HANOVER, N.H. — Dartmouth senior running back Dominick Pierre wasn’t going to go down easily in his final homecoming game, powering the Big Green football team to a 20-13 win Saturday afternoon at Memorial Field against previously unbeaten Yale (3-1, 1-1 Ivy).

In his team’s Ivy League home opener, Pierre was the force that led Dartmouth (2-2, 1-1 Ivy) to the victory, turning in a yeoman-like performance with a career-high 37 rushes for 167 yard and a touchdown on the day. A four-yard scamper early in the third quarter also put the Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., native over 2,000 yards for his career, becoming just the third player in Dartmouth history to reach the milestone. The 100-yard performance was the seventh of his career and the third straight following games of 124 and 151 against Holy Cross and Penn, respectively.

Pierre’s six-yard touchdown run with just over 10 minutes remaining in the game was the only score of the final quarter and proved to be the difference, breaking the 13-13 tie and giving the 10,983 fans in attendance a homecoming win.

The Big Green have now defeated the Bulldogs in consecutive seasons for the first time in more than a decade (2001 and 2002). The latter also marked the last time Dartmouth had knocked off the Elis in Hanover.

Dominick Pierre and Dalyn Williams
Dominick Pierre (29) scored the game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter, and Dalyn Williams (10) threw for the other two Big Green scores. (photo Mark Washburn)

Sophomore quarterback Dalyn Williams was 14-of-30 passing on the day for 188 yards and two touchdowns.

Junior Bo Patterson was the recipient of the second TD pass, pulling in a 32-yard reception on a 4th-and-8 play to tie the score at 13 with just over seven minutes remaining in the third quarter. For Patterson, it was the third TD catch of the season, all coming at home.

After a scoreless first quarter, the Big Green did not settle for a chip shot field goal and instead went for it on 4th-and-5 from the Bulldog nine. On the first play of the second frame, Williams found senior tight end Cole Marcoux, who made a spectacular, sliding, one-handed grab in the back right corner of the end zone on the first play of the second frame. The nine-yard pass and first touchdown of Marcoux’s career put the Big Green up 6-0, but the extra point was blocked by Dylan Drake.

Midway through the second quarter, Yale was left with a short field after fielding a punt at its own 46. The Bulldogs took advantage by driving down to the Dartmouth 12 before settling for a Kyle Cazzetta 29-yard field goal, cutting the Yale deficit in half at 6-3.

The Elis took the lead after holding the Big Green to a quick three-and-out, including a pair of sacks. Quarterback Henry Furman weaved his way through traffic for a 17-yard touchdown run with 3:59 left in the first half. It turned out to be the only time Yale managed to punch one into the end zone against the Dartmouth defense.

Twice before the end of the half, the Big Green had an opportunity to put more points on the board. The first time they turned it over on downs at the Yale 29; the second time free safety Robert Ries picked off a Williams pass in the back of the end zone on the final play before intermission.

Yale extended its lead to seven on its first possession of the third stanza as Cazzetta knocked one through from 32 yards out for a 13-6 advantage.

That would be the last time Yale’s offense could muster anything against a resurgent Big Green defense. The Green and White finished the day with three caused turnovers, including an interception from Eric Wickham and a late fumble that allowed the home team to line up in the victory formation.

After Dartmouth missed a 32-yard field goal with 2:59 to play that would have all but sealed the victory, Chase Womack stripped Yale’s Tyler Varga on a swing pass three plays later. The senior cornerback met Varga along the left sideline jarred the ball loose. Senior nickelback Mike Banaciski was able to recover it at the 23 — his second fumble recovery of the day — all but ending the contest with one more first down.

That first down would not come easily, though, as Pierre was stopped on a 4th-and-2 play at the Yale 15. A face mask penalty against the Elis gave Dartmouth the first down, however, and the ability to take a knee.

In all, the Big Green posted 423 yards of offense to the Bulldogs’ 264, while holding a decisive edge in both first downs (24-15) and time of possession (35:35 – 24:25). Much of that time advantage came in the second half, and especially the fourth quarter as Dartmouth had the ball for more than 11 minutes of the final frame.

Banaciski spearheaded the defensive effort with a team-best 10 tackles — two going for a loss — to go along with his two fumble recoveries.

Yale’s William Vaughan led all players with 20 tackles, thanks in part to Dartmouth running 93 plays to just 68 for the Bulldogs.

The Big Green will continue their three-game homestand next Saturday with Patriot League foe Bucknell (1-4) making the trip to Hanover for a 1:30 p.m. start. Yale returns home to host undefeated and nationally ranked Fordham (7-0) at noon.

Notes: Dartmouth ended a five-game skid at home, not to mention a 10-game skid when playing on TV at Memorial Field (Fox College Sports broadcast the game) … the Big Green were whistled for 11 penalties before Yale was flagged for the first time in the fourth quarter. The final tally was 12-4 … Pierre caught four passes for a career-high and team-best 63 yards, giving him a personal-best 230 all-purpose yards … he also moved into Dartmouth’s top-10 scoring list with 138 points, tying him for ninth with Big Green legend Swede Oberlander ’26 … Williams failed to complete at least half of his passes for the first time in the 13 games he has thrown more than one pass … the Dartmouth defense held the league’s leading rusher in Varga to just 64 yards on 20 carries. Pierre moved ahead of Varga and now leads the league with an average of 133.8 yards per game.

President Hanlon and the Lewinstein Family
President Hanlon (second from left) poses for a photo with the Lewinstein family -- Marc '98, Stephen '63 and Diana -- who provided the generous gift that enabled the purchase of the new video scoreboard at Memorial Field. (photo Mark Washburn)