Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Rivalry Week(s): Dartmouth-Princeton

You don’t think of Dartmouth-Princeton as a white-hot rivalry, but there’s often something big at stake when these teams face off — like, oh, an Ivy title or an undefeated season — usually on the final week of the season. 
Dartmouth leads the series 47-43-4 and has won the last five games -- including Saturday's 41-10 thumping -- after dropping the previous six.
Some of the many highlights from this underrated rivalry:
1950: The Day of the Hurricane
So there was this little hurricane going on outside that killed 278 people and caused more than $400 million in property damages. Let’s have a football game anyway! An alleged crowd of 8,000 braved genuinely dangerous conditions to watch Princeton go for an undefeated season.
The field was drenched in standing water. Let me repeat this quote from Princeton fullback Jack Davison, in A Century of Dartmouth Football (1980): “The officials had to hold the ball and hand it to the center when he was ready to snap it,” lest it would float away. 
The Daily Princetonian offered this analysis after the game: "Let's face it. The game Saturday was not football; it was much more like water polo played in a wind-tunnel."
But Princeton, led by future Heisman trophy winner Dick Kazmaier, won 13-7.

The headline from the Daily Prinetonian after Princeton's
water-polo win over Dartmouth.

1965: Dartmouth Wins Battle of Unbeatens
Both Dartmouth and Princeton were 8-0 heading into the season finale at Princeton’s Palmer Stadium, with an undefeated season, Ivy League title and Lambert Trophy (awarded to the best team in the East; a big deal then, nothing now) on the line.
In front of 45,000 fans (45,000?! Princeton's attendance for the 2013 season was 42,195), Dartmouth QB Mickey Beard threw for 229 yards in a 28-14 Big Green victory. The Tigers suffered their first loss since the 1963 season finale — to Dartmouth, of course.

This was the first year Dartmouth wore the “Indian Head” on the sleeves of the road jerseys; the home greens still had stripes and curvy Clarendon uniform numbers. Except for the addition of a number on the helmets, Princeton's look barely changed from '50.
1969: Princeton Plays Spoiler
Dartmouth entered the game 8-0 and looking for another Ivy title and undefeated season, but Princeton was having none of that. The Tigers’ Hank Bjorklund ran for 132 yards and three TDs as Princeton shocked Dartmouth, 35-7, sending the Big Green into a three-way tie for the Ivy crown with Princeton and Yale. Going into the game, Dartmouth had outscored its foes by an average score of 35-8.

Dartmouth still had the “Indian Head” on the sleeves; note the “100” decal on Princeton’s helmet. The Tigers, of course, played the first recognized game of intercollegiate football a century earlier.

Princeton's 1969 win over Dartmouth was front-page news.

1996: Dartmouth’s Last Ivy Title
Dartmouth was playing for an Ivy title and a 10-0 season; Princeton was playing in the memory of ancient Palmer Stadium, slated for the wrecking ball after 82 years of service. The Big Green dismantled the Tigers 24-0, and the Princeton fans tore down the goal posts anyway. Dartmouth won its 17th — and to date, last — Ivy championship. 

Tearing down the goal posts after a lopsided loss?
That sounds like something the fans would do at Columbia.

2013: Dartmouth Pulls a Snow Job
In snowy conditions at Dartmouth’s Memorial Field (check this photo gallery), Dominick Pierre ran for 112 yards and a TD as Dartmouth spoiled Princeton’s bid for an undefeated Ivy season with a 28-24 win.

Up next: A yummy Turkey Day treat with Penn and Cornell.

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