After a disappointing 21-7 homecoming loss to Penn, Columbia football (0-5, 0-2 Ivy) will have to contend with Dartmouth’s imposing running back and co-captain, Dominick Pierre, on Saturday in Hanover, N.H.
Pierre has already amassed a long list of noteworthy accomplishments in his first three years with the Big Green (2-3, 1-1 Ivy). He has been an impact player from the start, appearing in all 10 games during his first season and earning the team’s Earl Hamilton Freshman Award for most outstanding first-year contributor.
His sophomore year began with a bang, as he scored the Big Green’s first touchdown of the season. Pierre powered through to another standout year, running for his season-high 67 yards in a 37-0 shutout against Columbia. During both his sophomore year and his junior year, he received the team’s Jack Crouthamel Award for sophomore or junior offensive player who contributed most to the team’s success.
Pierre’s third season was his most successful to date—he amassed 830 yards and averaged 92.2 per game, turning in consistently strong performances that ultimately earned him second team All-Ivy honors. Columbia experienced only a taste of what Pierre is capable of last year, as he left the Week 6 matchup in the first quarter due to injury—but not before picking up 52 yards on seven carries.
Despite his early exit in the 2012 matchup, Pierre’s performance left an impression on Columbia head coach Pete Mangurian.
“He’s big, he’s powerful, he can break tackles at the line of scrimmage, and once he gets out in the open he’s hard to catch,” Mangurian said on Wednesday. “He’s the total package.”
Pierre is averaging 122 yards per game so far this season and leads the Ancient Eight. He had a standout performance in Dartmouth’s 20-13 victory over Yale in Week 4, running for 167 yards and a touchdown to earn Ivy League Player of the Week. His total from that contest also pushed him over the 2,000-yard threshold for his career. He has tallied seven touchdowns in 2013, and the Columbia defense—which has already given up 10 rushing touchdowns in 2013—should be wary of this impressive stat.
The Lions are last in the league and have surrendered 1155 rushing yards in five games. Dartmouth, led by Pierre, comes in at third with 1014 offensive rushing yards.
The Light Blue’s troubles are not limited to containing opposing teams’ rushing attacks—Mangurian said that becoming complacent with consistent losing is a danger for the team.
“The biggest thing you can’t do is become comfortable with being unsuccessful,” he said. “And there’s been a lot of lack of success around here for a long, long time.”
As for Columbia’s most recent loss to Penn, Mangurian said, “We missed 27 tackles and we are 0-13 on third down, so it’s hard to win.”
With a formidable back like Pierre on the opposing sideline, it’s just going to get that much harder.
Eli Schultz and Myles Simmons contributed reporting.