Bulldogs Come Back to Beat Dartmouth

Klubnik's one-hand TD grab (Steve Musco image)
Klubnik's one-hand TD grab (Steve Musco image)

Erase Early Deficit in 21-13 Win

 

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Everything came together at the right time in the 100th meeting of the series as the Yale Football team registered a crucial, 21-13 win over Dartmouth at Yale Bowl in Ivy League action today.

The offense erased a 10-0 deficit with 14 straight points in the second quarter, the defense came up with big plays at key times while holding the Big Green to a season-low number on the scoreboard and the Eli special teams came through when needed the most to improve the Blue's Ivy record to 1-1 (1-3 overall).

Freshman tailback Alan Lamar, getting his first collegiate snaps in the backfield, ran 23 times for 180 yards and touchdowns of seven and 43 yards. He, Candler Rich and Dale Harris helped Yale roll up 241 rushing yards.

"It was just regular for me," said Lamar, the Parade All-American from Mississippi who finished five yards shy of Robert Carr's freshman school rushing record of 185 yards against Dartmouth on Oct. 7, 2007. "Coach believed in me and put me back there. I just tried to prove to him and everyone else here that I deserve to be here. I just did everything that I could for the team. I followed what the coaches taught me, looked for my reads just keeping my pad level low as I can."

Today was the best day for the class of 2020 with all three touchdowns coming from newcomers. In addition to Lamar's heroics in the second and fourth quarters, Reed Klubnik had a one-handed snare of a 14-yard Tre Moore toss with 22 seconds left in the first half that turned out to be the game-winning margin.

That put the Blue up 14-10 and they never lost the lead. That doesn't mean the game wasn't in question the rest of the way. The Big Green (2-2, 0-2), which had wins over New Hampshire and Holy Cross, was never more than a possession away from potentially tying the game.

"I'm very proud of this football team and how they responded. The first few games didn't go quite how we wanted. We pride ourselves on being able to deal with any situation. These guys proved that they are a mentally tough football team and I think today they proved they are also a physically tough football team," said Tony Reno, Yale's Joel E. Smilow '54 Head Coach. "Dartmouth is a great team, I have a lot of respect for Coach Teevens and their program. They've been a championship team the past few seasons. For us it was a great team win."

After Lamar's long TD sprint up the middle, where he broke three or four tackles over the first 15 yards and then beat three defenders to the end zone with 11:36 left in the fourth, the Yale defense rose to the occasion and stopped the last three Dartmouth drives with a cast of characters stepping up.

The biggest play came with 57 seconds left and the visitors driving for a score that would bring them to within a two-point conversion of a tie. Dartmouth junior quarterback Jack Heneghan dropped back to pass and fired over the middle for Hunter Hagdorn. Eli junior safety Hayden Carlson, who had a game-high 12 total tackles, jumped in front of the pass on the two-yard line and held on for the clinching defensive stop.

"It was a pretty serious drive," said Carlson, who had blasted the Big Green punt return man before the final possession. "We were dead tired. It was just a skinny post, nothing we hadn't seen before. We prepared for it all week and I was able to make a play on the ball and come up with the interception."

Dartmouth took the lead at 8:36 of the first on a 13-yard pass play from Heneghan to Stephen Johnston. The first of two David Smith field goals made it 10-0 late in the opening quarter.

A light rain began falling in the middle of the second quarter as Yale settled in and got more comfortable on the Class of 1954 Field. Steve Vashel's defense made big third and fourth-down stops before halftime that allowed the Elis to take the lead into the locker room.

One of those plays was a massive hit by senior Foye Oluokun (6-1-7), who had an interception and a nifty, 19-yard return in the third quarter. The Eli cornerback leveled a Dartmouth receiver over the middle.

"You 'punch them in the mouth' the first time, then throughout the game they kind of back down a little. It's really a mentality we had from the beginning, to take it to them," said Oluokun.

Moore finished the day with 20 completions in 32 attempts for 181 yards. His favorite target today was senior Myles Gaines, who enjoyed a career-high nine catches for 106 yards.

"Everyone is always preparing to be a starter, and being ready for the position I was thrown into today," said Gaines. "Because we prepare like that, I was able to be ready and have the success I had today. Over the past few weeks, Tre has gotten more comfortable with the offense…  with him maturing and our offense maturing, it has been really helpful."

Harris, a Yale senior, had a game-best eight solo stops (11 overall) in his first defensive play of the year. After three years of starting at corner, he moved over to tailback late in 2015 when injuries depleted the backfield. He was back on defense today when needed for the same reason, though he did run twice for nine yards on offense.

"I was told to go back (to defense), it wasn't too bad, I've been there before," said Harris. "I got notified this week to go back, it wasn't a big deal to me. Just hopping in and performing, scoring touchdowns is fun… hitting people is fun as well."

 

BULLDOG BITES

Click HERE for Reed Klubnik's highlight catch... Yale used the same five offensive linemen (Freshmen LT Dieter Eiselen and LG Sterling Strother, junior center Karl Marback and senior RG Mason Friedline and RT Beau Iverson) for the entire game and opened up some huge holes for the 241 rushing yards… Senior kicker Bryan Holmes split the uprights on a kickoff in the second quarter… Junior DT Nicholas Crowle had a big, 19-yard sack in the fourth quarter… Yale's Nissan Player of the Game went to Team 144 with honorable mention to Alan Lamar… The Bulldogs play at Fordham next Saturday at 1 p.m. before hosting Penn on Oct. 21 at 7 p.m.

 
 

Filed by Steve Conn, Yale Associate AD & Sports Publicity Director – steven.conn@yale.edu