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September 19. 2013 10:49PM

NH College Football: Big Green optimism

NO other college football team in the country has waited longer to start its season than Dartmouth, which will open with a non-league game at Butler on Saturday (6 p.m.).

Dartmouth was picked fourth in the Ivy League Preseason Media Poll, and, like the University of New Hampshire, has two quarterbacks on its roster who received significant playing time last season: sophomore Dalyn Williams and junior Alex Park.Park, a transfer from UNH, started Dartmouth’s first seven games in 2012 before missing time with an injury. Park passed for 1,370 yards and seven touchdowns. He was intercepted six times.

Williams was named the Ivy League Rookie of the Year last season, when he threw for 974 yards and seven touchdowns. He was not intercepted.

Williams is listed as the starter on the two-deep chart, but Dartmouth coach Buddy Teevens has said both will play.

“The competition between the two has been very, very healthy,” Teevens said at Ivy League Media Day. “They are both supportive of each other, but highly competitive. I think it has made the position much stronger and the depth much better.”

Dartmouth’s Michael Runger, a senior linebacker, led the Ivy League in tackles last season with 98.

Senior running back Dominick Pierre, who rushed for 830 yards in nine games last season, and junior Kirby Schoenthaler, who averaged over 20 yards per kickoff return, have both been named to the watch list by the College Football Performance Awards.

Butler is an FCS program that competes in the non-scholarship Pioneer Football League. The Bulldogs are 2-1, but both of their victories have come against Division III teams (Franklin and Wittenberg). Butler’s loss came at South Dakota State, 55-14.

Dartmouth beat Butler 35-7 in Hanover last season, when the Big Green finished 6-4 overall.

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THE UNIVERSITY OF NEW HAMPSHIRE (1-1, 1-0 CAA) is off until Sept. 28, when the Wildcats will play a non-league game at Lehigh (2-0). Senior receiver Justin Mello, who made the team as a walk-on, has 10 receptions for 218 yards and one touchdown in two games,

“He doesn’t look real fast, but he’s always getting behind people,” UNH coach Sean McDonnell said. “He doesn’t have shifty moves, but he’s always making people miss.

“He’s a great story. Complete walk-on. Not getting recruited. We bring him to camp because somebody gets injured, and he earns a full scholarship.”

UNH’s next home game is Oct. 12, when it will face Rhode Island.

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ST. ANSELM (0-2, 0-1 Northeast-10) will meet New Haven (1-1, 1-0) at home tonight. The Hawks have allowed 94 points in their first two games, losses to Bowie State (42-28) and Stonehill (52-24).

New Haven, last year’s Northeast-10 champion, opened with a 45-14 loss to West Chester, but beat Pace 65-0 last weekend.

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JUNIOR Rob Giles earned a spot on the MASCAC Honor Roll after he made four of five point-after kicks and a 42-yard field goal in Plymouth State’s 37-26 triumph over Mount Ida last Saturday. Giles attended Pinkerton Academy in Derry. Plymouth State (1-1) will play its first MASCAC game Saturday (1 p.m.), when the Panthers will meet Western Connecticut State (1-0) in Plymouth.

Roger Brown covers football for the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News. He can be reached at rbrown@unionleader.com. Follow him on Twitter: @603sportsmedia.


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