New Hampshire Football Report

Dartmouth rallies in fourth

ITHACA, N.Y. — Dartmouth made sure its 100th meeting with Cornell was a memorable one as the Big Green battled back from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter to win its first Ivy League game of the season, 17-13. Charles Mack caught the game-winning, 7-yard touchdown pass with 6:42 to play, wrestling the ball away from a defender to help Dartmouth (4-4, 1-4 Ivy) beat the Big Red (3-5, 1-4 Ivy) for the eighth straight year.

The Big Green found a balance between its ground game and air attack it hasn’t had since starting the season with two victories, thanks to the first 100-yard rushing game in nearly two years, courtesy of Miles Smith. The sophomore running back set career highs with 25 carries and 119 yards, one of which came on the first fourth-quarter touchdown to start the comeback.

Junior Jack Heneghan completed two-thirds of his passes (22-of-33) for the second straight week, amassing 226 yards through the air. Three receivers had 16 of the 22 catches, led by sophomore Drew Hunnicutt with six for 63 yards. The last of those hauls helped enable the Big Green to run out the final 5:56 as he stretched his 6-foot-3 frame just past the marker for a 7-yard gain on a third-and-7 play from the Dartmouth 33.

Cornell scored its lone touchdown of the afternoon by taking up more than half of the third quarter. Starting from its 14-yard line, the Big Red strung together a 17-play drive while converting three third-down plays and another on fourth down. Only three plays went for more than five yards, and the last was a pass from Dalton Banks to Hayes Nolte from four yards out on third down for his first career score and a 13-3 lead.

With less than minute left in the third quarter, Dartmouth had an opportunity to close the gap, only to see David Smith’s 40-yard field goal attempt curl to the left of the uprights.

The temporary setback did not deter the Big Green as the defense forced Cornell to punt on the first play of the fourth quarter. Heneghan proceeded to lead Dartmouth on an 84-yard drive, completing 5-of-7 passes, with Smith taking the honors of powering into the end zone from a yard out to close the gap to three with 10:27 on the clock.

Senior linebacker Folarin Orimolade provided the defensive play of the game, jarring the ball loose from a Cornell carrier to allow sophomore Jake Moen to recover it and the Big Green 37.

A 24-yard pass to freshman Hunter Hagdorn put Dartmouth near field goal range at the Cornell 26, but two incompletions left the Big Green facing 3rd-and-10. Dartmouth surprised the Big Red defense by handing the ball to Smith, who churned and churned for a 19-yard gain. On the very next play, Heneghan rolled out of the pocket and hit Mack just past the goal line for the go-ahead score.

With 6:42 still to play, the Dartmouth defense still had some work to do. A holding call on the first play pushed Cornell back, and it could not gain even a first down before punting. The Big Green was able to run out the last 5:56 utilizing the legs of Smith and sophomore Rashaad Cooper, with the big third-down completion to Hunnicutt the lone pass as Dartmouth secured its victory.

The first half featured plenty of ball movement up and down the field, just not much scoring. Just as Dartmouth had the ball for nearly 13 minutes in the final quarter, Cornell owned the first stanza as it also held the ball for nearly 13 minutes while limiting the Big Green to a paltry five plays and 15 yards. The Big Red marched 71 yards on the opening drive, but was stopped short of the goal line and forced to settle for a Nickolas Null 20-yard field goal.

When the Cornell defense denied Dartmouth a first down, its offense embarked on a 15-play drive that lasted more than seven minutes down to the Big Green five. Once again the Big Red could not punch it in, but did take a 6-0 lead on a 22-yard chip shot by Null.

Dartmouth started to assert itself in the second quarter, picking up its first first down of the afternoon on the first play, a 15-yard pass to Hunnicutt. An illegal block call negated a 20-yard touchdown pass to Smith, and the Big Green eventually turned to Smith to kick a 32-yard field goal, cutting the deficit in half.

Now the Dartmouth defense stiffened, limiting the Big Red to 5 yards to put the ball back in Heneghan’s hands. A 26-yard pass to Hagdorn, who finished the day with five grabs for a game-high 69 yards, advanced the Green into the red zone again, but two plays later Justin Solomon intercepted a Heneghan pass in the end zone to preserve Cornell’s 6-3 advantage going into the intermission.

Dartmouth outgained the Big Red, 405-270, but suffered through a season-high 11 penalties for a whopping 102 yards. Banks accounted for 216 of those Cornell yards by completing 28-of-43 passes, but was sacked three times. Matt Sullivan and Chris Walker each caught seven throws for 68 and 38 yards, respectively.

Orimolade had two of those sacks among his team-high six tackles, plus had the key forced fumble.

Big Red safety Nick Gesualdi led all players with 10 tackles, but the Dartmouth offensive line did not yield even a single sack.

Notes: Dartmouth is now 59-40-1 against Cornell. … The last Big Green rushers to post 100 yards in a game were Ryder Stone (114) and Dalyn Williams (100) against Brown on Nov. 15, 2014. … This is the second double-digit fourth-quarter deficit Dartmouth has overcome this season. The Big Green trailed No. 22 New Hampshire, 21-7, in the season opener before scoring 15 points to earn a one-point triumph.

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