This Friday at 7 p.m., Penn football (2-0) — coming off a gritty, defensive win against Lafayette last week — will travel to Hanover, N.H. to take on Dartmouth (1-1) in its third game of the season and its first in Ancient Eight play. Four Daily Pennsylvanian sports reporters make their picks ahead of the Quakers' first Ivy League game.
Dartmouth 24, Penn 14 — Kristel Rambaud, Sports Reporter
Penn’s undefeated season could very well come to an end in Hanover against Dartmouth. Dartmouth has a high-scoring offense – they scored a combined 66 points game over its past two contests – led by their senior quarterback Nick Howard. Howard already has 243 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns on the season.
Look, Penn’s defense has been stellar this year – the only touchdown they’ve let up is a pick-six – but its previous opponents don’t have the same offensive resume. So, you can’t expect a repeat of the Lafayette shutout.
Dartmouth also has something else on their side: momentum. They won the Ivy League last year. They beat Penn for the past four matchups. They destroyed Penn in their last matchup.
Penn may be the underdogs, but the team will not go down without a fight. However, it’s a fight that they’ve lost many times before.
Dartmouth 20, Penn 14 — Brandon Pride, former Sports Editor
Something’s got to give in this game.
Dartmouth comes in averaging over 350 rushing yards per game, while the Quakers are giving up less than 40 on the ground coming into the contest. I anticipate this game will push down and up those averages, respectively, but the Big Green will emerge the victors. The Red and Blue won’t give senior Dartmouth quarterback Howard much to work with through the air, but he will beat them on the ground consistently, especially in crucial moments.
If the Quakers are to have any chance in this game, they have to be perfect. That means a defensive performance like last week’s and no mistakes or miscues on offense. It’s a tough draw for Penn this early in the season, going up against a good team on the road on Family Night. While this matchup will be closer than the last couple of times these programs have met, the Quakers will exit the forest Friday night with their first loss and but also with the rest of their season — and a nearly seven-hour bus ride — ahead of them.
Dartmouth 30, Penn 14 — Sean McKeown, Sports Reporter
Penn has shot out to a 2-0 start, slowly beating Lafayette last week more or less on the back of their stout defense. This performance, while positive, doesn’t necessarily predict success this Friday when considering they play the Dartmouth Big Green.
Coming off a heartbreaking loss to the underdog Sacred Heart Pioneers in overtime, Dartmouth is looking to bounce back with a win against the Red and Blue. Despite the loss, Dartmouth ran for over 300 yards and three rushing touchdowns all while only throwing the ball 16 times.
Last week, the Quakers were able to hold Lafayette's running game under 2.5 yards per carry, while also sacking freshman quarterback Ryan Schuster and junior quarterback Rent Montie a collective total of five times. While this performance is impressive, it doesn’t lead me to expect Penn to be able to stop Dartmouth on the ground whatsoever when they meet at Memorial Field.
Expect Dartmouth’s run game, headed by senior quarterback Howard and sophomore running back Q Jones, to overwhelm the Quakers defense with size and speed that they haven’t yet seen this season.
Penn 21, Dartmouth 17 — Walker Carnathan, Sports Reporter
They say those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it. In this case, Penn football is well aware of their history with Dartmouth, and is ready to ensure that this chapter has a different ending.
The Big Green enter the matchup at 1-1, and have not resembled the co-Ivy League champions of last season. They were on the wrong end of a thrilling overtime finish against Sacred Heart last weekend, a game which saw the Dartmouth defense let up 21 unanswered points to let the victory slip away.
While the Dartmouth rushing attack led by mobile quarterback Howard has remained strong, the Quaker defense has looked more than prepared over the first two weeks. The game will likely come down to the ability of the defensive line and linebacking core to hem in the elusive Dartmouth ball-carriers. In the end, I see an efficient passing attack and gutsy defensive performance leading Penn to their first defeat of Dartmouth since 2016.