HANOVER, N.H. — Sophomore Foley Schmidt converted a 40-yard field goal in the second overtime before Cornell missed a 36-yarder to the left, giving host Dartmouth a 20-17 victory in double overtime on Saturday afternoon at Memorial Field. Big Green freshman quarterback Greg Patton, playing in his first varsity game, broke the Dartmouth single-game rushing record with 243 yards on the ground and scored both of the squad’s touchdowns to help the Big Green improve to 2-6 on the season and 2-3 in the Ivy League.
Cornell (2-6, 1-4 Ivy) held a 10-0 lead through the first three quarters, but Dartmouth started on the comeback trail after sophomore linebacker Diego Fernandez-Soto picked off a Big Red pass and returned it to the Big Green 43-yard line. After a five-yard delay of game penalty on the Cornell bench, Patton took the snap and ran 52 yards up the left sideline for a touchdown with barely 12 minutes to play.
After a defensive stop, the Big Green offense went back to work from its own 12 with Patton taking care of the heavy load. A 27-yard Patton run got the ball to midfield, but three plays later Dartmouth faced a 4th-and-1. Sophomore Conner Kempe was under center now, and he ran a sneak forward two yards for the first down. After two rushing losses pushed the Big Green back to 3rd-and-17, Kempe zipped a pass to junior Tanner Scott down the middle for an 18-yard gain to the 13, keeping the drive alive.
Patton took the ball three more times, but the Big Red defense was able to hold him short of the first down inside the 10. Schmidt came on and tied the game with a 26-yard field goal with 2:17 on the clock.
That left Cornell with enough time to move into field-goal range, however, and the Big Red were able to do so thanks in part to a 3rd-and-10 draw play to Marcus Hendren for 11 yards to midfield. Cornell got down to the 17 and called time with two seconds left. After two Dartmouth timeouts to ice the kicker, Brad Greenway got off a 35-yard attempt, only to have senior Pete Pidermann block it to force overtime.
|Greg Patton ran roughshod over the Cornell defense in his varsity debut.|
Dartmouth won the toss and elected to let the Big Red offense go first. Cornell put the pressure on when quarterback Ben Ganter found Bryan Walters in the back of the end zone from eight yards out for a short-lived 17-10 advantage.
The Big Green possession was Patton all the time as he needed just four rushes to reach the end zone, the last a 13-yard burst. At first, Dartmouth lined up for a two-point conversion, but after a Cornell timeout, head coach Buddy Teevens elected to play for the tie, which Schmidt provided with his extra point.
The second Dartmouth overtime did not start very well as two holding penalties pushed the Green back into a 1st-and-28 hole. After two incomplete passes, Kempe was able to get 20 yards on a pass to sophomore Michael Reilly, his career-high ninth of the game. That was enough to put Schmidt in range, and he delivered the 40-yarder with plenty of room to spare.
Cornell pushed forward seven yards in three plays, then went for the tie with Greenway lining up for a 36-yard attempt. But his line-drive kick slipped past the left upright on the wrong side, leaving Dartmouth as the survivor in a wild contest.
“After kicking the field goal, I fell down and never saw the ball go through the uprights,” said Schmidt after the game. “But I could tell by the crowd’s reaction that it was good. It wasn’t a game-winning kick, however; it was a game-winning stop by our defense.”
Patton carried the ball 29 times with runs of 45 and 52 yards to just break the yardage record. At the end of regulation, he had 218 yards, and those 25 in the first overtime put him over the top. He switched off regularly for Kempe, who passed for 208 yards on the day, completing 23-of-39 with one interception.
|Tanner Scott caught six passes for 65 yards in the game.|
When asked about the sudden use of Patton, Coach Teevens responded, “We thought we could utilize Greg with some of the defensive schemes Cornell put on the field. I never would have thought he would break the rushing record because I never would have thought he would get enough carries to do it. With [senior Matthew] Dornak leading the way, Patton kept moving the ball effectively, so we kept going to him.”
Dartmouth posted 483 yards of total offense on the day, its most since racking up 492 in a 31-26 loss to Harvard seven years ago.
Cornell put up 357 yards, 224 coming on the ground with Randy Barbour leading the way as he took the ball 18 times for 94 yards. Ganter, who had 61 rushing yards on nine carries, also completed 18-of-33 passes for 133 yards and both Big Red touchdowns.
Dartmouth balanced a strong running game with short passes to advance the ball throughout the first half, only to come up short of putting points on the board. On the Big Green’s first possession, they gobbled up 58 yards, 16 on a keeper by Patton. But on fourth down, a Kempe pass to Reilly ended up a single yard shy of the first down at the Cornell 32.
After the defense held strong, Dartmouth fumbled the punt away, giving the Big Red the ball at the 13-yard line. The Big Green defense proved up to the task, however, and the Cornell 25-yard field goal veered wide to the left.
Kempe had the offense moving again into the second quarter, going from the Dartmouth 20 into the red zone as he completed four straight passes for 59 yards. But after two incompletions, sophomore Foley Schmidt came on to try a 39-yard field goal — his first attempt in five weeks. The kick came up just short of the crossbar, keeping the game a scoreless duel.
Cornell changed that on its ensuing drive, traversing 78 yards in 10 plays. Ganter zipped a 16-yard pass down the middle of the field to freshman Ben Moody for a touchdown on Moody’s first career reception. Greenway provided the point after for a 7-0 Big Red lead.
For the third time in as many possessions, Dartmouth gained at least 50 yards yet had nothing to show for it as another pass to Reilly came up two yards shy of the first-down marker on a 4th-and-8 play at the Cornell 31.
Sloppy play ruled the last few minutes of the half as Kempe was picked off by Anthony Ambrosi, who then fumbled the ball back to Dartmouth as Scott stripped it free and Kempe recovered. The Big Green was not able to take advantage, though, when Kempe was sacked from behind by Ambrosi, knocking loose the ball which Mike Spooner corralled shortly before the half expired with Cornell holding a 7-0 lead.
Dartmouth struggled to advance the ball in the third quarter, but still had 299 yards of offense without any points. When Cornell started a drive at the Big Green 34 after a 16-yard punt return by Walters (who broke the Ivy career punt return yardage record), Greenway tacked on a 25-yard field goal to stake Cornell to a 10-0 lead with 1:46 left in the third quarter.
Just several minutes later, Fernandez-Soto sparked the Big Green with his interception, and the comeback was in the works.
Two freshmen were among the top three tacklers for the Dartmouth defense with linebacker Garrett Wymore making 10 stops and Waggoner eight. Scorah had nine tackles to go along with his interception and forced fumble.
Dempsey Quinn made numerous plays for Cornell with a game-high 16 tackles and a fumble recovery, one of four fumbles on which the Big Red pounced. Two of those fumbles came on punts, one which hit a Dartmouth blocker as he ran downfield.
The Big Green, in a tie for fourth place in the Ivy League, take to the road for one more game in 2009 next Saturday at 12:30 p.m. when they head to Providence to take on Brown (5-3, 3-2 Ivy), who beat Yale this afternoon, 35-21. Cornell will play its final home game against Columbia next Saturday at 12:30 p.m.
|Senator Judd Gregg, along with Dartmouth President Dr. Jim Yong Kim and Dartmouth AD Bob Ceplikas, took in the Dartmouth victory over Cornell from the sideline.|