Big Green goes off script in 20-17 loss to Cornell

  • Dartmouth College football players Hunter Hagdorn (1), Niko Lalos (90), Masaki Aerts (81) and Robert Crockett III (27) sing their school's alma mater Saturday. The No. 11 Big Green suffered a 20-17 upset by visiting Cornell, ending its hopes of an undefeated season. (Tris Wykes - Valley News) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Dartmouth College quarterback Derek Kyler sits on the bench Saturday during the No. 11 Big Green's 20-17 upset loss to Cornell at Memorial Field. Kyler completed just 6 of 11 passes for 101 yards and a touchdown and had a throw intercepted as the Big Red spoiled Dartmouth's hopes for an undefeated season. (Tris Wykes - Valley News) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Dartmouth College cornerback Darren Stanley, right, celebrates his second-quarter interception with Robert Crockett III (27) in mid-air Saturday at Memorial Field. Ivy League rival Cornell spoiled the Big Green's senior day and hopes for an unbeaten season with a 20-17 upset victory. Isiah Swann (25) is at left. (Tris Wykes - Valley News) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Dartmouth College's Drew Estrada (4) returns a punt Saturday against Ivy League rival Cornell during the Ivy League teams' game at Memorial Field. The No. 11 Big Green suffered a 20-17 upset loss that ended its chances for an undefeated season. (Tris Wykes - Valley News) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Dartmouth College football coach Buddy Teevens walks the sidelines Saturday during the No. 11 Big Green's 20-17 upset loss to visiting Cornell. Dartmouth dropped to 8-1 overall and 5-1 in Ivy League play but can still clinch at least a share of the league title during next weekend's finale at Brown. (Tris Wykes - Valley News) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Dartmouth College defensive lineman Alex Schmidt grimaces on the sideline in the late going Saturday against visiting Cornell. The Big Red upset the No. 11 Big Green, 20-17, to ruin the hosts' Senior Day and end their hopes of an undefeated season. (Tris Wykes - Valley News) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 11/16/2019 9:54:02 PM

HANOVER — Dartmouth College football fans uttered a collective groan on Saturday as the No. 11 Big Green suffered a stunning loss to Cornell at Memorial Field. The Big Red’s 20-17 triumph was one of the biggest upsets in recent Ivy League history and ruined the hosts’ hopes for their first undefeated season since 1996.

“We talked about how (Dartmouth) had everything to lose and had just played two emotional games,” said seventh-year Cornell coach David Archer, who may have saved his job with the result. “I don’t think Dartmouth circled the Cornell game on the calendar, and that’s why we could be such a dangerous team for them.”

Dartmouth, now 8-1 overall and 5-1 in league play with one game remaining, suffered its first loss in 11 contests but is tied atop the league standings with Yale. The Bulldogs host archrival Harvard (4-5, 2-4) next weekend. The Big Green visits last-place Brown (2-7, 1-5), and third-place Princeton (7-2, 4-2) travels to Pennsylvania (5-4, 3-3).

Dartmouth played poorly across the board on Saturday, but by nature of his position, quarterback Derek Kyler’s performance loomed large. The junior, who engineered a miracle victory at Harvard two weeks ago and was sharp when needed during a victory over Princeton at Yankee Stadium last weekend, completed six of 14 passes for 101 yards and a touchdown while having one toss intercepted.

Kyler also lost a fumble and was pressured throughout the game as Dartmouth’s offensive line uncharacteristically struggled. There was also a shanked punt and assorted missed tackles that disappointed most in an announced crowd of 3,245 that endured temperatures in the mid-20s.

Those seeking the single play that made a difference, however, would likely point to Big Green defensive end Niko Lalos stepping offsides with six minutes remaining. Cornell (3-6, 2-4) needed four yards on third down before the gaffe, and Richie Kenney threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Owen Peters on the next play.

Kenney said the Big Red had changed its cadence shortly before Lalos jumped, hoping to draw Dartmouth across early. The quarterback said he had receivers running routes to the post and a corner, and when a Dartmouth safety bit too hard on the latter, the middle of the field was wide open. Kinney then scrambled for the 2-point conversion that closed the game’s scoring.

“That was one play, but you think about all the opportunities we had on that drive to stop them,” said linebacker Jack Traynor, who tied for his team’s lead with seven tackles. “We had chances to get them off the field but didn’t.”

Dartmouth turned the ball over on downs during its next possession but got the ball back at its 7-yard line with two minutes remaining and no timeouts. Two plays later, David Jones picked off a Kyler pass and the celebration was on for a program that is only 18-51 under Archer.

“They were the better team today,” said Dartmouth coach Buddy Teevens, whose squad didn’t reach the red zone until the third quarter’s final series and lost running quarterback Jared Gerbino, running back Caylin Parker and star defensive lineman Jackson Perry to injuries during the game.

“When they had to pick up a first down or make something happen, they did and we didn’t.”

Nicholas Null’s 20-yard field goal gave Cornell a 3-0 lead during the 12th minute but Dartmouth went up, 7-3, three minutes later when All-American cornerback Isiah Swann returned an interception 69 yards for a touchdown and Connor Davis added the extra point.

Kyler threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Hunter Hagdorn two minutes before halftime and Davis added another boot for a 14-3 lead. Null kicked his second field goal, this one from 22 yards, six seconds before intermission.

Cornell’s Harold Coles swept left 74 yards for a touchdown 42 seconds into the third quarter. That play came one snap after Kenney had recovered his own fumble for the third time. Davis kicked a 34-yard field goal with eight minutes remaining.

Dartmouth’s Dakari Falconer ran 19 times for 105 yards, the first time a Big Green player had eclipsed the century mark this season. The hosts were 3-of-14 on third down, but limited the Big Red to 4-of-14 in the same situation.

Kinney completed 22 of 38 passes for 267 yards and a touchdown and had two throws intercepted. Eric Gallman led the visitors with nine catches for 98 yards and Coles ran 15 times for 111 yards and a touchdown.

“It’s going to hurt today, and it’s going to hurt tomorrow,” said Swann, whose date at Brown will come against a team that snapped a 20-game league losing streak on Saturday by beating Columbia. “But we’re still playing for rings next week.”

Notes: Cornell snapped a 10-game losing streak to the Big Green. … Swann’s scoring return was the fourth of his career, setting a Dartmouth record. … The most popular spot on the Dartmouth sideline was under a tent featuring two heaters. The units were also used to thaw out the team’s water bottles during the fourth quarter. … Slipping somewhat under the radar was a blatant case of pass interference by Cornell’s Michael Irons on Hagdorn during a fourth-and-5 situation with three minutes remaining. The defender used a one-armed hug to pull Hagdorn away from the ball on what became an incomplete pass. … Dartmouth is 61-41-1 against Cornell and 32-14-1 vs. the Big Red at Memorial Field. … Kickoff at Brown is set for noon. … Dartmouth honored its 29 seniors before the game. … The Big Red posted its first road victory over a ranked Ivy opponent since 1950.

Tris Wykes can be reached at twykes@vnews.com.




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