Courtesy of Dartmouth Athletics
HANOVER, N.H. -- Yale had attempted six field goals this season with nary a one finding its way through the uprights, yet Philippe Panico managed to convert a 19-yard field goal that caromed off the right upright as time expired to send the Bulldogs (3-1, 2-0 Ivy) home with a 23-20 victory over host Dartmouth (2-2, 0-2 Ivy) at Memorial Field on Saturday afternoon. The loss spoiled some individual milestone accomplishments for a pair of Big Green players and gave the Bulldogs their eighth straight win over Dartmouth.
Senior Tim McManus became the ninth Big Green receiver to haul in 100 career passes with his second of four receptions on the day, totaling 34 yards. On the ground, junior tailback Nick Schwieger became the 24th player in Dartmouth history to amass 1,000 rushing yards as he racked up 128 yards on 26 carries for his fourth career 100-yard game. But it was a Schwieger fumble -- just the second of his career -- near midfield on a screen pass with barely over a minute to play that set up Yale's winning kick.
With the game tied at 20, Yale attempted to take the lead with just over two-and-a-half minutes to play with a 43-yard field goal attempt. The kick was well short of the target, giving the Green an opportunity to drive for the winning score.
Schwieger took the handoff on the first three plays, gaining 10 yards for a first down, then caught a well-executed screen pass. On his way up the left sideline, he had already gained 11 yards when Yale's Chris Stanley cleanly stripped the ball from Schwieger's grasp to give the Bulldogs the ball at the Dartmouth 47.
After one first down, Yale quarterback Patrick Witt was under pressure but managed to find Jordan Forney for a 28-yard gain down to the Big Green seven. Mordecai Cargill nearly carried the ball into the end zone with his rush on the next play, but was stopped a yard-and-a-half short of the goal line. Three of the Bulldogs' previous six field goal tries had been blocked this season, and Dartmouth had already blocked a PAT in the game. But Panico managed to sneak the kick through for the game-winner.
Dartmouth had tied the game at 20 earlier in the fourth quarter when holding penalties backed Yale up to its own 7-yard line for a 4th-and-23. The punt was a low end-over-end kick that junior Shawn Abuhoff plucked out of the sky at the Bulldog 41, and he weaved his way through traffic and sprinted to the end zone for the first unblocked punt return for a touchdown in 15 years for the Big Green.
Dartmouth trailed at the half, 13-10, before tying the game on a 45-yard field goal by junior Foley Schmidt, the longest of his career and fourth in six tries from at least 40 yards out. But the Big Green shanked the ensuing kickoff out of bounds, giving the Bulldogs the ball with great field position at their own 40. Yale needed just eight plays to drive the 60 yards, the last seven coming on a run by third-string halfback Javi Sosa for his first career touchdown.
For the fourth straight week, Dartmouth's opponent scored on its first possession of the game as Yale jumped out to a 7-0 lead to start the game on Alex Thomas' 13-yard run, capping a 13-play, 70-yard drive.
Dartmouth junior quarterback Conner Kempe dropped a long strike downfield to junior Michael Reilly for a 44-yard gain late in the first quarter, and the Big Green capitalized with a Schmidt 37-yard field goal that just snuck over the crossbar, making it a 7-3 game.
Early in the second quarter, Dartmouth took a 10-7 lead. Reilly caught another long pass, this time for 25 yards to the Yale six, and Schwieger took care of the remainder of the 24 yards on the ground during the drive, including the six-yard run around the left side for the touchdown.
But the Bulldogs took the lead back with barely a minute until the intermission, covering 80 yards. Witt completed 8-of-9 passes during the drive, accounting for 63 of those yards, including the last three to fullback Shane Bannon. Panico's extra-point attempt was batted down by sophomore Garrett Waggoner -- the eighth game in the last nine that Dartmouth has blocked a kick -- and Abuhoff scooped the ball up in hopes of getting two points. He only got as far as midfield before his lateral attempt was ruled an illegal forward pass.
Yale finished the game with 437 total yards, 238 through the air as Witt completed 28-of-37 with one touchdown and one interception by Abuhoff. Cargill ran for 126 yards on just 18 carries, a 7.0 average, to lead the Bulldogs on the ground.
Kempe was just 11-of-23 on the day for 181 yards as Dartmouth had 316 total yards. Reilly had 124 of those yards on just four catches, his second straight 100-yard game.
Yale controlled the ball most of the afternoon with nearly a 12-minute possession advantage and had 24 first downs to just 12 for Dartmouth.
Dartmouth plays against at Memorial Field next Saturday, hosting Holy Cross (3-3) at 1:30 p.m. Yale begins a three-game homestand next week, beginning with Fordham at noon.