HANOVER, N.H. – Philippe Panico will remember his first collegiate field goal forever, his teammates might too. The sophomore kicker’s boot as time expired bounced off the right upright and went through from 19 yards away in Yale’s 23-20 Ivy win at Memorial Field that put the Bulldogs 2-0 in league play.
“It was a great snap and a great hold and it kissed the upright,” said Panico, who was clearly drained from the emotional ending.
The Elis (3-1), who have won eight straight against the Big Green (2-2, 0-2 Ivy), were in position to take the road win after senior CB Chris Stanley pulled the ball out of the hands of a Dartmouth runner at midfield.
“He (Nick Schwieger) was hanging the ball on his outside arm and I just grabbed it,” said Stanley, whose strip was his first career forced and recovered fumble. “It was almost like an exchange.”
Stanley also registered his first career interception to go along with three tackles.
Senior QB Patrick Witt, who completed 28 of 37 passes for 238 yards, and sophomore RB Mordecai Cargill (18-126) took over from there to set up the winning kick. Cargill, who had his first triple-digit rushing day, ran for 12 yards on a pair of carries while Witt, who took a big hit and never saw the play, connected with Jordan Forney for a 28-yard gain.
The visitors called timeout with four seconds left following Cargill’s final run.
“I wasn’t going to be the reason we lost today,” said Cargill, who was helped off the field by the trainers numerous times but played most of the second half when Alex Thomas (9-40) got injured.
The Bulldogs, who doubled up Dartmouth with 24 first downs and had 464 yards, took the opening kick and went 70 yards, the last 13 on a Thomas run along the right sideline. Dartmouth answered with a 37-yard field goal and a six-yard scamper by Nick Schwieger (26-128) to take a three-point lead early in the second.
The Blue was two-for-three on fourth-down conversions in the first 30 minutes. One miss gave the Green the ball at midfield and resulted in a score, while one make came late in the half – a pass to Chris Blohm over the middle – and led to Yale taking a 13-10 lead at intermission on Witt’s play-action pass to Shane Bannon (career-best six catches) from three yards out. Panico’s PAT, which could have been the difference in the game, was blocked.
Foley Schmidt’s second field goal of the day, a career-long, 45-yarder, evened the score with 3:33 left in the third.
Sophomore RB Javi Sosa, who came in when both Thomas and Cargill went down with injuries, made his first carry a big one. Sosa sliced through the line from seven yards out on his first collegiate TD run on the last play of the third quarter to put Yale up 20-13.
Big Green QB Connor Kempe (11-23, 181) had WR Michael Reilly (124 yards) open in the end zone for a moment but Stanley jumped with the big receiver and came down with his first career interception at 9:26 of the fourth quarter. “He had his hands on the ball too, but I pulled it away from him,” said Stanley.
Yale, trying to run out the clock and get out of trouble in its own end, suffered three holding penalties and was forced to punt out of its own end zone. Dartmouth DB Shawn Abuhhoff jumped all over the chance to even the game again with a 41-yard TD return at 6:19.
Panico, one of three on field goal chances in the game, was short on a 43-yard attempt that could have given the Elis the lead, but instead gave the home team another shot. But with the clock running down and Dartmouth driving, Stanley stripped the ball from Schwieger at midfield with 1:06 left.
Sophomore LB Will McHale led the Bulldogs with 10 total tackles, while senior DT Joe Young had a team-best four solos.