New Hampshire Football Report

Estrada, Dartmouth win opener

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Senior Drew Estrada racked up a career-high 235 all-purpose yards and caught a pair of touchdown passes to lead visiting Dartmouth (1-0) to a 35-6 victory in its season opener at Jacksonville (1-2) on Saturday afternoon. The victory was the Big Green’s 10th straight on opening day and 14th consecutive against a team from outside of the Ivy League.


Estrada did just about everything for Dartmouth, catching six passes for 104 yards — his first career 100-yard game — rushing three times for 79 yards and returning a pair of punts for 52 more. Sophomore tight end Joe Kramer hauled in two touchdown tosses as well — the first two catches of his career.

Three Big Green quarterbacks all proved effective in guiding the offense as the trio combined to complete 21-of-27 passes for 186 yards and four touchdowns while rushing 13 times for 62 yards. Senior Jared Gerbino connected on a steady diet of short passes, hitting on 8-of-11 throws for 39 yards and two scores; junior Derek Kyler aired it out a bit more with 111 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 7-of-9 passes; and senior Jake Pallotta took over in the fourth quarter and was 6-of-7 for 36 yards.

“I was very pleased to see all three quarterbacks run the offense well throughout the game,” Dartmouth coach Buddy Teevens said. “Jared threw the ball effectively, Derek got a chance to show he can run the ball as well, and Jake kept the guys focused in the fourth quarter and continued to move the ball. We were a little careless with the football [the Big Green fumbled three times and lost it once], which we hadn’t done during the preseason, so that’s something we’ll need to tighten up.”

The Dartmouth offense scored touchdowns on five of its first six possessions, quickly taking command of the game and leaving no doubt as to the outcome. Estrada got things rolling right off the bat by galloping 62 yards on a jet sweep on the game’s very first play from scrimmage. Four plays later, senior Caylin Parker pounded the ball across the goal line from a yard out and sophomore Connor Davis banged the ball off the upright and through for a 7-0 Big Green lead barely two minutes into the contest.

Estrada made his presence known again on the first punt return after Jacksonville was stymied on its first possession, returning the kick 32 yards deep into Dolphin territory. But the Green came up empty for the only time in the half when Jacksonville’s Clark Nasser stopped sophomore Zack Bair short of the marker on a 4th-and-1 run.

Although the Dolphins were able to advance the ball to midfield, junior Tanner Cross blocked a punt to give Dartmouth excellent field position once again. The Big Green took advantage of it this time, covering the 28 yards in seven plays, culminating on a 5-yard scoring strike from Gerbino to Kramer with under two minutes left in the opening quarter.

Jacksonville pushed into the red zone on its next possession, thanks to a 44-yard bomb from Calvin Turner to B.J. Byrd, but the drive stalled at the 11 on downs. Kyler took over behind center and promptly guided Dartmouth 89 yards down the field in nine plays. A 12-yard pass on third-and-9 to Bair kept the drive alive, and Estrada put the points on the board by hauling in a 26-yard throw in the end zone.

Gerbino returned for the following drive and methodically marched Dartmouth 13 plays down the field for another touchdown in the final two minutes of the half. Three times the Big Green converted on third down, the last being a 3-yard toss to Kramer in the back corner of the end zone and a 28-0 lead, which is how it stood at the intermission.

Dartmouth extended its lead to 35-0 on its first possession of the second half as Kyler threaded a needle between two defenders into the arms of Estrada for six points on the 13-yard connection.

Jacksonville’s lone points of the afternoon came on the ensuing drive that bridged the third and fourth quarters, lasting more than eight and a half minutes. Twice the Dolphins converted on fourth-and-long before Craige Saxton made a one-handed grab on a five-yard pass for a touchdown. The point after glanced off the left upright, however, and left Jacksonville with six points.

Dartmouth essentially ran out the clock over two drives, gobbling up nearly 11 minutes on the clock. Only a fumble inside the Dolphin 5 kept the Big Green from putting more points on the board.

The defense had a steady game with senior safety Ryan Roegge leading Dartmouth with seven tackles, while senior linebacker Nigel Alexander and sophomore nickelback John Pupel each had five. All three had one of their tackles go for a loss, as did linemen Jackson Perry and Seth Walter.

The Big Green finished the game with 427 yards of offense while the Dolphins posted 329, nearly 250 of which came after falling behind by the 28-0 score.

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