Big Plays Not Enough in 35-28 Loss
HANOVER, N.H. — Dartmouth tailback Nick Schwieger threw a 62-yard touchdown pass and junior Shawn Abuhoff returned a punt for a touchdown for the third time this season, but Brown scored the final 18 points of the game to escape Memorial Field with a 35-28 victory on Saturday afternoon in the Big Green’s final home game of the season. Bear quarterback Joe Springer threw for 281 yards and three touchdowns to lead Brown (5-4, 4-2 Ivy) to the road victory, while Schwieger also ran for 86 yards to surpass 1,000 for the season as Dartmouth (5-4, 2-4) was denied the opportunity to clinch its first winning campaign in 13 years.
Schwieger is just the fourth running back in Dartmouth history to run for 1,000 yards and first since Al Rosier ’91 19 years ago. But he had to work hard for his 86 yards today, carrying the ball 27 times for a 3.2-yard average, well below his season average of 5.0 entering the day. Two of those runs went for touchdowns, however, giving him 11 on the season, the most by a Big Green back since Rosier had 12 in that 1991 season.
Trailing 17-7 to start the second half, Dartmouth quickly marched 67 yards in eight plays, including a 40-yard run by freshman Dominick Pierre — his only carry of the day — to the one-yard line. Schwieger ran it in two plays later, and junior Foley Schmidt’s extra-point cut the deficit to three.
Later in the third quarter, the Big Green took over at their own 38 after a Brown punt traveled 37 yards and went out-of-bounds. On the first play, junior quarterback Conner Kempe tossed a backward pass to Schwieger, who then heaved the ball downfield to a wide-open Tanner Scott. The senior receiver outran the desperate defense and scored his first touchdown of the season to give Dartmouth its first lead of the day.
Tanner Scott celebrates after his 62-yard touchdown catch from Nick Schwieger.
But Brown modestly began its comeback on the ensuing drive with a 37-yard field goal by freshman Alexander Nocoea. When penalties forced the Big Green back inside their own five, the Bears took advantage by returning a punt out of the end zone 21 yards to the Dartmouth 29 early in the fourth quarter. A one-yard loss on a run to start did not discourage Springer who found Alexander Tounkara down the right sideline for a 30-yard scoring strike. With the score at 28-26, Brown converted a two-point conversion with Springer passing to Tellef Lundevall in the end zone to tie the score.
In the middle of the final quarter, Dartmouth drove into Bear territory and faced a 4th-and-1 at the 40. Schwieger got the call but was stuffed at the line, giving the Bears the ball with more than five-and-a-half minutes to play. Time of possession was already heavily skewed in favor of Brown, who advanced through the weary defense to get the winning touchdown when Mark Kachmer vaulted over the line from two yards out with 1:22 to play.
Nick Schwieger became the fourth Big Green player to rush for 1,000 yards in one season.
A personal foul after the kickoff return put the Big Green in excellent position too for the tie, starting at their own 48. But on the first play, Kempe was picked off by A.J. Cruz. While Dartmouth did get the ball back with three seconds on the clock, the final play that included three laterals gained just 33 yards and ended at the Brown 40.
Brown dominated most of the action in the first half with its offense on the field for more than 21 of the 30 minutes while racking up 209 yards to just 85 for the Big Green. Springer tossed an 11-yard touchdown to tight end Alex Prestley and Norocea added a 44-yard field goal in the opening quarter.
On the first play of the second quarter, Dartmouth got on the board on a five-yard Schwieger run. The tailback accounted for all 48 yards during the drive with four runs totaling 30 yards and a reception for 18. But the Bears boosted their lead back to 10 shortly before halftime when Jimmy Saros snared a three-yard pass in the end zone, finishing off a 41-yard drive.
Springer ended the day 22-of-42 to account for his 281 yards through the air. Tounkara led all players with six receptions for 108 yards, including his 30-yard touchdown. On the ground, the Bears averaged just 2.3 yards a carry with Kachmer gaining 66 yards on 21 runs.
Kempe struggled a bit behind center for the Big Green, completing just 9-of-20 passes for 105 yards with two interceptions. The leading receiver was Schwieger with four catches for 45 yards.
Charles Bay wraps up Brown quarterback Joe Springer for a sack.
Three Dartmouth linebackers — senior Pat Scorah, freshman Bronson Green and junior Tyler Melancon — each had at least 10 tackles to lead the defensive effort, while senior Charles Bay had one of the team’s two sacks. Sophomore Chase Womack had an interception as well, his third of the year.
Dartmouth concludes its season next Saturday at Princeton (1-8, 0-6 Ivy), who suffered a narrow 14-13 loss at Yale today, at 1 p.m. The Bears head home to complete their season as well, hosting Columbia (4-5, 2-4 Ivy) at 12:30 p.m.
Notes: Abuhoff's three punt returns for touchdowns ties the Dartmouth single-season record set by Tim Copper ’72 in 1970 ... the Big Green have lost 10 straight televised games; this contest was broadcast in high-definition by VERSUS ... Dartmouth has trailed at the half in every game this season, but had not lost a game when it took the lead in the second half until today.