Sophomore Frank Polsinello, starting his first varsity game, sparked the Dartmouth football team to a 24-10 upset victory over Harvard at Soldiers Field this afternoon.
Polsinello, subbing for Rick Stafford, who is lost to the season with a knee injury, completed nine of 13 passes for 114 yards as the Green broke a three-game losing streak and ran its Ivy record to 2-0.
Picking apart the Harvard secondary with passes to Shaun Teevens and sophomore Jack Daly, the Mechanicville, N.Y., native handed the Crimson its third loss in five games and first in three league contests. The Crimson managed to intercept three of Polsinello's aerials--Peter Coppinger, Rocky Delgadillo, and Marc Mills nabbing one each--but the sophomore continued to hit his receivers on sideline patterns.
Dartmouth's Sean Maher carried the brunt of the running attack, rushing for 105 yards on 27 carries, including a 27-yard touchdown run. Harvard's Jim Callinan ran for 78 yards to pace the Crimson.
Harvard sprinted to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter. On the third play from scrimmage, linebacker Marc Mills picked off a Frank Polsinello pass on the Dartmouth 33, and the Crimson drove to the Big Green 22 before the offense stalled.
Sophomore Jim Villanueva came on to kick a 40-yard field goal--his eighth of the year--and Harvard had a 3-0 lead four-and-a-half minutes into the game.
Dartmouth started rolling after the kickoff and moved to midfield behind two Polsinello-to-Jack Daly sideline passes. But for the tenth time this year, the Crimson came up with an interception, as Rocky Delgadillo gathered in a Polsinello fly ball to extinguish the Big Green drive and give Harvard the ball on its own 21.
What followed was a 14-play drive that culminated in a Jim Callinan-to-Paul Scheper halfback option touchdown pass. Callinan carried seven times for 34 yards as the Crimson rolled to four first downs and ran six-and-a-half minutes off the clock.
With the ball on the 21 and Harvard facing a second-and-six situation, Ron Cuccia, rolling right, pitched to Callinan, and the fullback threw a strike over cornerback Charles Williams to Scheper in the right corner of the end zone. Villanueva's PAT made it 10-0.
But Dartmouth struck for two second quarter touchdowns to take a 14-10 halftime lead. Mixing handoffs to Tom Bruno and Sean Maher with passes to Shaun Teevens and Daly, Polsinello drove the Green from its own 14 to paydirt in 15 plays, ending the drive with a one-yard plunge by Bruno that cut Harvard's lead to 10-7 with 3:26 left in the half.
After the Crimson was forced to punt from its own 22, Polsinello hit Teevens at the Harvard 35, and moments later Maher broke loose on a fourth-and-one run and sprinted 27 yards to the end zone for the second Dartmouth touchdown. Tim Geibel's PAT made it 14-10.
The Crimson drove once more before halftime, but a razzle-dazzle option pass by backup quarterback Don Allard--who lined up as a fullback--was intercepted by free safety Barry Pizor deep in Dartmouth territory. Three Big Green plays closed out the half.
With about six minutes to go in the third quarter, the Green had stalled on its own 20, and Rich Bayless punted to Scott McCabe at midfield. But McCabe fumbled on the return and Dartmouth's Bill Connolly recovered on his own 45.
A pass to Daly moved the ball to the Harvard 41, and four plays later it was fourth and one on the Harvard 20. The last time the Green had faced a fourth and one Maher had romped 27 yards for a touchdown; this time he got the call again and rammed up the middle for the first down.
Polsinello moved the squad inside the Harvard ten by hitting Daly on a curl in front of Delgadillo. Three plays later--and 39 seconds into the fourth quarter--Maher took it over for an 11-point Dartmouth lead.
Dartmouth added a field goal with 5:21 to go to complete the scoring, and Harvard, with Cuccia and Allard alternating at quarterback, was ineffective in a final drive that ended with a David Fuhrman interception. The loss was Harvard's third in a row to the Big Green.