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Princeton Defeats Dartmouth 38-30

November 24, 2002

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PRINCETON, N.J. (AP) _ Cameron Atkinson ran for 233 yards and three touchdowns and Princeton scored 35 points in a 13-minute span in the second half to upend Dartmouth 38-30 Saturday in the season finale for both teams.

Atkinson scored on runs of 1, 66 and 84 yards and finished the season with 1,028 yards, making him the first Princeton back to rush for 1,000 yards in a season since Keith Elias in 1993. Princeton (6-4, 4-3 Ivy League) finished above .500 for the first time since 1997, while Dartmouth (3-7, 2-5) lost its fourth straight game.

Princeton’s offense, held to 91 total yards in the first half, came to life in the second half, spurred by Atkinson and by quarterback Matt Verbit. Trailing by 16-3, Princeton cut the lead to 16-10 late in the third quarter when Verbit capped an 85-yard drive with a 5-yard touchdown pass to tight end Randy Bly on fourth down.

Atkinson then pulled the Tigers even on the first play of the fourth quarter when he burst off left tackle at the Princeton 34, shed a tackler in the backfield and outran two defenders to the end zone. Derek Javarone’s extra point gave Princeton a 17-16 lead, but Dartmouth answered with a 10-play, 65-yard drive culminating in Brian Mann’s 16-yard touchdown pass to tight end Joe Killefer with 10:57 remaining.

Princeton then scored three touchdowns in a span of six minutes. On the first play after Killefer’s touchdown, Atkinson ran off-tackle to the right and, in a mirror image of his first score, outran two defenders for an 84-yard touchdown. It was the longest run from scrimmage in the five-year history of Princeton Stadium, surpassing Atkinson’s 82-yarder against Brown this season.

Branden Benson added a 5-yard touchdown run for Princeton, and Atkinson finished the Tigers’ scoring with a 1-yard run with 4:34 left, set up by an interception at the Dartmouth 27 by Kevin Kongslie. Dartmouth’s Casey Cramer caught a 26-yard touchdown pass from Mann with 1:24 left, but Dartmouth’s onsides kick attempt was unsuccessful.

Sloppy play by Princeton in the second quarter enabled Dartmouth to take a 16-3 lead into halftime. From his own 44, Verbit threw a pass directly to Dartmouth’s Clayton Smith at the Big Green 39, and Smith returned the ball down the left sideline to Princeton’s 27. Six plays later, Mike Giles scored from two yards out to give Dartmouth a 9-3 lead with 7:33 remaining.

On Princeton’s next possession, a 16-yard punt by Eliot Bishop gave Dartmouth the ball at the Tigers’ 41, and Scott Wedum went off right tackle for five yards to cap a five-play drive with 4:25 left.

A bobbled snap by Bishop near the end of the half gave Dartmouth another scoring opportunity, but Tyler Lavin’s 47-yard field goal attempt missed to the left with five seconds remaining.

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