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No. 24 Dartmouth Roars Loudest in Win Over Columbia

  • Dartmouth College defenders Jake Moen (54) and Rocco Di Leo close in on Columbia quarterback Ty Lenhart during the visiting Big Green's 28-12 victory on Oct. 20, 2018. The result pushed the visitors to 6-0 overall and 3-0 in Ivy League play.

  • Dartmouth College quarterback Derek Kyler reaches for a fumble while being hit by Columbia's Mike Hinton during Saturday's clash between the Ivy League teams. The visiting Big Green won, 28-12. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to

  • Dartmouth College defenders Jake Moen, bottom, and Kyran McKinney-Crudden sandwich Columbia receiver Emerson Kabus while linebacker David Emanuels trails the play. The visiting Big Green not only won the Ivy League game, 28-12, but forced nine Columbia players to be helped off the field with injuries. Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to

  • Columbia University kicker Chris Alleyne watches a boot sail towards the goal posts Saturday during his team's 28-12 loss to visiting Dartmouth. The Big Green's Bun Stratton (22) and David Chalmers smash together over the Lions' Isaac Werkman (75) and alongside Ben Hill (43). Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to

  • Dartmouth College safety Ryan Roegge holds the ball aloft after intercepting a Columbia pass intended for Emerson Kabus on Saturday. The visiting Big Green won the Ivy League teams' meeting, 28-12. Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 10/21/2018 12:00:09 AM
Modified: 10/21/2018 12:00:10 AM

New York — The No. 24 Dartmouth College team has ceased merely beating teams and is now beating them up as well.

Such was the case on Saturday at the northern tip of Manhattan, where the Big Green overcame a sloppy start to pin a 28-12 defeat on Columbia.

Nine injured Lions were helped off the Wein Stadium turf, including one who was rushed into surgery for a severely broken leg.

The visitors triumphed for the ninth consecutive time and improved to 6-0 overall and 3-0 in Ivy League play. Archrival Harvard (3-3, 1-2) arrives this weekend for homecoming. A visit to currently-undefeated Princeton follows.

“That’s the biggest team we’ve seen, and hopefully we won’t see anyone bigger,” said Columbia coach Al Bagnoli, whose team finished the game with its fourth-string quarterback. “They’re very stout and mature and weight-trained and they pose some problems physically.”

Dartmouth led 7-6 at halftime, but could have been behind. Columbia (3-3, 0-3) mounted a long drive during the game’s first possession, but had a touchdown pass called back because of a substation infraction and settled for a 33-yard Chris Alleyne field goal.

The Big Green answered with an 11-play, 75-yard drive, capped by Rashaad Cooper’s 5-yard touchdown run and the first of Connor Davis’ three extra points. The visitors led, 7-3, with 5 minutes, 24 seconds remaining in the first quarter. But they surrendered another Alleyne field goal, this one from 42 yards, four minutes into the second stanza.

The Lions forced punts on the last three of Dartmouth’s four first-half possessions and seemed about to score when Big Green safety Ryan Roegge intercepted a pass at his team’s 4-yard line 40 seconds before intermission.

“It was a little under-thrown,” said Roegge, a junior whose low grab in front of receiver Emerson Kabus was the first of his collegiate career. “We knew they had a favorite route and who they were going to go to at the end of that drive.”

Dartmouth received the second-half kickoff and marched 75 yards in nine snaps, the key play a 19-yard run by quarterback Derek Kyler, who drew a personal foul while scooting out of bounds. The Big Green took a 14-6 lead when Drew Estrada swept 8 yards on a reverse for a touchdown.

“It was a frustrating first half for us, but to our kids’ credit, they didn’t get down and the first drive of the second half was huge,” said Dartmouth coach Buddy Teevens, whose team had the ball for six fewer minutes than the Lions and ran just 22 plays during the first two quarters.

“It engendered more confidence. We were looking for answers at halftime but we just had to do what we do better.”

Columbia’s first drive of the third quarter died when Big Green defensive end Rocco Di Leo turned in his third sack of the game, this one on fourth down. Had he managed one more sack, he would have tied Dartmouth’s record of four in a contest, set by 1992 graduate George Neos and tied by Anthony Garigiulo several years later.

“He’s a wrecking ball,” Teevens said of Di Leo, who was a skinny quarterback as a high school junior in Chicago. “He’s 315 pounds and runs extremely well and has complete disregard for his body.

“That’s our defensive mindset. You see a play in space and then seven, eight, nine guys come in to make the stop.”

The Big Green’s next drive ended when Kyler scrambled left and lost a fumble as he was tackled near the Columbia goal line, but Dartmouth got the ball back at the hosts’ 21-yard line after Hunter Hagdorn’s 35-yard punt return.

On the next play, receiver Drew Hunnicutt grabbed a reverse and threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Kyler, who snuck into the end zone’s right side. The former three-sport high school athlete fought off a defender while leaping to make the catch. A Davis boot made the score 21-8 seconds into the fourth quarter.

Columbia was now down to reserve quarterback Ryan Suitt, whose practice during the week consisted of impersonating Kyler for the Lions’ scout team. Suitt had a pass intercepted by Isiah Swann four minutes into the final stanza, and Kyler threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to tight end Connor Rempel four minutes, eight plays and 92 yards later.

Swann, who’s picked off an astounding seven passes and already tied the Dartmouth season record with four games remaining, got his second interception of the game two plays later. The Big Green surrendered a touchdown run during the final minute that closed the scoring.

“They’re a good, sound defense that doesn’t give up the big play,” Suitt said of Dartmouth, which entered the game third among NCAA Football Championship Subdivision teams in scoring defense. “They don’t make many mistakes and make you try to beat them.”

Kyler, who leads FCS players in completion percentage (76.4), completed all nine of his passes for 75 yards and a touchdown. Wildcat formation signal-caller Jared Gerbino connected on 1 of 2 tosses for 10 yards and Cooper rushed eight times for 82 yards and a touchdown. Estrada caught four passes for 27 yards and Di Leo and nickel back Kyran McKinney-Crudden each had seven tackles.

Notes: Dartmouth remained undefeated in coin-toss calls. … Linebacker Jake Moen could only wave and shake his head when his mother, Shawn, sent a security guard into the defense’s sideline huddle to tell him hello early in the second half. … The Big Green has thrown a touchdown pass in 17 consecutive games, a program record. … A bizarre, 7-minute delay ensued during the second half after two officials simultaneously threw flags for what they saw as a Columbia targeting foul. The final verdict: no penalty. … Dartmouth’s winning steak is the third-longest in the FCS. … The Big Green has led at the end of every quarter this season. … Columbia’s chain-gang and ball-person crews were comprised of students who didn’t seem overly familiar with football. One of them studied his smartphone between plays and another, asked if he had done the job before, replied, “Sort of,” … The Big Green has allowed just 23 points during the first three quarters and 35 during fourth quarters, when its games have been mostly decided. … The lone Dartmouth incompletion came on its final play from scrimmage, but the visitors still posted the best completion rate (91.7) in any of their games during the last 50 years… The Columbia band’s halftime show mocked a recent outbreak of hand, foot and mouth disease on the Big Green’s campus. “As if you needed any more reasons to not put your mouth on a Dartmouth student!” proclaimed the announcer.

Tris Wykes can be reached at or 603-727-3227.

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