New Hampshire Football Report

Teevens named top Ivy coach

HANOVER — The Ivy League has announced its all-conference football teams as selected by the league’s coaches, and 19th-ranked Dartmouth had five players named to the first team and a total of 17 All-Ivy League honors, most in the Ancient Eight.

The conference also unveiled the Rookie of the Year and Coach of the Year awards with Dartmouth’s Buddy Teevens earning the latter honor for the second straight season, becoming the second coach to receive the honor twice since its inception in 2014.

The league also announced its Academic All-Ivy Team, which featured Big Green senior place kicker Connor Davis.

Picked to finish third in the preseason polls with four starters returning on offense and defense combined, the Big Green earned its second consecutive and league-record 20th Ivy title with a 6-1 record in conference play and 9-1 overall mark. One of 17 finalists for the Eddie Robinson Award given to the top FCS coach in the nation, Teevens won his fifth conference crown in 21 seasons at the helm. Over the past six campaigns, Dartmouth has posted a 9-1 record four times while earning three Ivy League crowns, and its 56 wins over the last seven years are six more than any other team in the circuit.

Three of the five players chosen for the first team came from the offensive side of the ball — quarterback Nick Howard, and offensive linemen Jake Guidone and Evan Hecimovich. The other two selections were linebacker Jalen Mackie (a finalist for the Stats Perform FCS Buck Buchanan Award as the nation’ top defensive player) and cornerback Isaiah Johnson.

A 6-2, 230-pound junior from Green Bay, Wisconsin, Howard was named to the team as a running back after serving as primarily a wildcat quarterback for Dartmouth this fall. He led the Ivy League in rushing yards per carry (6.3, 16th in the FCS), scoring (90 points, 10th in the FCS) and rushing touchdowns (15, fifth in the FCS), the last of which tied a 92-year-old program record. His 787 rushing yards ranked third overall in the Ancient Eight, and he also completed 11 of his 18 passes for 126 yards and a touchdown, a 31-yard strike which was crucial to the 20-17 road victory at Harvard.

Guidone, a 6-3, 300-pound left guard from East Walpole, Massachusetts, and Hecimovich, a 6-2, 275-pound center from Lisle, Illinois, each received their second All-Ivy honor (Hecimovich second team and Guidone honorable mention in 2019) after anchoring the offensive line as fifth-year seniors. The duo started every game and were instrumental in making the Big Green offense one of the most balanced and potent in the league with a conference-best 193.7 yards per game on the ground and 212.3 more through the air. And while no team in the circuit ran fewer plays on offense, Dartmouth was second in the league in total yards (4,060) to average nearly a yard more per play than anyone in the Ancient Eight.

As good as the offense was, the defense was even better, leading the conference in both scoring defense (14.7 points per game) and total defense (271.0 yards per game). The 6-1, 240-pound senior Mackie from Miramar, Florida, spearheaded the unit by leading the league in tackles per game (9.6) with 86 stops in nine contests. He also had the most tackles for the Big Green in seven contests, including a career-high 13 against Columbia and again in the 31-7 victory over Princeton that pulled Dartmouth into a first-place tie with the Tigers. The two-time Ivy League Defensive Player of the Week added 8.0 tackles for a loss, 1.0 sacks, an interception that he returned 28 yards, two pass breakups and three quarterback hurries.

Johnson, a lockdown senior cornerback at 6-3 and 205 pounds, got the attention of NFL scouts this fall with his combination of length, speed and instincts on the field. The native of Beverly Hills, Michigan, finished the year with 55 tackles, 2.5 for a loss, a team-high six pass breakups and game-clinching, 73-yard interception return in the win over Princeton. And during the critical 20-17 win at Harvard, four of his 11 tackles came on rushes and five more on passes of no more than five yards, helping to hold the Crimson to a season-low 223 yards of offense.

The seven second-team selections featured three from the offense — quarterback Derek Kyler, lineman John Paul Flores and tight end J.J. Jones III — and four from the defense — linemen Shane Cokes and Seth Walter, linebacker Marques White and defensive back Niko Mermigas.

