NEW YORK – In front of a boisterous Homecoming crowd of 11,127, the Columbia football team dropped a tight game to Dartmouth, 21-16, at Wien Stadium on Saturday. For the second straight week, the Columbia football team held a fourth quarter lead but could not hold on.
After being stifled for much of the game on the ground, the Lions found some running room on three straight rushes, and junior tailback Marcorus Garrett ran 14 yards up the middle to give Columbia a 16-14 lead with 2:46 remaining in regulation.
Dartmouth took over from its own nine, but Alex Park connected with Ryan McManus three straight times to move the ball into Lions territory. McManus came up with another big grab to push the Big Green into the red zone, and a roughing the passer penalty put the ball on the four-yard line. After a false start, Park found Dean Bakes wide open to the right side of the end zone for the go-ahead score.
Columbia started its final drive on the 50-yard line after Riley Lyons’ kick-off sailed out of bounds with 1:09 left on the clock. The drive started promising after a 10-yard completion to Garrett on a screen, but a holding penalty, a sack and an incompletion set up fourth and long. Out of the shotgun, Sean Brackett’s desperation throw to Garner over the middle was picked off by Stephen Dazzo with 27 seconds left to seal the victory.
The teams played to a scoreless first quarter before Dartmouth got on the board with 12:06 remaining in the second. The Big Green ran eight consecutive times before taking a 7-0 lead off a Dalyn Williams one-yard touchdown run on a naked bootleg.
The Lions answered with a scoring drive of their own on their next possession. A 41-yard strike from Brackett to Connor Nelligan set up a 25-yard field goal by Luke Eddy to cut the deficit to 7-3 with 7:09 before the half.
From there, the defense forced a fumble and a punt to set up a two-minute drill for the Columbia offense. Starting from the Big Green 47-yard line, Brackett found Garrett and Garner for a first down. After a pair of quarterback keepers, Brackett hit a diving Chris Conners in the left corner for a touchdown to give the Lions a 10-7 advantage heading into the locker room.
Dartmouth controlled possession for much of the third quarter, but Shad Sommers came up with a big field goal block and on forced a punt at midfield to halt another drive. However, one big-play at the end of the frame changed the complexion of the matchup.
After being benched to start the first half in favor of Park, Williams re-entered the game as the Big Green took over with 1:44 left in the quarter and threw a deep pass to Bo Patterson, who took it 67 yards down the right sideline to put Dartmouth on top, 14-10, setting up the wild fourth quarter action.
Mike Waller earned John Toner Player of the Game honors after making a game-high 13 tackles and intercepting a pass.
Garrett had 20 carries for 72 yards and the score to lead the offense.
Columbia will return to Robert K. Kraft field next Saturday, October 27, when they face Ivy League rival Yale. Kick-off is set for 12:30 p.m.