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Dartmouth Men Get By Tough Harvard Side

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Dartmouth Men Get By Tough Harvard Side

Dartmouth attacks. Alex Goff photo.

While Dartmouth is shooting to get back to the top of the Ivies, Harvard met them in the first game of a new regime.

The Crimson have a new full-time coach in Colton Cariaga (late of Life University) and stronger alumni backing to help get them in the same conversation as the Big Green or defending NCR D1 champs Brown. But major change will take time as Cariaga just got started working with his charges.

Friday's game, them, was really between an established Dartmouth and a Harvard side trying to get there.

Dartmouth controlled the field position early, going to the boot and chasing well to pin Harvard in their end. Cariaga's expectation that players work hard and not give up on a play was evident as the Crumson held on for about 15 minutes, making enough tackles, forcing turnovers, and kicking clear multiple times. But Dartmouth, paced by the likes of Abe Kamara and and Luke Morrow, countered well.

Harvard, however, was unable to work through a long period of phases if only because Dartmouth got over the ball quickly and frequently was able to turn the ball over.

Finally a counter-attack worked for the Big Green as they raced down the left sideline, the forwards consolidated well, and big center Gabe Riordan crashed through.

Riordan and Kamara worked well in the centers and they together set up an attack that was eventually foiled by a knock-on at the goalline. 

But eventually a scrum under the posts

Off a scrum under the posts Dartmouth scores on an eightman pick from Luke Wilson. Harvard responded by putting Dartmouth under pressure after a dropped restart. Hooker Alex Aldrich produced a big carry and Conor Burns was elusive with the ball, but Dartmouth held on.

Those little connections are crucial and a mist-timed pass from Harvard allowed Riordan to charge in, scoop up the ball, and race in to score.

Up 21-0, Dartmouth was in control and scored off some consistent pressure to make it 26-0.

In the second half, Dartmouth had two promising attacking lineouts only to be called for accidental offside. (We checked with the ref and the call was an interesting one players would do well to remember—if the opposition does not engage the maul, then the ballcarrier has to hold onto the ball, or pass it out of the maul to end the maul. But if the ball is funneled back within the maul when no one is defending, that's obstruction.)

In the end Harvard battled hard and made Dartmouth work for their tries.

Harvard had squandered a scoring chance or two in the first half but late in the game they were able to work one over. Dartmouth 43 Harvard 7.

Dartmouth Head Coach Kyle Sumsion said he wasn't happy about his team's number of turnovers—they lost far too much possession in the breakdown. But they also looked quite polished at times and showed good patience when not everything went their way.

Adrian Guzman was a sparkplug at scrumhalf and did very well to get the forwards working hard. Robbie Owen at No. 8 and Burns at center were quite effective. 

Dartmouth got a good showing from that center pairing of Riordan and Kamara (Kamara's kick chase was quite good), The front row of Jack Swords, Jake Headrick, and Federico Goudie got plenty of work done and set up a try for Wilson on an eight-man shove, which you rarely see these days. 

Certainly the Big Green is looking to get back on top over their Ivy League rivals Brown, but they also know to do that they can't give up possession in the breakdown. They did play very smart and they do have athletes.

For Harvard, it was a first step in a long journey, but one full of optimism.