NEW HAVEN, Conn. — The Yale Bulldogs handed Dartmouth its first shutout loss in nearly five years in a 30-0 contest on Saturday afternoon at the Yale Bowl. All four touchdowns for Yale (3-1, 2-0 Ivy) covered at least 40 yards as the Bulldogs racked up 480 yards of offense. Although Big Green senior Nick Schwieger broke the school’s career record for rushing yardage, Dartmouth (1-3, 0-2 Ivy) managed just 178 total yards and only once advanced beyond the Yale 37-yard line.
The last team to hold the Green scoreless was Harvard on Oct. 28, 2006, in a 28-0 Crimson victory in Hanover. Dartmouth has now lost nine straight meetings with Yale, with the last Big Green win coming in 2002.
Of the Bulldogs’ 480 yards, 269 came on the ground. Alex Thomas averaged over 10 yards per carry while galloping for 130 yards on just 12 rushes, including a 74-yard touchdown on the game’s fourth play from scrimmage. Mordecai Cargill also took a handoff 12 times, gaining 83 yards with a 40-yard scoring sprint. The Yale air attack was guided by quarterback Patrick Witt who completed 21-of-29 passes for 203 yards and a touchdown, while Chris Smith led the receiving corps with six catches for an even 100 yards and the scoring reception.
After the Bulldogs began the game with Thomas’ long touchdown run, they got the ball back and drove into the red zone. Yale lined up for a 29-yard field goal attempt, but ran a fake with the holder Jake Semones attempting to run through the line. Dartmouth was wise to the trick play and stuffed Semones well short of the first down. The Big Green could not muster anything offensively, however, and shortly after a punt, Cargill rattled off his 40-yard touchdown run. The saving grace for Dartmouth came on the PAT when senior Shawn Abuhoff blocked the kick to keep the score at 13-0.
In the second quarter, the Big Green had a golden opportunity to swing momentum in their favor when senior Joey Casey picked off a Witt pass across the middle. During his return, he slipped on the grass and fell as the ball came loose for a fumble. Yale pounced on the ball to regain possession, netting a nine-yard gain in the process.
The defense ruled the roost into the intermission with the only other points of the half coming just before with four seconds left on a 39-yard field goal. The score was set up by a fumble on a sack of Big Green sophomore quarterback Andy Gay, making his first career start. Dartmouth was able to recover the fumble at its own one, but eventually was forced to punt from the back of the end zone. The kick traveled just 22 yards, however, giving Yale the ball at the 25-yard line with 1:17 remaining. Dartmouth’s defense was up to the challenge, making the Bulldogs settle for the Philippe Panico field goal, giving Yale a 16-0 lead.
Yale dominated the first half, gaining 266 yards to just 51 for Dartmouth. Gay was just 3-of-11 passing for 14 yards for the Big Green while Schwieger ran for 39 yards on 11 carries. For the Bulldogs, Thomas topped the century mark in the first 30 minutes with 101 yards on nine rushes, and Witt was 13-of-18 for 98 yards and one interception.
The second half did not start any better for Dartmouth, even with senior quarterback Conner Kempe back under center. A three-and-out forced a punt, which Yale’s Gio Christodoulou returned untouched 53 yards for a touchdown and a 23-0 lead.
The next Dartmouth possession was stopped just inside Yale territory at the 47-yard line. Needing a spark, Dartmouth’s Robert L. Blackman Head Football Coach Buddy Teevens called for a fake punt on 4th-and-5. Sophomore punter Daniel Barstein completed a short toss to Casey, who appeared to have enough for the first down, only to lose his hold on the ball, which Yale recovered.
The Big Green finally got a great scoring opportunity late in the third quarter when freshman Chai Reece partially blocked a Bulldog punt, giving Dartmouth the ball at the Yale 20. Yet the Green could not capitalize with three incomplete passes, the last on 4th-and-2. Yale turned right around and moved into Dartmouth territory by the end of the third quarter, then Witt tossed a 44-yard touchdown bomb to Smith on the first play of the fourth quarter.
Schwieger, who entered the game sixth nationally in rushing average at over 130 yards per game, ran 16 times for just 39 yards, ending a streak of four straight 100-yard games. It was also his lowest output since breaking his hand against Harvard two years ago when he took the ball a mere 10 times for 18 yards. Kempe came off the bench to complete 11-of-21 passes for 97 yards. Leading the defensive effort was sophomore nickelback Mike Banaciski with nine tackles.
Dartmouth returns to the road next week for its final non-conference game of the year when it plays at Holy Cross on Saturday at 1 p.m. Yale begins a three-game road swing with a non-conference tilt next Saturday at Lafayette at 6 p.m.