Oct. 8, 2005
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - In the midst of a driving rainstorm at Yale Bowl that took much of the offense out of the game, the Yale Bulldogs weathered the conditions best for a 13-0 win over Dartmouth. DE Brandon Dyches had a busy day as Yale limited the Big Green to 110 yards of offense, registering three sacks, seven tackles and a blocked punt. The win makes Yale (2-2, 2-0 Ivy) the only 2-0 team in the Ivy League.
Amidst the tough conditions, special teams changed the field position early in this game and helped set up the first Yale score. Punting from the end zone when Yale was stopped at its 12, WR/P Ashley Wright boomed a 55-yarder and DE Brendan Sponheimer was right there to make the tackle. The Yale defense then stopped Dartmouth (1-3, 0-2) after just eight yards, and on the ensuing punt a cadre of Bulldogs broke through the line and Dyches was out in front as Big Green punter Brian Scullin lined the kick low. Dartmouth's Ian Wilson recovered the blocked punt, but he was tackled back at the Dartmouth 30.
Yale then drove down to the Dartmouth one but was stopped on a fourth-down pass there. The Eli defense did not yield the field position edge, however, and a tackle by LB Lee Driftmier and S Nick Solakian forced a punt from the Big Green eight. The Yale offense took over just 40 yards from the end zone, and chewed up a good chunk of that yardage on the first play with a 13-yard pass from QB Jeff Mroz to TE Alex Faherty. Mroz went right back to Faherty, who was seeing his first significant action after being hindered by an injury earlier in the year, on the next play. Mroz' pass down the middle hit Faherty in stride on his way in for a touchdown, and the Bulldogs had a 6-0 lead. Alan Kimball's kick hit the right upright and bounced away.
"He presents a lot of matchup problems," Mroz said of Faherty. "He adjusts well to balls in the air. You can throw balls to him you can't throw to other people. With his speed, having him out there really stretches the field."
The next set of game-changing plays came from the Yale defense. A fumble by TB Mike McLeod that Dartmouth recovered at the Yale 13 seemed to have the Big Green set up for a score. But after a short gain on first down, Dyches came up with back-to-back sacks (his second and third in a span of six Dartmouth offensive plays) pushing the Big Green back a total of 14 yards. Erik Hinterbichler came on to attempt a 43-yard field goal, but it was short and to the right.
The Bulldogs hurt themselves with more turnovers, including two more interceptions (one in the Big Green end zone), but Dartmouth missed another field goal (a 37-yarder) that left the score 6-0 at halftime.
The third quarter was scoreless as the field conditions got progressively sloppier. The teams traded turnovers - another Yale fumble was recovered by Dartmouth at the Big Green 26, and just over four minutes later Solakian picked off a Charlie Rittgers pass at the Dartmouth 42.
With the rain pouring down as the fourth quarter started, Yale began a drive at its own 23 that would finally put the game squarely in Bulldog control. McLeod had two big runs early in the eight-play drive, rambling for 49 yards on back-to-back plays to get the ball to the Dartmouth 25. Four plays after that, Mroz found WR Todd Feiereisen wide open in the middle of Dartmouth's zone, and the senior receiver was able to dash through the defense and reach into the end zone just as a would-be Dartmouth tackler got a hold of him. Kimball's kick made it 13-0 Yale and touched off a big celebration on the Yale sideline.
"That was huge," Faherty said. "We trust our defense, and we knew if we scored that would be it."
An incompletion on fourth down ended Dartmouth's next drive at the Big Green 49 with 8:32 left in the game. Dartmouth tried backup quarterback Dan Shula on the next drive but wound up going backwards, punting from its own three after starting at its 20. With an 18-yard run for a third-down conversion run from McLeod, the Elis were able to run out the clock amidst the mud.
"The conditions deteriorated pretty quickly," said Jack Siedlecki, Yale's Joel E. Smilow '54 Head Coach of Football. "It became a slugfest, and our defense rose up."
Yale travels to Lehigh next Saturday for a 1:00 kickoff.
report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity