Football rallies late in 28-16 road loss at Holy Cross
One quarter of outstanding football was not enough for Dartmouth (1-4, Ivy 0-2), as three quarters of Holy Cross (5-2) domination doomed the visiting Big Green to its fourth consecutive loss. Once again, Dartmouth was no match for its opponents under the weather conditions in what was the first career start for Big Green quarterback Josh Cohen '09. Cohen lit it up in the fourth quarter, but two late touchdowns were not enough to prevent the Crusaders from pillaging Dartmouth 28-16.
In an attempt to stimulate a struggling offense, head coach Buddy Teevens plugged the freshman QB into the starting lineup for the first time on Saturday, replacing a struggling Charlie Rittgers '06. For the first three quarters, however, Dartmouth continued to disappoint, amassing only 100 yards of total offense without a score.
It was not until the final quarter of the afternoon, with the game already out of reach, that the Big Green offense awoke from its three-game slumber. After accumulating nine points and 350 yards in their previous eleven quarters of play, Dartmouth soared back in the fourth quarter against Holy Cross with 218 yards of total offense and, most importantly, two touchdowns.
Too little too late was the story of Dartmouth's fifth game of the year. The Big Green allowed 28 points before halftime while scoring none of their own, digging themselves in a hole too deep for even the best Division I-AA teams. Holy Cross' strong first-half defense was complimented by a record day from senior running back Steve Silva. The Rhode Island native was a one-man highlight reel throughout the first half, throwing a touchdown pass, rushing for a score, and even returning a punt 87-yards to pay-dirt as time expired in the second quarter.
Holy Cross jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the opening quarter after an 84-yard drive that culminated in a three yard TD reception by senior Gideon Akande. The Crusaders increased their advantage five minutes into the following quarter when Steve Silva completed a six-yard pass to senior wide-out Sean Gruber. Unfortunately for the Big Green, Silva's quarter was just beginning.
On Holy Cross' next possession, Silva finished off a 60-yard drive towards the goal line with a punishing 1-yard dive into the end zone, giving Holy Cross all the scoring they would need. With the score already 21-0 and the first half clock dwindling down, Silva completed his masterpiece and put the final nail in Dartmouth's coffin. With less than ten seconds remaining, the Big Green sent a punt to the Holy Cross 13-yard line towards an awaiting Silva. The senior running back returned the kick all the way back to the end zone, wheeling and dealing through the struggling Big Green special teams to build the lead to 28-0.
Silva ended the day as the new owner of two school records with a mind-blowing 353 all-purpose yards and 167-yards on punt returns.
Things settled down in the third quarter as neither team was able to score. Heading into the fourth quarter, Dartmouth had only collected five first downs on 100 yards.
A completely different Big Green team took the field in the fourth quarter, one led by a confidant rookie quarterback. Five minutes into the final frame, Cohen orchestrated a stunning twelve-play 84-yard drive, connecting with Sam Sieberling '06 for a touchdown. On the following Big Green possession, Cohen surpassed his previous drive with one of 94-yards on seven plays, finding Ryan Fuselier '06 for an eleven-yard score. Fuselier had eight receptions for 90 yards on the day. Jason Bash '06 led the ground-game with 22-yards rushing, a notably low number.
A team safety by Holy Cross made the final 28-16, but even with the loss, Cohen's fourth quarter performance gave fans a glimpse of the potential of Dartmouth's underachieving offense. Combined with the Big Green's usually solid defense, a revived offense could only mean good things for Dartmouth.
Whoever takes the helm against Columbia next weekend, whether it is Rittgers or Cohen, Dartmouth must use the frustrations of its past four games to fuel its play on both sides of the ball. Homecoming kicks-off at 12 p.m. and can be heard live on WDCR-AM (1340) and WFRD-FM (99.3).