An otherwise upbeat season for the Princeton Tigers ended Saturday with a disappointing loss to the Dartmouth Big Green, 35-21, before a crowd of 8,327 at Princeton Stadium. It was the season-ending game for both clubs.
Princeton went up 7-0 in the second quarter on a four-yard touchdown run by QB Quinn Epperly. Three minutes later, the special teams put the Tigers ahead 14-0 when CB John Hill ran in a blocked punt.
But that's when Dartmouth took over the game, scoring five unanswered touchdowns, three on the arm of QB Dalyn Williams (20-of-35, 284 yards). Nine different receivers caught passes for the Big Green, who rolled up 338 yards passing in the contest.
Princeton's first-string QB Connor Michelsen did not play due to his shoulder injury, and while Quinn Epperly was 11-of-18 for 101 yards in the game, the Tigers' aerial attack clearly suffered. Dartmouth keyed on the Princeton rushers, holding them to 110 yards total. Epperly was Princeton's second-leading rusher with 32 yards, while leading rusher Will Powers ran the ball 10 times for 71 yards.
Wideouts Roman Wilson (4 receptions), Connor Kelley (3 receptions) and Seth DeValve (3 receptions) led Princeton receivers in the contest.
Princeton ends the season 5-5 overall and 4-3 in the Ivy League. For third-year head coach Bob Surace, the program took a significant step forward this year, as the Tigers had not won more than one game in each of the coach's first two seasons. Because of his efforts, Surace was named one of the 20 finalists for the prestigious Eddie Robinson Award, presented to the national coach of the year in FCS football.
"We absolutely made some dramatic improvements and I’m really proud of the guys,’’ said senior defensive captain Mike Catapano (as quoted by Paul Franklin of The Times on NJ.com). “We had some setbacks this year, some injuries, and this team never quit. This team really rallied together as a family and a brotherhood."