New Hampshire Football Report

Dartmouth blanks Georgetown

HANOVER — Dartmouth dominated visiting Georgetown for four quarters to defeat the Hoyas on Saturday afternoon at Memorial Field, 41-0, giving the Big Green (1-0) its first season-opening shutout in 42 years. The Dartmouth defense forced more turnovers (four) than the Georgetown offense converted first downs (three) as sophomore Derek Kyler completed 15-of-21 passes for 177 yards and a touchdown, and ran for another score in his varsity debut.

Dartmouth racked up 453 yards while smothering the Hoyas, which had 112, as senior Rashaad Cooper posted his first career 100-yard game on the ground with 112 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries (7.0-yard average). Senior wide receiver Drew Hunnicutt collected his third career 100-yard game on four catches for 102 yards, including the game’s first touchdown on a 31-yard bomb from Kyler.

The running game was particularly effective as the Big Green collected 260 yards with touchdowns from four different players, the longest score coming on the game’s final points when sophomore Caylin Parker ran into the end zone from 31 yards out. Senior Miles Smith added 51 yards on 11 carries, including his 13-yard TD jaunt early in the third quarter.

The defense set the tone as senior linebacker Jake Moen nearly picked off a pass at the line of scrimmage on the game’s first play. After a three-and-out, the Dartmouth offense drove down to the Hoya 20 before settling for a 38-yard field goal by freshman Connor Davis on his first career attempt.

Another drive without a first down led to another Davis field goal, this time from 26 yards for a 6-0 lead after a little more than 10 minutes.

It wasn’t until the second quarter the Big Green truly started to assert themselves as Kyler connected with Hunnicutt on a 35-yard pass before finding the 6-foot-1 senior in the end zone two plays later from 31 yards out.

Georgetown recorded its lone first down of the opening half following that score, but Dartmouth padded its lead to 20-0 shortly before the second quarter expired. Senior Dylan Mellor returned a punt 34 yards into Hoya territory, and Kyler guided the Green on a nine-play, 45-yard touchdown drive capped by his 5-yard run.

Dartmouth had a balanced attack over the first 30 minutes with 137 yards rushing and 130 through the air, as compared to 41 total yards for the Hoyas.

Coming out of the locker room, the Big Green continued to surge, marching 61 yards following a 39-yard kickoff return by sophomore Niko Mermigas. Smith carried it in on the seventh play of the drive for a 27-0 bulge.

Hoya linebacker Owen Kessler provided one of the rare highlights for the visitors on the day when he picked off a deflected pass in the third quarter, setting up a possible 39-yard field goal. But senior lineman Jackson Perry broke through and blocked the kick, preserving the shutout.

The first of the four Georgetown turnovers was a fumbled pitch that junior T.J. Simpson covered up at the Hoya 27. Seven plays later, Cooper was diving in from the 3-yard line for a touchdown and a 34-0 advantage with 1:05 left in the third quarter.

Junior Isiah Swann spoiled a 44-yard kickoff return following the score, picking off a pass on the very first play and returning it 15 yards to near midfield. With a personal foul tacked on after the play, Dartmouth had the ball at the Georgetown 36. Parker started the fourth quarter by galloping 31 yards for his touchdown, and Davis added his fifth PAT to complete the scoring on the day.

Dartmouth forced two more turnovers in the fourth quarter, one on a Mermigas interception, the other a fumble forced by sophomore lineman Jackson Yost and recovered by freshman John Pupel.

The Big Green limited Georgetown to a mere 46 plays of offense with senior Jack Traynor posting a team-high five tackles, while Perry had a pair of quarterback hurries to go with his blocked field goal.

Gunther Johnson completed 11-of-19 throws for 70 yards while being intercepted once, as was Lorenzo Linsey. Herman Moultrie provided 37 rushing yards on 11 carries, primarily in the fourth quarter, but it was punter Brad Hurst who had the best day for the Hoyas, averaging 47.0 yards on eight punts with a long of 65.


NOTES: The Big Green’s last shutout victim on opening day was Penn in 1976 in a 20-0 contest. … The 41 points are Dartmouth’s most in the season opener since defeating Bucknell in 2010, 43-20. … The 41-point margin of victory was the Green’s largest since a 49-7 win over Sacred Heart three years ago, and it was the largest shutout victory since a 56-0 blanking of Columbia in 2013. … The 112 yards of offense were the fewest allowed by the Dartmouth defense since Princeton had just 111 back in 1996. … Junior Jake Pallotta and freshman Jake Allen — a freshman transfer from Florida — both took snaps behind center in the fourth quarter with each completing one pass.

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