Last week’s 24–10 victory at No. 18/19 Cal Poly last week improved Yale football’s record to 3–0, its best start to a season since 2007. Yale will put that winning streak on the line against Dartmouth tomorrow.
The Elis returned home this week from an almost 3000-mile trek to face the Cal Poly Mustangs, but will hit the road again to face Dartmouth in Hanover, N.H. The Big Green enter the contest on Saturday 0–1 in the Ivy League after a heartbreaking and record-breaking quadruple overtime loss to Penn last weekend. For both teams, there is a lot on the line.
“It’s a must win game for both teams,” quarterback Hank Furman ’14 said. “We have a bone to pick with the entire league after last year, and Dartmouth can’t take another Ivy loss this early in the year. It will be a great football game.”
The Bulldog defense must continue to prove its mettle facing the talented Dartmouth offense.
Sophomore quarterback Dalyn Williams is fifth in the FCS in yards-per-game and can run with the ball as well as throw it. In 171 plays, he has racked up 1076 yards. He gained 793 of those yards through the air.
“Dartmouth has a very good offense — a solid run game and a talented quarterback,” captain and defensive end Beau Palin ’14 said. “We must stop the run to make them one dimensional and win the turnover battle.”
Although Yale will need to continue to battle on defense, it has a new offensive weapon that was missing from last season’s Dartmouth contest: All-American candidate Tyler Varga ’15. The tailback was held out of last year’s game against the Big Green after concerns arose about Varga’s eligibility. He was able to return to the field the next week, but was listed as a sophomore from then on. He played his freshman year at the University of Western Ontario.
Varga is the only running back in the top 50 FCS players for rushing yards that has only played three games. He ranks third in the FCS in yards per game.
With Varga in the backfield for the Bulldogs, Yale will have the opportunity to continue to run a versatile offense managed by Furman’s quick thinking on the field.
“[Furman] is making really good decisions,” head coach Tony Reno said about his senior signal caller. Furman has thrown five touchdown passes to just one interception while completing 69 percent of his passes for 678 yards.
While the Bulldogs are 3–0 on the season, players on the team said that they are not getting ahead of themselves. Instead, the Elis have continued to push themselves in practice to gear up for more Ivy competition.
“We’re just trying to polish our entire operation,” Furman said. “We’ve had a good start, but that means nothing if we look too far down the road. This week we’re focused on a huge league game in Hanover.”
Yale started its season ranked second-to-last in the preseason Ivy polls, but has since demanded respect for its impressive start. Palin attributed the continued success and development of the team to the team’s nose-to-the-grindstone work ethic.
“It is essential that we improve on executing in all phases of the game this Saturday — offense, defense and [the] kick game,” Palin said. “A team is only as good as how much they improve week to week.”
The Yale-Dartmouth and Harvard-Cornell games will be the only Ivy League contests this weekend. The Bulldog-Big Green matchup will kick off at 1:30 p.m. and will be covered live on FOX College Sports Central.