It looked like deja vu all over again.
But unlike last week when Yale rallied late to top Holy Cross 23-22, what looked to be an heroic comeback orchestrated by quarterback Peter Lee ’02 fell short Sunday. Lee — who injured his ankle sliding in the second quarter — drove the Bulldogs down to the Dartmouth 12 with under two minutes to go and Yale trailing by five. The Elis had three attempts to gain 1 yard and a first down, but failed to convert. Head coach Jack Siedlecki said there was no one factor that cost the Bulldogs the game, but Yale’s 10 penalties proved costly on both sides of the ball and were a major difference Sunday.
Yale opened the third quarter with poor field position, and in their first series went three-and-out. After a Dartmouth touchdown, the Yale offense started its second drive of the third quarter on the 20-yard line.
With the help of a pass interference call against the Big Green, Lee marched the Bulldogs to the Dartmouth 37-yard line. But a key holding call backed Yale up 10 yards, presenting them with a first-and-twenty from the Dartmouth 47. Yale gained 19 yards on three plays, setting up a fourth-and-one from the Dartmouth 28. Lee hit a wide open James Keppel ’02 right between the numbers, but Keppel was unable to hang onto it, giving Dartmouth the football.
Defensive penalties proved just as costly, with two back-to-back pass interference penalties midway through the fourth quarter paving the way for Dartmouth’s final score. On first-and-ten from the Yale 25, Dartmouth quarterback Greg Smith fired a pass that Ryan LoProto ’02 broke up from behind. Though it looked as if LoProto batted the ball away before hitting the wide receiver, the officials threw a flag.
“You make a play, doing what you’re taught, and then you are penalized,” LoProto said. “It makes you back off because you can’t be as aggressive, thinking you will be flagged.”
The Bulldogs did not back off immediately, however. On the following play, Ray Littleton ’02 was called for pass interference in the end zone, advancing the Big Green to the Yale 4-yard line.
The play appeared to involve minimal contact from Littleton, and several Yale players questioned whether the ball could have been caught even without interference.
“I always thought the ball had to be catchable for a flag to be thrown,” LoProto said. “I guess that’s just a rumor.”
Siedlecki was more diplomatic.
“When  balls are thrown, there are going to be some pass interference calls,” Siedlecki said. “Was it catchable or not? I don’t know. I won’t go nuts about the officials. I won’t blame anything on anybody. They won a real close game.”