New Hampshire Football Report

Dartmouth enters Top 25

HANOVER — For the first time since ending the 2015 season ranked in both the STATS and Coaches’ FCS polls, Dartmouth College finds itself in the top 25 once again. One of just four undefeated teams remaining in the FCS, Dartmouth (5-0) is listed at No. 24 in the coaches’ poll, exactly where it ended the 2015 campaign.

The Big Green is knocking on the door of the STATS FCS Top-25 Poll as the second team listed among the other schools receiving votes.

Dartmouth has earned its place with a suffocating defense and an efficient offense, defeating each of its first five opponents by at least 20 points with the most recent a 42-0 blanking of Sacred Heart on Saturday night at Memorial Field. The Big Green is ranked first nationally in a number of statistical categories, including total defense (233.0 yards allowed per game), turnover margin (+1.80 per game), time of possession (34:48), completion percentage (72.2) and total first downs allowed (12.6 per game) among others.

Looking at the national statistical ranks in the top 10, the Green can be found among the leaders in scoring defense (9.2 points allowed per game, third), rushing defense (70.2 ypg, third), red zone defense (55.6 percent, third), passing efficiency (177.23 rating, fourth), passing efficiency defense (95.29 rating, fourth), interceptions per game (1.8, sixth) and kickoff returns (26.75 yards per return, eighth) as well.

Part of the reason for Dartmouth’s success stems from a deep and versatile roster. The Big Green doesn’t rely on one star player to carry the load; numerous players have stepped up at various times throughout the season. While sophomore quarterback Derek Kyler has a 74.2 completion percentage to lead the nation (and QB rating of 178.82 to rank third), he splits time behind center with junior Jared Gerbino, who operates more as a Wildcat QB. Gerbino leads the Big Green in rushing with 249 yards and five touchdowns, despite missing the first two contests, while sophomore Caylin Parker and senior Rashaad Cooper are close behind with 241 and 227 yards, respectively, and a combined five TDs.

The receiving corps is similarly balanced, led by senior wideout Drew Hunnicutt with 17 catches for 343 yards and two scores. Three others — juniors Drew EstradaHunter Hagdorn and tight end Connor Rempel — have between 12 and 14 receptions while totaling seven touchdowns between them. Having an offensive line comprised of five seniors helps the cause, headlined by a preseason All-American at left tackle in tri-captain Matt Kaskey.

As good as the offense has been, averaging 39.0 points per game, the defense might be even better. The only truly gaudy numbers belong to junior cornerback Isiah Swann, who leads the nation in interceptions (five) and passes defended per game (2.4). Again, the starting line is made up entirely of seniors with Jackson Perry third on the team with 20 tackles and a pair of sacks and Rocco Di Leo leading the Big Green with 5.5 tackles for a loss and three sacks. The top two tacklers are the other tri-captains, seniors Jack Traynor (32) and Kyran McKinney-Crudden (23).

Dartmouth takes its 2-0 Ivy League record to Columbia (3-2, 0-2 Ivy) Saturday for a game that will be televised on SNY and streamed live on ESPN Plus at 1:30 p.m.

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