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Tossing the Hats: Big Green Rolls in Season Opener

  • Dartmouth's Ryder Stone makes a long run in first half action against the Stetson Hatters in DeLand, Fla. (Steve Simoneau photograph)

  • Dartmouth defenders Bun Stratton (22) and Kyran McKinney-Crudden break up a pass to Stetson's Justin Jordan (3) during the first half of Saturday's game against Stetson Hatters. (Steve Simoneau photograph)

  • Dartmouth's Dylan Mellor goes up for a pass against Stetson's Chancellor Jackson in the first half of Saturday's against Stetson in DeLand, Fla. The pass was incomplete. (Steve Simoneau photograph)

  • Dartmouth's Rashaad Cooper runs for a touchdown in the first half of Saturday's game against Stetson in DeLand, Fla. (Steve Simoneau photograph)

  • Dartmouth quarterback Jared Gerbino carries the ball during Saturday's game against Stetson in DeLand, Fla. (Steve Simoneau photograph)



Valley News Correspondent
Saturday, September 16, 2017

DeLand, Fla. — It took nearly a half for the Dartmouth College football team to realize the season was finally under way on Saturday night.

Then the Big Green played like the Ivy League champion it was two seasons ago, pummeling the Stetson Hatters, 38-7, at Spec Martin Stadium.

Dartmouth, playing on Florida soil for the first time in its 136-season history, dominated the second half after the teams played to what was basically a stalemate in the first two periods. The Big Green punched the hosts, 28-0, after the break.

“We had some misfires early, maybe from first-game jitters,” Dartmouth coach Buddy Teevens said. “But we played much smarter in the second half, especially in our running game efficiency.”

Stetson (0-3), the loser of seven straight over the past two campaigns, could not handle the Big Green once the guests got untracked.

The Hatters also had it rough going against the experienced Dartmouth defenders, managing only a net of 15 second-half yards after collecting 79 yards in the first two periods.

“We play an aggressive style on defense,” Big Green defensive end Jeremiah Douchee said.

Added noseguard Jackson Perry: “We rotated 12 defensive linemen throughout the game, and that seemed to wear down the Stetson offensive line, enabling us to harass their quarterbacks some.”

Dartmouth played more like a middle-of-the-season team to start the second half. The Big Green marched 71 yards in nine plays to expand its 3-point halftime margin to 17-7. Sophomore quarterback Jared Gerbino, in the game briefly, notched the TD at 11:13, with David Smith adding the PAT.

The guests showed resolve again on their next possession, going 53 yards in only five plays to push the difference to 24-7. Jack Heneghan’s 5-yard toss to wide-open tight end Cam Poole netted the six points ahead of Smith’s kick at 7:30 of the third.

Dartmouth’s D.J. Avery tabbed the defense’s first score of the season at 3:06 of the third when he made it look as though Stetson quarterback Colin McGovern was throwing directly to him. He landed it methodically and cruised untouched for 30 yards into the end zone, upping the score to 31-7 after three quarters.

“That pick-six sealed the deal,” Teevens said. “It made a statement for our defense, which was already controlling the game.”

The Green added an exclamation point midway through the fourth quarter, when Matt Shearin scored from 16 yards out to end the scoring.

“This was a fun way to start,” Dartmouth senior safety Kyran McKinney-Crudden said. “I think tonight’s result means we can have a good season. We just have to stay intense — like we were tonight.”

In the early going, the Green missed a golden scoring opportunity after intercepting a Stetson pass on the first play from scrimmage. But Smith’s field goal try from 22 yards sailed wide left.

The teams played to a stalemate until late in the first quarter, when Stetson found itself with a couple of scoring opportunities. Dartmouth’s Rashaad Cooper lost fumbles on consecutive possessions — once on the Green 36, then on the 28. But Stetson’s attempt to move the ball proved futile, with the Big Green pushing the Hatters backward both times, leaving the opening frame scoreless.

Cooper and his mates flexed some offensive muscle on their second possession of the second period. The junior yeoman barreled through the middle untouched from 10 yards out at 10:01, capping an 80-yard drive in six rushing plays. Quarterback Heneghan’s 29-yard keeper to the Stetson 34 was the big-gainer.

Smith’s extra-point kick provided the Big Green a 7-0 edge.

Not to be outdone, the Hatters came back to square the score. But after being able to tab only 8 rushing yards in the first half, McGovern used mostly passes on the edges to march his club 75 yards in 13 plays. He used a 6-yard toss over the middle to freshman Justin Jordan for the touchdown. It was Jordan’s sixth catch of the game. Jonathan Messina’s PAT provided the equalizer with 4:22 showing on the first-half clock.

Dartmouth’s Danny McManus wanted his team leading at the break, so with two minutes left he took a line-drive punt from Stetson’s Matias Gasc and carried it 46 yards to the Hatters’ 20. The hosts stiffened defensively, forcing Dartmouth to settle for a 25-yard Smith field goal — and 10-7 advantage — with 17 seconds left.

CORRECTION

Dartmouth College football wide receiver Dylan Mellor and quarterback Jared Gerbino were misidentified in an earlier version of this story.