Football preview: Princeton vs. Dartmouth

In the last game of his first season as head coach of his alma mater, Bob Surace ’90 will be faced with history. And not the good kind.
 
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Surace’s Tigers will be aiming to avoid their worst season ever this Saturday. A loss would drop the team to 1-9 and 0-7 in the Ivy League. Never has Princeton won only one game in a 10-game season, and never has it lost all seven of its Ivy games. A remarkable rash of injuries has been the primary culprit in the team’s failings, but that will be little comfort for the head coach if he is forced to look back on a winless Ivy season in his first campaign.
 
But all is not lost. Despite its setbacks, Princeton played with poise and confidence last week. The Tigers gave a heavily-favored Yale team all it could handle, falling just short in an emotional 14-13 defeat. The defense, which has been particularly ravaged by injury, had its best performance of the season. The Tigers surrendered only one defensive touchdown and gave up season lows for total yards (299) and rushing yards (62). A similarly inspired performance against Dartmouth could secure Princeton’s first win since September.

 
History
 
After six straight wins, Princeton has finally overtaken Dartmouth and leads the overall series 43-42-4. This year marks the first time the Tigers have led the series since leading 29-28-3 following the 1980 season. The Tigers have not lost to the Big Green at Princeton Stadium this decade.
 
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Brian Mills ’14 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Players to watch

 
Princeton running back Brian Mills ’14 
The freshman Mills earned his first career start last week in place of the injured Jordan Culbreath ’11. A strong running game will be key against a Dartmouth team that also likes to run the ball and control the clock. The Big Green isn’t particularly adept at run defense, having given up an average of 144 rushing yards per game. This could be a confidence-boosting game for Mills and could help propel him into next season, when he will compete for the starting job.
 
Dartmouth junior running back Nick Schwieger
Schwieger is undoubtedly the Big Green’s best player. The junior running back from Massachusetts is sturdily built (5 feet, 10 inches, and 210 pounds), and has trampled opponents all season. He’s carried the ball 216 times for 1,028 yards and 11 touchdowns. He also is the team’s second leading receiver, with 26 catches for 201 yards.
 
Roster notes
 
Last week, left tackle Hanur Kim ’13 was moved to center and junior Chris Grous started at left tackle. The change was made following an injury to freshman center Joe Goss. It’s possible that Princeton will stick with the change, or move Kim back to left tackle and insert senior Michael Crowder at center. Otherwise, Princeton has no new injuries.
 
Around the Ivies
 
Brown knocked off Dartmouth 35-28 in the Big Green’s home finale. Columbia held off Cornell 20-17 at home. Penn smashed Harvard 34-14, clinching at least a share of its second consecutive Ivy League title. If Penn were to lose at Cornell and Yale were to defeat Harvard, Penn and Yale would share the title. Otherwise, the Quakers will be outright champions again.
 
Final quote
 
“Jon [Olofsson] has been so consistent all year long. He’s a very good tackler, he’s a tough young man. You love this kid. Just a guy who does his job.”
– Head coach Bob Surace ’90 on middle linebacker Jon Olofsson ’11, who was named Ivy League Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against Yale.