Princeton-Dartmouth has been one of the Ivy League’s most evenly matched rivalries over the years. The Big Green lead the all-time series by the slimmest of margins (42-41-4). Neither school has beaten the other in five consecutive seasons, but the Tigers could accomplish that feat with a win this year.
Winless Dartmouth has dropped its last three games by an average of more than 26 points, but Princeton head coach Roger Hughes insists those results mask the team’s improvement. Meanwhile, the Tigers are aiming to reverse a trend of decreasing efficiency in the passing game. Third-down conversions have been one point of emphasis, Hughes said. In the season’s first six games, Princeton converted 43.9 percent of its third downs; that rate dropped to 29.7 percent in the last three weeks.
Players to watch
Princeton tailback Jordan Culbreath ’10
Culbreath enters the Dartmouth game 70 yards shy of 1,000 rushing yards for the season. If he reaches the milestone, he would be the seventh player to do so in 140 seasons of Princeton football, joining Keith Elias ’94 (a two-time 1,000-yard rusher), Hank Bjorklund ’72, Walter Snickenberger ’75, Ralph Ferraro ’84, Judd Garrett ’90, and Cameron Atkinson ’02. “We’d love to get him a thousand yards,” Hughes said. “He certainly deserves it, and frankly, I think our offensive line and tight ends would take a lot of pride in that, if we could get him to that goal.”
Dartmouth sophomore wide receiver Tim McManus
McManus, one of three players to start at quarterback for the Big Green, has been more productive on the receiving end of passes. In the last two weeks, he has gained 240 yards on 20 receptions as the go-to target for freshman Conner Kempe. Four of the team’s 14 touchdowns this year have come from McManus (three receiving, one rushing).
Culbreath is the odds-on favorite to lead the Ivy in rushing yards this season. He enters the final week with 150 yards more than his nearest challenger, Yale’s Mike McLeod. … Will Thanheiser ’09 ranks third among Ivy receivers in receiving yards (814) and sixth in receptions (50). … Placekicker Ben Bologna ’10 has made 13 of the 14 kicks he has attempted since entering the lineup in midseason (5-of-6 on field goals, 8-of-8 extra points).
Around the Ivies
Harvard (5-1) and Brown (5-1) can secure at least a share of the Ivy title with a win this weekend. The Crimson host rival Yale (4-2) at noon Nov. 22, while the Bears host Columbia at 12:30 p.m. If both frontrunners falter, Yale and Penn (4-2) could join the cluster of champions. The Quakers face Cornell in Ithaca at 1 p.m.
On the Princeton team’s work ethic: “This team probably practices harder than our Ivy championship team of 2006. I know I’m going to get some alumni calls about that — Jeff Terrell [’07] will be on the phone tomorrow. But my point is they’ve really been a fun group to coach and a fun group to be around. … We’re looking forward to the opportunity to send this senior group off on a good note.”