HANOVER, N.H. – Playing on its new FieldTurf in the skeletal shadow of the Varsity House, Dartmouth football was unable to overcome 35 first-half points by intra-state rival New Hampshire, falling 56-14. Senior Ryan Fuselier (Escondido, Calif.) was the Big Green's offensive leader, scoring both Dartmouth touchdowns in the second half.
The Wildcats started things off with a bang, scoring 21 points in the first quarter. Ricky Santos passed for two touchdowns while Keith LeVan ran for one. In the second quarter, senior David Ball picked up his second and third TD catches on the day, tying Jerry Rice's all-time NCAA I-AA career mark
Fuselier got the Big Green on the board at 7:07 in the third. Senior quarterback Mike Fritz (Houston, Texas) dropped back and caught Fuselier on the run for a 10-yard touchdown pass. UNH's Santos answered less than two minutes later as he connected with Aaron Brown from 24 yards out.
Fuselier sandwiched his second touchdown pass between two more UNH scores in the final quarter of play. Fuselier caught a 21-yard pass from Fritz with Andrew Kempler (Westport, Conn.) kicking his second extra-point of the day.
"This was the best game of Ryan's career," said head coach Buddy Teevens. "He was physical, aggressive and made some really good, tough catches for us. To see an older guy step forward like he did today was a good example to our younger players."
Dartmouth had 310 total offensive yards to New Hampshire's 564. Fritz was 15-23 for 195 yards while Fuselier caught 10 passes for 156 yards. Dartmouth's top rusher was freshman Robert Mitchelson (Oklahoma City, Okla.) with eight carries for 42 yards.
"UNH was a well-coached team that executed everything well. We had difficult stopping them as every team that's played them has experienced," Teevens said. "We had difficulty keeping their offense off the field. We had inconsistencies early with turnovers and procedural problems. From an offensive standpoint we ran the ball better today than we have in a year and a half. There was enough good things to take away from this game and build on."
A crowd of 7,023 filled the reconfigured Memorial Field seats with the construction of the new Varsity House scheduled for completion in time for the 2007 season.
The Big Green opens Ivy League play next Saturday, traveling to Penn for a 1 pm kickoff.