Iconic as it always is at Yankee Stadium and that means college football as it was a Saturday afternoon. Two undefeated teams, Dartmouth and Princeton on the gridiron and the winner gets sole possession of the top spot in the Ivy League.
But this was all about Dartmouth. Their defense continued to be their story as they remained undefeated, 8-0, with a 27-10 win over Princeton. It was the second straight year the two schools came into their game nationally ranked, perfect 7-0 records, and the Ivy League title on the line.
The scholastic-athletes of both schools know the history when they walk through the halls on campus. The coaches tell them about the history and Saturday afternoon was no different.
They walked on the iconic Yankee Stadium turf in the Bronx and there was more history. It was 150 years ago, three days after the anniversary of Princeton playing Rutgers in the first college football game in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
“We spent a lot of time talking about the history,” said Princeton coach Bob Surace. “Our football program playing the first game.”
But this was the game his Tigers wanted in the Bronx. They came in having won 17 consecutive games. Kevin Davidson did not make this historic for Princeton. It was not an iconic game for the senior quarterback from Danville California. He threw for 210 yards and a touchdown pass to Graham Admonitis.
Two interceptions wiped away the Tigers accomplishments and their rank among the top FCS teams in scoring and total yards. They turned over their first four possessions and finished with 246 yards.
But for many on this Princeton team, losing has not been common. For many of their freshmen and sophomores, they have not experienced what it is to lose.
“Some of these freshmen and sophomores in this locker room have never lost a game,” said Princeton coach Bob Surace.
He applauded the Dartmouth defense that held Harvard last week to 96 yards in the final minute without the aid of a timeout. The BIg Green and their defense held the Crimson to a pair of field goals Harvard’s fewest points in a home game since a 6-3 Dartmouth win back in 1996.
“They have a perfect defense,” said Surace..”They scored on defense and a couple of field goals. They have 17 seniors. They won every one of those little battles especially the turnovers, the sacks. They are an excellent team. Credit goes to them.”
Many of the 21,506 in attendance that traveled up the Jersey Turnpike from Princeton did not expect their Saturday to see a winning streak stopped with a defense of that magnitude.
Davidson, the league leader in passing and touchdown passes, threw his 20th to Graham for three-yards with seconds left in the first half. That put Princeton on the scoreboard with their first six points.
It was about Dartmouth and that defense. Princeton could not do much except for a field goal in the third quarter. By that time, this iconic and historic game in the Bronx was just about over.
No it’s back to work for the Princeton Tigers with two more games against Yale at home and at Penn. A season not lost, but their first loss and time to regroup.
There will be more college football at Yankee Stadium. The 10th annual New Era Pinstripe Bowl takes place Friday December 27th with teams to be announced from the ACC and Big Ten Conferences.
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