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The Dartmouth
June 21, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Late surge propels Quakers to 20-12 victory over Dartmouth

The Dartmouth football team served notice Saturday to the rest of the Ivy League not to write it out of the title chase yet and certainly not to pencilthe Pennsylvania Quakers into first place.

Yes the Quakers prevailed 20-12, extending their winning streak to 22 games, a Division I-AA record, while dropping the Big Green to 0-1 on the season.

But Dartmouth showed up in Philadelphia, Pa. to play, leaping out to 12-3 halftime advantage before crumbling late in the game.

Thevaunted Quakers were held in check for much of the game by a suffocating Big Green defense while Dartmouth, picked by many to finish near the bottomthe league, may have silenced the critics, at least for now.

In the end Penn's defense stifled the Big Green attack while a few costly defensive lapses on the Dartmouth end opened the door for the Quaker comeback.

The first half was all Dartmouth, with the Big Green notching a 25-yard touchdown pass from Ren Riley '96 to Will Bergman '97 and a pair of field goals from sophomore kicker Dave Regula.

The Big Green looked to continue the charge out of the locker room, driving to the Quaker 28 on their first possession of the second half.

But that was the last Dartmouth saw of Quaker territory, as the stingy Penn defense clamped down.

Backup quarterback Jon Aljancic '97, who moved into the number two slot after Jerry Singleton '96 left the team, and Riley went a combined 2-11 in the second half while Dartmouth's star running back Captain Pete Oberle '96, recovering from knee surgery, did not carry the ball in the second half.

"I'm feeling good, I was actually used sparingly on Saturday," Oberle said. "The coach's are just taking a kind of conservative approach."

Meanwhile a few lapses in an otherwise stellar Dartmouth defensive performance gave the Quakers the game.

"Going into the game there were a lot of questions," Oberle said. "The defense was just outstanding, they made a lot of people believers in them."

The Quakers struck quickly in the second half, returning the opening kickoff to the Dartmouth 37 and booting a 36-yard kick through the uprights eight plays later, narrowing the Dartmouth lead to 12-6.

The Big Green shut Penn down in its second possession of the second half but gave it right back when an unlucky tip allowed Dana Lyons to intercept a Riley pass, giving the Quakers the ball at the Penn 30. Eight plays later Penn quarterback Mark DeRosa hit receiver Miles Macik in the end zone to put Penn ahead13-12, at the close of the third quarter.

Macik, an honorable mention All-American last season, caught 12 passes for 158 yards on the day to lead the Quakers.

The fourth quarter was no better for Dartmouth. An apparent interception by safety Lloyd Lee '98 was called back on a questionable interference call early in the quarter.

The next several possessions for each team led to punts, and the Quakers got the best of battle, driving Dartmouth back against its goal line.Senior John McEwan was forced to punt from his own end zone twice.

Moments after the second kick from the end zone, Macik soared to pull down a 24-yard touchdown pass, giving Penn a 20-12 lead and driving the last nail in the Big Green's coffin.

Dartmouth's last hope, a quick touchdown and two-point conversion went by the boards when Aljancic, who replaced Riley with about eight minutes to play, tossed an incompletion on third and 10 from the Dartmouth 45 with 3:30 to play.

"Unfortunately we stalled later in the game," Oberle said. "We can be a really good team, we just have to be able to sustain our drives."

But despite the few letdowns, Coach John Lyons said he was pleased with the defensive effort.

"I was really pleased from a defnesive standpoint," Lyons told The Valley News. "With all the question marks we had going into the game against what I think is a pretty good group of people on their offense, I thought our kids played really hard. We did a good job mixing things up, changing up, coming after them. I thought there were some encouraging signs."

Oberle finished the game with 22 yards on six carries. Zach Ellis '98 led the Big Green receiving corp with receptions for 58 yards.

Oberle also said there are several teams capable of knocking off Penn in the Ivy League, and the Dartmouth team has not given up its hope to bring the Ivy League title back to Hanover.

"We know Penn's got a lot of talent and they're a great team," Oberle said. But "there's evidence that the Ivy League team's are evenly distributed as far as how good they are."

Dartmouth hits the road again next weekend to play Fordam before returning to Hanover for its home opener against Cornell the next week.