Updated 10/28 at 1:00 a.m.
HANOVER, N.H.—Columbia football’s cheerless season continued Saturday afternoon, as Dartmouth (3-3, 2-1 Ivy) blew out the Light Blue 56-0.
The contest marked the third time this season the Lions have surrendered 50-plus points. They also gave up 575 yards of total offense—325 on the ground and 250 through the air—while gaining only 95 themselves.
“Obviously a disappointing performance on all fronts—pretty hard to narrow it down,” Light Blue head coach Pete Mangurian said after the game. “Dartmouth played well defensively, played well offensively.”
Things didn’t start well for Columbia (0-6, 0-3 Ivy) and continued that way throughout the contest. After winning the toss, electing to receive, and promptly going three and out, the defense allowed a 10-play, 61-yard touchdown drive to put the Big Green up 7-0. Dartmouth wide receiver Jon Marc Carrier took in a two-yard reverse from running back Dominick Pierre over the right side for the score.
The Light Blue offense was able to get a little something going on one of its drives in the first quarter. A pass interference call netted the Lions a first down, and then first-year quarterback Kelly Hilinski hit sophomore wide receiver Scooter Hollis on a crossing route on third and 10 for a first down. The 16-yard completion was Hilinski’s longest pass of the day.
Dartmouth used its rapid-fire offense to go 57 yards in six plays, taking just 1:25 off the clock for a touchdown to start the second quarter. The Big Green used play action on second and six to free up Carrier down the seam, and quarterback Dalyn Williams hit the wide receiver for a 17-yard score to put the Big Green up 14-0.
Just as Columbia had trouble getting its own run game going, the Lions couldn’t stop Pierre. The running back moved into second place on the Big Green all-time rushing list in the second quarter, and right on cue, Pierre took a handoff 37 yards for a touchdown, stiff-arming a couple of Columbia defenders in the process. Pierre finished with 133 yards on 20 carries in the first half, and 160 on 26 carries for the game.
“Dom’s a great back—everybody’s going to have trouble with him,” Williams said. “Our offensive line opened up some gaps for him, and he just followed them and did what he did after.”
Then Big Green linebacker Will McNamara returned a Hilinski third-and-three pass 24 yards for a pick six, making the score 28-0.
Dartmouth started the second half with the ball, but the Columbia defense held strong for a three and out. The Light Blue got the ball back on its own 48, but on third and three, Big Green defensive end Cody Fulleton hit Hilinski for a strip sack. Dartmouth recovered to end Columbia’s threat.
“We were really hitting on all cylinders on defense,” McNamara said. “Everyone was on the same page—secondary, linebackers and d-linemen were doing awesome.”
The Big Green didn’t take long to capitalize on the turnover. Williams led the Big Green on a nine-play, 53-yard drive culminating in the quarterback keeping a read-option near the goal line for a touchdown. It would be Williams’ and Pierre’s last play of the game; on the next drive, the Big Green replaced them with second-team quarterback Alex Park and second-team running back Kyle Bramble.
But second teamers didn’t slow the Big Green attack. On third and five at the Columbia 44, Park and Bramble beat a Columbia blitz with a screen pass that the running back took all the way to pay dirt. The score put the Big Green up 42-0 with 4:27 to go in the third quarter. Running back Brian Grove punched another score in on fourth and goal from the one to put Dartmouth up 49-0.
It didn’t get any better for Columbia, as Hilinski threw another interception to McNamara, which the linebacker returned for his second pick six of the day. The fourth-quarter touchdown would be the Big Green’s final points, making the score 56-0.
“Today was a good day,” McNamara said. “I got some good blocks on the second one and I was able to score again, so it was great.”
It would be Hilinski’s last pass of the day, as sophomore quarterback Trevor McDonagh came in to replace him. Hilinski finished 9-23 with 53 yards and two picks. The sophomore completed one of his four passes for 11 yards.
“That’s difficult, but it’s what you go through,” Mangurian said of playing a first-year quarterback. “We’re not going to start making excuses for that. I just told the team that youth’s not an excuse. It’s something you’ve got to overcome like anything else in this game.”