New Hampshire Football Report

Dartmouth defense dominates

WORCESTER, Mass. — The Dartmouth defense was absolutely stifling for the second straight week as the Big Green (2-0) cruised to a 34-14 road win at Holy Cross (1-3) on Saturday afternoon at Fitton Field.

Junior Isiah Swann, the reigning Ivy League Defensive Player of the Week, had three of the four Dartmouth interceptions — the most by a Big Green player in 28 years — to lead the defensive effort that held the Crusaders without a point or a first down over the first three quarters.

The offense was no slouch on this afternoon either, amassing 448 yards thanks to a well-balanced attack led by quarterback Derek Kyler. The sophomore completed 25-of-35 throws for 258 yards and three touchdowns, two of which were caught by junior tight end Connor Rempel in the second half to put the game out of reach. Junior wide receiver Drew Estrada had the only scoring strike, fighting his way into the end zone from 17 yards out as one of his team-high seven catches for 70 yards.

The running game produced 190 yards on 47 carries as the Big Green controlled the tempo throughout the game as they had the ball for nearly 40 minutes. Four different players had between 30 and 50 yards on the ground, led by sophomore Caylin Parker with 52 on 11 carries, including a 25-yard burst up the middle for Dartmouth’s first touchdown of the afternoon. Seniors Rashaad Cooper and Miles Smith combined to pick up 79 yards on 22 carries, while Kyler scrambled for 31 yards on eight attempts without being sacked.

Holy Cross finished the game with 209 yards on 53 plays, though 175 of those yards came in the fourth quarter with the game well in hand. Geoff Wade finished the day 20-of-31 passing for 196 yards and two touchdowns to go with the four interceptions. The ground game managed to gain just 13 yards and the defensive line dropped Wade four times for sacks, two courtesy of junior defensive end Niko Lalos.

Swann quickly established the defense’s dominance on the second play from scrimmage, snaring his first pick of the day — all of which came in the first half — at the Holy Cross 34. The offense drove down to the seven before stalling, but failed to put points on the board when the 25-yard field goal attempt slid wide to the right.

Freshman kicker Connor Davis got a reprieve on the next Big Green possession as Kyler completed his first five passes, including a 39-yard bomb to senior Drew Hunnicutt, one of his five grabs for a team-best 76 yards. That set up another 25-yard field goal, which Davis drilled for a 3-0 lead.

The second Swann interception at the Crusader 37 allowed Dartmouth to double its lead to 6-0 early in the second quarter. Davis converted his fourth field goal try of the day, booting the ball through the uprights from 38 yards out into a 10-mile-an-hour wind.

Parker finally took the Big Green into the end zone on the next Big Green possession, galloping in from 25 yards out to cap a 10-play, 68-yard drive for a 13-0 lead and 2:28 left in the half.

The defense came through once again, pushing Holy Cross back seven yards on three plays, and the offense got the ball back at its 43 with 1:18 on the clock. After Kyler converted three consecutive third downs with a 6-yard scramble sandwiched between a pair of completions, he found Estrada in the middle of field at the 11. With the clock winding down, Estrada broke one tackle at the 4-yard line and fought his way into the end zone with three seconds left for a 20-0 lead. The Crusaders took a shot at a deep pass after downing a squib kick only to have Swann leap up and snare the pass for his third pick.

Dartmouth did not let up after halftime as Holy Cross failed to produce a first down on three possessions in the third quarter. Kyler, meanwhile, found a wide-open Rempel for the first of three times on a 3rd-and-2 play-action pass, and the tight end dodged one defender along the sideline at the five before tip-toeing into the end zone for his first career touchdown and a 27-0 lead.

In the fourth quarter, the Big Green finished off an 11-play drive with a 13-yard toss to Rempel for their final points of the afternoon.

Wade finally found some daylight with a pass over the middle to Derek Mountain, who just beat the defense down the field for a 70-yard touchdown. Originally marked down at the two, a replay review determined he crossed the goal line before his knee touched the ground.

Sophomore DeWayne Terry Jr. had the last Dartmouth interception of the day in the middle of the fourth quarter, but Holy Cross added seven more points on a 9-yard toss to Tate Beachley with less than a minute to play.

Along with the four interceptions, the Big Green defenders had 10 tackles for a loss and broke up three other throws. Senior Jack Traynor led the squad with nine stops while classmate David Emanuels stopped eight Crusaders.

Ryan Brady led the Holy Cross defense with 17 tackles and Alex Johnson collected 13.

Dartmouth returns to Hanover next Saturday to host Penn in the Ivy League opener for both teams. The game will kick off at 1:30 p.m. and will be streamed live on ESPN+ with Tyler Murray and Matt Goldstein providing the call.


Notes: Dartmouth has won 12 consecutive non-conference games, extending its longest such streak since the Ivy League formed in 1956. … The Big Green improved to 40-37-1 all-time against Holy Cross. … Through two games, Dartmouth has forced seven turnovers and allowed 11 first downs. … The last Dartmouth player with three picks in a game was Sal Sciretto in a 23-6 victory over Princeton that clinched a tie for the Ivy League title back on Nov. 17, 1990.

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