Sep 24, 2014 6:28 AM
UNH looking to keep upper hand against Dartmouth
Dartmouth beat New Hampshire 51-0 in the first game between the teams in Hanover on Oct. 2, 1901.
The teams played sporadically through the decades and it took the Wildcats three quarters of a century to get their first win over Dartmouth and more than a century to even up the series. They now lead it by a single game with 18 wins to Dartmouth's 17. Two of the games ended in ties.
UNH has won 12 straight games in the series and is 17-0-2 in the last 19.
John Lyons, now the UNH defensive coordinator, was the head coach at Dartmouth from 1992-2004. He was 0-7 against the Wildcats in that span and was the defensive coordinator for the Big Green when they tied UNH, 21-21, in 1990.
Despite the Wildcat dominance, Lyons liked playing the UNH game and is happy to see the rivalry resume.
"I was always a big proponent of playing the game" Lyons said. "I thought it was very good to have the only two Division I teams in the state play each other. I was pretty adamant about that. I remember the New Hampshire kids we had, guys like George Neos from Londonderry and Oge Young from Concord, loved to play UNH."
His Big Green gave UNH its share of anxious moments.
UNH scored late for a 42-38 win in Hanover in 2001 and the next year needed a George Yasso interception in the end zone to preserve a 29-26 win.
"The series is what New England football should be," said UNH assistant coach Brian Barbato, who played against Dartmouth three times from 2000-02. "I think it's good for New England football and good for New Hampshire football and a rivalry that should be played."
The teams played each year from 2000-2009 when Dartmouth requested a break from the series. It resumes Saturday. UNH and Dartmouth are due to play in Hanover on Sept. 17, 2016 to close out the current contract of games.
Dartmouth opened its season Saturday with a 35-25 win at home over Central Connecticut State. The Blue Devils beat Towson, 31-27, in their opener and then lost Albany, 19-0, and Holy Cross, 20-7.