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The Dartmouth
April 14, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Dartmouth morphs into football force

Turning the clock back three weeks, Dartmouth football looked a lot different than it does today. The Big Green had just been pummeled by Penn 49-14 the day before and had lost their ninth straight. Their last win had been Oct. 7, 200. Things could not have looked worse for Dartmouth, but somewhere between practice, the weight room and team meetings, something finally clicked.

Dartmouth has since won three straight and has hopes of an Ivy League title. Dartmouth has made a comeback and is showing why Dartmouth is the winningest Ivy League football program. Here's a quick look at the Big Green's season and their turnaround.

The Big Green started off the season losing a heartbreaker to Colgate, 30 to 26. A final drive for victory was killed by an interception on the Big Green's 46. A bright spot in the game was the 369 yards passing by Brian Mannn '02. A cause for concern was that Dartmouth gave up 167 yards on just 14 carries to the Raiders fullback.

The Big Green lost in another heartbreaker, 29-26, to the University of New Hampshire. This one should have definitely been a Dartmouth win. With 16 seconds left, Dartmouth at the 13-yard line and overtime a given, Mann threw a bad interception. Instead of possibly winning in overtime, Dartmouth took a risk and got badly burned by throwing the interception.

Mann did throw for 303 yards, and Dartmouth tight end Casey Cramer '04 caught 12 balls for 120 yards. The star of the game was Stephan Lewis, who ran for 187 yards on 23 carries for UNH. Holes on the defensive line and costly mistakes at the end of the game gave Dartmouth back to back losses in games that could have been won.

Traveling to Philadelphia to take on the Quakers of UPenn was not the recipe for a losing Dartmouth team. The Big Green were outmatched 49 to 14, where they gave up 601 yards. The Big Green was zero for three and things were looking bleak as an undefeated Yale team was next on the schedule for Dartmouth.

Yale came to Hanover 3 and 0 and winning by an average 24 points. Amazingly, Dartmouth stunned the Bulldogs for the second straight year 20-17. Led by running back Mike Giles with 164 yards on 34 carries, the Big Green rushed for the most yards since 1996.

After the game, Giles said, "I really didn't do anything special. It was all the lineman and fullbacks. They all made huge holes that anyone could run through. They all did a tremendous job and are worthy of all the praise."

The final play of the game was the deciding moment in the game and possibly in Dartmouth's season. Sophomore safety Clayton Smith blocked a Yale field goal attempt with 0.1 seconds left, giving Dartmouth the victory.

Coming off the big win, Dartmouth faced a tough Holy Cross team. Dartmouth exploded from the start as Holy Cross forgot how to tackle. The result was 30 to 3, Dartmouth.

Holy Cross made a comeback but Dartmouth managed to win out a nail biter 44-36. Giles ran for his second straight 100-yard game with 130 yards on the ground and wide receiver Jay Barnard had 142 yards receiving.

In last week's game, Dartmouth won another close one 24-23 over the Columbia Lions. Mann and Giles led the way as Mann threw for 288 yards and Giles ran for the winning touchdown.

Dartmouth has won the close games this year that they seemed to lose last year. After two heart-wrenching losses and a good Yale team coming to town, Dartmouth could have packed it in and called it a year. Instead, they got tough and have been clawing out victories ever since.

Dartmouth is now looking like a force to be reckoned with and has hopes of the Ivy League title. In conclusion, here's what Jay Barnard '04 said about the team's new outlook.

"We're real confident in what we can do as a team right now. There's an attitude around the locker room that we haven't had in a while here. We feel like we can play with anyone in the league right now. Other teams are starting to worry about what we can do on the field, and we're confident in our abilities on both sides of the ball."