NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Dartmouth held a 10-0 lead through the first quarter of play at Yale on Saturday afternoon, but the Bulldogs rallied and staved off two fourth-quarter drives to defeat the Big Green, 21-13. Junior Jack Heneghan threw for a career-high 348 yards for Dartmouth (2-2, 0-2 Ivy), but the last of his 57 throws was picked off at the Yale three-yard line by Hayden Carlson with less than a minute to play, sealing the Big Green’s fate.
Yale (1-3, 1-1 Ivy) earned its first victory of the season on the strength of the legs of freshman Alan Lamar, who posted two of the three Bulldog touchdowns while gaining 180 yards on 23 carries in his first career action. Bulldog quarterback Tre Moore completed 20-of-32 passes for 181 yards and a score, thanks in part to Myles Gaines who caught nine of those throws for 106 yards.
Early in the fourth quarter, Yale extended its lead from one to eight points following a Lamar 43-yard touchdown sprint on the first play after a Jason Alessi 22-yard punt return placed the Bulldogs in Dartmouth territory.
But with more than 11 minutes to play, the Big Green had plenty of time to make up the difference. After one possession led to minimal yardage, Dartmouth quickly drove to the Yale seven as Heneghan completed 3-of-4 passes for 69 yards, the last a 36-yarder to sophomore Drew Hunnicutt. Three downs later, the Green were just a yard closer, and Heneghan’s fourth-down toss was off target, giving the Bulldogs the ball at their own six with 4:47 remaining.
Lamar took the handoff on the first three plays, picking up a pair of first downs to run the clock and get better field position. But on his next three runs, Dartmouth held him to a total of five yards while burning all three of its timeouts to preserve the clock. A 36-yard punt with no return left the Big Green staring at 69 yards to traverse in 2:26.
A quick 14-yard pass to junior Emory Thompson got the offense moving. Dartmouth, which could not convert on fourth down three times already, then faced a 4th-and-4 near midfield. This time Heneghan hooked up with junior tight end Cameron Skaff to move the sticks, and two more completions pushed the Big Green into the red zone at the Yale 19. Yet Heneghan’s next pass that was intended for freshman Hunter Hagdorn found its way into the arms of Carlson — who also had a team-high 12 tackles and had two of Yale’s 10 pass breakups — at the three-yard line. Two kneeldowns later, the game was over, ending Dartmouth’s personal four-game win streak against the Bulldogs.
The game began with the two sides trading punts before Dartmouth senior linebacker Folarin Orimolade provided the first big play of the game, stripping the ball from Moore for a fumble, which senior nickelback Lucas Bavaro collected at the Bulldog 25. Heneghan scrambled for five yards on a 3rd-and-4 for a first down, and two plays later connected with junior tight end Stephen Johnston in the end zone for a 13-yard touchdown toss.
After Yale failed to convert a 40-yard field goal attempt on its next drive, Dartmouth utilized a 33-yard completion to Thompson to set itself up for a 26-yard field goal of its own. Junior David Smith did not miss for a 10-0 Big Green lead with barely a minute left in the opening quarter.
Dartmouth had another terrific scoring chance when the Bulldogs fumbled a handoff that junior lineman Charlie Pontarelli fell on at the Bulldog 27. But the Yale defense stopped junior Miles Smith a yard short of the marker on a 4th-and-3 run, ending the drive in the red zone.
Later in the stanza, the Bulldogs put together a 13-play, 77-yard drive with no play going more than 10 yards. Lamar capped it off with a seven-yard scurry into the end zone for his first career touchdown, cutting the Big Green lead down to three at 10-7 with 3:09 before the intermission.
When Dartmouth stalled at the Yale 45, it punted away, giving the Bulldogs barely a minute to move into field goal range before the half expired. A 42-yard completion to Gaines on 3rd down gave Yale a chance to at least tie the game, and a personal foul call two plays later put the Elis on the 14. Moore scrambled for more time in the backfield and fired a pass to the corner of the end zone that Reed Klubnik dove for and hauled in with one hand for the touchdown with 22 seconds on the clock. Alex Galland provided the PAT for a 14-10 Yale lead at the break.
The third quarter was one of missed opportunities for both teams as Foyesade Oluokun intercepted at Heneghan pass, Galland missed his second long field goal by hitting the upright on a 42-yard attempt, and Oluokun broke up a Big Green touchdown pass that forced Dartmouth to settle for a 32-yard Smith field goal late in the quarter, making it a 14-13 game. While the Big Green continued to threaten to add to their total, then just could not convert.
“Give Yale credit,” said the Dartmouth Robert L. Blackman Head Football Coach Buddy Teevens after the game. “They played hard and made the plays when they needed to. We had plenty of opportunities to take control of the game, we just failed to finish off too many of those opportunities.”
Those opportunities came in the form of six trips to the red zone with just a touchdown and two field goals to show for them. Yale finished the game with a very slight edge in yardage, 422-417, but had a more balanced attack with 241 yards on the ground (the most by a Big Green opponent in over two years) and 181 through the air. Dartmouth featured Heneghan’s 348 passing yards, connecting on 32-of-57 throws, but just 69 yards on the ground, its fewest since its last trip to the Yale Bowl two years ago (46).
Ten Big Green players caught at least two passes on the day, led by Hunnicutt and Stone with five apiece for 77 and 69 yards, respectively.
Sophomore Jake Moen led the Dartmouth defense with nine tackles, while Orimolade and Tomkins each had sacks that forced fumbles recovered by the Big Green.
Dartmouth returns home next Saturday to host Towson (1-3), which plays Stony Brook this evening, in the Big Green’s final non-conference game of the season. Kickoff is slated for 1:30 p.m. and will be streamed live on the Ivy League Digital Network with Adam Giardino and Wayne Young ’72 calling all of the action.
Notes: This was the 100th game between Dartmouth and Yale with the Bulldogs improving to 54-40-6 in the all-time series ... Yale also took the lead since the formation of the Ivy League, sporting a 30-29-2 record against the Green ... Heneghan’s 348 yards are tied for the 12th most in Dartmouth history ... Dartmouth has amassed at least 400 yards of offense in each of its first four games.