Photo Credit: Paul Mecca

Princeton handles Dartmouth taking them one step closer to perfection

The Princeton Tigers football team set the tempo early, giving them a big win over Ivy League rival the Dartmouth Big Green (2-6) 17-14 at Princeton University in New Jersey. These two teams shared the Ivy League Championship with a record of 9-1 last season after Dartmouth defeated the Tigers at the end of the season. 

A huge sack from Princeton's Matthew Jester for a loss of 17 yards on Dartmouth's first drive gave Princeton excellent field position, which helped them put up points early. Starting at the Dartmouth 45-yard line, Princeton drove down the field on four plays, as running back Ja'Derris Carr ran for a 4-yard touchdown to give the Tigers the earlier 7-0 lead.

Princeton (8-0) got the ball back quickly with 10:28 remaining in the first quarter. Quarterback Blake Stenstrom showed his ability in both the running and passing games on Saturday. This drive was all Stenstrom leading them to a 6-yard touchdown on a keeper himself. Princeton drove 63 yards on 13 plays to give them a 14-0 lead with five minutes left in the first quarter. 

It was still very early in this game, but Dartmouth needed to get their offense going before it got out of hand. A 20-yard run by running back Zack Bair on the first play of their ensuing drive and two big completions by quarterback Dylan Cadwallader drove Dartmouth down the field 75 yards. Jace Henry finished the drive with a 6-yard touchdown run to make it a much-needed 14-7 at the end of the opening quarter.

Princeton drove down to the Dartmouth 12-yard line, but Ryan Butler fumbled and Dartmouth's Joe Heffernan recovered the football for Dartmouth, giving them a huge turnover down just one score. 

With 3:35 minutes remaining in the second quarter, Stenstrom drove Princeton down the field again after a huge completion to Dylan Classi for 28 yards bringing them to Dartmouth's side of the field. A few plays later, Stenstrom and Classi connected for the third time on their final drive of the half to get the Princeton Tigers in solid field goal range. Dylan Classi finished the game with eight catches for 107 yards. Kicker Jeffery Sexton capitalized, converting the 23-yard field, giving the Tigers a 17-7 lead going into the half.

Stenstrom continued to dominate in the passing game, completing his first seven passes to start the second half. The Tigers eventually found themselves 4th and five from Dartmouth 17. Deciding to be aggressive, Princeton went for it as receiver Andrei Iosivas caught the ball getting stuffed inches away from the first down.

Dartmouth also had an opportunity to get some points on the board on their first drive of the second half. Dylan Cadwallader used his arm to drive the Big Green down to Princeton's 15-yard line setting up for a Ryan Bloch 32-yard field goal, which was missed.

Princeton's offense in the second half did not put up any points but produced two plus 12-minute drives in the second half to kill over 14 minutes, which helped Princeton kill enough time giving Dartmouth the ball with 2:46 to play. Stenstrom connected when the Tigers needed him to convert a 10-16 3rd down conversion. Stenstrom ended up with 264 yards in the air and his huge touchdown run. 

Dartmouth's quarterback Jackson Proctor completed an eight-yard pass to Noah Roper for the score with only 17 seconds left to make it a 17-14 game. Dartmouth attempted the onside kick, but the Tigers recovered, sealing their eighth straight victory while getting revenge from last season. Dartmouth once again found themselves in a familiar position as this is now their fourth game losing by only one score. 

What's Next for Princeton

Princeton's last two opponents, the Yale Bulldogs (6-2) and the Penn Quakers (7-1) have only one loss in conference play. These will be challenging and physical games, but the Tigers will look to win out and repeat their 2018 season, finishing 10-0 and winning an outright Ivy League championship.