New Hampshire Football Report

Penn 23, Dartmouth 17

HANOVER  — The visiting Penn Quakers outlasted the Dartmouth Big Green in double overtime on Friday night as Trey Flowers ended the contest on a 1-yard touchdown run for a 23-17 triumph in the Ivy League opener for both teams.

Penn remained undefeated overall on the season at 3-0 in winning its league opener for the first time in six years, and the Big Green dropped its second straight overtime game to fall to 1-2 and 0-1 in conference play.


Flowers finished the game with two touchdown runs among his 15 carries for 51 yards. His biggest run came during the second overtime when he scampered 24 yards on the second play to carry the Quakers to the Dartmouth 2-yard line. Two plays later he had just enough momentum to get across the goal line, and the winning score was upheld after a lengthy review.

Speaking of a reviewed play, the game never would have gone into the second overtime without a play being overturned. Trailing 17-10 after Penn wide receiver Joshua Casilli caught a 5-yard touchdown pass from Aidan Sayin to begin the extra time, the Big Green had to respond in kind. Senior quarterback Nick Howard, who finished the game with 108 rushing yards on 24 carries, needed four plays to reach the end zone, the last a 4-yard keeper for his second touchdown run of the night. The crowd of 4,767 was initially stunned when senior Ryan Bloch’s low PAT attempt was ruled no good, but upon review, the replay showed the ball graze the top of the crossbar and skim through the uprights, knotting the game at 17.

Bloch was not as fortunate in the second overtime as a 28-yard field goal try was blocked by Grant Ristoff, leaving Penn needing just a field goal. Flowers took matters into his own hands, however, taking the handoff on all four plays to send the Quakers home victorious.

One week after having Sacred Heart force overtime thanks to a touchdown with little more than two minutes to play, Dartmouth came even closer to winning in regulation. Down 10-7, Penn had one last chance to tie the game when it got the ball back with 2:11 remaining and one timeout in its back pocket. A fumbled handoff on 3rd-and-1 nearly ended the drive before it had a chance to start, but Jonathan Mulatu got a favorable bounce back into his arms and covered up the ball. That led to the first of two fourth-down conversions to continue the drive into Big Green territory.

Finally, with seven seconds left, Penn faced 3rd-and-3 from the 18 and elected to send out its field goal unit, only to have Dartmouth call timeout twice in an attempt to ice the kicker. After the second timeout, the Quakers changed it up and sent the offense back on the field to take one last shot at the end zone. Sayin’s pass went through a Big Green defender’s outstretched hands but could not be hauled in by the receiver, but three seconds still showed on the clock, giving Graham Gotlieb the opportunity kick the game-tying field goal from 35 yards.

The game began like it would be anything but a defensive struggle as Penn marched down the field on the opening drive, covering 75 yards in 14 plays that lasted more than half the quarter. The key play was a 17-yard screen pass to Flowers on 3rd-and-17 in the middle of the field. That allowed Flowers to burst through the line from 3 yards out for a 7-0 Quaker lead.

Big Green running back Zack Bair began Dartmouth’s ensuing possession by breaking off a season-long 29-yard run on a night in which he became the 31st player in program history to surpass 1,000 rushing yards. But Dartmouth could only muster 26 more yards on its first three drives combined. Penn, meanwhile, was twice denied on fourth down inside the Big Green 30 before Howard got the offense clicking right before the half. The Green Bay native guided the Green 63 yards down to the Quaker 12 before Bloch was summoned to provide a 29-yard field goal as time expired to bring on the intermission.

In the second half, neither side could put points on the board as the teams managed a total of four first downs between them in the third quarter. The Dartmouth defense forced a third consecutive turnover on downs inside its 30 on Penn’s first possession as well.

Consecutive personal foul penalties on the Quaker defense in the fourth quarter proved costly as the Big Green utilized the 30 extra yards to help them traverse 62 yards in six plays. Howard found a seam through the left side and barreled his way across the goal line on an 11-yard keeper to give Dartmouth its first lead of the night at 10-7 with 9:24 remaining.

Penn failed to come up with a first down and punted away, and the Big Green held the ball for nearly six full minutes before attempting a 48-yard field goal. Freshman Ivan Hoyt had the distance, but his kick curled to the left of the uprights.

Dartmouth, which was second nationally with 350.5 rushing yards per game, still managed a respectable 193 on the ground but only 78 through the air on 12-of-23 throws for 271 total yards. The Quakers, meanwhile, got 204 passing yards as Sayin completed 25-of-38 on the night, plus added 139 on 39 rushes for 343 total yards.

Junior linebacker Macklin Ayers and senior cornerback Tyron Herring each had 12 tackles to lead the Big Green defensive effort, while the reigning Ivy League Defensive Player of the Week, Jake Heimlicher, led all players with 13 tackles for Penn two of which went for a loss.

Bair, who finished the game with 68 yards on 11 carries, reached the 1,000-yard milestone on his first run of the second half and finished the night with 1,017 in his career.


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