Stanton Rushes for 180 Yards, 2 TDs in 23-12 Win at Dartmouth; Crimson Improves to 7-0

Paul Stanton, Jr. had touchdown runs of three and two yards Saturday afternoon (Gil Talbot).

HANOVER, N.H. – Paul Stanton, Jr. ran for a career-high 180 yards and added two rushing scores, as the No. 18/20 Harvard football team went on the road and defeated Dartmouth, 23-12, on a cold, rainy afternoon at Memorial Field.

With the victory, the Crimson extends its win streak to 11 straight games, improves to 7-0 overall and 4-0 in Ivy League action and moves into sole possession of first place. The Big Green slips to 5-2 overall and 3-1 in the Ancient Eight.

Stanton added three grabs for 55 receiving yards and carried the ball 24 times for his 180 yards, as he surpassed his previous career-high of 145 rushing yards in last year's 24-21 win over the Big Green on Nov. 2, 2013. Harvard quarterbacks combined for 12-of-26 passing and 179 yards, led by Conner Hempel, who was 8-of-18 for 94 yards. Anthony Firkser led all Crimson receivers with 72 yards on three catches and had a score.

Defensively, Sean Ahern led the team with 10 tackles, while Matt Koran forced and recovered a fumble. The Crimson forced five fumbles in total, while recovering two of them. Jordan Becerra also had an interception, returning for nine yards to help seal the game.

The Crimson utilized a nine-play, 75-yard drive to go up 7-0 less than four minutes into the game. Stanton ran for a 17-yard gain and then caught a pass for another 17 yards on the following play to move the ball to the Dartmouth 41. On 2nd and 5 from the Dartmouth 22-yard line, Hempel threw a pass to Firkser for a 19-yard completion. On the following play, Stanton took a handoff from Hempel and ran untouched into the endzone at 11:22.

After the Big Green got on the scoreboard, 7-6, with a touchdown with 52 seconds left in the opening quarter, Ryan Delisle blocked the ensuing extra point. That marked the first blocked PAT for a Harvard player since Nnamdi Obukwelu batted one down against Cornell in 2010.

On Harvard's next possession, back-to-back runs by Stanton (6, 17 yards) moved the ball to the Dartmouth 33.  On the next play, Hempel handed the ball off to Semar Smith, who then handed it off to his brother, Seitu Smith. Seitu Smith ran to his right and found a wide open Firkser down the right sideline. Firsker scampered into the endzone for a touchdown on the trick play, making it 13-6. The Crimson's ensuing extra point try was blocked, as the game remained, 13-6, in favor of Harvard. Last season against Dartmouth, Ricky Zorn, also a wide receiver, tossed a 32-yard pass to Andrew Berg for a TD at Harvard Stadium.

After Harvard's Matt Koran forced a fumble, which was recovered by Delisle on the Dartmouth 23, the Crimson cashed in, as Stanton ran the ball score straight times before finding the back of the endzone again, making it, 20-6, with 5:44 left in the half. The Big Green responded, though, with 10-play, 78-yard drive that resulted in a 30-yard field goal by Alex Gakenheimer, 20-9, with 11 ticks left on the clock.

The Big Green tacked on a 22-yard field goal by Gakenheimer on its first drive in the second half, 20-12.

Midway through the fourth, the Crimson went on an 11-play, 68-yard drive, culminating in a 33-yard FG by Andrew Flesher, making it 23-12 with 6:00 left to go. The longest play on that drive came on a 21-yard pass play from Hempel to Tyler Hamblin, which moved the ball to the Dartmouth 25-yard marker.

The Crimson will return home next weekend to host Columbia Saturday, Nov. 8. The game, which will be shown live on ESPN3 and the Ivy League Digital Network, will begin at 1 p.m.