Dartmouth football runs roughshod on UNH

  • Dartmouth College quarterback Nick Howard (17) celebrates with teammate Isaac Boston after one of Howard’s three touchdown runs during the Big Green’s 38-21 football win over New Hampshire at Wildcat Stadium in Durham, N.H., on Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021. Brian Foley photograph—FOLEY-PHOTOGRAPHY.COM

  • Oct. 16, 2021; Durham , New Hampshire, USA; during a non conference matchup between Dartmouth College and New Hampshire at the Wildcat Stadium. The Big Green won the game 38-21. Photo by Foley-Photography. Brian Foley photograph

  • Dartmouth College defensive back John Pupel (35) stiff-arms New Hampshire running back Carlos Washington Jr. while returning an interception during the Big Green’s 38-21 football win over the Wildcats at Wildcat Stadium in Durham, N.H., on Saturday. Brian Foley photographs

  • Dartmouth quarterback Derek Kyler escapes a New Hampshire rush during their game on Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, in Durham, N.H. Dartmouth won, 38-21, in their first meeting in five years. (UNH Athletics - Rick Wilson)

  • Dartmouth's Shane Cokes (0) and the Big Green defense stop a New Hampshire drive at the one-yard line in on Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, in Durham, N.H. Dartmouth won, 38-21, in their first meeting in five years. (UNH Athletics - Rick Wilson)

  • Dartmouth's Tevita Moimoi (35) and Donald Carty (79) celebrate a play against New Hamsphire during their game on Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, in Durham, N.H. Dartmouth won, 38-21, in their first meeting in five years. (UNH Athletics photograph)

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 10/16/2021 4:03:54 PM
Modified: 10/18/2021 12:48:32 PM

DURHAM, N.H. — In the first Granite Bowl in five years, Dartmouth College football kept on rolling.

Behind a strong offensive performance, the Big Green earned a 38-21 victory over No. 23 New Hampshire on Saturday at Wildcat Stadium.

Dartmouth (5-0) put on a clinic, as offensive coordinator Kevin Daft’s play-calling kept the UNH defense guessing for much of the game. The Big Green racked up 634 total offensive yards, the program’s most in at least 50 years. They also tied a program record with 32 first downs.

Head coach Buddy Teevens was a little concerned that his offense got too conservative in last week’s win over Yale. He called Daft’s game plan Saturday outstanding.

Fifth-year quarterback Derek Kyler agreed.

“The play-calling was really good today. Coach Daft was in the lab all week. I thought it was a good selection,” Kyler said. “I thought he was locked in. We were on the same page the whole time.”

Several Dartmouth players enjoyed career days on Saturday. Kyler’s 326 passing yards set a new mark for him, achieved on a 20-for-25 line with two touchdowns. Senior nickel back John Pupel reeled in his first career interception, which led to a touchdown. Five Dartmouth receivers also set new career highs in receiving yards. In the second quarter, senior kicker Connor Davis drilled a career-long 51-yard field goal.

With senior running back Zack Bair out with a non-COVID illness, junior Noah Roper stepped in. And in his first career start, Roper rushed for 119 yards on 16 carries.

He was thrilled with his performance.

“That was amazing,” Roper said. “I’ve been working (hard) to get to this point my whole life. My first college start, I’ve been dreaming of this moment. That was so exciting.”

The Big Green’s offensive dominance began on their first possession of the game, capping off a steady drive with a 6-yard touchdown run by junior quarterback Nick Howard. Howard would add two more touchdowns later, and all from six yards out.

New Hampshire (3-3) came within inches of answering with a touchdown on its first drive, but the Big Green’s defense came up with multiple big stops inside its 1-yard line. That launched a 99-yard touchdown drive for Dartmouth, capped off by Howard’s second touchdown run.

UNH’s three touchdowns all came on big plays. On the Wildcats’ first offensive play after getting stuffed at the goal line, sophomore running back Dylan Laube rushed for a 75-yard touchdown. In the third quarter, he scored on a 53-yard run. Later in the quarter, UNH pulled out the halfback pass and junior Carlos Washington Jr. hit junior Sean Coyle for a 48-yard touchdown.

The trick play trimmed Dartmouth’s lead to 31-21. But Kyler and the Big Green didn’t blink. The quarterback immediately started making sure his teammates on the offense stayed focused.

“Right when they (cut) it to 10, I said, ‘They think they have some life right now. We need to put them out. We can’t let them crawl their way back in and get all this momentum,’ ” Kyler said. “I thought we did a good job of handling that as an offense.”

The Big Green put the game away with 8:41 left, when Howard powered through several UNH defenders to cross the goal line for a third time.

Kyler said Howard takes advantage of the extra blocker offenses have on quarterback runs, which makes a big difference in the red zone. Fifth-year center Evan Hecimovich said Howard is a major weapon for Dartmouth.

“He’s really dynamic,” Hecimovich said. “We play teams and they bring 10 people in the box (against Howard). (If) we get a hat on a hat, he’s gonna make something happen every time. It’s really fun to watch him play and block for him.”

Dartmouth will return to Ivy League play Friday night against Columbia at Memorial Field.

Seth Tow can be reached at stow@vnews.com.

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