Football falls to Yale 23-20 in last seconds of game

by Vince Marriott | 10/10/10 10:00pm

by Aki Onda and Akikazu Onda / The Dartmouth

"It was a tough football game," head coach Buddy Teevens said. "We made some critical mistakes and had some tough times that cost us the ball game. Our guys played hard against a solid football team."

The Bulldogs had the opportunity to take the lead with 2:31 left in the game with a 43-yard field goal, but sophomore Philippe Panico kicked it short, giving Dartmouth the ball back with enough time to put points on the board. Several plays later, however, Yale senior Chris Stanley took the ball out of the hands of Nick Schwieger '12 with 1:06 left to give the Bulldogs another chance for the win.

"We had a pretty good rush on [the kicker]," defensive end Eddie Smith '12 said. "My hand was up. Everyone's hands were up, and we filled all the gaps. Our field goal block team is pretty solid. You can't get 100 percent of them, and, unfortunately, we couldn't get that one."

Following the kick, the Yale side stormed the field and began celebrating on the center "D," causing several Big Green players to start moving toward midfield with Teevens out in front attempting to hold them back. Despite the initial tension, both sides remained under control.

Even with the fumble, Schwieger turned in a respectable game, rushing for 128 yards with a 4.9 yards per carry average to notch the fourth 100-yard rushing game of his career and break the 1,000 yard rushing mark.

"Nobody's jumping all over him [about the fumble]," cornerback Shawn Abuhoff '12 said. "Nick's going to come back he's strong about this kind of stuff. I'm not worried about it, and I doubt anybody else is worried about it."

Co-captain Tim McManus '11 also reached a career milestone, notching his 100th reception during the second quarter.

Abuhoff returned a Yale punt 41 yards for a touchdown with 6:19 left in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 20-20 the first Dartmouth punt return for a touchdown in 15 years.

"They gave me a good chance to get outside of them, and guys held on to their blocks," Abuhoff said of the play. "Then it was off to the races."

Teevens said he believes his team only needs to get a few more things right to reverse its losing trend.

"We get a win, we get another one," he said. "It's a learning process. We need to correct mistakes we've made in critical situations. We don't have to run into the placekicker. We're good enough to secure the football in critical moments."

Yale took the opening kickoff and drove efficiently down the field, utilizing short passes to the flats and outside runs to beat the Big Green defense to the sidelines. Before Dartmouth could make the necessary adjustments, Bulldog junior Alex Thomas turned in a 13-yard touchdown run to put Yale up 7-0.

The Big Green has allowed its opponent to score on its first possession all four games this season.

Following a three-and-out by both sides, Conner Kempe '12 completed a 44-yard pass to Michael Reilly '12 to get to the Yale 21-yard line. After failing to make any more progress, Dartmouth sent out Foley Schmidt '12, who kicked a 37-yard field goal to get the Big Green on the board, 7-3.

On the following drive, Yale forced its way to the 50-yard line before the Dartmouth defense held fast as a short fourth down conversion attempt gave the ball back to the offense.

After several long runs by Schwieger, Kempe found Reilly again to get to the Yale six-yard line. Schwieger took it into the endzone on the next play with an outside run to give the Big Green the lead, 10-7.

The Bulldogs stalled at the Dartmouth 36-yard line on the next drive and elected to attempt a 53-yard field goal, which fell short of the uprights.

On its final series of the half, Yale converted a fourth-and-three to get to the Dartmouth 23-yard line. After the Bulldogs made it to the three-yard line on a long pass, junior quarterback Pat Whitt found senior halfback Shane Bannon in the endzone for a touchdown.

Despite the score, Garrett Waggoner '13 blocked the Bulldog extra point attempt to freeze the score at 13-10, keeping the Big Green within a field goal of the lead as the teams went into halftime.

After failing to score on its first drive of the half, Dartmouth got the ball back following an interception by Abuhoff the eighth of his career but failed to take advantage.

Fortunately for Dartmouth, the Big Green defense held firm despite missing an opportunity to pin Yale deep in its own territory when it was called for roughing the punter, which resulted in an automatic Bulldog first down.

After the defense recovered and forced another punt, Kempe found Reilly amidst six defensive backs for a 48-yard completion to the Bulldog 30-yard line. After three ineffective plays, Schmidt tied the game up for the Big Green with a career-long 45-yard field goal to make the score 13-13.

Yale responded soon after, however, when sophomore Javi Sosa ran the ball into the endzone from seven yards out just before the fourth quarter to give the Bulldogs the lead, 20-13.

Following a Yale fumble several series later, Schwieger broke a 55-yard run into the endzone on the play immediately following, but a holding penalty brought the ball back to midfield.

Dartmouth had another apparent score when Kempe aired a ball out to Reilly in the endzone, but Stanley pulled it down for the interception.

"After the game is over, there's nothing you can do about that game," Smith said. "It's about moving on to the next game and seeing what you can fix from the last game to beat the next team, and that's what we're going to do next week."

The Big Green remains at home this week to take on the College of the Holy Cross at 1:30 p.m. Last year, Dartmouth fell to the Crusaders, 34-14.