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Dartmouth Dong’s Top 10
There’s really no other way to put it: Sophomore Summer is awesome. It’s awesome to barbecue outside, go on hiking trips and to swim in the river (not at night, of course). However, all good things must come to an end. So as we head towards the end of our best term at Dartmouth, we need to find something to look forward to in the fall.
Enter Dartmouth football. Just two years ago, people would have laughed at me if I told them that there is great anticipation and excitement going into a Big Green football season. But that’s exactly what we have for the Fall 2011. So for this week’s top 10, let’s take a look at the top 10 reasons to be excited for the upcoming football season.
Dartmouth is ranked to finish fifth in the conference, according to the Ivy League preseason poll. That might not seem like much, but consider this: The Big Green has been picked to finish in last place or second-to-last place for the past six seasons. Fifth place looks pretty good now, eh?
This year, Dartmouth will have experience and depth at several key positions, such as wide receiver, offensive line and the defensive backfield. Co-captain Tim MaManus ’11 — an All-Ivy First Team selection at wide receiver last season — will lead the Big Green receiving corps. Another All-Ivy First Team member, left guard Ryan O’Neill ’12, will anchor the offensive line.
Last year’s offensive line coach Keith Clark was promoted to the position of offensive coordinator this off-season, and former Big Green quarterback Chris Rorke ’89 will serve as the quarterback coach and passing-game coordinator under head coach Buddy Teevens. This new coaching staff will solidify a veteran offense.
Some of the most exciting plays in football are punt returns for touchdowns, and Dartmouth has a special returning player, co-captain Shawn Abuhoff ’12, who was ranked third in the Football Championship Subdivision in punt return average at 17.2 yards. He also carried three punts into the end zone, which tied a school record.
Watching College President Jim Yong Kim run up and down the sidelines to cheer on the Big Green has to be one of the most fun things to watch at Dartmouth.
Senior quarterback Conner Kempe ’12 will look to build on his solid passing numbers last year, during which he amassed 1,647 passing yards and eight passing touchdowns. Kempe will have a chance to become only the third Dartmouth quarterback to throw for 5,000 yards in his career.
Unless you live under a rock (or in a frat basement), you probably know by now that the Big Green finished with a winning record last year for the first time in 13 years. Considering that the team was a combined 2-18 in the two seasons before that, it’s hard not to be excited for what the team has in store for a follow-up season.
It’s impossible to make a list like this without mentioning Dartmouth’s most dynamic weapon on offense: Big Green running back Nick Schwieger ’12 — co-recipient of the Ivy League Most Valuable Player award last season — will look to surpass his superb numbers last year. Schwieger only needs 413 yards to break the all-time Big Green record for career rushing yards.
With the newly installed lights at Memorial Field in place, Dartmouth is scheduled to host its first ever night game on Oct. 1 against the reigning league champion, University of Pennsylvania. Kickoff is slated for 6 p.m. Playing football under the sun is fun, but there is definitely something extra special about playing football under the bright lights.
Of course, the biggest question of the season will be answered during the Homecoming game on Oct. 22 against Columbia University — will the ’15s rush the field? No matter what happens, they are still the worst class ever.
By Dong Zhao, The Dartmouth