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Spoil Sports : Late Field Goal Sends Crusaders Past Big Green

  • Dartmouth's Dominick Pierre eludes Holy Cross' Kyle Young during a touchdown drive in the first quarter of their game at Memorial Field in Hanover, N.H. on Saturday, September 28, 2013. It was the Dartmouth home opener. (Valley News - Elijah Nouvelage)

    Dartmouth's Dominick Pierre eludes Holy Cross' Kyle Young during a touchdown drive in the first quarter of their game at Memorial Field in Hanover, N.H. on Saturday, September 28, 2013. It was the Dartmouth home opener. (Valley News - Elijah Nouvelage) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Dartmouth quarterback Dalyn Williams runs the ball to set up a touchdown against Holy Cross early in the third quarter  at Memorial Field in Hanover, N.H. on Saturday, September 28, 2013. It was the Dartmouth home opener. (Valley News - Elijah Nouvelage)

    Dartmouth quarterback Dalyn Williams runs the ball to set up a touchdown against Holy Cross early in the third quarter at Memorial Field in Hanover, N.H. on Saturday, September 28, 2013. It was the Dartmouth home opener. (Valley News - Elijah Nouvelage) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Dartmouth's Dominick Pierre eludes Holy Cross' Kyle Young during a touchdown drive in the first quarter of their game at Memorial Field in Hanover, N.H. on Saturday, September 28, 2013. It was the Dartmouth home opener. (Valley News - Elijah Nouvelage)
  • Dartmouth quarterback Dalyn Williams runs the ball to set up a touchdown against Holy Cross early in the third quarter  at Memorial Field in Hanover, N.H. on Saturday, September 28, 2013. It was the Dartmouth home opener. (Valley News - Elijah Nouvelage)

Hanover — Dartmouth College debuted Memorial Field’s new video scoreboard Saturday night during its nonconference football clash with Holy Cross. The Big Green and their fans, however, didn’t like what they saw by game’s end, the Crusaders claiming a 31-28 victory on John Macomber’s 24-yard field goal with 51 seconds remaining.

The result was payback a year in the making for Holy Cross and coach Tom Gilmore, a former Dartmouth assistant. The Big Green claimed last year’s meeting between the teams, 13-10, on a Riley Lyons field goal as time expired.

“We couldn’t get them off the field,” Dartmouth coach Buddy Teevens said of the Crusaders (2-3), who were beaten by lowly Monmouth at home last week. “This is really one we should have won.”

The Big Green, which won at Butler in its season opener, fell to 1-1 and face a stiff challenge at Pennsylvania this weekend. The Quakers are gunning for their fourth Ivy League title in five years. Dartmouth dropped its fifth consecutive home game, dating to last season.

Dartmouth quarterback Dalyn Williams completed 21-of-35 passes for 273 yards and three touchdowns Saturday, and running back Dominick Pierre carried 18 times for 124 yards and a touchdown. Bo Patterson and Victor Williams each caught five passes for a combined 155 yards and Patterson, also a baseball outfielder, hauled in two touchdown catches.

However, the night belonged to Holy Cross freshman signal-caller Peter Pujals, who completed 25-of-37 passes for 290 yards and two touchdowns and ran 17 times for 125 yards and two scores in his first start. Elad Covaliu carried 16 times for 64 yards and Mike Fess and Kalif Raymond combined for 16 catches for 194 yards and a touchdown.

Dartmouth opened the scoring with three minutes remaining in the first quarter after each team punted to end its first two possessions. The drive covered 76 yards in just five plays, the biggest strike being a 38-yard pass from Dalyn Williams to Victor Williams. Lyons added the first of his four conversion kicks for a 7-0 score.

Holy Cross drove 40 yards on its subsequent possession, but turned the ball over on downs after failing to earn three yards on fourth down at the Dartmouth 36. The Big Green answered with an 11-play, 65-yard march of its own that consumed five minutes and was capped by Pierre’s 1-yard touchdown plunge. Again, the Williams-to-Williams passing combo was key, the duo combining for an 18-yard air strike midway through the drive.

