×

Bowled Over: No 4 UNH Dismantles Dartmouth Football



Sunday, September 28, 2014
Durham, n.h. — It’s leaf-peeper season in New England and the Dartmouth College football team drove through vibrant foliage Saturday en route to its nonconference game at New Hampshire. Hours later, the Big Green got an up-close look at why the No. 4 Wildcats have been one of the country’s best teams at their level for the last decade.

The 52-19 final boosted UNH to 3-1 and dropped Dartmouth to 1-1, with Pennsylvania invading Memorial Field next weekend for the teams’ Ivy League opener. The last time the Big Green beat the Wildcats was 1976, a stretch of 20 games during which Dartmouth is 0-18-2.

UNH drove to the Big Green’s 14-yard line with a little more than a minute remaining, but chose to take a knee instead of running more plays. The Wildcats have won the last 12 games in the series and have scored 42 or more points in each of the teams’ last six meetings.

“Man, they’re good,” said Dartmouth coach Buddy Teevens, whose squad last surrendered as many as 50 points against Brown in 2007. “They played well and certainly we helped them at about every turn. It was a comedy of errors that led to that score.”

Said UNH running back Jimmy Owens: “We let everyone know we own the 603.”

Dartmouth trailed 17-0 after six minutes and 31-16 at halftime. Wildcats quarterback Andy Vailas, starting in place of injured starter Sean Goldrich, ran 69 yards for a touchdown in the fourth minute to cap a four-play, 85-yard drive and R.J. Harris ran for a 2-point conversion.

Less than a minute later, the Big Green’s Marc Sasso snapped the ball over punter Ben Kepley’s head and through the end zone, resulting in a safety, a 10-0 lead and a subsequent punt that led to a seven-play, 54-yard drive for UNH. Jimmy Owens ran for a 1-yard touchdown and the extra point made it 17-0.

Dartmouth showed life when it embarked on an 11-play, 88-yard drive that finished with freshman tight end Stephen Johnston hauling in a 5-yard touchdown pass from Dalyn Williams. It was the Maryland product’s first collegiate catch, but Alex Gakenheimer missed the extra point attempt, leaving his team behind, 17-6.

“It was a horrendous performance from a special-teams perspective,” said Teevens, noting that Kepley shanked a couple of punts and had one blocked and that the visitors mishit an attempted onside kick and committed several penalties on kicking plays. “That does things to you emotionally that bring you down when you’re moving pretty good. A good (opponent) makes you make mistakes, but we’re better than we showed.”

The Big Green forced a fumble on UNH’s next possession, then drove 37 yards in five plays, the last a 12-yard touchdown catch by running back Kyle Bramble, also from Williams. Gakenheimer made the conversion kick this time and the score was 17-13 after a quarter.

UNH scored twice in the second stanza, both on 2-yard touchdown runs, the first by Owens and the second by Vailas, whose uncle, Jim Vailas, played at Dartmouth in the late 1970s. Dartmouth turned Kirby Schoenthaler’s 92-yard kickoff return into a 26-yard Gakenheimer field goal in the half’s closing seconds and it was 31-16 at intermission.

It only took four minutes of the third quarter for UNH to strike again, this time on a two-play, 46-yard drive and a 29-yard touchdown pass from Vailas to Harris, who hauled in the bomb over diving cornerback Vernon Harris. The extra point made the score 38-16.

Kepley had a punt attempt blocked and recovered for a touchdown by Horace Chalstrom with nine minutes remaining in the third quarter. Gakenheimer answered with a 41-yard field goal with four minutes to go in the frame, but the rout was on and the student section was all but empty by the start of the fourth quarter.

Dartmouth got backup quarterback Alex Park, who spent his redshirt freshman year at UNH, into the game late in the third quarter. Freshman running back Ryder Stone saw time in the backfield, where he appears to be next in line behind starter Bramble, who finished with 51 yards in 15 carries.

Williams completed 12-of-23 passes for 108 yards and two touchdowns and had a pass intercepted. The Big Green’s top receiver was Bramble, who caught four passes for 39 yards and a touchdown. Victor Williams caught three passes, one of them a sensational, one-handed grab, for 37 yards. Bo Patterson didn’t record a reception for the first time in 14 games.

UNH was 10-of-14 on third-down conversion situations, while Dartmouth was 3-of-12. The Wildcats had 531 offensive yards to the Big Green’s 262.

“You spot them 17 points, and it’s tough,” said Teevens, whose team committed 10 penalties for 83 yards. “Our guys rallied back before we started making mistakes here and there. We have great respect for a team of that caliber and we need to go back to work. We have to regroup.”



Notes: Dartmouth failed to establish a lead for the first time in 15 games. … Attendance was announced at 8,753 in 6,500-seat Cowell Stadium, which hosted its first game under the lights. … One of UNH’s starting guards is sophomore and Lebanon High product Alexander Morrill. Recent Hanover High graduate Shawn Cavallaro is a backup defensive back. … The Dartmouth fans included Big Green softball infielder Kelsey Miller, toting a sign that read “I’m a Slave For Dave” in support of safety David Caldwell. … Dartmouth entered having scored first in 10 of its previous 11 games. … Schoenthaler’s spectacular return was the eighth-longest in program history. Shawn Abuhoff brought a kickoff back 94 yards against Brown in 2008. Abuhoff is now in law school at the University of Miami… The Big Green has never had a 99-yard play of any kind in the program’s 133 years. … Dartmouth brought a dozen defensive backs, but senior and Lebanon High graduate Cody Patch was not among them. Hanover High product Dan Gorman, a receiver, made the trip as a reserve. … UNH’s stadium is named for Williams H. “Butch” Cowell, the school’s former football, baseball and basketball coach. He guided the football team from 1915-36 and, amazingly, the Wildcats played to 24 ties in that span. … UNH’s women’s hockey team played its season and conference opener at Maine on Saturday. Dartmouth doesn’t open in the same sport until Oct. 26, hosting those same Wildcats, who will by then be playing their ninth contest.

Tris Wykes can be reached at twykes@vnews.com or 603-727-3227.