The football team will put its perfect 3–0 record on the line Saturday when it faces Dartmouth (1–2, 0–1 Ivy) in an Ivy League matchup at Memorial Field in Hanover, N.H. Yale leads the overall series 53–37–6 and has won nine of the past 10 meetings, but the Big Green beat the Bulldogs 34–14 at the Yale Bowl last fall. The News’ football beat reporter explains three areas that the Bulldogs need to focus on to come away with the win on Saturday.

Maintain the momentum

Yale is off to its best start to a season since 2007. As the 9–1 2007 squad showed, the momentum from a hot start can carry through a season. Coming off three straight victories will help propel Yale as it continues into Ivy competition. By contrast, the Big Green is off to a rocky 1–2 start, including at quadruple overtime loss to Penn last weekend in its first Ivy matchup.

Yale has proven it has the ability to control the momentum during games, coming up with key plays when the game is on the line. Last week, after giving up its first interception of the season, the Bulldogs forced a sack and consequently a punt on the ensuing Cal Poly drive. To beat Dartmouth in Hanover, the Elis will need to maintain their confidence and continue to build on their success.\

Contain Williams

In his first game for the Big Green in 2012, quarterback Dalyn Williams threw for 228 yards and ran 119 yards for a total of 347 yards on his way to earning Ivy League Co-Offensive Player of the Week honors. The 2012 Ivy Rookie of the Year has completed 69 of 115 passes on the season for 793 yards and five touchdowns so far this season. While the Dartmouth attack is very balanced, with 53.9 percent or 824 of the season’s total 1,527 yards coming through the air, Williams is a versatile quarterback with an array of receivers to hit. Against Holy Cross, Williams completed passes to nine different receivers, and against Penn, he connected with seven. The young quarterback struggles under pressure, however. He has been sacked four times this season for 12 yards and has fumbled the ball three times on the year. If the Bulldogs can get to Williams while he still has the ball, they have a chance to force turnovers and get Yale’s fast-paced attack back on the field.

Make the defense keep up

The Big Green defense is not used to facing a high-paced or high production offense; when the Dartmouth D allowed 525 yards against Holy Cross in its second game of the season, it was the first time it had allowed an opposing team to accumulate that many yards in a single game in the past four years. The Bulldogs average close to 500 yards per game on offense at 486 yards and put up 566 offensive yards against Ivy opponent Cornell. The no-huddle offense allowed Yale to run 86 plays against Colgate and 81 against Cornell, while the Big Green defense faced 81 plays from Penn in a game with four overtime periods. Forcing Dartmouth’s veteran defense to keep up with Yale’s revamped and speedy assault will give the Elis an edge on Saturday.