Dartmouth forced Holy Cross to punt for the fourth time in the first half and drove into Crusaders territory after three plays. Another score could have given the Big Green a vice-like grip on momentum, but the march stalled and freshman punter Ben Kepley pinned the visitors at their 11-yard line with a nice boot and two minutes remaining.

From there, the wheels began to come off for Dartmouth, and it was Pujals who loosened the lug nuts, completing five consecutive passes and six total on the ensuing scoring drive. He also ran twice for 11 yards, having a hand in eight of the march’s nine plays and connecting with Kalif Raymond for a 7-yard touchdown pass. Raymond caught the toss as he flew backwards out of a corner of the end zone. Cornerback A.J. Dettorre, whom the Crusaders targeted often, was called for pass interference on the play, but the foul was declined.

Holy Cross took the third quarter’s opening kickoff and picked up right where it had left off. This time, the Crusaders churned 76 yards in 10 plays, Pujals running five times for 28 yards, including 1 yard for the touchdown. The quarterback also completed 2-of-3 passes for 45 yards, the second connection a 35-yard strike to Fess, who broke an attempted tackle by safety Garrett Waggoner after making a short catch.

The second of Macomber’s four extra points pulled Holy Cross into a 14-14 tie four minutes into the second half, but Dartmouth answered immediately, driving 64 yards to the Crusaders’ 24-yard line in eight plays. From there, Dalyn Williams lofted a pass from the left hashmark to the far corner of the end zone, Patterson grabbing the ball over cornerback Ben Coffaro.

The back-and-forth nature of the contest continued when Holy Cross forced Dalyn Williams to lose a fumble at the Crusaders’ 41-yard line, then pulled into a 21-21 tie four plays later. Pujals completed three passes on this drive, capping it with a 34-yard dart up the middle to Jake Wieczorek, who split lunging safeties Waggoner and Troy Donahue.

Dartmouth answered with an eight-play, 79-yard drive and a 31-yard touchdown pass from Dalyn Williams to Patterson, who victimized cornerback Andrew Zitnik. The Big Green led 28-21 with a minute remaining in the fourth quarter.

The stadium fell mostly silent 38 seconds into the final stanza as Pujals worked more magic. This time, it was a 58-yard touchdown sprint through the right side of the defense and down the sideline. Donahue had an early angle on No. 6, but he wasn’t able to catch him, diving futilely at the pylon. A moment later, the score was 28-28.

Holy Cross broke serve when Dartmouth missed a 44-yard yard field goal attempt to the left with 12 minutes to play. The Crusaders then forced a punt to snuff a nine-play Big Green drive and embarked on their own march for the winning points.

“I’m very confident in our capabilities,” Teevens said. “Now we just have to put them in action. We have to resolve the mistakes and move forward. We’ve got to finish games. We allowed them to go a long distance to win this one.”

Pierre rushed for more than 100 yards for the fifth time in his career and quarterback Williams, a sophomore, threw for more than 200 yards for the fourth consecutive game and the fourth time in his career.

Notes: Attendance was announced at 9,227. ... Dartmouth receiver Ryan McManus left the game late after absorbing a violent hit on the sideline and didn’t return. He has dealt with concussion problems in the past and that same injury ended the career of his older brother, Tim, a former Big Green receiver. … Holy Cross leads the teams’ series 37-36-4. Teevens fell to 2-12 against the Crusaders, while Gilmore improved to 8-2 against his former employer. … Since Holy Cross won 14 consecutive games against Dartmouth from 1978-91, it has gone 10-8 against the Big Green. … Former Boston College and New England Patriots linebacker Steve DeOssie served as color commentator on the Fox College Sports telecast of the game. … The student section, virtually empty 10 minutes before kickoff, filled in nicely midway through the first quarter but was abandoned again by 9 p.m., when a concert on campus kicked off. … The Bradford (Vt.) Bulldogs youth football organization staged a six-minute halftime scrimmage, one of the pint-sized youngsters running for a 50-yard touchdown on the first play. … Tweeted by Dartmouth receiver Jordan Are six hours before kickoff: “In the library on game day. Only in the Ivy League.”

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