Dartmouth football entered Friday’s much anticipated Fenway Park showdown with Brown University in need of a clean win. But even with Saturday’s result, a 33-10 victory with solid performances on both sides of the ball, Dartmouth needs help to take home an Ivy League championship.
The Big Green, which now has the top total defense and the fourth-best total offense in the Ivy League, was expected to beat a Brown team that boasts the worst total offense and defense in the conference.
Friday’s game began with a pair of punts, but Dartmouth got the wheels going on its second drive. Quarterback Jack Heneghan ’18 found Hunter Hagdorn ’20 in the end zone for a 27-yard touchdown pass.
“What we put on the field worked,” Hagdorn said after the game. “Every man did their job and we got in the end zone.”
David Smith ’18’s extra point was blocked, however, ending a streak of 44 straight made extra points for the reliable kicker.
With an early lead, Dartmouth seemed to be rolling but failed to expand upon its lead until the second quarter, when Ryder Stone ’18 capped off an 11-play, 90-yard drive with a 10-yard touchdown run, making it 13-0 Dartmouth early in the second quarter.
The Big Green allowed a field goal midway through the second quarter, cutting the lead to 10. However, Heneghan was able to connect with Hagdorn again for a 38-yard completion later in the quarter and once more on the next play, a 16-yard touchdown pass with 56 seconds left in the half.
Things got worse for Brown, now down by 20 points. The Big Green forced a three-and-out and used all its timeouts to get the ball back with 20 seconds left in the half. Following a 33-yard punt from Brown and two quick passes from Heneghan, the Dartmouth offense found itself at the Brown 10-yard line, where Smith connected on a 28-yard field goal as time expired.
After Dartmouth was forced to punt on its first drive of the half, defensive back Jarius Brown ’18 picked off a pass and returned it 27 yards for a touchdown.
Dartmouth would go on to produce one more field goal during the first drive of the fourth quarter. Brown found the end zone on its last drive of the game with many backups and younger players in on defense for the Big Green.
In many ways, Dartmouth delivered in Boston what it struggled to achieve for most of the season: playing a complete game on both sides of the ball. The Big Green looked sharp on offense while smothering the Brown offense through most of the game. The Bears accumulated just 28 yards of rushing offense on 20 attempts.
“We played tough defense tonight,” head coach Buddy Teevens ’79 said after the game. “They did a nice job up until that one drive. Offensively we executed for four quarters, and it was the first time that we’ve done it all year.”
Playing football in Fenway Park was a special opportunity for many of Dartmouth’s players, some of whom were visiting the stadium for the first time.
“[Fenway Park] is such a historic venue,” linebacker Jake Moen ’19 said after the game. “This was a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
Dartmouth’s satisfaction with the win has to take into account the quality of its opponent. Brown has lost all six conference games by significant margins. The Bears’ offense has been especially dubious this year, scoring 59 total points in in-conference games.
Dartmouth’s next opponent, Princeton University, leads the Ivy League with 223 points. The Big Green will only have a chance to share the Ivy League title if it beats the Tigers. Yale University, the only one-loss team in the conference, would also have to lose to Harvard University for the Big Green to claim a share of the championship.
Kickoff against Princeton, a game featuring both the best total offense and defense in the Ivy League, is set for 1:30 p.m. at Memorial Field on Saturday.