Big Green Leaves Lions Limping
Dartmouth College safety Steve Dazzo (9) drops Columbia running back Alan Watson during Saturday's Ivy League game at Memorial Field. The Big Green won, 56-0. Valley News - Tris Wykes Purchase photo reprints »
Dartmouth College football players mass in front of strength and conditioning coach Dave Jenkerson before taking the field Saturday against Columbia. The Big Green's 56-0 victory was its largest margin of victory since defeating Norwich, 58-0, in 1936. Valley News - Tris Wykes Purchase photo reprints »
Hanover — During the fourth quarter of Saturday’s Ivy League football game between Dartmouth College and Columbia, visiting long snapper John Keefe was practicing on the sideline when teammate Matthew Cahal wandered into the line of fire and took a rocket in the upper thigh. Cahal hopped away, grimacing in pain, a fitting summation of the Lions’ day as a whole.
Dartmouth didn’t just win, 56-0, it beat Columbia like a snare drum in posting its largest margin of victory since defeating Norwich, 58-0, in 1936. The Big Green led 28-0 at halftime, piled up its most offensive yardage in 22 years (575) and allowed the fewest (95) in 21 years. The Big Green is 3-3 overall, 2-1 in league play and visits arch-rival Harvard (5-1, 2-1) next week.
“If you get beat physically, it’s hard to overcome,” said second-year Lions coach Pete Mangurian, whose team had half-dozen players injured during the contest. “It’s not about the plays you call or how emotional you are. It all comes down to execution.”
Columbia (0-6, 0-3) was dead in the water almost from the start, managing only two first downs during the first half, one of them coming on a Dartmouth pass interference penalty. The Lions had five first downs during the game, while the Big Green piled up 31. Standout running back Marcorus Garrett had only five yards in six carries and rarely played after hurting his right ankle during the first quarter.
“I told our team that youth is not an excuse, it’s something you have to overcome in this game,” said Mangurian, who started freshmen at left tackle, quarterback and wide receiver and listed 10 of them on his two-deep depth chart for the week. “I’m not a patient person, but this is one of those situations that’s going to call for patience.”
Columbia reached Dartmouth territory three times, but never managed to advance into it by more than 10 yards. The Lions’ last visit to Hanover produced a 37-0 loss in 2011 and it is 4-35 at Memorial Field since their first visit to the stadium in 1928.
Dartmouth’s explosion came a week after it lost by three points to visiting Bucknell, which entered that contest with one victory this season. The Big Green’s practices in the days after were noticeably more energetic and physical, and that carried through to Saturday, when running back Dominick Pierre led the way with 160 yards and a touchdown in 26 carries and Dalyn Williams completed 11-of-18 passes for 149 yards and a touchdown.
Pierre is now second on Dartmouth’s career rushing list with 2,344 yards, having passed 1991 graduate Al Rosier on Saturday. Nick Schwieger, a 2012 graduate, tops the list at 3,150 yards. Oddly, Pierre has 25 rushing touchdowns in his career, but none on pass receptions.
“Dom’s a great back and everybody’s going to have trouble with him,” Williams said. “The offensive line did a great job and he just followed them.”
Dartmouth scored touchdowns on four of its first six possessions. Freshman receiver Jon Marc Carrier began the deluge by taking a reverse two yards to pay dirt three minutes into the game, then caught a 17-yard touchdown pass a minute into the second quarter. The second of Riley Lyons’ eight conversion kicks put his team up 14-0.
The hosts’ other first-half scores came on a 37-yard Pierre touchdown run and a 24-yard interception return for a touchdown by linebacker Will McNamara. In the second half, Williams scampered three yards for a touchdown, Kyle Bramble took a swing pass 44 yards to the end zone, Brian Grove bulled over the goal line from a yard out and McNamara returned another pick for a touchdown, this one 50 yards.
Dartmouth could have scored again in the late going, but chose to exclusively run the ball with backups Dan Henggeler, John Higgins and Kevin Price. The latter, a former U.S. Army Ranger who served multiple deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, carried five times for 21 yards and had a 53-yard run down to the 4-yard line called back because of a penalty.
“I thought he was going to take it the distance and all the guys were cheering for him,” Teevens said of the 31-year old Price, who played fewer than two years of varsity football at a tiny, New Orleans-area high school. “It was fun to see how much he’s appreciated.”
Harvard Stadium has been a house of horrors for Dartmouth in recent years, but the Crimson look a little more vulnerable after losing to Princeton on Saturday. The Big Green can receive a huge emotional boost and remain in the Ivy title hunt with its first victory in Boston since 2003. Teevens said he won’t belabor the point with his players, however.
“They’re smart kids and so we’ll address it but we won’t overdo it,” the coach said. “We have got to play solid football in all areas. The nice thing was today we demonstrated that we can. Now we have to do it next week against a very good opponent.”
Tris Wykes can be reached at email@example.com or 603-727-3227.