Red offensive woes continue, lose to Dartmouth at home for first time since ’98November 6, 2010 —
Two plays on the Red’s opening drive and two penalties later set the tone for a pattern of inconsistency, as the Red failed to climb the Ivy League standings in a 28-10 loss to Dartmouth at Schoellkopf Field Saturday afternoon.
The Red (2-6, 1-4 Ivy League) appeared destined to go on the board first midway through the first quarter, inside the Big Green (5-3, 2-3) red zone. However, freshman quarterback Jeff Mathews was hit from behind, fumbling the ball and turning it over to the Big Green.
According to the Roger J. Weiss ’61 head coach of football Kent Austin, the Red had chances to score early, but mistakes offensively have cost the Red to capitalize on drives throughout the season.
“We had our opportunities in the first half to score more points,” Austin said. “[But] that’s kind of been our identity so far this year. I mean we move the ball, we get a penalty, move the ball and get a holding call.”
The Red are currently 114th out of 117 FCS teams in points per game, averaging a measly 12.5 points a game, which to Austin has been the Red’s major inhibitor to their 2-6 season.
“We need to do better on offense to control the football and that’s our biggest issue,” said Austin. “We’ve got to score more points to help our defense.”
The Red had 188 yards of total offense, compared to the 347 yards put up by the Big Green, and the offensive line allowed ten sacks.
According to Austin, this puts Mathews in a very difficult position leading the offense, where sacks by the Big Green often put the Red in third-and-long situations.
“We’ve been a pretty good third-down conversion team, but [if] we can’t protect the quarterback, it’s going to be a long day,” said Austin.
The Red was trailing 7-0 early in the second quarter, but an Emani Fenton interception gave the Red the ball inside the red zone.
One play later, the Red had tied the game up at seven. The Red actually led 10-7 at halftime, ending on a positive note when Red kicker Brad Greenway nailed a 49-yard yarder to give the Red the lead just before halftime.
But the Red allowed the Big Green to score on the opening possession of the second half, which featured five punts, an interception and a turnover on downs on 44 yards of total offense.
Red tight end Ryan Houska could not help but praise the Big Green’s performance in the second half.
“I mean we came out [in the second half] and they answered and they had a nice [opening] drive,” Houska said. “I give [Dartmouth] all the credit in the world. They deserved it.”
The Red travel to New York City next week to take on the 3-5 Columbia Lions, before finishing their season at home against first-place and No. 19-ranked Penn.
According to Austin, the offense must improve if the Red is to have a chance against the Lions and an upset against the Quakers.
“Right now, we’ve got to…be creative enough on offense to put our players in a position to be successful…and help our defense,” said Austin. “It’s hard to win a game when you score 10 points.”