By Greg Stevenson
The Dartmouth Big Green routed the Orange and Blue football team 43-20 in the home opener at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium on Saturday. The Bison led 20-9 at halftime but the Big Green put up 34 unanswered points in the second half to seal the win. The loss leaves the Bison (0-3) without a win in 2010.
“We always speak to our team about how the game is actually two games,” Head Coach Joe Susan said. “The first half and second half wind up being two separate entities. [Dartmouth] scored right before the end of the first half, received in the second half and drove down the field to score. Momentum shifted and we did not answer.”
Despite the lopsided victory, the Orange and Blue turned in their best offensive performance of the year, doubling their scoring output for the season. Rookies Brandon Wesley ’14 and Victor Walker ’14 provided the offensive punch for the Bison in the first half. Quarterback Wesley threw for over 200 yards and two touchdowns, while receiver Walker recorded over 100 yards receiving, including two big receptions to set up scores.
The Orange and Blue opened the scoring early in the first quarter, driving 60 yards in 12 plays, to set up a field goal by kicker Drew Orth ’12. Orth is the leading scorer for the Bison this season.
The Orange and Blue got the ball back three minutes later after an interception by Derrick Palmer ’14. The Bison capitalized on the Dartmouth mistake, as Wesley found Travis Friend ’14 for a two-yard touchdown, increasing the lead to 10-0.
It took Dartmouth over 22 minutes and 13 Bison points to find the end zone, cutting the Orange and Blue lead to 13-6 with less than seven minutes remaining in the first half. The Bison answered 40 seconds later as Wesley connected with Terna Ityokumbul ’13 for a six-yard touchdown, giving the Orange and Blue a two touchdown advantage.
Dartmouth cut the halftime lead to 11 with a field goal late in the first half, was enough of a momentum shift to get the Big Green going.
“In some ways, a young team with an 11-point lead at halftime might think it is going to be easy,” Susan said. “Thirty minutes is a long time in this game. We, as a staff, kept emphasizing that during halftime.”
The second half was a nightmare for the Bison, as Dartmouth recorded 310 total yards of offense and 34 points while the Orange and Blue scored no points. Dartmouth’s Nick Schwieger carried the offensive load, registering 273 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns, including the score that gave the Big Green the lead for good.
The Bison are looking forward to a much-needed bye week this weekend. With an explosive Cornell team next on the schedule, the Orange and Blue will be spending the open weekend preparing for their remaining games.
“The bye week will be very important for us to concentrate on fundamentals,” Susan said. “We will also try some new things offensively and defensively.”