By: Rick Bender
HANOVER, N.H. — The Dartmouth Big Green football team was ranked in the top 25 of both of the final Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) polls conducted by the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) and STATS. The AFCA listed Dartmouth 21st overall while STATS had the Big Green at No. 22, the second straight year the Big Green has been ranked in the final polls and third time in the past five seasons.
Dartmouth finished the 2019 campaign with a 9-1 overall record and 6-1 mark in the Ivy League to earn a share of the Ivy League title, its conference record 19th championship. The other team atop the Ancient Eight standings was Yale, which the Big Green beat on Oct. 12 by a 42-10 score. The Bulldogs had an identical record and was also ranked in the polls — 24th by the AFCA and 25th by STATS.
Dartmouth boasted one of the best defenses in the country once again having allowed the second-fewest points (12.4) for the second straight year. The Big Green also ranked in the top 10 in red zone defense (62.5 percent, second), touchdowns scored by the defense (5, fourth), team passing efficiency defense (112.78, seventh) and rushing defense (109.5 yards per game, ninth).
The offense was nearly as stout, ranking among the top 25 in completion percentage (68.1, second), team passing efficiency (173.08, second), third down conversion percentage (52.1, third), fewest interceptions thrown (5, fourth), sacks allowed per game (1.4, 20th) and scoring (33.3 points per game, 24th). In addition, Dartmouth was sixth nationally in punt returns at 16.4 yards per return.
The Big Green were guided by the AFCA Region I Coach of the Year, Buddy Teevens, who was also the Coach of the Year in the Ivy League and by the New England Football Writers Association. The defense featured second-team All-America cornerback Isiah Swann and the Bushnell Cup winner as the Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year in Jack Traynor. Two others joined Swann and Traynor on the Division I All-New England Team — offensive lineman Zach Sammartino and defensive end Niko Lalos — and a total of 15 Dartmouth players received 16 All-Ivy honors, six on the first team.
Notes: North Dakota State, which won its eighth FCS championship game in the last nine years, was the unanimous choice atop the rankings in both polls … the Ivy League has had two teams in the final national rankings three times in the last five years, each year Dartmouth was one of the teams (2015, ’18 and ’19) … this is the fifth time since the Division I split that the Big Green have ended the season in a national poll — 1990 (17th), 1996 (17th), 2015 (23rd) and 2018 (15th).