ITHACA, N.Y. — Junior tailback Nick Schwieger ran for 164 yards and two touchdowns while the Dartmouth defense registered 10 sacks — just two shy of the Dartmouth record set in 1973 — as the Big Green defeated host Cornell on Saturday afternoon at Schoellkopf Field, 28-10. The victory for Dartmouth (5-3, 2-3 Ivy) was its first in Ithaca since 1996, having lost the last six games at Cornell, while the Big Red dropped to 2-6 overall and 1-4 in the Ivy League.
The Dartmouth defense held Cornell to just 188 total yards for the game, the first time a Big Green opponent had less than 200 since Columbia almost exactly 13 years ago. In the second half, Dartmouth really put the clamps on, yielding just 44 yards. Big Red rushers managed just 24 rushing yards, partly due to losing 54 yards on the 10 sacks. Six different Big Green defenders had at least one sack, led by senior Charles Bay with a career-high three with both senior Buddy Benaderet and junior Eddie Smith posting two.
Schwieger enjoyed his fifth 100-yard game of the season and seventh of his career, boosting his league-leading total to 942. As a team, Dartmouth amassed 222 yards on the ground, half of which came in the fourth quarter when the Big Green put the game away with touchdown runs by Schwieger and freshman Dominick Pierre.
Cornell won the toss and elected to receive, likely due to the fact that the Big Green had not kept an opponent from scoring on its first drive of the game all season. But the defense came through with a stop, allowing the Dartmouth offense to take over at its own 40. Seven plays later, senior Tim McManus shed a defender in the end zone and snared a Kempe pass for a seven-yard score, giving the Green their first lead in the opening quarter this year.
On Cornell’s next possession, quarterback Jeff Mathews strung together four consecutive first-down passes down to the Dartmouth 20 before getting drilled by Bay. The sack jarred the ball loose and senior defensive tackle Eddie Smith pounced on it.
Offense became scarce for both sides as the two teams combined for one first down over the next seven possessions. But when Drew Alston dropped a punt that pinned Dartmouth at its own two, Cornell cornerback Emani Fenton came through with his league-leading fifth interception two plays later at the 12. Wide receiver Luke Tasker then took a handoff after a fake reverse and carried the ball for the 12-yard touchdown. The extra point tied the game at seven with 9:34 left in the half.
Dartmouth still could not get on track offensively, finishing the half with just 97 total yards, 60 of which came on the opening drive. Less than a minute before the intermission, the Big Red managed to find themselves just close enough to attempt a 49-yard field goal, which Brad Greenway snuck through the uprights and just over the crossbar for a 10-7 lead.
Junior Shawn Abuhoff set the tone for the Big Green to start the second half, returning the kickoff 50 yards to the Cornell 32. Schwieger was given the ball three straight times, gaining a first down with the first two, then galloping 18 yards for the go-ahead score barely a minute into the third quarter.
The remainder of the quarter brought about punt after punt as Cornell managed to gain just 19 yards and one first down. At the start of the fourth quarter, the Big Red picked up a first down thanks to an offside penalty, then immediately threw an interception to Dartmouth cornerback Chase Womack deep downfield.
The Big Green finally got some breathing room on the scoreboard after Abuhoff returned a punt 15 yards to the Cornell 44. After junior quarterback Conner Kempe threw his longest pass of the day — 29 yards — to senior Tanner Scott, freshman Dominick Pierre scored on an 11-yard burst through the right side.
Schwieger was still shy of 100 rushing yards when Dartmouth took over with 6:50 to play, then promptly was stopped for a two-yard loss. But on a 3rd-and-1 play, Schwieger took the ball 28 yards into Big Red territory. He immediately ran for 13 more, then finished off the eight-play, 83-yard drive by burrowing through several tacklers for a 22-yard touchdown.
Kempe finished the day a modest 9-of-19 for 125 yards with McManus catching five of the nine completions for 73 yards. Freshman Bronson Green was the leading tackler for the Big Green defense with nine.
For Cornell, Mathews completed 21-of-33 passes for 164 yards while taking each of the 10 sacks. Shane Savage was the leading receiver with seven catches for 73 yards, while Ryan Houska had six more for 41 yards. On defense, Zack Imhoff contributed a game-high 13 tackles with Ben Heller adding 10 more.
Dartmouth will play its final home game of the season next Saturday when it hosts Brown (4-4, 3-2 Ivy) on Senior Day in a nationally televised game on VERSUS at noon. Cornell travels to Columbia (3-5, 1-4 Ivy) for a game at 12:30 p.m.