PROVIDENCE, R.I. Derek Kyler threw for a career-high 303 yards and four touchdowns, and Isiah Swann intercepted a pass in the end zone with 17 seconds remaining to seal Dartmouth's 29-23 victory at Brown on Saturday afternoon and clinch a share of the Ivy League title. The Big Green finish the season with a 9-1 overall record and a 6-1 mark in the conference, while the Bears fell to 2-8 overall and 1-6 in the league.
Yale rallied for two touchdowns in the final 90 seconds of regulation, then defeated Harvard in double-overtime, 50-43, to tie the Big Green for the crown.
Kyler was sacked on fourth down at the Dartmouth 39 on the first play of the fourth quarter, giving Brown a golden opportunity to extend its 23-14 lead. But the Bears were stymied by the Dartmouth defense and forced to punt for the first time all afternoon. Kyler got the offense moving quickly, completing three consecutive passes to Hunter Hagdorn (12 catches, 152 yards, 1 TD) before connecting on his next two with Drew Estrada (career-high 14 grabs, 193 yards, 2 TD), the last a 9-yard scoring strike that closed the gap to two points at 23-21 with 10:16 to play.
Another Brown three-and-out allowed the Big Green to take over at their own 32, and again Kyler picked apart the Bears defense. The junior went 4-for-6 during the drive and teamed up with Estrada once again, this time on a 39-yard scoring strike, then added a two-point conversion on his throw to Hagdorn in the end zone for a 29-23 lead with 6:51 remaining.
The defense was then tasked to stop Perry, who finished the game throwing for 412 yards on 31-of-45 passing. After a 27-yard completion to L.J. Herriott (5 catches, 115 yards), the next two plays went nowhere and defensive end Niko Lalos sacked Perry on third down, leading to another Brown punt.
Dartmouth worked some of the remaining 4:40 off the clock with a first-down pass to Hagdorn, but ended up punting away to the Brown 33 with 2:13 still to play and the Bears with one timeout in their pocket.
Perry navigated Brown all the way down to the Big Green 14 before Lalos came up big against with a 15-yard sack. After burning the timeout with 27 seconds left, Perry went for the game-winner, but safety Niko Mermigas tipped the pass and Swann was there to cradle it to secure the victory.
"I thought our players showed some courage and resilience," said Buddy Teevens, the Robert L. Blackman Head Football Coach, who earned his 105th win at the helm of the Big Green, breaking the record previously held by the namesake of his position. "It wasn't looking good that first half and we came back and played hard. We had to make plays offensively and did so. Defensively, their quarterback made a lot of plays against us; it was tough to get him off the field. But in the end when we had to, we did.
"I'm very, very proud of our guys for their emotional and mental toughness," Teevens continued, "because it would have been real easy to just kind of say, 'Aw, this isn't going well,' after the Cornell loss last week. But a good win for everybody, good win for the college."
Brown drove into the red zone seven times in the game, coming away with points on five of those drives, but settling for Dawson Goepferich field goals inside of 25 yards on three occasions. After a 22-yard field goal in the first quarter, Perry boosted the Bears' lead to 10-0 midway through the second on an 18-yard throw to Emerson Logie.
Kyler answered back less than two minutes later, hitting running back Caylin Parker with a deep pass for the 39-yard score, and the teams went into halftime with Dartmouth trailing by three, 10-7.
Goepfrich started the third quarter with a 23-yard chip shot, but Hagdorn knotted the score by snaring a 24-yard toss from Kyler. Connor Davis then put the Big Green ahead with his 42nd PAT of the season, setting a new Dartmouth record.
Again Brown booted a 23-yard field goal to reclaim the lead at 16-14. On the next Bears drive, Perry completed three long passes before plunging into the end zone from a yard out to put Brown up, 23-14, setting up the Big Green fourth-quarter comeback.
Kyler finished the game 19-of-23 for his 303 yards and four scores, and combined with Jared Gerbino's 10-of-14 performance for 105 yards, Dartmouth ended the day with its first 400-yard game through the air in three years, also against Brown. The Big Green running game, which started the day leading the Ivy League in rushing, were limited to 31 yards on 25 carries.
The Bears had 487 yards of offense, over 100 more than the Big Green defense had yielded all season, but also struggled to run the ball, gaining 75 yards on 31 attempts.
Notes: Dartmouth has now won 19 Ivy League titles, more than any other team (Penn has 18) … the Big Green have posted a 9-1 record each of the last two years and have had nine wins in three of the last five seasons … Hagdorn entered the game needing 137 receiving yards to reach 2,000 for his career, and he became the sixth Dartmouth player to reach the milestone (2,015) … Davis ends the season having made 45 consecutive PATs, six shy of the school record held by 18-year NFL veteran Nick Lowery '78 … Estrada finished the year with 822 receiving yards, just the 12th time a Big Green player topped 800 … Dartmouth completed over 68 percent of its passes this season, a new team record.
Courtesy: Dartmouth Athletics