded possessions, but on Harvard’s punt, senior Pete Pidermann broke through the middle of the line and blocked the kick. Reilly scooped up the loose ball and ran it home for a 16-yard touchdown, making it a 42-21 game.
On the ensuing kick, Dartmouth kicked it short, and the wind held up the ball. It bounced off a Harvard player before junior Robbie Krattiger picked it up and returned it to the Harvard 28. But the Big Green could not capitalize, reaching the eight before turning it over on downs.
Krattiger recovered a fumble on the second Harvard play, however, and Dartmouth had another shot from the Crimson 28 for one last gasp. But Nick Hasselberg tracked down a Kempe pass that was batted back, making a diving interception with barely a minute to play and effectively ending the game.
Both Pidermann and freshman linebacker Garrett Wymore contributed a game-high 12 tackles for the Big Green defense.
Dartmouth returns to Hanover and Memorial Field next Saturday when it hosts Cornell (2-5, 2-2 Ivy) at 12:30.