New Hampshire Football Report

Dartmouth opens with UNH

Allen Lessels
UNH Insider

They’ve played each other only once since 2009, and chances are it could be a long while before the University of New Hampshire and Dartmouth College football teams – after they square off at Memorial Field in Hanover on Saturday night at 7 – cross the state to meet again.

The No. 22 ranked Wildcats look to keep their string of success going against their Ivy League rivals and get over the .500 mark for the season.

Dartmouth finished 9-1 overall last season and was 6-1 in the Ivy League to earn a share of the conference title. This is the Big Green’s first game of the season.

UNH coach Sean McDonnell said he wants to see the series continue.

“I think it’s the best thing for the state of New Hampshire, the best thing for FCS football,” McDonnell said. “We’re the only two teams in the state. We’re an hour and forty five minutes away from each other. They’re the best team in the Ivy League, we’re one of the best teams in the CAA. We should be playing each other year in and year out.”

Dartmouth, like UNH, has room on its schedule for three nonconference games a season. The Big Green have posted its nonconference games for each year through the 2020 season and there are no games scheduled against UNH at this time.

The Dartmouth game is UNH’s final non-conference game this season.

The Wildcats open Colonial Athletic Association play next Saturday, Sept. 24, with a 1 p.m. game at Rhode Island.

They return to Wildcat Stadium on Oct. 1 for a 3:30 p.m. Homecoming game against No. 13 William & Mary.

For now, McDonnell and his team take one last shot at Dartmouth.

UNH aims to build off a rousing 39-28 comeback win over Holy Cross last Saturday night in the first game in the new Wildcat Stadium. A crowd of 13,242 watched the Wildcats rally from a 21-6 deficit early in the second period and 21-13 hole at halftime.

They bounced back from a season-opening loss at San Diego State behind a powerful run game and a defense that settled down after struggling early and allowed seven points in the final 41 minutes of the game.

UNH is averaging 216.5 rushing yards a game through its first two contests.

McDonnell is looking for more consistency from his guys up front and a talented crew of running backs led by senior Dalton Crossan.

The Wildcats managed 71 rushing yards in their opener against a stingy San Diego State defense. They pounded out 362 yards on the ground – their best total since gaining 389 against Old Dominion in a Sept. 22, 2012 game – against Holy Cross.

“The offensive line, they’re getting a really good push,” Crossan said. “I know one or two have not had as much experience as the other three, and I think they’re coming along … a combination of them getting more push and executing better, along with myself and the other running backs running more downhill, I think that’s why we had more success against Holy Cross.”

Crossan rushed a career-high 24 times for a career-best 199 yards against Holy Cross and also scored a pair of rushing touchdowns.

Junior running back Trevon Bryant rushed eight times for 79 yards and a score and sophomore quarterback Trevor Knight carried the ball 18 times for 87 yards.

Knight also completed 11 of his 18 passes for 190 yards and a pair of TDs (of eight yards to sophomore Neil O’Connor and 62 yards to sophomore Rory Donovan).

McDonnell doesn’t know quite what to expect from a Dartmouth team that had been building to last year’s championship season, but was hit hard by graduation. Seven of the eight Dartmouth players who earned first-team All Ivy honors last season have graduated, including quarterback Dalyn Williams.

The Big Green depth chart lists junior Jack Heneghan as the starting quarterback with freshman Jake Pallotta as his backup.


UNH safety Pop Lacey, a true freshman, was named the CAA Rookie of the Week for his work against Holy Cross. He had 14 tackles, 12 of them solo. … Prince Smith Jr., another true freshman, had an interception on the final Holy Cross offensive play of the game. … Senior cornerback Casey DeAndrade picked off a Holy Cross pass and returned it 28 yards for UNH’s final TD to seal the win with 2:10 left in the game.


Historically speaking, it doesn’t seem likely UNH is apt to schedule an Ivy League team other than Dartmouth. The last Ivy team UNH played other than Dartmouth was Harvard in 1939. UNH last played Yale in 1935, Brown in 1931 and Cornell in 1922. The Wildcats have never played Columbia, Penn or Princeton. . . . UNH has won 13 straight games in its series against Dartmouth and is 18-0-2 in the last 20.

Follow Allen Lessels on Twitter: @UNHInsider.

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