Football gears up for game at Yankee Stadium versus Princeton
The football team will play its second game in an MLB stadium in three years after winning at Fenway Park in 2017.
As part of Dartmouth’s 250th anniversary celebration and college football’s 150th anniversary, the Big Green will face off against the Princeton Tigers on Nov. 9, 2019 at Yankee Stadium. The game is not only an honor for Dartmouth and a boon for publicity on a national level, but also has major implications for the Ivy League crown. The Tigers were undefeated last year and handed Dartmouth its sole loss of the season.
This will be the second game played for the Big Green in a Major League Baseball stadium in three years — Dartmouth played Brown University at Fenway Park two years ago — but its first ever at Yankee Stadium. In the Fenway game, the Big Green crushed the Bears 33-10 in front of a crowd of 12,297 despite the cold weather. Wide receiver Hunter Hagdorn ’20 had one of the best games of his career that night, with nearly 100 yards and two touchdowns.
When talking about his favorite moment from the 2017 season, Hagdorn pointed to his first score at Fenway.
“I remember catching my first touchdown pass of the game last year and seeing Fenway Park in the end zone,” Hagdorn said. “It was such a surreal experience to be a part of a great play in a historical stadium where so many monumental plays have happened before.”
Hagdorn and captain Isiah Swann ’20 said that while every game is equally important, playing at a stadium built for teams as ingrained in sports lore as the Red Sox or Yankees has a different feel to it.
“The buzz is always increased whenever games like this occur, but I go into each contest with the same motivation to win and fight alongside my brothers for four quarters,” Hagdorn said. “You have to maintain focus on the work ahead of you and not allow the extras to affect your vision and purpose.”
If playing at Yankee Stadium is not motivation enough, Dartmouth will be looking to avenge last year’s late-season 14-9 loss to the Princeton Tigers. The low-scoring affair marked the first and only loss of the season for the Big Green in what effectively equated to the Ivy League championship game. While each team has lost some key players, expectations remain high for both: The rematch at Yankee Stadium could prove pivotal in the final standings. As the reigning Ivy League Defensive Most Valuable Player, Swann figures to play an important role for the Big Green in halting the Princeton offense.
“We, as a team, feel very motivated to play this game,” Swann said. “We feel Princeton took away our championship last year, and we have been waiting what will be a whole year to get revenge and claim what is ours. Putting the game in Yankee Stadium is the icing on the cake to really set the stage.”
Swann said that playing at a ballpark rich with history in the nation’s biggest city is a distinct honor for the Big Green, whose game against Princeton is one of three this year that will be broadcast nationally.
“It is a huge honor to be able to play at Yankee Stadium,” Swann said. “To be one of the few football players in history to play a football game there is a huge deal to me. I will be able to tell my kids and my grandkids about the game in Yankee Stadium.”
Many Dartmouth football players also grew up as baseball fans, and because the Red Sox and Yankees are two of the most historically prominent franchises, playing in these games brings back fond memories. Hagdorn, who grew up playing baseball, said that the upcoming game is special not only because of the venue itself, but also because it shows how much progess the team has made over the past few seasons.
Jackson Perry ’19, an All-Ivy First Team defensive lineman for the Big Green, discussed the culture of Big Green football in a video interview with the Dartmouth Athletics Department.
“We always talk about having our edge,” Perry said in the video. “Being up in the woods, you have to be a certain amount of crazy to want to live up here. We’re just going to take our certain level of crazy down to the big city and show the Tigers what’s up.”
In an effort to promote the game, head coach Buddy Teevens ’79 threw out a ceremonial first pitch on July 15, when the Yankees hosted the Tampa Bay Rays. He wore the number 250 on the back of his pinstriped jersey.
In April, College President Phil Hanlon promised to subsidize tickets for the first 500 students between the classes of 2019 and 2023. In celebration of the game, Dartmouth is also hosting a celebratory long weekend in New York City and the alumni center is offering a number of hotel rooms at Sheraton New York Times Square for alumni.