Big Green football shut out at home by Harvard, falls to 1-6
Dawson, Harvard's prolific senior running back who is on his way to breaking the all-time Ivy League rushing record held by "Big" Ed Marinaro, rushed for 164 yards on 26 carries, and scored three of Harvard's four touchdowns. He was responsible for all of the scoring before the half, which the Crimson entered with a 21-0 lead. Most importantly, however, he set the ball rolling in the right direction for Harvard at Memorial Field on a wet afternoon.
The small crowd that turned out to cheer on the Big Green was on their feet for the first snap of the game. This might have been because of the rain that dampened their seats, but it seemed as if the true green Dartmouth fans had turned out to provide their team with much needed moral support against a tough opponent.
Even though the Big Green was on defense first, the crowd was as loud as it could be. Then the Crimson gave the ball to Dawson. A few seconds and 74 yards later, Harvard had a 7-0 lead over Dartmouth.
The Crimson added to its total when Corey Mazza hauled in a 37-yard pass from quarterback Liam O'Hagan. Thanks to Dawson's more than proficient running, the quarterback controversy that should have distracted Harvard and helped Dartmouth was a non-issue on Saturday afternoon. O'Hagan did not have to do much against the Big Green, completing 9 of 13 passes for 121 yards and one touchdown.
The Big Green, on the other hand, could not get anything done on the offensive side of the ball. Sophomore running back Hudson Smythe '09 was impressive, rushing 11 times for 47 yards and a 4.3 yard-per-carry average. Mike Fritz '07 faced pressure all day under center against the nation's number one pass rush. He was sacked four times for a total of 44 yards lost due to the crushing Crimson defense.
Fritz finished the day 12 of 22 through the air for 98 yards and two interceptions. Fritz was effective on the ground once again, leading Dartmouth with 61 yards on 16 carries.
The Big Green did have one opportunity to crack the Crimson's defensive code, when Justin Cottrell '08 forced a fumble and Georgian Andrew Dete '09 recovered the football on the Dartmouth 37-yard line. The Big Green then pushed the ball down the slick turf, but stalled on fourth-and-goal at the Harvard seven.
Defensively for Dartmouth, there were three players who hit the decade mark in tackles. Cottrell finished the game with six solo tackles and 11 assists, Joe Gibalski '07 finished with two solo tackles and 10 assists, and Dete ended the contest with seven solo tackles and four assists against the daunting Dawson and his teammates.
Big Green head coach Buddy Teevens placed a lot of the blame for the loss on his own shoulders.
"I'm not sure that we came out ready to play today and I can take responsibility for that," Teevens said. "But I was happy with how we played in the last 30 minutes despite being down. Dawson is the class of the league and we made him look good ... where Harvard is now is what we are working toward becoming."
The Crimson have a large matchup looming in their immediate future, as this year's installment of "The Game" against the Yale University Bulldogs (7-0, 4-0 Ivy) could determine the Ivy League champion for the 2006 campaign. "The Game" will take place on the last day of the Ivy League season, Nov. 18.
Dartmouth will travel to Ithaca, N.Y. next weekend to take on Cornell University. Cornell is coming off a huge 14-7 upset of the previously undefeated Princeton Tigers. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. The setting should be colorful, as the Big Green will try to double its win total from last season and blot out the Big Red.