Dartmouth football impresses in 31-7 rout of No.16 Princeton

Friday’s win puts Big Green tied for first place with the previously undefeated Tigers with two games left for each team.

by Will Ennis | 11/8/21 2:20 am

Dartmouth never lagged in Friday night’s 31-7 home win over Princeton University, No.16.

Dartmouth football faced the No.16 Princeton University on Friday night, marking the 100th meeting between the two programs. The Big Green dominated in every phase of the game, clinching a 31-7 win – arguably the team’s most impressive of the year – and improving their record to 7-1. Dartmouth is now tied with Princeton atop the Ivy League table with two games to go.

In recent history, the Dartmouth clashes with Princeton have been very important. Two years ago, the two teams were undefeated when they met at Yankee Stadium, a game Dartmouth won 27-10. The year before, the two teams were also undefeated when they faced each other, but Princeton came out victorious.

This year, the Tigers were again undefeated at the start of the game, but the Big Green suffered a 19-0 loss at Columbia University on October 22. To maintain a real chance of defending their Ivy League title, Dartmouth had to win on Friday.

Head Coach Buddy Teevens ’79 spoke about the mood in the locker room ahead of such a high-stakes game.

“It was a win-win situation. Everyone knew it. We talked about it openly, ”he said. “Obviously, immense respect for [our players] … We knew we had to play A-plus football, and we did.

The Big Green wasted no time getting started. After forcing a Princeton punt in the first practice of the contest, Dartmouth completed an 8-play, 75-yard practice ending in a 37-yard touchdown reception by wide receiver Paxton Scott ’24, who managed to stay in bounds as he dove through two defenders to break the end zone plane. The touchdown marked Scott’s fourth score of the season.

“I didn’t even know he had to jump into the end zone like that until I watched the replay,” said ’21 quarterback Derek Kyler. “So I was looking at the scoreboard and I was like, wow, this guy went to make a game for me. So that was nice.

Big Green’s defense then pushed the Tigers 13 yards away on their next possession, forcing another punt, which did not cross the halfway line. Dartmouth did not lose his advantage on the field, descending the field to the Princeton red zone where Kyler found wide receiver Dale Chesson ’23 in the back of the end zone for a 4-yard touchdown. , Chesson’s first of the season since returning from injury last game.

Chesson finished the day with five receptions for 61 yards and the scoring, making him Big Green’s top receiver. The performance followed a strong first game of the season for Chesson at Harvard, where he amassed 72 yards, again on five receptions.

Chesson’s teammates and coach sang his praises after the game, clearly delighted to find him on the pitch and in the locker room.

“[Chesson] is an explosive man, ”Kyler said. “He brings so much energy and he’s so happy all the time… [Chesson] is a phenomenal athlete and I think everyone got to see him, the two games he played.

Princeton got his second first down of the game before the end of the first quarter, but soon after play resumed, Big Green’s defense forced another punt.

The Tigers showed a bit of life on defense in the practice that followed, forcing a nearly three and one out early and shortly after almost forcing a turnaround in the red zone. Dartmouth managed to hold onto the ball, however, and the run ended with a 33-yard field goal from kicker Connor Davis ’22, giving Dartmouth a 17-0 lead with nine minutes left in halftime.

Princeton was able to respond with a touchdown, but that would prove to be the Tigers’ only points of the game. Faced with a chance to reduce Dartmouth’s lead to 7 points at the end of half-time, Princeton kicker Jeffrey Sexton missed his 27-yard attempt from the right upright and the Big Green maintained their lead of 17- 7 before half-time.

The second half was marked by strong defensive play from Dartmouth. After failing to allow a score throughout the half, the Big Green held a Princeton offense averaging 37 points per game coming into play for just seven in total. Dartmouth was able to put constant pressure on the Princeton offense, forcing a few bad shots and stacking six sacks as a team.

“On the film, they showed a lot of things,” said ’23 defensive lineman Shane Cokes. “It seemed to be physical with them, especially with the bull rush, it worked a lot, so throughout the week we focused on that.”

Cokes personally collected two and a half sacks against the Tigers.

The offense managed to extend the lead to 24-7 in the third quarter thanks to a 20-yard touchdown reception by wide receiver Jonny Barrett ’23, but it was the defense that sidelined the game. for real.

In the next practice, with less than 10 seconds left in the third quarter and Princeton on the Dartmouth side, a misguided pass found the waiting hands of cornerback Isaiah Johnson ’22, who took 73 yards at home for a score.

“Every week, [Teevens] says the same thing: know your opponents better than they know themselves. Johnson said. “When I got into the movie, I said [associate head coach Sammy McCorkle] that whenever I see a receiver two meters from the hash, they were running the team. So they got out for the game, I saw the receiver go two yards from the hash, and I guessed the hitch, and I was right.

Johnson’s big game was the backbreaker for Princeton. The Tigers were able to make another long drive, hitting him almost in the end zone, but returned the ball on the downs. Princeton never threatened to score again.

Dartmouth must now avoid a disappointment in the last two games of their title defense. The Big Green will then enter the field on Saturday at home against Cornell University, whose record is 2-6 overall and 1-4 in the Ivy game. Two years ago, Cornell upset Dartmouth in a match where the Big Green could have won a share of the Ivy League title with a win.

“The loss we had to Cornell… nobody forgot about it,” Kyler said. “I don’t see us taking our foot off the accelerator.”

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