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Overtime Not as Kind This Week as Dartmouth Nipped by Brown, 14-7

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Defensive lineman Eddie Smith     By John and Matt Risley
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PROVIDENCE, R.I. — For the second straight week, Dartmouth found itself in overtime. Unfortunately for the Big Green, they could not duplicate last week’s victory as host Brown (6-3, 4-2 Ivy) survived a rainy, muddy mess at Brown Stadium on Saturday afternoon, 14-7.

Dartmouth (2-7, 2-4) won the coin toss for the overtime and elected to defer. But the Bears, facing a 3rd-and-2 from the 17, put the pressure on the Big Green when quarterback Kyle Newhall threaded a pass just inside the right pylon to Buddy Farnham, who made a diving catch for the touchdown. The wet conditions made for an extremely slick field, but Brown caught a break when kicker Drew Plichta slipped while kicking the extra point yet still managed to coax the ball through the uprights for a seven-point lead.

Needing the touchdown for a chance to deadlock the score again, the Big Green went for the end zone on the first play. Freshman quarterback Greg Patton lofted his throw toward sophomore Michael Reilly, who had two defenders on him, one of which nearly ended the game with an interception. Reilly was able to jar the ball loose, however, keeping the Dartmouth hopes alive.

A nine-yard pass on third down from sophomore Conner Kempe to junior Tanner Scott set up a 4th-and-1 at the 16. Patton reentered and tried to run the Wildcat set for the first down, only to be met by James Develin who dropped him for a loss to abruptly end the contest.

Brown had a chance to win the game in regulation after Farnham juked his way 33 yards on a punt return to the Dartmouth 25 with just 31 seconds remaining. The Bears gained nine yards in three plays, setting up a 33-yard field-goal attempt by Plichta, which went straight into the line to force overtime. Dartmouth had also blocked a field goal as time expired the previous week to send its game into overtime.

The Big Green had a 7-0 lead going into the second half, but Brown was able to put together one of the only sustained drives of the game, a methodical 17-play, 71-yard drive to tie the score. The Bears converted three third downs and a fourth down to keep the drive alive, and then finished off the possession with a two-yard run into the end zone by Spiro Theodosi, who ran for 138 yards on the day for his second consecutive 100-yard game.

The lone Dartmouth score of the afternoon came just before the end of the first quarter. Patton tossed a short screen to Reilly, who immediately broke one tackle then sprinted 77 yards untouched the rest of the way for the score. It was the ninth-longest pass in Big Green history.

Brown had an opportunity to score first in the game when Dartmouth fumbled a handoff on its first play from scrimmage at its own 25. But the Bears could not convert the turnover into points when a 27-yard Plichta field goal try was pulled wide right.

“That was a tremendous defensive effort against a very explosive offense,” stated head coach Buddy Teevens after the game. “While the rain was a factor, our guys did a great job of pursuing and containing to prevent any big plays. We put ourselves into position to win the game, but just came up short in the end.”

Bogged down by the rain and slippery field, both teams struggled to advance the ball throughout the day. Dartmouth held the potent Bear offense to just 322 yards despite Brown running 85 plays, a 3.8-yard average. The Big Green offense had just 221 yards, but ran just 51 plays for a 4.3-yard average.

Patton did not throw often, but was effective when he did, going 7-of-10 for 145 yards and the 77-yard scoring strike. Kempe, who alternated at quarterback during the game, was 4-of-9 for 16 yards. Scott caught five of the 11 Dartmouth completions in the game for 34 yards, while Reilly amassed 84 yards on just three catches.

The running game was stagnant as Patton, and seniors Matthew Dornak and Rob Mitchelson had trouble cutting on the muddy turf. Dartmouth managed just 60 yards on the ground on 32 carries.

Brown’s vaunted passing attack was rendered impotent in the first quarter, completing just 1-of-7 passes for seven yards. Newhall was able to overcome the weather to a degree, going 20-of-44 for 179 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Farnham caught seven of his passes for 90 yards, including the game-winner in overtime.

The Dartmouth defensive effort was spearheaded by sophomore linebacker Diego Fernandez-Soto with a game-high 10 tackles, while freshman strong safety Garrett Waggoner and junior linebacker Pat Scorah tripped up nine Brown players. Sophomore lineman Eddie Smith had the only sack of the day for either team, while sophomore Shawn Abuhoff intercepted a pass late in the fourth quarter to thwart a Brown drive deep in Dartmouth territory. He also swatted away three other passes, and Waggoner broke up two others.

Dartmouth will conclude its season next Saturday at home with a Senior Day showdown against Princeton (2-7, 1-5 Ivy) at 12:30 p.m.