Junior running back Marcorus Garrett ran through a gaping hole in Dartmouth’s defensive line, made a defender miss in the second level, and darted into the end zone to put the Lions up 16-14 in the fourth quarter. Along with the team’s touchdown drive at the end of the first half, it was one of the nicest offensive drives of the season.
With the Lions’ defense—which had already forced two turnovers in the game—coming back onto the field to hold onto the lead with 2:40 remaining in the game, it appeared the Lions football team would snatch a Homecoming victory for the first time since 2000.
Unfortunately for the Light Blue, the 11,127 Columbia fans and alumni in attendance were forced to watch that streak extend itself once again.
The Lions failed to hold onto a 20-17 in their loss against Penn last week. Quarterback Billy Ragone was able to parse the Lions defense on a 62-yard touchdown drive that gave the Quakers the lead with 50 seconds left in the game.
This week, Dartmouth quarterback Alex Park—who had rotated with Dalyn Williams throughout the afternoon after throwing an early interception—marched the Big Green offense down the field 91 yards for the winning score, with 1:09 left in the game.
Park did much of his damage with the help of sophomore wide receiver Ryan McManus. The quarterback and wide receiver connected four times for 63 yards on the drive.
“Our coaches do a good job of preparing us for everything that we’re going to see in that circumstance and getting to the sidelines, getting the sticks,” Park said. “And honestly, it was just one play at a time. Ryan McManus made a bunch of plays for me. Receivers, everything just fell into place.”
The Big Green got going with three straight pass plays to McManus that put them into Columbia territory after starting the drive at its own nine-yard line. After making a gritty eight-yard reception over the middle on third and one inside the Big Green’s own 20, McManus beat his defender down the sideline on the next play and advanced his offense another 31 yards.
“Ryan’s really developed into a top-flight receiver in the league, and it’s going to be scary how good he is in the years to come,” Park said. “He wants the ball every play and he’s really done a great job for us.”
After scrambling for 13 yards, Park went back to his favorite target again, finding him for a 15-yard gain to put Dartmouth inside Columbia’s red-zone.
On the next play, a roughing the passer penalty against Columbia put the Big Green at the Lions’ doorstep. Two plays later, Park capped off the marvelous drive with a nine-yard play-action bootleg pass to tight end Dean Bakes, who was wide open in the end zone.
The drive represents another example of something Mangurian continues to point towards in interviews and press conferences—the team’s inability to make winning plays in the critical moments of the game.
“You’ve got to learn to win,” Mangurian said. “You’ve got to be that same team for the whole three hours and we didn’t do that. We’re not in the business of moral victories.”
“We’re not in the business of worrying about statistics. We’re in the business of worrying about winning and losing, and finding a way to do that. And we came up short, and we’ve got to go back to work. And that starts tomorrow.”