Bulldogs Suffer First Loss of Season
HANOVER, N.H. – A six-yard touchdown run by Dartmouth tailback Dominick Pierre with 10:11 left in the game broke a 13-13 tie and propelled the Big Green to a 20-13 win over Yale Saturday afternoon at Memorial Field. The run was part of a 167-yard day for Pierre, who became the third Dartmouth player to reach the 2,000 yard mark for his career with his first carry of the second half. Yale got a touchdown run from senior quarterback Henry Furman and a pair of field goals from junior punter/placekicker Kyle Cazzetta to take a 13-6 lead before the Big Green rallied for the win.
"We didn't control situations today at all," said Tony Reno, Yale's Joel E. Smilow '54 Head Coach of Football. "Turnovers, [failure to convert] third downs -- we never really got in a rhythm offensively. The end result is a loss."
Dartmouth (2-2, 1-1 Ivy League), which lost to Penn in quadruple overtime last Saturday, needed a win to stay within a game of first place in the league. Yale (3-1, 1-1 Ivy League) was coming off a 24-10 non-league upset at Cal Poly, ranked No. 18/19 in the country at the time.
Neither team scored in the first quarter; Dartmouth missed a field goal on its opening possession after driving to the Yale 15.
An early turning point came when the Big Green went for it on fourth-and-five from the Yale nine-yard line on the first play of the second quarter. Tight end Cole Marcoux made the play work with a diving one-handed grab in the end zone, just managing to get his feet down before the out-of-bounds line. Senior defensive end Dylan Drake blocked the extra point but Yale still trailed 6-0.
Cazzetta's 29-yard field goal at 7:32 of the second quarter got Yale its first points of the day. The key play of that 42-yard drive was a 12-yard completion on third-and-seven from Furman ato junior wide receiver Deon Randall.
The Yale defense helped turn the field position battle in the Bulldogs' favor, leading to seven more points. Back-to-back sacks by freshman linebacker Darius Manora and junior defensive tackle Jeff Schmittgens pushed Dartmouth back to its own nine-yard line. The ensuing punt set the Yale offense up at the Dartmouth 45, and it took the Elis six plays to eat up that yardage. Furman had the final play, keeping the ball for a 17-yard touchdown run after faking a handoff to junior tailback Tyler Varga.
Dartmouth went for it on another fourth down late in the second quarter. But a short pass attempt fell incomplete, with sophomore strong safety Cole Champion defending on the play. The Big Green got the ball back two plays later thanks to an interception by linebacker Eric Wickham at the Yale 41. A last-second fling by Williams into the end zone sailed into the hands of freshman free safety Robert Ries at the back of the end zone, though, keeping the score 10-6 Yale heading into halftime.
The run that got Pierre past the 2,000 career yard mark provided an early highlight in the second half for the Big Green. But Drake and junior linebacker Will Vaughan dropped Williams for a loss on the next play, and the Big Green eventually had to punt. Yale then drove 48 yards to tack on a 31-yard field goal by Cazzetta for a 13-6 lead at 9:57 of the third.
Dartmouth tied the game 13-13 on another great catch in the end zone, this one by wide receiver Bo Patterson. He hauled in a 32-yard heave by a scrambling quarterback Dalyn Williams, and the extra point by kicker Riley Lyons knotted the game with 7:05 remaining in the third quarter.
A swing pass went awry for Yale late in the third quarter, as it hit off the intended receiver and was recovered by Dartmouth as a fumble. That gave Dartmouth the ball at the Yale 36, but the Bulldog defense came up with a stand. Schmittgens and sophomore nose guard Carl Kreitzberg sacked Williams on third down -- Yale's fourth sack of the day -- to force a punt.
The Bulldogs played penalty-free football until a false start on the first play of the fourth quarter (by then, Dartmouth had 11 penalties for 68 yards). Another false start penalty on the following play set Yale back further, and the drive ended with a punt after yet another penalty.
"We pride ourselves on being a penalty-free and turnover-free operation," said Furman. "We didn't do that today."
On the ensuing drive, Dartmouth drove for the go-ahead touchdown. Pierre was the workhorse, carrying the ball seven times for 40 yards -- including a six-yard touchdown that made the score 20-13 Big Green with 10:11 remaining. During the course of the drive Pierre surpassed the 100-yard mark for the game, his third straight 100-yard effort.
"We absolutely did not underestimate him," said senior defensive end Beau Palin, Yale's captain. "We just didn't do our job … We wanted to make them one-dimensional and stop the run."
Sophomore quarterback Morgan Roberts came on to lead the next Yale drive, which ended with a punt after three plays. Dartmouth drove to the Yale 15 before a tackle for loss by Vaughn pushed the Big Green back, and Manora stopped a third-down run by Pierre after a one-yard gain to the Eli 15 with 3:03 to play. The Big Green field goal attempt sailed wide right, leaving the door open for a Yale comeback.
It was not meant to be, though. Furman returned for the ensuing Yale drive, which started with 2:59 to play at the Yale 20. On third and 11, Furman completed a short pass to Varga but as he was tackled near the sideline the ball popped loose, and defensive back Mike Banaciski recovered for the Big Green at the Yale 23.
Pierre carried the ball four times to help Dartmouth run the clock down, but it took a face mask penalty on the Bulldogs to give the Big Green the first down necessary to kill the clock with a pair of kneel-downs.
Yale returns home to host No. 9/10 Fordham next Saturday.
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity