New Hampshire Football Report

Fast start propels Dartmouth

ITHACA, N.Y. — After Cornell battled back from a 21-0 first-quarter deficit with 17 of its own in the second quarter, the 23rd-ranked Dartmouth Big Green (8-1, 5-1 Ivy) got a pair of 1-yard touchdown runs by junior quarterback Jared Gerbino after the intermission to pull away from the Big Red (3-6, 2-4 Ivy) in a 35-24 triumph on blustery Saturday afternoon at Schoellkopf Field.

Gerbino finished the game with 19 carries for 106 yards on the ground — his third 100-yard game of the season — to push him over 1,000 for his career. Senior running back Rashaad Cooper added 73 more on 14 rushes, one a 7-yard touchdown that gave Dartmouth a 21-0 lead late in the first quarter. The Big Green finished the day with 242 yards running the ball and 177 more through the air as sophomore quarterback Derek Kyler completed 12-of-20 passes for 167 yards and two scores.

It looked like Dartmouth, coming off a hard-fought 14-9 loss against Princeton last week in a battle for the top spot in the Ivy League standings, would run away with the game with three touchdowns in the first 15 minutes. Kyler threw a 27-yard pass over the top to converted lineman Jake Guidone, lined up as a tight end, who juggled the pass before securing it and crossing the goal line to start the scoring.

The next Big Green possession was brought about thanks to an interception by the nation’s leader in picks, junior cornerback Isiah Swann, his eighth of the season to set a new Dartmouth record. Kyler connected with sophomore tight end J.J. Jones III on a 22-yard scoring strike, and Cooper capped the 21-point flourish with his 7-yard scamper as freshman Connor Davis provided the PAT after each touchdown.

Momentum shifted right at the end of the quarter, however, when Cornell was facing a fourth-and-2 at its own 29. Dartmouth coach Buddy Teevens called a timeout with seconds remaining in the period to force the Big Red to punt into a swirling wind. But Cornell foiled the strategy by going for it and converting on a 3-yard keeper by Dalton Banks. When the second quarter began, the Big Red found some big life and covered 68 yards in just five plays, the last a 7-yard Harold Coles run into the end zone to put points on the board.

Dartmouth threatened to push its lead back to 21 points by driving down to the home 28 only to be denied when a Gerbino pass was picked off in the end zone by safety D.J. Woullard. That led to a 14-play possession that ended with a career-long field goal by Zach Mays from 43 yards that just cleared the crossbar. The Big Red then added a 21-yard touchdown toss from Banks to Coles in the final minute to close the gap to four at 21-17.

The third quarter more resembled the first as the Green were dominant, outgaining Cornell by a 109-32 margin. Dartmouth received the opening kick and covered 75 yards in 13 plays, the big one being a 34-yard completion to another tight end, junior Connor Rempel. Gerbino thought he had a 2-yard touchdown run only to have it overturned on review, which left the Big Green a yard shy of the goal line. He was not fazed, waltzing in untouched on the very next play.

After trading punts, Dartmouth took advantage of a sloppy play in which the snap caromed off a receiver in motion, and senior Kyran McKinney-Crudden fell on the loose ball at the Cornell 7, the first lost fumble of the year for the Big Red. Three plays later, Gerbino found himself in the end zone again for a 35-17 lead.

At the end of the third quarter, the Big Red pushed their luck on fourth down, having already converted four such plays, as sophomore corner DeWayne Terry Jr. shed a block on a bubble screen to drop the receiver for a loss and turn the ball over on downs.

Even though Dartmouth turned the ball over twice in the fourth quarter — once on an ill-advised pass into the end zone, the other on downs — Cornell could only manage one more touchdown, a 3-yard completion to Lars Pedersen with 3:52 to play. After senior Drew Hunnicutt secured the ensuing onside kick, Cooper ran three times to gain a first down and the Big Green were able to run out the clock.

Banks finished the day 28-of-40 throwing the ball for 263 yards and two touchdowns and one interception, plus ran for 43 yards on 12 carries. Coles had 102 all-purpose yards with 57 coming on five receptions and the other 45 on nine carries to lead the team in rushing. Owen Peters also caught five passes for 67 yards to lead the Big Red.

The Dartmouth defense, playing without senior captain Jack Traynor, was led by another linebacker in Nigel Alexander with 14 tackles while senior linebacker David Emanuels, whose brother played for Cornell two years ago, made 11 stops, both of which were career highs. Jake Moen had 1.5 sacks among his 2.5 tackles for a loss.

Cornell’s Lance Blass led all players with 15 tackles and Jelani Taylor, who had to sit out the first half due to a targeting penalty last week, still finished with 11.

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