HANOVER, N.H. — A record-setting offensive day for the Dartmouth Big Green was sidetracked by five turnovers as the visiting Brown Bears held off the hosts on Saturday afternoon at Memorial Field, 24-21. Troy Doles caught two touchdown passes for Brown (4-5, 3-3 Ivy), and Ben Rosenblatt’s 52-yard field goal as the first half expired proved to be the difference.
Dartmouth (4-5, 1-5 Ivy) piled up a whopping 615 yards of offense, topping 600 for the first time in 91 years, as junior quarterback Jack Heneghan broke the Big Green single-game record with 440 yards through the air by completing 37-of-53 passes. Hunter Hagdorn was the recipient of 13 of those completions for 171 yards — setting Dartmouth freshman records — but the Bears picked off three throws to keep the Big Green at bay.
Brown took a 24-7 lead into halftime thanks to two quick scores in the final 61 seconds of the second quarter. Bear quarterback Thomas Linta connected with Doles across the middle for a 38-yard touchdown, his second long score of the game, to give his squad a 21-7 advantage with 1:01 on the clock. Then with 21 seconds remaining Will Twyman stepped in front of a Heneghan pass for an interception, giving Brown the ball at its own 46. That led to Rosenblatt — who joined the team less than three weeks ago — attempting a 52-yard field goal, which cleared the crossbar through the uprights for the three points.
The score was still 24-7 late in the third, with just one turnover dotting the statistics for the game. But when Dartmouth safety Charlie Miller intercepted a tipped pass with 3:21 left in the quarter, and Heneghan fumbled the ball away three plays later, the stage was set for a wild fourth quarter.
On the first play when play resumed, Terrell Smith intercepted a Big Green pass. Dartmouth quickly got the ball back with a three-and-out, then embarked on an eight-play, 83-yard drive ending on junior Ryder Stone’s nine-yard bull rush on a second effort into the end zone. That cut the deficit to 10 with 10:40 to play.
On the first Brown play from scrimmage, Alexander Jette ran for 34 yards before junior Colin Boit stripped the ball free and recovered it for Dartmouth. Three plays later, Heneghan was picked off for the third time — just the second time in the last six years the Big Green have thrown three picks in a game — this time by lineman John Simpson.
Brown failed to gain a first down, then its defense stopped Dartmouth cold on third and fourth down with just a yard needed at the Bears 43 with 5:09 to play. The Big Green burned two timeouts while stonewalling Brown again, but the punt pinned Dartmouth at its own eight-yard line.
Passes of 24 and 37 yards to Hagdorn got the Green moving downfield, and on the 10th play of the drive, Heneghan scrambled on 3rd-and-goal for a seven-yard touchdown, closing the gap to just three points with 1:47 to play.
With just one timeout left, Dartmouth was forced to attempt an onside kick, but it only traveled nine yards before going out of bounds. The Big Green managed to get the ball back, but with just seven seconds to play and 91 yards to travel to the end zone, a lateral after a completion to Hagdorn was off target, allowing the Bears to recover to seal the victory.
At the start of the game, the Dartmouth offense displayed the firepower to come, only to have a holding penalty throw a wrench into things. Junior David Smith came on for a 26-yard field goal only to have it blocked at the line by Grant Varner. Connor Coughlin scooped up the ball and returned it 35 yards to jump-start the Bear offense, which went on an 11-play, 61-yard scoring drive culminating with a one-yard leap by Johnny Pena for a 7-0 lead.
The Big Green evened the score in the second quarter thanks to its longest touchdown drive in eight years. Starting at its own three, Dartmouth got a pair of big rushes by sophomore Miles Smith (who recorded his second straight 100-yard game before the end of the first half), leading to sophomore Vito Penza powering in from the one on fourth down.
The response from Brown was swift as Linta found a wide-open Doles near the Big Green sideline for a 42-yard touchdown strike. With the two scores just before the half, the Bears were able to bend quite a bit without breaking after halftime.
Brown posted 247 of its 328 total yards on the day during the first half, while Dartmouth surpassed that total with 256 despite trailing by 17. Doles finished the day with 103 receiving yards on four catches (all before halftime), and Linta was 17-of-26 for 220 yards and the two scores with one interception. Pena led the ground game with 83 yards on 20 carries and a TD.
Smith took the handoff 17 times for 111 yards, while 10 different receivers caught at least one pass for the Big Green.
The Dartmouth defense was led by Bavaro with nine tackles, two going for a loss with one of the team’s four sacks. Boit forced a pair of fumbles, while Folarin Orimolade added a sack and a forced fumble to his stellar season.
Brown got 12 tackles by Max Tylki and Twyman, the latter of which had one of the three picks.
Dartmouth will conclude its season with an opportunity to play spoiler at Princeton (7-2, 5-1 Ivy), which needs a victory to secure at least a share of the conference crown. Game time is set for 1:30 p.m. and will be televised by ONE World Sports and simulcast on the Ivy League Digital Network.
Notes: The five turnovers for Dartmouth were its most since coughing the ball up six times last year at Brown, though the Green won that game, 34-18, as the Bears turned it over seven times … the last time Dartmouth had at least 600 yards in a game was against Cornell on Nov. 7, 1925 when it racked up an even 700 yards … the previous single-game passing record was set by Dalyn Williams ’16 last year against Yale as he threw for 435 yards in a 35-3 victory.