100th Meeting with Yale
Coming off its first loss to an unranked team in nearly three years, Dartmouth is looking to even up its Ivy League record when it takes on the Bulldogs of Yale in New Haven for the 100th meeting between these two programs. The Big Green have won the last four games in the series, including last year’s 35-3 thumping in Hanover.
But last Friday, Penn quickly got the upper hand, reaching the end zones on each of its four complete possessions in the first half — just as the Green did against the Quakers last year — to take a 28-10 lead into the locker room. While the Dartmouth defense made the necessary adjustments to lock down Penn, the hole proved to large too climb out of in the 37-24 defeat.
The offensive numbers on the surface were similar to the first two weeks, topping 400 total yards with a trio of touchdowns. Junior Jack Heneghan set personal highs with 289 passing yards on 27 completions, two of which went for TDs. But a pair of interceptions on consecutive plays in the third quarter, both of which led to the two second-half Quakers scores, proved fatal to the Big Green chances of a comeback.
A pair of young receivers emerged against Penn in sophomore Drew Hunnicutt and freshman Hunter Hagdorn. Hunnicutt caught eight passes for 108 yards (the first 100-yard game of the season) with a touchdown, while Hagdorn — who was the Ivy League Rookie of the Week the week prior — led the Green with nine grabs for 86 yards.
Hagdorn now leads the team with 13 catches, but senior WR Houston Brown has more yardage (160 to 156) on 12 receptions. And junior WR Charles Mack is the only player on the team with two TD catches after hauling in an 18-yarder with just over three minutes to play.
The running game was highlighted by sophomore Miles Smith, who on his first two carries galloped 41 yards each time, finishing the day with 93 yards on just five rushes. But the rest of the Dartmouth backfield managed just 29 yards on 17 attempts.
Senior CB Danny McManus was a busy man in the secondary, posting a career-high 14 tackles to lead the Big Green. And the 10 stops by senior LB Folarin Orimolade were also a personal best. But after securing seven turnovers in the first two games, Dartmouth was unable to pry the ball free even once from the Quakers, ending a streak of 21 straight games with at least one takeaway.
The Big Green will not only be searching for some turnovers, but also ways to apply more pressure in the backfield after failing to register a sack against Penn. Orimolade, a preseason All-American, and junior DE Brennan Cascarano lead the squad with two apiece.
Another area that Dartmouth will attempt to shore up is punt coverages. Over the past two games, the Big Green opponents have totaled 87 yards on punt returns. That is more than any season in senior Ben Kepley’s four years as the team’s punter.
The last time Dartmouth took the field at Yale Bowl, it played one of its most thrilling games of the past few seasons, rallying from a 21-7 deficit to knock off the Bulldogs, 38-31. The Big Green never led in the game until 2:20 was left on the clock.
Scouting the Bulldogs
The season has not gone according to plan thus far for Yale, dropping its first three games by an average margin of four touchdowns. Between losses to Colgate (55-13) and Lehigh (63-35) of the Patriot League, Cornell handed the Bulldogs a 27-13 defeat in the Ivy opener for both teams as well.
The offense, averaging under 300 yards a game, has been searching for a consistent performance at quarterback, with Tre Moore and Rafe Chapple seeing most of the action behind center. But the duo has completed barely 50 percent of their passes while throwing just two touchdowns and nine interceptions.
Last week’s loss to the Mountain Hawks did have some bright spots on offense, however, reaching the end zone three times in the first half, and a fourth coming on an 82-yard punt return. RB Deshawn Salter did most of the heavy lifting with the ground game, picking up 151 yards on 15 carries during the afternoon, while Moore ran for two touchdowns.
Moore completed just 11-of-26 passes, however, for 120 yards and one score to go with a pair of picks. Christopher Williams-Lopez caught that TD toss, taking it 63 yards to the house, and he leads the Bulldogs with 201 receiving yards on 11 grabs. The receiver with the most catches is Robert Clemons III with 15, mostly underneath as he averages just 5.1 yards per reception.
The Yale defense has struggled to stop its opponents, yielding more than 530 yards a game; only three FCS teams have allowed more on average. But the Bulldogs have been fairly solid against the run with linemen Marty Moesta and Kyle Mullen filling the gaps.
Safeties Hayden Carlson and Jason Alessi are Yale’s top tacklers with 31 and 21, respectively, and the former has both the lone interception and the only two fumble recoveries on the season.
