Nov. 17, 2001
Hanover, N.H. - There was only one piece of bad news from Princeton's football game Saturday at Dartmouth: The next game isn't for nine more months.
Princeton football finished the 2001 season on a high note, ripping Dartmouth 35-14 in front of 2,417 at Memorial Field. It was Princeton's first win in Hanover since 1989 and came in Tiger head coach Roger Hughes' return to the school where he spent eight seasons as offensive coordinator.
Though Princeton finished the season 3-6 overall and 3-4 in the Ivy League, the Tigers tore through their final two opponents, outscoring Yale and Dartmouth by a combined 69-28. With 18 starters returning for next year, including eight who have already started for at least two seasons, Princeton is primed for 2002.
While seniors such as Bob Farrell, Chris Roser-Jones, Phil Jackman and Matt Peluse played their final games as Tigers, it was the corps of underclassmen who sparked the win over Dartmouth. The key men were quarterback David Splithoff, who completed 16 of 28 passes for 291 yards and two touchdowns, and wide receiver Chisom Opara, who caught the two touchdowns among his nine catches for 149 yards. Splithoff hooked up with Opara for TDs of 10 and 51 yards, giving the sophomore quarterback 12 career touchdown passes. Of those 12, seven have been for at least 50 yards.
Princeton led 14-0 after two Cameron Atkinson touchdown runs in the first 20 minutes, but Dartmouth, whose injured senior starting quarterback Greg Smith played after missing five weeks with a broken finger on his passing hand, cut the lead in half with a touchdown in the final minute of the second quarter.
Atkinson would miss the rest of the game after an injury on the second half kickoff, but freshman Jon Veach stepped in to carry 24 times for 108 yards and a one-yard touchdown run to finish the first possession of the third quarter.
Princeton then broke the game wide open on the two Splithoff-to-Opara touchdown passes, which came 3:08 apart early in the fourth quarter.
Princeton finished the game with 516 yards of offense.
Zak Keasey led Princeton with 10 tackles. Kevin Kongslie had two interceptions, while Jay McCariens and Drew Babinecz had an interception each.