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Creative Writing on Dartmouth Sports
The best writing on Dartmouth sports, particularly football, can be found on Big Green Alert Blog, which is written by former Valley News staffer and Dartmouth assistant sports information director Bruce Wood. An excerpt from today’s post:
Wood’s premium, paid-for-content site, Big Green Alert, is the go-to place for analysis of Dartmouth football. Here’s his report on the Columbia game:
Oct. 20 - Big Green Comes Through When It Matters In Win Over Lions
NEW YORK CITY - Seldom will something so bad feel so good.
And so bad at the same time.
Confused? Welcome to Dartmouth’s 21-16 win over Columbia Saturday before 11,127 stunned onlookers.
Stunned no matter which team they were rooting for.
With Dartmouth trailing by two points, sophomore quarterback Alex Park drove the Big Green 91 yards in eight plays, the last a nine-yard toss to tight end Dean Bakes with 1:09 remaining to lift the Big Green (4-2, 2-1 Ivy League) to a dramatic win over the Lions (1-5, 0-3) that had Buddy Teevens seething in its immediate aftermath.
“It was embarrassing to be perfectly honest with you,” the Dartmouth coach said. “Twelve penalties. A missed snap on a punt. Punting the ball a 31-yard average. Kick the ball out of bounds in a critical situation. Selfish penalties. Two unsportsmanlike conducts. Spiking the ball after a touchdown score puts us 15 yards back. Six, seven holding penalties in critical situations negate huge gains.”
And Teevens wasn’t through.
“It was embarrassing,” he reiterated. “I like to think we are better than that, but that’s what we showed today. We get 411 yards in offense and we are scrambling just because we didn’t finish anything. We go back third-and-20, second-and-18, second-and-22, which is ridiculous. We have to play with more discipline and it’s on me. I’m coaching this football team and that’s what we put out there.”
Before his harangue - and that’s what it was - finished, Teevens gave all due credit to Columbia.
But on one point he was completely wrong: That bit about not finishing anything.
While there was a lot to be disappointed about, the Big Green did finish strong, on both sides of the ball.
First, the offense.
After Columbia took a 16-14 lead on a 14-yard run by Marcorus Garrett with 2:46 remaining, Park & Co., came out and ran a textbook two-minute drill to regain the lead.
Taking over at his nine after an illegal block penalty (one of 12 flags for 123 yards incurred by the visitors), Park missed his first throw but then hit Ryan McManus for nine yards, and then eight on his next toss for a first down at the Big Green 26.
Then it was Park finding McManus for 31 yards down the right side and another first down at the Columbia 43.
On the next play Park dropped back to pass before tucking and running for 13 yards to the Lion 30, a third first down in as many snaps, and still the Big Green wasn’t done.
Dartmouth made it four-for-four in first downs when Park took the snap with 1:29 left and found McManus for 15 yards to the 15.
Park then connected on his fifth pass in as many throws to Victor Williams at the eight, and a roughing-the-passer penalty advanced the ball to the four.
After a false-start penalty moved the line of scrimamge back to the nine Bakes came open in the right side of the end zone for the touchdown and a five-point lead.
Then it was the defense’s turn to take over.
A 15-yard penalty for spiking the ball in the end zone after the dramatic touchdown pushed the kickoff back to the 20, and when the kick went out of bounds Columbia took over 50 yards from the likely winning touchdown with 1:09 to play.
After a 10-yard completion Lion quarterback Sean Brackett missed on his first-down pass. A three-yard run to the 37 was nullified by a 10-yard holding penalty. Following a second-and-20 incompletion John Golio corralled Brackett for a 10-yard loss that made it third-and-30 for Columbia.
When Brackett’s third-down pass fell incomplete the Lions had one last shot at prolonging the game but Dartmouth safety Steve Dazzo picked a fine time to record the Big Green’s first interception of the year.
While football strategy would dictate dropping the pick to take over at the Columbia 40 instead of the Dartmouth 26, no one was complaining after the Big Green took a knee to put the finishing touch on a wild and wacky win.
“We are happy to come out with a win,” said Teevens. “It was not pretty but the bottom line is … it’s a nice win.”
Park, who was intercepted on Dartmouth’s first possession and very nearly got picked off on the second, gave way to Dalyn Williams for the first quarter and all of the second, rebounded to complete 20-of-28 throws for 197 yards, none more important than on the “two-minute” drill at the end.
“Obviously, we do that drill a lot during the week on Wednesdays and Thursdays,” he said. “Our coaches do a great job preparing us for everything we are going to see in that circumstance. Getting to the sidelines. Getting to the sticks.
“Honestly, it was just one play at a time. Ryan McManus made a bunch of plays for me. Receivers. Everything just fell into place. They did a great job. We hoped that it didn’t have to come down to that but it’s good to see our offense in that mode and being able to pull out the victory.”
Ditto for the defense according to Bronson Green, who had a team-leading10 tackles along with Michael Runger and Garrett Waggoner. Green and his defensive teammates were watching from the sidelines and getting ready to do their part while the offense was doing its thing.
“We have a lot of trust in them,” Green said. “I’m thinking we might need another stop and we did. We have great faith in the offense. There were some struggles offensively. Defensively we struggled at times. The second-to-last drive, that’s a lot of missed assignments, especially on my part. … We were ready to get back on the field and stop them that last job and make sure we preserved the win.”
They got that win despite losing starting tailback Dominick Pierre early in the second quarter when he aggravated the ankle sprain that kept him out of last week’s loss to Sacred Heart. Pierre had carried seven times for 52 yards to that point, with his final carry a 14-yard burst to the 2. Williams got the points when he rolled right and then strolled into the end zone from the one for a 7-0 lead.
Columbia answered with a 25-yard field goal on the ensuing possession and a 16-yard Brackett touchdown pass with 45 seconds left to take a 10-7 lead into the half.
Things got hairy in the third quarter for Dartmouth as its opening drive of the second half reached the eight only to have a 25-yard field goal blocked. The next Big Green march got as deep as the Columbia 26 before an illegal use of hands penalty and a sack pushed the ball back near midfield.
After a low snap Riley Lyons avoided pressure and when it seemed certain he was going to have his punt blocked he somehow managed to get off a sidewinder. Lyons was run into on the play but Dartmouth turned down the penalty because the kick pinned Columbia at its own 15.
A stop and a punt to the Big Green 33 set Dartmouth up for the longest play of the afternoon. On first down Williams dropped back and launded a spiral 50 yards in the air to Bo Patterson down the right sideline. Several yards clear of the last defender, Patterson collected the ball at the 25 and sprinted untouched the rest of the way for a 67-yard TD and a 14-10 lead.
Columbia had a chance to close the gap midway through the fourth quarter but missed a 42-yard field goal before the penultimate drive that gave the Lions the lead that Dartmouth’s two-minute drill would erase, much to Columbia coach Pete Mangurian’s chagrin.
“You can sit on the sidelines and you can say we should have done this and we should have done that,” Mangurian said in a curious postgame statement. “You have to beat this team a certain way. All right? You have to beat them a certain way.
“Nobody in here really understands exactly what that way is. For me to sit here and try to explain it is pretty futile. But I’m just telling you there’s certain things you need to do to beat this team, all right? If (you) don’t execute and do those things properly you are not going to beat them. I don’t care who you are. I don’t care what your style of play is. For us to beat that team we have to play a certain way and we didn’t do that consistently enough.
That’s the bottom line.”
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