New Hampshire Football Report

Dartmouth downs Brown

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The 20th-ranked Dartmouth football team successfully defended its Ivy League title and clinched a share of the conference championship today, defeating Brown on the road, 52-31. The Big Green (9-1, 6-1 Ivy) shares the crown with Princeton, which defeated Penn this afternoon, 34-14, to finish with an identical record.

Dartmouth has won back-to-back titles for the first time since winning three in a row from 1990-92 and now owns 20 league crowns, more than any other Ancient Eight team.


Fifth-year senior quarterback Derek Kyler completed 18-of-24 passes for 215 yards and three touchdowns, plus ran for a career-high 79 yards on just six carries with another score to lead the Dartmouth offense to its highest output of the season. His tandem partner behind center, junior Nick Howard, ran for 80 yards and two more scores, giving him 15 rushing touchdowns on the season to tie a Big Green record that was set 92 years ago.

Dartmouth piled up 539 yards of offense, including a season-high 324 on the ground, averaging nearly 10 yards per carry. Junior Noah Roper amassed 66 yards on four carries and senior Keegan McHugh breaking free for a 65-yard touchdown run.

The Big Green jumped out to an early a 7-0 lead by stopping Brown on three plays before marching 61 yards in 10 plays, ending on a Howard 1-yard bull run through a Brown defender.

But Brown answered with a methodical, 17-play, 75-yard drive that featured conversions on third down four times and another on fourth down. Allen Smith matched Howard’s score with a 1-yard run as he bounced off the middle of the pile and found the left side wide open, tying the game at 7-7 late in the first quarter.

After three straight possessions without a first down for either team, the Bears gambled on 4th-and-4 at their own 46. E.J. Perry — who ended the day 35-of-48 for 258 yards and a score — completed a 20-yard pass to Graham Walker, one of his 11 catches for 103 yards on the afternoon. Four plays later, Perry connected with Walker again for a 13-yard touchdown and a 14-7 lead with 10:01 on the clock in the second quarter.

That lead was short-lived, however, thanks to a 60-yard scoring strike from Kyler to a wide-open Roper downfield less than a minute later, the longest completion of the season. And when Brown gambled again on 4th-and-1 at its 34, Dartmouth proved up to the challenge, stuffing the run at the line to take over on downs. Following three rushes and a first down, Kyler went to the air again, scrambling to his right before finding junior Jonny Barrett in the back corner of the end zone, putting the Big Green back on top, 21-14, with 5:43 still to play in the half.

Brown threatened to tie the score again, but was forced to settle for a 36-yard field goal with 3:24 still to go to the intermission. A Howard pass was picked off, but the Bears could not gain a first down and punted away. The Big Green had just one minute without any timeouts to try and add to their lead, and they managed to drive to the Bears 22 before senior Connor Davis split the uprights on a 39-yard field goal as the horn sounded, giving the Green a 24-17 lead going into the locker room.

Dartmouth hit even more quickly in the second half than it did to start the game. A Howard run of 11 yards was followed by a 29-yard sneak by Kyler, matching a career long for the quarterback. On the very next play, Kyler zipped a pass across the middle to fifth-year senior tight end J.J. Jones III for a 24-yard touchdown toss and a 31-17 lead less than three minutes into the third quarter.

The Big Green offense continued to roll, covering 89 yards in 10 plays, one of which was a 46-yard gallop by Roper. Kyler finished off the drive with his legs, faking a handoff and running 7 yards across the goal line, breaking a tackle along the way. Then after pushing down to the Bears 1-yard line by the end of the third quarter, Howard finished off another scoring drive with his second touchdown run of the day, tying the Dartmouth single-season record set by Al Marsters in 1929 and ballooning the bulge to 45-17.

Twice in the fourth quarter, Brown was able to cover 75 yards in 14 plays for touchdowns. But it took the Big Green just two plays to cover that distance in-between thanks to McHugh’s 65-yard run, the longest Dartmouth scoring scamper of the season.

Fifth-year senior linebacker Tanner Cross led the Big Green defensive effort with a career-high 13 tackles, 1.5 going for a loss. Even though Brown posted 394 yards of offense, the most against Dartmouth all season, that total was 57 yards below its season average. The Big Green nearly doubled the Bears’ average yards per play (9.0 to 4.6).


Notes: The most recent team to win the league title  consecutive seasons was Penn in 2015-16. … Kyler finished the season with 1,972 passing yards, 17 touchdowns and one interception while completing a Dartmouth-record 70.7 percent of his passes (169-of-239). … For his career, Kyler was 362-of-522 (69.3 percent, another Dartmouth record) for 4,409 yards and 42 touchdowns with six picks. … Howard’s 90 points are tied for the fourth most in any season in Big Green history. His 787 rushing yards are the most by a Dartmouth quarterback ever and his 6.30-yard average per carry is the third highest ever at the school.


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