In their first game against Dartmouth in 24 years, Lehigh’s offense was held to a second-half standstill as they fell 34-17 on Saturday afternoon in Hanover, New Hampshire.
Lehigh’s (1-3) offense, which entered the afternoon’s contest averaging 321.1 yards per game, was held to only 166 yards and eight first downs throughout the game.
After Dartmouth (1-1) drove down to the 5-yard line on their opening drive, a fumble recovered by Lehigh’s junior defensive back Logan Jones was returned 95 yards to give Lehigh a 7-0 lead.
The Big Green responded on their next drive, tying the game with three minutes and 32 seconds left in the first quarter on a one-yard quarterback sneak to tie the game at seven.
On Dartmouth’s first drive of the second quarter, a fourth down punt attempt was partially blocked and sophomore defensive back Nick Peltekian returned the play for an apparent touchdown. The touchdown was called back due to contact between a Lehigh player and the Dartmouth punter. Dartmouth proceeded to kick a field goal on the same drive.
Lehigh then kicked a field goal eight minutes into the quarter, before Dartmouth added their second touchdown of the game with just a few seconds left in the quarter, giving them a lead of 17-10 at the half.
After stalled drives on both sides throughout most of the third quarter, Dartmouth put up two quick rushing touchdowns two minutes apart to take a 31-10 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Lehigh switched quarterbacks throughout the game on multiple occasions. While sophomore Brayten Silbor started his fourth consecutive game, senior Dante Perri appeared for one drive in the second quarter before completely taking over the quarterback duties toward the end of the third quarter after Dartmouth went up two scores.
Dartmouth picked up one more field goal in the fourth quarter with just under eight minutes remaining. A Lehigh punt on the ensuing drive was fumbled on the Dartmouth 7-yard line.
Senior defensive back Devari Robinson picked the ball up and gave Lehigh a first and goal that set up senior running back Jack DiPietro to score Lehigh’s only offensive touchdown of the game on a run from two yards out to reach the final score of 34-17.
The offensive effort for the Mountain Hawks was balanced between the passing and running game. As the game progressed, Lehigh’s running game got less effective — the away team’s yards per carry on the ground went from 4.0 yards in the first half to 2.1 yards in the second.
First-year running back Luke Yoder carried a bulk of the rushing effort for the Mountain Hawks. While he had 20 yards on the ground in the second quarter, he did not sustain his success as he carried for -1 yards on three carries in the second half, ending the day as Lehigh’s leading rusher.
Silbor finished the day 10-16 with 72 passing yards, and Perri finished the day 8-12 with 27 passing yards and a touchdown.
Lehigh will take on Monmouth University next Saturday at 1:00 p.m. in West Long Branch, New Jersey.