Courtesy of Dartmouth Athletics
HANOVER, N.H. -- With junior tailback Nick Schwieger -- who ran for 216 yards
in the season opener last week -- laid up in bed with flu-like symptoms, freshman
Dominick Pierre filled in more than capably with 110 yards on the ground and a
pair of touchdowns in just his second collegiate game as Dartmouth defeated Sacred
Heart in the Big Green's home opener on Saturday afternoon at Memorial Field,
21-19. The Pioneers (1-3) had a 38-yard field goal attempt in the final minute
go wide to the left before Dartmouth ran out the clock to secure its first 2-0
start since 1997.
Pierre took the ball 25 times for a 4.4-yard average on the day, plus caught two
passes for 12 more yards. Meanwhile, junior quarterback Conner Kempe became the
16th passer in Dartmout history to surpass 2,000 yards through the air by completing
16-of-30 passes for 154 yards, giving him 2,051 in his career. Senior tri-captain
Tim McManus led the team with four catches for 60 yards, including a key fourth-down
catch in the second quarter to set up the Big Green's second touchdown of the
afternoon to give them the lead for good.
For the second straight week, Dartmouth had to overcome a halftime deficit as
Sacred Heart took a five-point lead into the locker room, 12-7. But after receiving
the opening kick of the second half, the Big Green marched right down the field
in just nine plays covering 72 yards. A 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty
helped, but it was the 4th-and-6 pass to a diving McManus down the middle of the
field to the one-yard line and made the one-yard Kempe keeper possible for a 14-12
Sacred Heart got a rebound effort from its record-setting quarterback, Dale Fink,
who owns 11 Pioneer passing records, as he completed 30-of-41 for 286 yards and
a touchdown against the Big Green. Last week, Fink managed just 72 yards and was
picked off four times. Freshman Gregory Ibe led the Pioneers rushing attack with
71 yards on just nine carries, while Mark Uyeno caught six passes for 68 yards.
The Dartmouth defense immediately held the Pioneers without a first down with
the big play being a 14-yard sack courtesy of junior Connor Phillips and sophomore
John Golio. On each of the Big Green's 10 plays during the next drive, they gained
at least three yards as they methodically moved the ball downfield. Kempe was
4-for-4 for 36 yards during the drive, while Pierre and fellow freshman Dan Henggeler
ran for 40 more with Pierre having the honor of taking the ball into the end zone
on a seven-yard romp. Junior Foley Schmidt made it a 21-12 contest with his third
PAT of the game.
Again Sacred Heart could not get anything going offensively with another three-and-out
as they ran just six plays total during the third quarter. Dartmouth could not
capitalize, however, despite advancing into Pioneer territory due to the only
turnover of the game, an Ethan Ostermeyer interception at the 19-yard line on
the second play of the fourth quarter.
That pick turned the tide a bit as the Sacred Heart offense started to find its
stride. Penalties proved to be the Pioneers' undoing at first as another flag
for unsporsmanlike conduct was thrown on SHU before a 4th-and-4 play at the Big
Green 27. Sacred Heart settled for a perfectly placed 42-yard pooch punt inside
Dartmouth got one first down but was forced to punt -- a 53-yarder from freshman
Daniel Barstein -- only to have the Pioneers quickly gobble up the 71 yards which
was capped by a four-yard pass from Dale Fink to Rich Rossi. The point after by
Jesper Fredriksson made it a two-point game at 21-19.
Sacred Heart got one more shot to win the game, taking over with 3:29 to play
at its own 44. The drive stalled at the Big Green 21, and the Pioneers sent Fredriksson
in to try the 38-yard field goal with less than 50 seconds on the clock. Kicking
from the left hash mark, his boot went wide to the left, and three kneeldowns
later, Dartmouth had its victory.
Fredriksson started the game with a pair of field goals in the first quarter,
from 25 and 33 yards as Sacred Heart dominated the opening period by running 27
plays to just three for the Big Green. In the second quarter, the two teams traded
touchdowns with Pierre finishing off a 14-play drive with a three-yard run, and
Marcel Archer diving in from a yard out with 12 seconds before the end of the
half for the Pioneers. But while Schmidt drilled his extra point, Fredriksson
had his blocked and nearly returned for a defensive PAT by the tandem of senior
Luke Hussey and sophomore Chase Womack. Sacred Heart finally tripped up Womack,
who took a lateral from Hussey, at the Pioneer 30. That missed PAT proved important
as SHU could have gone for a two-point try on its final touchdown in the fourth
quarter to tie the score.
Senior Pat Scorah led three Big Green players in double-figure tackles with 13
stops, while Hussey had 12 and junior Joey Casey 10, all career highs. Phillips
provided 1.5 of Dartmouth's three sacks on the day as well.
Dartmouth, which has won consecutive games for the first time since 2003, will
hit the road next Saturday for its Ivy League opener at Penn. The game will be
televised by Comcast locally in Philadelphia at 3:30 p.m.