Football plays Penn on national TV
By Noah Reichblum, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Friday, September 28, 2012
Now the real season begins.
After a 2-0 start, the Big Green (2-0, 0-0 Ivy) will host the University of Pennsylvania (0-2, 0-0) on national television, as both teams open up the 57th year of Ivy League football season on Saturday at Memorial Field.
Last year, Penn beat the Big Green, 22-20, in a heartbreaking loss. An annual matchup, the Quakers currently hold an all-time 45-32-2 record against Dartmouth.
“We know a little more about these guys than [the College of the] Holy Cross or Butler [University],” head coach Buddy Teevens said. “We have great respect for them — they run the ball very well, good team size, good team speed and a lot of experience on both sides of the ball.”
After seeing mixed results in a sloppy 13-10 win at Holy Cross last week, the Big Green offense will look to put more points up on the board behind the play of quarterback Alex Park ’14 and running back Dominick Pierre ’14.
“At this point in the year, we’re trying to be as clean [in our play] as possible,” Park said.
The Big Green offense has averaged 174 passing yards and 143 rushing yards per game this year, while maintaining the lowest penalty yardage per game in the Ivy League at 29.5 yards.
“Penn has a long history of having great defense,” Park said. “We’re just trying to maintain our balanced attack.”
The Quakers’ defense has forced turnovers in 10 of its past 11 games and currently ranks second in the Ivy League, behind only the Big Green.
“They played with more confidence against Holy Cross,” Teevens said of the Dartmouth defensive unit. “It was a more physical kind of play.”
Dartmouth has surrendered the fewest average yards (307.5) and points (8.5) in the Ivy League, in large part due to the play of linebacker Michael Runger ’14, the reigning defensive Ivy League Player of the Week.
“The goal that we’re working toward is to have a real solid performance by both our offense and defense,” Teevens said.
Dartmouth’s special teams, which produced big plays in each of the Big Green’s first two games, must improve in preventing big kickoff and punt returns, according to Teevens.
Teevens said that the unit’s goal this week is “just to be a little more consistent.”
Freshman quarterback Dalyn Williams ’16 will most likely see some playing time. Williams has been used in the past two games as a change-of-pace quarterback and has compiled 83 rushing yards and 50 passing yards in limited action.
The game against Penn will be broadcast nationally on NBC Sports Network, adding excitement to what should be an adrenaline-packed game. Certain alumni groups across the country are gathering to watch the game, according to Teevens.
“Our players understand and appreciate that,” Teevens said. “I think there’s some added incentive and pride.”
While the Quakers have only lost to the Big Green once since the fall of 1997, the past three games have been decided by one possession.
“If we capitalize on our opportunities, we can win this game,” Park said.
Here is a look at what papers around the Ivy League are saying about the upcoming game.
The Daily Princetonian: Dartmouth over Penn. “The home team has won five straight games; the road team has lost four. Even with Penn on the other side, can’t pick against that.”
The Harvard Crimson: Penn over Dartmouth. “Yes, Dartmouth is 2-0, and yes, Penn is 0-2, but at the end of the day, the Quakers are still the stronger team, so look for them to finally get their offense rolling on Saturday night after averaging under 15 points a game in their first two contests.”
Columbia Daily Spectator: Penn over Dartmouth. “Dartmouth may give the Quakers trouble, but Penn should be able to get back on track after starting the season 0-2 to two tough opponents.”
Yale Daily News: Dartmouth over Penn. “Dartmouth has already shown an ability to win games on both sides of the ball.”
The Cornell Daily Sun: Dartmouth over Penn. “They are hot.”
The Brown Daily Herald: Penn over Dartmouth. “Penn hasn’t won yet, and Dartmouth hasn’t lost, but the Quakers have the weapons and history behind them — they’ve lost to Big Green only once since 1997 — to pull through. As long as they don’t throw another seven interceptions.”
The Dartmouth: Dartmouth over Penn. “Enough about last year. Forget last year’s loss, forget Nick Schwieger ’12, forget Connor Kempe ’12. On Saturday, Park and Pierre show why this team, this year, can make some noise in the Ivy League. Dartmouth 21, Penn 17.”