Chief Sports Editor
A week after a thrilling overtime victory over Yale, Holy Cross fell behind early and could not mount another second-half comeback against an Ivy League foe, as Dartmouth (2-0) prevailed over the Crusaders (1-3 overall, 0-1 Patriot League) last weekend at Fitton Field in Worcester, Mass. After defeating the 2017 Ivy League Champion Yale Bulldogs a week before, the Crusaders would have been disappointed not to put up a bigger fight against a Dartmouth team that finished third in the Ivy League last year.
The halftime score of 20-0 understates the dominance of the Big Green in the first half. Senior quarterback Geoff Wade threw an interception on the second play of the game to give Dartmouth excellent field position at the Holy Cross 34-yard line. After advancing inside the ten-yard line, first-year kicker Connor Davis missed a 25-yard field goal to bail out the Crusaders. On the ensuing Dartmouth possession, the offense again drove deep into Holy Cross territory and, this time, converted a field goal. Davis squandered his third chance of the opening quarter by missing another field goal from inside 30 yards on the ensuing drive.
However, Wade gave the ball right back to Dartmouth with his second interception of the day on the opening drive of the second quarter. Starting at the Holy Cross 37-yard line, the Dartmouth offense gave Davis a chance at redemption, which he seized to put the Big Green up 6-0 with a 38-yard field goal. After forcing a Crusader three-and-out, Dartmouth marched down the field for a ten-play, 68-yard scoring drive. Junior running back Caylin Parker culminated the drive with a 25-yard touchdown run up the middle to extend the Dartmouth lead to 13-0 with 2:28 remaining in the first half. The Dartmouth defense then forced another three-and-out, and raced 57 yards down the field to score another touchdown with two seconds left in the half to go up 20-0. Sophomore quarterback Derek Kyler found junior wideout Drew Estrada on a slant route for a 17-yard score, deflating the Fitton crowd just before the halftime whistle.
The Crusaders struggled to find the same energy against Dartmouth that helped them come back from a double-digit halftime deficit the week prior against Yale. Dartmouth extended its lead to 27-0 midway through the third quarter when Kyler found junior tight end Connor Rempel for a 32-yard touchdown. That combination connected again in the fourth, when Kyler rolled out to his right and found a wide open Rempel for an easy 13-yard dump-and-run, putting Dartmouth up 34-0. Wade recouped some confidence on the ensuing possession when he hit senior tight end Derek Mountain for a 70-yard touchdown that gave Holy Cross fans something to cheer about for the first time on the day. After throwing his fourth interception of the day, Wade connected with senior receiver Tate Beachley for his first collegiate touchdown, bringing the final score to 34-14.
Senior linebacker Ryan Brady recorded 17 tackles against Dartmouth, a career high and good enough to earn Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week honors. A week after being named Ivy League Defensive Player of the Week, Dartmouth cornerback Isiah Wade picked off Wade three times to duplicate that distinction and also earn STATS FCS National Defensive Player of the Week.
The Crusaders will look to get back to winning ways when they take on Patriot League foe Bucknell in the Homecoming Game this weekend.