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Courtesy: Mark Washburn
The Big Green celebrate

Third Straight Win Lifts Football Into Tie for Second in Ivy Standings

Courtesy: Dartmouth
Release: 11/28/2011
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HANOVER, N.H.Nick Schwieger ran for 157 yards and a touchdown while Conner Kempe completed 16-of-22 passes for 141 yards and two scores in their final collegiate game, lifting the Dartmouth Big Green to a 24-17 victory over Princeton on Senior Day on Saturday in front of 4,003 appreciative fans at Memorial Field. The victory boosted Dartmouth (5-5, 4-3 Ivy) into a four-way tie for second place to end the Ivy League season, its highest finish since 2003, which also happens to be the last time the Big Green recorded a winning mark in conference play.

Princeton (1-9, 1-6 Ivy) lost its seventh straight while sensational freshman running back Chuck Dibilio was held to 66 yards on 23 carries and finished the year with 1,068, the first true Ivy freshman to top 1,000 in a season.

Schwieger began the day just 17 rushing yards ahead of Dibilio in league contests, and had fallen behind at the half as the rookie had 54 yards while Schwieger was held to just 32 on 15 carries. But the veteran piled up the yards in the second half with 125 on the same amount of attempts (15), including a 44-yard burst near the end of the third quarter. Schwieger finished the year with 1,310 yards on the ground for the entire season, the second most in Dartmouth history, and 943 in league play.

The game began a little sloppily as both teams coughed the ball up on fourth down on their opening drives. Dartmouth faced a 4th-and-1 at its own 39, but the decision to go for it backfired when the handoff was muffed and recovered by the Tigers. The Big Green defense contained Princeton, leaving the Tigers with a 38-yard field goal attempt, but the snap was mishandled. When kicker Patrick Jacob picked up the loose ball and threw a pass, senior lineman Connor Phillips was there to pick it off.

The Tigers struck first later in the opening quarter thanks to its ground game. Dibilio and freshman quarterback Quinn Epperly combined to cover 46 yards on eight carries during the drive, including the final 13 by Epperly for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead.

Dartmouth responded right away, beginning its ensuing drive from midfield thanks to a 22-yard return by senior Brendan Murray who tiptoed up the sideline after fielding the kick inches from the boundary line. A 13-yard run by sophomore Dominick Pierre on a 4th-and-1 kept the drive alive, and Schwieger bulled his way in from the one at the outset of the second quarter. The point after was blocked by Caraun Reid, however, and nearly returned for a defensive two-point conversion, leaving the Green down a point at 7-6.

Again the Tigers relied heavily on their rushing attack to cover 80 yards in 15 plays, while Epperly mixed in three completions for a total of 36 yards. Princeton faced third down four times, converting each into first downs, before Epperly carried the ball in from the 11.

Still trailing 14-6 with just 4:35 remaining in the half, Dartmouth started at the Tiger 43 after pinning Princeton deep in its own end. The Big Green went to their bag of tricks and pulled out a 34-yard reverse to freshman wideout Kirby Schoenthaler, which led to a 20-yard field goal by senior Foley Schmidt with 2:08 on the clock.

Dartmouth wasn't done scoring before the intermission, though, as senior Shawn Abuhoff picked off an Epperly pass at the Big Green 22 and returned it 16 yards with 1:05 left. A first down and a personal foul on the Tigers advanced Dartmouth to the Princeton 35 before Kempe connected with Schwieger on a 23-yard pass and Bo Patterson on a 12-yard laser in the back of the end zone. Again Schmidt’s PAT was blocked by Caraun Reid, but the Big Green still enjoyed a one-point advantage at the break, 15-14.

Princeton opened the second half with a Jacob 46-yard field goal to retake the lead at 17-15, only to see Dartmouth march 70 yards in nine plays that culminated with a seven-yard pass to junior tight end Justin Foley. The Big Green elected to go for two, but the pass came up half a yard short keeping the score at 21-17.

On the next Dartmouth possession, Schwieger began with his 44-yard sprint and added 24 more during the drive, leading to a 27-yard field goal by Schmidt for a seven-point lead, 24-17.

Princeton had two more opportunities to tie the game with a touchdown, but the Dartmouth defense came up with a nine-yard sack by senior Eddie Smith to force a punt on the first possession, then senior Anthony Diblasi picked off a pass by Connor Michelsen at the Big Green five. Two Schwieger first downs later and Dartmouth had run out the clock to seal the win.

The Big Green finished the game with 361 total yards, while Princeton nearly matched it at 334. But the Tigers really hurt their cause with 11 penalties for a whopping 99 yards, while Dartmouth was flagged just three times for 20 yards.

Sophomore Bronson Green led the Dartmouth defensive effort with a career-high 13 tackles, and Andrew Starks matched that total for Princeton.
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