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Dartmouth rallies, holds off Yale

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HANOVER, N.H. -- Dartmouth rallied from a four-point halftime deficit for a 20-13 victory over Yale on Saturday in an Ivy League football game at Memorial Field.

Dominick Pierre carried seven times during a 10-play scoring drive, including six yards for a game-winning touchdown with 10:11 remaining.

Dartmouth (2-2, 1-1 Ivy) had a chance to add to its lead, but Riley Lyons missed a field goal attempt for the second time in the game, this one from 32 yards with three minutes remaining.

However, Tyler Varga of Yale lost a sideline fumble on a hit by cornerback Chase Womack a minute later. Linebacker Mike Banaciski recovered at Yale's 23-yard line and the Big Green ran out the clock.

"It looked like (Varga) was spinning in the air and they got a helmet or a hand on it," said coach Tony Reno of Yale (3-1, 1-1). "He actually came down out of bounds but the ball had already come out."

Dartmouth, which lost at Pennsylvania last week in four overtimes in the longest game in league history, rallied for a crucial victory that keeps the Big Green in the hunt for its record 18th Ivy title.

"We've turned a corner emotionally, because our guys don't get down," coach Buddy Teevens of Dartmouth said. "To finish off the fourth quarter with 11 minutes of possession time, that's what we had to do."

Said Reno: "Everything from dropped balls to missed passes to missed tackles, it all goes together as the missed opportunities we had to make plays in the game."

Dartmouth took a 6-0 lead early in the second quarter when quarterback-turned-tight end Cole Marcoux made a lunging, one-handed catch for a touchdown on a pass from Dalyn Williams.

Kyle Cazzetta of Yale kicked a 29-yard field goal eight minutes later and quarterback Henry Furman ran 17 yards for a touchdown four minutes before halftime and the Bulldogs led, 10-6, at the halftime.

Another Cazzetta field goal, this one from 32 yards, lifted the Bulldogs' lead to 13-6 with five minutes expired in the third quarter, but Dartmouth answered on Williams' 32-yard touchdown pass to Bo Patterson three minutes later.

Lyons added the extra point for a 13-13 tie.

The Big Green answered with a 10-play, 53-yard drive that consumed nearly four minutes. The only pass was a crucial, third-down completion to Marcoux and Pierre carried seven times for 40 yards during the march, including the touchdown.

"We struggled a little bit in the first half, but we realized we weren't being as physical as we usually are," Pierre said of the home offense. "I knew coach was going to ride me to get things going."

Yale defensive end Beau Palin tipped his cap to Pierre, who during the game became the third Dartmouth runner to eclipse 2,000 yards in career rushing, behind Nick Schwieger and Al Rosier.

"We absolutely did not underestimate him," Palin said. "We just didn't do our jobs and he took advantage. He runs hard and has strong legs."

Dartmouth has won two consecutive home games against Yale for the first time since 2001-02. That latter game was the Big Green's last defeat of the Bulldogs in Hanover.

Pierre rushed 37 times for 167 yards and a touchdown, and Williams completed 14-of-30 passes for 188 yards and two touchdowns.

Varga carried 20 times for 64 yards, his lowest rushing output of the season. Furman completed 15-of-32 passes for 144 yards and had a pass intercepted.

Dartmouth won the time-of-possession battle by more than 10 minutes but its kicking game is a mess. Lyons has converted on only 2-of-9 field goal attempts this season and reserve Alex Gakenheimer had a conversion try blocked.

"I'm the kicking coach and I'm scratching my head right now," Teevens said. "We've got to generate some confidence in our (kickers) because it affects the mindset of the team when you drive the ball a distance and don't put it through. We've got to figure it out."

NOTES: The game was nationally televised on Fox College Sports. ... Dominick Pierre became the third Dartmouth player to rush for 2,000 yards in his career and went over 100 yards for the seventh time. ... Dartmouth wide receiver Ryan McManus missed his second consecutive game because of a concussion, but position mate Victor Williams played despite not practicing during the week. ... As is now the trend in college football, Yale personnel held aloft rectangular signs divided into quarters to help signal offensive players. One of the symbols was the old NHL Hartford Whalers' logo, another was a barbecue grill and a third was a minion cartoon character from the children's movie "Despicable Me." ... Former Dartmouth linebacking great Reggie Williams was honored at halftime and blew kisses to the announced crowd of 10,983.
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