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Schwieger, 4th-Down Gambles Provide 21-16 Win at Brown

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Nick Schwieger     By Peter Grom

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Senior Nick Schwieger ran for 137 yards on a career-high 37 carries, and Dartmouth converted three fourth-down plays to lift the Big Green to a 21-16 upset victory at Brown on Saturday afternoon. Dartmouth (4-5, 3-3 Ivy) had possession of the ball for more than 20 minutes in the second half and ended a 14-game losing streak on natural grass that dated back to 2005. Brown (7-2, 4-2 Ivy) had its six-game winning streak snapped and keeps Brown from earning at least a share of the Ivy title as Harvard clinched the crown with a 37-20 victory over Penn today.

On two of the three Big Green touchdown drives, head coach Buddy Teevens elected to go for it on fourth down, one time while trailing by three and well within field-goal range. Another fourth-down play occurred in the first half at Dartmouth’s own 30, with quarterback Conner Kempe picking up the necessary yardage on a sneak. Those conversions helped the Big Green own a decisive advantage in time of possession with more than a 13-minute spread in the contest while running 24 more plays on offense.

Brown did gain more yards on the day, 346-276, but also threw an interception in the end zone and missed a 39-yard field goal.

The second half began with the score knotted at seven, but Brown kicked a 37-yard field goal on the first possession of the third quarter to take a three-point lead. Dartmouth methodically marched down the field after returning the ensuing kick to the 35, orchestrating a 14-play, 65-yard drive that lasted more than seven minutes. The drive included a one-yard sneak by Kempe on 4th-and-1 as well as three third-down conversions, the final one on another Kempe sneak just past the goal line. Senior Foley Schmidt added the extra point to give the Big Green a 14-10 lead.

An immediate response came in the form of an 83-yard kickoff return by A.J. Cruz, putting the Bears right back on top. The point after was wide, however, leaving Brown with just a two-point edge at 16-14.

The downside for Brown in regards to the kickoff return was that its defense had to go right back onto the field. Dartmouth bridged the third and fourth quarters with another drawn-out drive, taking 15 plays to advance 61 yards in just over seven minutes again. The possession was nearly over before it started with the Big Green facing 3rd-and-10 at their own 39, but Kempe dumped off a short pass to Schwieger, who broke through a pair of tackles and dove just far enough for the first down. He and sophomore running back Dominick Pierre teamed up for three more successful third-down plays, including a one-yard bull run into the end zone by Schwieger to retake the lead at 21-16.

A penalty on the kick return forced Brown to start its next drive at its own eight. Quarterback Kyle Newhall-Caballero managed to complete a trio of passes, and combined with a face mask penalty on Dartmouth, the Bears moved into enemy territory. Another completion, this time to Alexander Tounkara-Kone, nearly turned out to be disastrous for Brown as the ball was stripped out of his hands. But lineman Jack Templeton was there to pounce on it an retain possession for the Bears. It turned out not to matter as Newhall-Caballero, in his haste to get rid of the ball with senior Eddie Smith bearing down on him, was picked off in the end zone by senior J.B. Andreassi.

When Dartmouth failed to get a first down, however, Brown got good field position at its 42-yard line. The Big Green defense was up to the task, holding the Bears to a three-and-out.

Now Dartmouth had the ball with 4:27 to play and, with Schwieger twice picking up first downs on 3rd-and-1, nearly ran out the clock. Brown did get the ball back on its 23 with two seconds to go, but the Bears’ attempt at lateraling their way down the field ended quickly with Newhall-Caballero fumbling and sophomore Mike Banaciski covering it up to end the game.

The game began as a defensive struggle and a battle of field position. Dartmouth began two of its three first-quarter drives near midfield, but could not produce enough offense to get into field-goal range. Brown finally broke the defensive monotony with a little trickery as Tounkara-Kone took a reverse 35 yards into Big Green territory. Kyle Newhall-Caballero then completed a 16-yard, third-down pass to the Dartmouth 18, but an illegal block and a holding penalty eventually forced the Bears to try a 39-yard field goal, only to see it sail wide to the right.

Brown did strike first, beginning an 83-yard drive with a quick throw to Jimmy Saros, who got plenty of blocking downfield as he sprinted 45 yards to the Dartmouth 38. Six plays later, Newhall-Caballero zipped one to his hyphenated compatriot, Tounkara-Kone, who strode into the end zone. Alexander Norocea provided the point after to give the Bears a 7-0 lead witih 6:04 left in the half.

Dartmouth answered back, stringing together a 13-play, 77-yard drive to tie the game at seven. Along the way, the Big Green converted a 4th-and-3 on a Schwieger run, then two plays later Kempe lofted a deep pass to senior Garrett Babb, who looked over one shoulder and then the other before hauling in the 32-yard scoring strike with just 18 seconds left before the intermission.

Schwieger finished the day having posted his seventh 100-yard game of the season and 15th of his career, plus needs just seven yards in the final game of the year to become the first Dartmouth back to rush for 3,000 yards in a career. Kempe was solid behind center, completing 10-of-18 passes for 106 yards, with senior John Gallagher and Schwieger each nabbing three throws.

Newhall-Caballero finished the day 22-of-33 for 252 yards and one touchdown. Tounakara-Kone had six receptions for 71 yards plus led the Bears with 45 yards rushing on the reverse. Mark Kachmer, the co-Ivy Offensive Player of the Week last week along with Schwieger, was held to just 23 yards on eight carries.

Defensively, seniors Shawn Abuhoff and Joey Casey led the Big Green with eight tackles apiece, while Abuhoff also broke up two passes and forced a fumble. Joseph Rettig led all players with 13 stops for the Bears.

Dartmouth finishes out the 2011 season next Saturday by hosting Princeton (1-8, 1-5 Ivy) at 1:30 p.m. Brown travels to New York to take on winless Columbia (0-9, 0-6 Ivy) at 12:30 p.m.