If Dartmouth's 35-21 win over Princeton University on Saturday was a sign of things to come, then perhaps it is already time to get excited about the 2013 football season.
Behind the youthful and stellar play of freshman quarterback Dalyn Williams '16 and junior linebacker Michael Runger '14, the Big Green (6-4, 4-3 Ivy) denied the Tigers (5-5, 4-3 Ivy) an Ivy League title and finished with a winning league record for the second year in a row.
"A nice win programmatically," head coach Buddy Teevens said. "Our guys came out, in the second half in particular, and played hard on both sides, and some of the mistakes we made, on special teams especially, we corrected. It was a nice way to finish the season."
After falling behind 14-7 in the second quarter, Dartmouth scored 21 points to start the second half, all but sealing a third-place Ivy League finish before the end of the third quarter.
"We knew we made mistakes, and we knew we needed to correct them," Runger said. "From a matchup standpoint, we knew that the offense could move the ball and the defense could get stops, so we knew we needed to come out and just do our jobs."
Williams, who finished with 284 passing yards and four total touchdowns, said he took advantage of Princeton's man-to-man schemes and overly eager safeties.
On its first possession of the second half, Dartmouth knotted the score at 14 when wide receiver Ryan McManus '15 caught a lateral in the backfield and then tossed it 54 yards to fellow receiver Bo Patterson '15, who trotted into the end zone.
"Going the distance on that drive and putting points on the board was big for us," Teevens said.
After the Big Green defense forced a fumble, Williams converted on 53-yard drive to put Dartmouth up 21-14. Teevens said that the two-possession sequence was the turning point of the game.
The Big Green offense finished with 483 total yards, while the defense forced multiple takeaways two fumble recoveries and one interception behind Runger's season-high 17 tackles. The Dartmouth defense held the Tigers to only 262 total offensive yards and 14 first downs in the game.
Dartmouth's third-straight win over Princeton was also the last game for the Big Green seniors.
"The seniors have given so much to the program and put their hearts out there and been supportive of young guys coming up," Runger said. "They deserved it."
As the team now heads back for to Hanover for final exams and papers, Teevens said that this season's squad had a different attitude about them.
"This is the first time that my group really felt comfortable going in that we were a competitive outfit," Teevens said. "Each ball game, we had our chance to win, and we didn't win them all. You go back and look at the record, and that's something you kick yourself [for] in retrospect, but that's Ivy League football."