Kyler, a 6-2, 180-pound fifth-year senior from DeKalb, Illinois, led the Ivy League with a 70.7 completion percentage — the highest ever at Dartmouth and second highest in both the FCS this year and Ivy League history — and a 162.66 passing efficiency (fourth in the FCS). He threw for 1,972 yards, third in the league, while connecting on 17 touchdowns with just a single interception, easily the best ratio in the league and another school record. He ends his Dartmouth career with records for completion percentage (69.3) as well as passing efficiency (164.55), which is also the highest among any current FCS quarterback. His 42 touchdown passes rank third on the Big Green all-time list, while his 4,789 career total yards rank fifth and his 4,409 passing yards are eighth. In the 30 games that he played behind center, Dartmouth enjoyed a superb 27-3 record, going 9-1 each of those three campaigns.

The second of three brothers to play on the offensive line for Teevens at Dartmouth, Flores is a 6-5, 295-pound left tackle who started all 10 games protecting Kyler’s blind side so he could produce those efficient and accurate numbers. The native of Arlington, Texas, also helped pave the way for Howard and the Big Green running  backs to be the most effective ground game in the league each of the last two seasons with Flores starting all 20 games.

Jones, a 6-2, 220-pound fifth-year senior from Tracy, California, was an excellent blocker with good hands, making him an ideal tight end for the Green. He caught 10 passes on the season for 146 yards and a touchdown that was the last catch of his career, going for 24 yards in the title-clinching, 52-31 victory at Brown this past Saturday.

Cokes, a 6-3, 275-pound junior from Dayton, Ohio, along with Walter, a 6-3, 255-pound fifth-year senior from Longboat Key, Florida, were important figures on the defensive front that replaced every starter from 2019. A defensive end, Cokes led the Dartmouth linemen with 32 tackles with 5.5 going for a loss and 4.0 sacks. He was particularly important to the win over Princeton, producing career highs of seven tackles and 2.5 sacks. Walter, meanwhile, did most of his work on the inside at nose guard, credited with 29 tackles with 7.0 for a loss and 3.0 sacks over the course of the season. His season-high for tackles was six in a 24-17 overtime triumph over Yale, in which he also batted down a pass at the line of scrimmage.

One of Dartmouth’s most formidable pass rushers was the 6-2, 210-pound junior linebacker White. The native of Glendale, Arizona, led the Big Green with 9.5 tackles for a loss and 5.0 sacks as part of his 40 total tackles on the year. Like Cokes, White also came up big in the key showdown with Princeton, posting a career-best 10 tackles while contributing 1.5 sacks and breaking up a pass as well.

Mermigas, the only defensive player on the squad with All-Ivy recognition previously with his honorable mention in 2019, was already well-known throughout the league as a hard-hitting strong safety, and teams mostly did not challenge him. Starting all 10 games, the 6-0, 200-pound fifth-year senior from Wexford, Pennsylvania, collected 23 tackles, broke up one pass and intercepted one during the Ivy opener at Penn, a 31-7 victory.

Five Big Green players also earned honorable mention: senior offensive lineman Calvin Atkeson who missed just one game at his right guard position as part of the formidable front for the offense; sophomore wide receiver Paxton Scott who led Dartmouth with 46 catches, 505 receiving yards and four touchdowns in his first year of college ball; senior tight end Robbie Mangas who caught eight passes for 112 yards and a touchdown; the Academic All-Ivy selection Davis who in seven games was 7-of-9 on field goals with a career-long of 51 yards and converted all 30 of his PATs, extending his Big Green record to 70 consecutive makes; and junior return specialist Jamal Cooney who led the Ivy League with 208 punt return yards and was fifth nationally in punt return average (13.9 yards per return).

The Rookie of the Year went to Columbia sophomore quarterback Joe Green, who was fourth in the league in passing yards with 1,598 and fifth with 10 touchdown tosses. The offensive and defensive finalists for the Bushnell Cup, the Ivy League’s Player of the Year awards, will be announced on Tuesday, Nov. 30, with the winners being unveiled on the ninth floor at the New York Athletic Club on Central Park West with the National Football Foundation co-hosting the event at 12:30 p.m. (EST) on Monday, Dec. 13.


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