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Overtime unkind to Dartmouth football again

  • Dartmouth wide receiver Jamal Cooney (1) is tackled by Penn defensive back Logan Nash (5) during a game at Memorial Field in Hanover, N.H., on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Alex Driehaus

  • Dartmouth linebacker Joe Heffernan (47) celebrates after a successful defensive play during a game at Memorial Field in Hanover, N.H., on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Alex Driehaus

  • Dartmouth linebacker Macklin Ayers (40) tackles Penn wide receiver Julien Stokes (13) during a game at Memorial Field in Hanover, N.H., on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Alex Driehaus

  • Dartmouth quarterback Nick Howard (17) runs the ball down the field while being chased by Penn defensive lineman Jake Heimlicher (15) during a game at Memorial Field in Hanover, N.H., on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Alex Driehaus

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 10/1/2022 7:37:26 AM
Modified: 10/1/2022 8:57:39 AM

HANOVER — The first time Ryan Bloch kicked the ball too low, he got away with it. The second time, he was not so lucky.

Bloch’s extra point in the first overtime at Memorial Field on Friday night snuck just over the crossbar, but his 28-yard field goal attempt in the second extra session was blocked, and Penn scored the game-winning touchdown moments later to hand the Dartmouth College football team its second straight overtime loss, 23-17.

“We didn’t convert when we needed to, and they did,” Big Green coach Buddy Teevens said. “Disappointing night.”

Penn’s offense, on the first drive of the game, picked up right where Sacred Heart left off last week, taking up more than half of the first quarter and jumping out to an early seven-point lead. A sack by fifth-year linebacker Joe Heffernan put the Quakers in a third-and-17 situation, but a bubble screen to running back Trey Flowers picked up the necessary yardage. Flowers finished off the steady march with a three-yard touchdown run up the middle.

The Dartmouth defense pitched a shutout the rest of the first half, thanks in large part to a pair of fourth-down stops, but the offense never could get going. Dartmouth (1-2, 0-1 Ivy League) entered with the best rushing offense in the Football Championship Subdivision in terms of yards per carry, but the Big Green met stiff resistance from a Penn defense that came in allowing the fewest yards per rushing attempt in the FCS.

Fifth-year tailback Zack Bair broke through a wave of defenders for a 29-yard gain on Dartmouth’s first offensive play, which was easily the Big Green’s longest run of the game. Dartmouth’s first three drives ended in punts with just two first downs in that span.

“We knew it was going to be a difficult game,” Bair said. “I’ll credit Penn. They made some adjustments, and those same runs weren’t hitting quite as well. They have a lot of players on that defense who are really impressive.”

The Big Green finally made some noise late in the half, with Bair picking up two key first downs and senior quarterback Nick Howard’s run putting Dartmouth in field goal range. Bloch was good from 29 yards away, and the Big Green went to the locker room down by four.

Following another Dartmouth fourth-down stop, each team punted on its next three drives before the Big Green, at long last, became the first team all year to score an offensive touchdown against the Quakers (3-0, 1-0). It likely would not have happened without two Penn personal fouls — a facemask and a roughing the passer, the latter of which Quakers coach Ray Priore took issue with — but Howard, two plays after dragging several defenders for a first down, ran over the left side for an 11-yard score to give Dartmouth its first lead of the night.

At that point, though, the Big Green were still lamenting not scoring one drive earlier, when they took over at the Penn 37 after a shanked punt. Howard had his helmet come off after taking a hit, forcing backup Dylan Cadwallader into the game. Cadwallader let the play clock expire for a delay of game, then missed short on his only pass as he was being hit.

“We had every opportunity,” Teevens said. “It was a comedy of errors. We need to be better than that. The guys are smart, they see it as well, but it doesn’t make it any less frustrating right now.”

Dartmouth’s defense backed up the score with a three-and-out, and a steady diet of Howard and Bair runs put the Big Green in Quakers territory before they stalled at the 30. Instead of going for it on fourth down, Teevens brought out kickoff specialist Ivan Hoyt for a 48-yard field goal attempt, which he missed wide left. Penn got the ball back down three with just over two minutes left in regulation.

The Quakers twice converted on fourth-and-one to get across midfield, and a 19-yard completion from Aidan Sayin to Malone Howley put Penn in field goal range. Graham Gotlieb’s 35-yarder as time expired sailed straight through the uprights, and Dartmouth was in overtime in back-to-back weeks for the first time since 2009.

After the teams traded punts in the first overtime — a five-yard pass from Sayin to Josh Casilli for the Quakers; a four-yard Howard run for the Big Green — Penn’s Grant Ristoff got his hand on Bloch’s field goal, and then Flowers scored his second touchdown of the game to win it.

“It’s bend but don’t break,” Priore said. “Close to three total games, we didn’t give up a touchdown. Our defense has come up with big plays when we needed, and we did that again in overtime.”

Howard, for the second game in a row, carried 24 times, this time for 108 yards and two touchdowns. He completed 12 of 22 passes for just 78 yards. Bair reached 1,000 career rushing yards early in the second half and finished with 68 for the game on 11 carries.

Dartmouth is back on the road next weekend to face a Yale team that fell to a ranked Holy Cross squad in its opener but began conference play by cruising past Cornell.

“This is uncharted waters for a lot of these guys,” said Teevens, whose program has now lost multiple games in a season for the first time since 2017. “From a coaching standpoint, we’ll assess the skill sets that we have and how to exploit them, and how to hide some of the developmental deficits that we have right now.”

Benjamin Rosenberg can be reached at brosenberg@vnews.com or 603-727-3302.


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