Football caps off first winless season since 1883

by IVAN ZLATAR | 11/24/08 4:42am

Princeton gained 343 rushing yards while Dartmouth stumbled to -11 yards on the ground in Saturday's 28-10 loss.
by THEODORE SUMERS / The Dartmouth

The last time the Big Green (0-10, 0-7 Ivy) failed to win a game in an entire season the team went 0-1, losing 5-3 to Williams College.

The Tigers controlled the pace of the game with their rushing attack, amassing 343 yards on the ground. Princeton running back Jordan Culbreath ran for 276 yards and two touchdowns in a career-best performance.

"I think we played well overall as a defense," cornerback Shawn Abuhoff '12 said. "We just allowed too many big plays, like we have been all season."

Dartmouth, on the other hand, ran for -11 yards, the second time this season that the team has had negative net rushing yards.

Without a strong running presence, the Big Green passing attack had trouble getting off the ground. Alex Jenny '10, who began the season starting at quarterback, was substituted in for starting quarterback Conner Kempe '12 early in the game. Jenny threw for 177 yards, completing 15 of 25 attempts, but was unable to find the end zone.

Tim McManus '11 had another record-setting day, catching five passes for 41 yards to become the 16th receiver in Dartmouth history to reach the 1,000-yard career receiving mark, this just in his second year of play.

The senior receivers had a strong day as well. Philip Galligan '09 caught four passes for 86 yards while Eric Paul '09 caught six passes for 45 yards in the last game of their respective careers.

The only Dartmouth touchdown on the day came from Pete Pidermann '10, who returned a kickoff 85 yards into the end zone in the third quarter. It was the second time in as many games that a Dartmouth player has returned a kickoff for a touchdown.

The kick return continued the stellar play of the special teams unit for the Big Green this season, one of the few bright points in a desolate year for the team. The special teams unit has now returned two kicks for touchdowns and has blocked four kicks on the other end.

Punter Brian Scullin '09 has also performed well all season, averaging 40.8 yards per punt, including nine punts of over 50 yards and 19 punts that landed inside the 20-yard line.

Kicker Foley Schmidt '12 has had an impressive rookie campaign as well, notching nine field goals and a 92 percent PAT percentage.

"Our biggest strength this season has definitely been special teams," Abuhoff, who returned a kick for a touchdown last weekend, said. "We've had a great punter in Brian Scullin, a great freshman kicker in Schmidt, and we've returned two kicks for touchdowns."

Schmidt was the only other Dartmouth player to score on the day, hitting a 22-yard field goal with 1:16 left in the first half after an 11-play, 70-yard Dartmouth drive stalled inside the 20-yard line.

Alongside Culbreath's two scores, Princeton quarterback Brian Anderson passed for a touchdown and ran for one more. He was held, however, to just 80 yards passing and was intercepted by defensive end Malcolm Freberg '09, who ran the pick 52 yards back to the Princeton 11.

Despite the great field position, Dartmouth's offense failed to put the ball in the end zone, and a fourth-down fake field goal attempt was stuffed by the Princeton defense. The Big Green was less than impressive in the red zone this season, converting just 39 percent of its opportunities into touchdowns.

When asked about the major factor that held the team back this season, Abuhoff cited time of possession.

"Time of possession was really important," Abuhoff said. "The defense was on for large portions of the game, and we got tired. You could see it when we let up more big plays later in the game."

Looking ahead, Abuhoff is optimistic for the future of the team.

"We need to hit the weight room, get stronger and mature," he said. "We have a very young team. We are very optimistic about next year."

In other action around the league, Harvard beat Yale, 10-0, in their storied season-ending matchup. The win gives Harvard (9-1, 6-1 Ivy) a share of the Ivy League title along with Brown (7-3, 6-1 Ivy), who thrashed Columbia (2-8, 2-5 Ivy), 41-10.

Penn (6-4, 5-2 Ivy) defeated Cornell (4-6, 2-5 Ivy) to secure third place in the Ancient Eight, while Yale (6-4, 4-3 Ivy) ended the season in fourth place. With Saturday's win over Dartmouth, Princeton improved to fifth place, while Cornell and Columbia tied for sixth ahead of the Big Green.

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