Passionate Second-Half Effort Comes Up Short Versus Harvard
HANOVER, N.H. — Playing in front of a raucous homecoming crowd of 10,138, Dartmouth posted more total yards than the league’s top offense, but Harvard won the war of the scoreboard to defeat the Big Green on Saturday evening at Memorial Field, 31-14. Sophomore Alex Park threw for a career-high 310 yards while senior Michael Reilly amassed career highs with 12 receptions and 165 yards for Dartmouth (4-3, 2-2 Ivy), but Treavor Scales countered with three rushing touchdowns to help the Crimson (6-1, 3-1 Ivy) move back into first place in the Ivy League with Penn and Princeton.
Harvard entered the game averaging 515.8 yards per game, third among FCS schools, but the Big Green held the Crimson to a season-low 382 yards. On the other side of the ball, Dartmouth racked up 397 yards of its own, mostly through the air as Park completed 24-of-39 throws to become the 13th quarterback in the program’s history to top 300 passing yards in a game and the first since Conner Kempe ’12 had 312 yards against Holy Cross three years ago.
As the second half started, the Big Green found themselves trailing by three touchdowns, 21-0. But on their second possession of the second half, they needed just three plays to cover 63 yards to get on the board. The drive began with a 36-yard pass to Reilly and a five-yard throw underneath to freshman Victor Williams before Park went back to Reilly across the middle for a 22-yard touchdown.
Following the kickoff, Dartmouth had a golden opportunity to cut into the deficit further when junior linebacker Michael Runger stripped Scales of the ball on the first play from scrimmage with senior Elliot Kastner recovering at the Crimson 22. The Big Green pushed down to the one-yard line and went for it on fourth down, only to have junior running back Dominick Pierre stopped at the line, giving the ball back to Harvard.
Dartmouth did pull within a touchdown after getting a defensive stop. On the first play of the drive, sophomore Ryan McManus leapt high into the air to catch a Park pass 20 yards downfield, then proceeded to break through six defenders and sprint to the end zone for a 68-yard score. Sophomore Riley Lyons added the extra point again to make it a 21-14 game.
The score remained that way through the end of the third quarter, but Harvard was knocking on the door and scored on the first play of the final period on Scales’ third touchdown of the day from two yards out, capping a six-play, 55-yard drive.
Park came right back, completing three of his next four throws before being forced from the pocket and scrambling for a yard. He came down hard on his left (non-throwing) shoulder, and did not return. Freshman Dalyn Williams came on facing 4th-and-3, then faced intense pressure before unleashing a desperation heave to Reilly, who corraled the throw just beyond the first-down marker. But on a 3rd-and-2 in Harvard territory, the Dartmouth bench was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct, essentially ending the drive.
The Big Green got the ball back beyond midfield thanks to a personal foul call against Harvard on a punt return, but could not advance the ball and turned it over on downs. The Crimson tacked on a 25-yard field goal by David Mothander with 5:52 on the clock to put the game out of reach.
The game began with Dartmouth taking everyone by surprise by recovering an onside kick. But the offense was slow to get on track, forcing the Big Green to punt after three plays, pinning Harvard at its seven. Crimson quarterback Colton Chapple sliced through the defense, completing three passes for 69 yards and capping the seven-play drive with a 16-yard scramble into the end zone for a 7-0 lead barely four minutes into the game.
Harvard took advantage of the one Big Green turnover of the night when linebacker Alexander Norman picked off a screen pass and returned it to the Dartmouth six. Scales found the end zone two plays later on a three-yard run that put the Crimson up, 14-0.
On its next possession, Harvard marched 70 yards in 13 plays, but the drive would have stalled out if not for a roughing-the-passer penalty on a 3rd-and-14 play. Instead, the Crimson got a second life and finished off the possession with Scales burrowing for a touchdown from two yards out with 2:35 left in the half.
Dartmouth had a chance to put some points on the board before the intermission, advancing to the Crimson 10 with 1:07 on the clock. On the first-down play, the Big Green called for an option, but Park’s pitch was wide of Pierre, who fortunately was able to fall on the ball at the 20. After a pair of incompletions, Lyons attempted a 37-yard field goal, only to have it sail wide to the right.
McManus joined Reilly in triple digits with his first career 100-yard game, catching four passes for 103 yards with his long touchdown. As a team, Dartmouth was held to just 19 rushing yards, due in large part to six Harvard sacks in the game. Since the Crimson have the top-rated rushing defense in the country, Pierre took a handoff just six times for 22 yards, but caught nine passes for 56 yards. In place of Park, Williams was 8-of-12 for 68 yards, giving the Big Green 378 yards through the air, their most in 10 years.
Scales led Harvard on the ground with 89 yards on 21 carries while Chapple added 88 yards on 16 runs. Chapple failed to throw a touchdown toss for the first time this season while completing 17-of-31 passes for a season-low 170 yards. Kyle Juszczyk led the Crimson receivers with five catches for only 38 yards.
The Dartmouth defense was led by Runger with 13 tackles and his forced fumble, while junior linebacker Bronson Green added a season-high 11 stops. Senior Mick Davis had one of the two Big Green sacks on the evening with freshman Cody Fulleton and sophomore Evan Chrustic helping out on the other.
Defensive end Zach Hodges was in the backfield regularly, recording two sacks and five quarterback hurries. John Lyon also had two sacks to help the Crimson effort.
Dartmouth goes back on the road, where it has won four straight games dating back to last season, to take on Cornell (4-3, 2-2 Ivy) next Saturday at 12:30 p.m. in Ithaca, N.Y., as both teams hope to stay relevant in the Ivy League standings. Harvard returns to Cambridge to host Columbia (2-5, 1-3 Ivy) at 1 p.m.
Notes: Only two receivers have caught more than 12 passes in a game for Dartmouth — Damien Roomets '02 had 17 against New Hampshire in 2000, and Scott Wedum '04 had 14 against Cornell in 2002 … the last receiver with 12 catches in a game was Jay Barnard '04 against UNH in 2003 … Reilly moved into 10th place on Dartmouth's career receptions list with 94, and seventh in receiving yards with 1,582 … the last team to allow more passing yards to the Big Green was also Harvard — 382 in 2002.
|The 1962 undefeated, untied football team celebrated its 50th anniversary in front of a homecoming crowd of over 10,000. (photo courtesy of Gil Talbot)