Nov. 22, 2003
HANOVER, N.H. - Despite a record-tying five field goals by Derek Javarone, the most by one kicker in an Ivy League contest, the Princeton football team ended its season 2-8 with a 21-15 loss at Dartmouth. Princeton outgained Dartmouth 364-288, but two costly interceptions thwarted fourth-quarter comeback efforts.
Princeton dominated much of the first half, but came away with only a 9-3 lead at the break. Javarone kicked field goals of 24, 36 and 26 yards, but the Tigers' inability to get in the end zone would come back to haunt them. The defense stifled Dartmouth in its first three drives, all of which went 3-and-out, but the Big Green figured things out on its fourth drive and moved down the field for three points. The momentum gained would carry over into the second half. The Big Green evened the score when Charlie Rittgers completed a 39-yard touchdown pass to Andrew Hall. Two Tigers, Nick Brown and J.J. Artis, had perfect position, but Hall simply outleaped the defenders, caught the ball and landed on his feet. Neither defender was able to keep his footing, and Hall strolled into the end zone for the amazing touchdown.
A failed extra point kept the game tied, and both teams would trade field goals to make it a 12-12 score heading into the fourth quarter. Rittgers gave Dartmouth an 18-12 lead when he completed an out-and-up to Jay Barnard, Dartmouth's all-time leader in receptions, for an 18-yard score with 11:14 remaining in the game. Another missed extra point kept Dartmouth from grabbing a 7-point lead.
Princeton immediately went on the move, driving 60 yards to the Dartmouth 5-yard line, where it faced 3rd-and-goal. Verbit attempted to throw a slant to Blair Morrison, but Mike Ribero stepped in front and intercepted the pass. Dartmouth moved the ball to the Princeton 21-yard line, where Tyler Lavin hit a 38-yard field goal to open a 21-12 lead.
Princeton went on the move again, and Javarone cut the deficit to six points with a 34-yard field goal with 3:40 remaining on the clock. The Tiger defense held and got the ball back with 1:47 remaining in the game. Verbit engineered a drive that picked up two first downs, but he threw two incompletions to get to 3rd-and-10 at the Dartmouth 48-yard line. He looked for another slant, but Chris Dodds was there to pick it off and end the game.
Sophomore linebacker Justin Stull ended the game with 16 tackles, which should secure him the Ivy League lead in tackles for the season. He ends his season with 114, becoming the first Princeton player with at least 100 tackles in a season since Jim Salters did it in 1998. Blake Perry made 10 tackles, while Nick Brown made two tackles and broke up three passes.