Football seeks first Ivy League win
By Brett Drucker, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Friday, October 5, 2012
Looking to build on a strong second half against the University of Pennsylvania last week, the Big Green football team will head down to New Haven, Conn., over the weekend to take on Yale University in its second Ivy League matchup of the season.
The Bulldogs (1-2, 0-1 Ivy) have controlled the rivalry with the Big Green (2-1, 0-1 Ivy) in recent years, winning the last nine matchups in the series. Last year at the Yale Bowl, Dartmouth took one of its biggest losses of the year, falling 30-0 to a talented Yale squad.
“We’re all really excited to get back at [Yale],” co-captain Pat Lahey ’12 said. “We’re all extremely motivated to go down there and get after this team.”
Last week, the Big Green fell into a 20-0 hole at the half against Penn before fighting back with a strong second-half effort. It was all for naught, however, as the Quakers held on for a 28-21 victory. Members of the team stressed the importance of starting quickly against Yale to secure the team’s success.
“We need to focus on defensive play and getting ourselves off the field,” head coach Buddy Teevens said. “We also need to work on our offensive efficiency by not missing the third and short opportunities that we had last week.”
Despite the disappointment of the first half, the Big Green showed its grit with an impressive resurgence after the break, with a few long offensive drives and quick defensive stops.
“We have a solid football team, and my confidence never wavered in them,” Teevens said.
Lahey looks at the encouraging signs of the second-half performance as previewing potential success for the team.
“We know that we’re a team to be reckoned with in the Ivy League if we play like we did in the second half,” he said.
In the first two games of the season, both Alex Park ’14 and Dalyn Williams ’16 saw significant snaps at quarterback, but the offense was led almost exclusively by Park in the Penn game.
“We go into each game with the idea that we’re going to play both players,” Teevens said. “They bring different things to the table, and it’s tough for an opponent to prepare.”
Park finished the day with 279 passing yards and completed 20 of 29 passes, the most yardage from a Big Green quarterback since 2009. However, Teevens suggested that after falling behind early, Park saw the majority of the action due to his added comfort with the progressions in the passing game.
Dominick Pierre ’14 also wrote himself into the record books, becoming the 25th player in Dartmouth history to rush for 1,000 yards in his career.
Players and coaches alike stressed the importance of playing team football to avoid the mistakes of last week.
“We need to complement each other in terms of play, with the offense trying to keep the ball and keep the defense off the field and the defense getting turnovers and setting up the offense with good field position,” Teevens said.
So far, Dartmouth’s defense has been one of the highlights for the team, allowing only 45 points in its first three games.
“They’re a tough-minded group,” Teevens said. “We’ve bent but not broken, in the old cliche. We’d just like not to bend as much, and we’ve shown that we can.”
Yale features another talented quarterback in Eric Williams, whose ability to move around outside of the pocket could be an issue for the Big Green, who struggled to contain Penn quarterback Billy Ragone last week.
“It all centers around the quarterback,” Teevens said. “We need to pin him and limit his productivity.” The game kicks off at noon on Saturday in New Haven, Conn.
Here is a look at what papers around the Ivy League are saying about the upcoming game.
The Cornell Daily Sun: Dartmouth over Yale. “Yale’s defense looks exploitable.”
The Harvard Crimson: Dartmouth over Yale. “Yale’s been outscored by an average of 31 points in its last two games. Hard to pick the Bulldogs over anyone at this point.”
The Daily Princetonian: Dartmouth over Yale. “Looks like Tony Reno might take a little while to get settled; the Bulldogs have allowed about twice as many points as the league average.”
Columbia Daily Spectator: Dartmouth over Yale. “Yale’s had a rough start to the season, and Dartmouth might be able to kick ’em while they’re down.”
Brown Daily Herald: Dartmouth over Yale. “Dartmouth will regain its momentum from the start of the season and push through Yale’s poorly-ranked defense.”
Yale Daily News: Dartmouth over Yale. “Yale’s defense is terrible.”
The Dartmouth: Dartmouth over Yale. “Big Green offense builds off of a strong second half against Penn and takes advantage of the Ivy League’s worst defense. Dartmouth 31, Yale 16.”