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NH College Football: Yale will test Dartmouth 'D'

New Hampshire Union Leader

October 04. 2017 10:12PM
Dartmouth linebacker Jack Traynor tackles Penn running back Abe Willows during the Big Green's win last Friday at Franklin Field in Philadelphia. (Photo by Gregory J. Fisher)

An intriguing matchup will take place in Hanover on Saturday (1:30 p.m.), when Dartmouth will face Yale in a battle of Ivy League unbeatens. Both teams are 3-0.

Dartmouth leads the Ivy League in scoring defense (15.3 points per game) and Yale leads the league in scoring offense (48.7 ppg).

Yale’s running game appeared to be in trouble when running back Alan Lamar, the team’s leading rusher last season, suffered a torn ACL during a preseason scrimmage, but Deshawn Salter and Zane Dudek have filled the void. Dudek, a freshman, has run for 360 yards and five touchdowns on 35 carries, and Salter, a senior, has run for 303 yards and seven TDs on 33 carries. They are the No. 2 and No. 3 rushers in the Ivy League.

“The Salter kid is a little bit thicker, but they’re both hard runners,” Dartmouth coach Buddy Teevens said. “They can both run inside, break tackles and catch the ball as well. They’re kind of interchangeable.”

Yale is averaging 7.59 yards per carry, which is No. 1 out of the 123 FCS schools. Dartmouth is allowing an average of 84.7 yards rushing per game.

Dartmouth has surrendered 46 points in its three games, victories over Stetson (38-7), Holy Cross (27-26) and Penn (16-13). Yale has built its record against opponents with a combined 1-12 record (Lehigh, Cornell and Fordham).

Teevens said much of Dartmouth’s success on defense stems from the team’s depth on that side of the ball.

“We play a lot of people,” he said. “We keep a lot of guys fresh. Our depth allows those guys to stay fresh through four quarters.”

Linebacker Jack Traynor is Dartmouth’s leading tackler (25) and was named the Ivy League’s Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against Penn. Traynor had a team-high nine tackles (eight solo) and one pass breakup to help Dartmouth hold Penn to 243 yards of offense.

The Big Green won that game when Wildcat quarterback Jared Gerbino scored the game-winning touchdown on a fourth-and-one play as time expired. Gerbino has run for 125 yards and two touchdown on 24 carries this season, and has completed 1 of 2 pass attempts for 11 yards.

Jack Heneghan, Dartmouth’s starting QB, has completed 47 of 68 passes for 417 yards and four TDs. He’s run for 61 yards on 19 attempts. Neither quarterback has been intercepted.

“Heneghan is probably more of a thrower than a runner,” Teevens said. “And Gerbino is a better runner than a passer, but both can do the other. Heneghan has been very unselfish. He’ll come off the field without complaining. Whatever ever it takes to move the football.”

The Yale defense is fourth in the Ivy League (20.7 ppg). The Bulldogs have 15 sacks in three games after recording 16 sacks last season. Dartmouth is ranked fourth in offense (27.0).

Ryder Stone became the 28th Dartmouth player to rush for at least 1,000 yards in his college career when he gained 50 yards on 11 carries during the victory over Penn. Stone, a senior, has run for 1,076 yards on 209 attempts..

Yale leads the series 54-40-6, but Dartmouth has won four of the last five games, including the last two played in Hanover.

“It’s two undefeated teams coming together, so there should be a lot of energy and enthusiasm,” Teevens said. “Obviously it’s a big game for both teams. The biggest thing is just do what we’ve been doing — be productive. The challenge is the same for them.”

Bridgewater State at Plymouth State, Saturday (1 p.m.)

The Panthers (4-1, 2-1) will be looking to turn in another strong defensive effort against Bridgewater State, (1-4, 1-2) which ended a four-game losing streak by beating Westfield State 28-9 last weekend.

Plymouth State has allowed 20 points in its four victories and ranks second in the MASCAC in scoring defense (11.4 points per game). Defensive back Zack Ziemba, a Manchester West graduate, is averaging 5.6 tackles per game and leads Plymouth State in that category.

Franklin Pierce at Post, Saturday (11 a.m.)

This is a battle between teams starving for offense. Franklin Pierce (1-2) ranks ninth (last) among CSFL teams in scoring offense (8.0) and eighth in yards per game (197.7). Post (0-2) is eighth in scoring (9.5) and ninth in yards (127.5)

Franklin Pierce has been outscored 105-24 in its three games and hasn’t put up a point in its last two contests. The Ravens were held to 82 yards of offense (59 on the ground) in last weekend’s 33-0 loss to Navy, a game played days after Franklin Pierce assistant coach Nick Seymour died in a car accident.

Post is last among CSFL teams in scoring defense (49.0).

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St. Anselm (0-5, 0-4 Northeast-10) and UNH (4-1, 2-0 CAA) both have a bye this weekend.

St. Anselm’s next game is Oct. 21 against Assumption at home. The Hawks currently rank 10th (last) among Northeast-10 teams in scoring offense (8.4 points per game) and eighth in defense (31.4 ppg.).

UNH will play at Stony Brook on Oct. 21. UNH receiver Neil O’Connor leads the CAA in receptions per game (8.0).