Special teams have had their moments, like Alessi’s 82-yard punt return last week and Alex Galland converting all four of his field goal attempts with a long of 38. Yale might still be searching for its punter having split time between Bryan Holmes and Alex Galland.
Now in his fifth year as the Joel E. Smilow ’54 Head Coach of Football, Tony Reno brought the Bulldogs to the brink of a share of the Ivy League title in 2014 before coming up just short in a tough loss to rival Harvard in the final game. Reno, 21-22 during his stint, is a 1997 graduate of Worcester State College and was hired at Yale as an assistant in 2003 after a successful five-year stint at his alma mater. He also spent three years at Harvard before returning to New Haven to take the head coaching position.
Last Year vs. Yale
Dartmouth steamrolled through the first half of its 2015 season, and the Bulldogs did not escape unscathed in a 35-3 triumph at Memorial Field. The Big Green put up scoring drives of 80, 93 and 73 yards in the first half before Yale scored its only points of the game on a 35-yard field goal just before halftime.
Dalyn Williams threw for a school-record 435 yards with four touchdowns in the game as the Green racked up 592 yards of offense in all. Both Ryan McManus and Jon Marc Carrier had more than 100 receiving yards, while a third, Victor Williams, added 91 more.
The defense was stout, holding the Bulldogs to just 32 yards on the ground and 276 overall. The secondary picked off three Yale passes — all in Dartmouth territory — two by safety David Caldwell and another by corner Vernon Harris.
Simulcast on ILDN and ESPN3
This week’s game at Yale is not only being streamed live on the Ivy League Digital Network — the first of seven straight broadcasts of Dartmouth football on the ILDN — but will also be available for viewing on ESPN3. ILDN subscribers can simply watch as they would on the ILDN.tv website, and others can watch on ESPN3 as long as they have a cable or satellite subscription at home.
Penn Bests Big Green
With Dartmouth’s 37-24 loss against Penn, the Big Green saw its seven-game home winning streak come to an end. The game eerily mirrored last year’s meeting in which Dartmouth scored touchdowns on its first four possessions — just as the Quakers did this year — and Penn posted a pair of touchdowns in the final quarter to close the gap — just like the Green this year. Other notes from the first Dartmouth loss of 2016:
• The 37 points were the most for an Ivy team against the Big Green since Penn beat Dartmouth in four overtimes, 37-31, three years ago.
• The Quakers’ four rushing touchdowns were as many as the Green had surrendered in the previous 10 games combined, and one less than they allowed all of 2015.
• Dartmouth did not force a Penn turnover, ending a streak of 21 straight games in which it had.
• Penn RB Tre Solomon ran for 107 yards, the first 100-yard rusher against the Big Green D since Cornell’s Luke Hagy on Nov. 8, 2014 — ending a string of 14 straight without one.
Honey of a Hunnicutt
Sophomore WR Drew Hunnicutt came to the forefront of the receiving corps against Penn by catching eight passes for 108 yards, including a 23-yard touchdown. He is the first 100-yard receiver for the Big Green since Ryan McManus and Victor Williams both eclipsed the century mark against Harvard last year.
Running for Miles
Keep an eye out for when sophomore RB Miles Smith gets the handoff for the first time today. Against Holy Cross, he finally got his hands on the football in a game for the first time in his career and made the most of the opportunity, sprinting 35 yards for a touchdown and a 14-7 lead. Last week against Penn, his first carry of the day went for 41 yards. And his second carry also went for 41 yards. Perhaps that means he will have long gains on each of his first three rushes against Yale …
McManus McMaking Tackles
Senior CB Danny McManus got plenty of opportunities to bring down Quaker ball carriers on Sept. 30, and he got the job done time after time. The last of the three McManus brothers to play for Coach Teevens registered a career-high 14 tackles versus Penn, the most since another “Mc” had 14 at Harvard last year — Will McNamara.
What Have You Done F-Orimolade-ly?
Playing a little Mad Gab here, and while it might be a stretch, I laughed a little. Anyway, LB Folarin Orimolade was named a preseason second-team All-American by STATS, and he certainly is living up to the billing. The senior leads the Ivy League in both tackles for a loss (6.5) and fumbles forced (2) after three games, while his 27 tackles are tied for fifth in the conference (along with teammate Danny McManus).