Dalyn Williams and high-scoring Dartmouth host Yale in battle of Ivy League unbeatens
(STATS) – Dalyn Williams isn’t likely to be dreaming if he hears his name called at a theater in Chicago in late April.
For now, he’d like to hear it connected with more big plays through the PA at Memorial Field on Saturday.
Williams looks to build on the best performance of his career as he tries to help Dartmouth to a fourth straight win over visiting Yale in a matchup of unbeatens.
Expectations are high for Williams, who entered the season as the only Ivy Leaguer on the STATS Offensive Player of the Year Watch List. However, there’s a much more lucrative honor potentially awaiting him in six months as he’s expected to be selected in the NFL draft.
"It’s my dream to make it to the NFL. I dream big," Williams said. "Each day I’m not competing against just who I am playing against. Gotta make sure each and every day I’m competing against the best mentally and physically I’m doing whatever it takes.
"I just know if my dream to play in the NFL doesn’t work out, then I’m going to be set (with an education from Dartmouth)."
His dream certainly appears destined to come true as his 182.2 passer rating ranks third in the FCS. The senior has also tossed 45 touchdowns compared to eight interceptions in four seasons for a 5.63 ratio and 1.1 INT percentage that is the best in the subdivision.
Williams’ latest effort was his best yet and earned him STATS Offensive Player of the Week honors. He completed 23 of 25 passes for 336 yards and four touchdowns while scoring two more and rushing 13 times for 73 yards in a 41-20 victory over Penn last weekend. His 257.7 passer rating was a career high.
"The thing that Dalyn is doing so well, he’s going through his read progression very rapidly and finding the open guy," coach Buddy Teevens said. "They can’t cover ’em all and he’s finding the guys he can."
Williams is finding Victor Williams regularly. The wide receiver had career highs of 12 receptions and 213 yards with a pair of TDs against the Quakers. That came a week after the seniors linked up on 11 passes for 178 yards and a score to lead Dartmouth (3-0, 1-0) to a 49-7 rout of Sacred Heart.
Those efforts have been vital since Ryan McManus missed the last two games with an ankle sprain and his status is unclear for Saturday.
"When he’s outside he able to really use his speed and quickness to his advantage one-on-one," Dalyn Williams said of Victor Williams.
Dalyn Williams had a career-high 388 yards with three touchdowns and one pick while hitting 32 of 47 passes in a 38-31 win at Yale (3-0, 1-0) last year. However, he made the biggest play with his feet, running for a two-yard touchdown to put the Big Green up for good with 2:20 to play.
Another aerial showcase could be a challenge since the Bulldogs are second in the Ivy in pass defense by yielding an average of 205.3 yards.
Still, Yale is well aware of the threat Williams poses.
"The play is never really over when he has the ball," coach Tony Reno said. "He’s one of the best I’ve seen in this league in a long time."
Morgan Roberts isn’t too shabby himself. The Yale signal caller leads the league with 915 passing yards and seven touchdowns while completing 60.8 percent of his attempts. The senior wasn’t at his best in last weekend’s 27-12 win at Lehigh, going 25 for 42 for 251 yards with one score and one pick.
Roberts was intercepted three times by Dartmouth last year, but he’ll have a new option this time in running back Deshawn Salter. The sophomore ran for 233 yards and two TDs on 29 career in his first career start last week.
"He really matured in the offseason," Reno said. "With Candler (Rich) going down, the load became Deshawn’s. He’s a big, physical kid who has the ability to break away. That just scratches the surface of what he can do."
AGONY OF DEFEAT=
Columbia’s 24-game losing streak is now the longest in the country after Savannah State beat Florida A&M 37-27 last weekend to end its slide at 24. The Lions (0-3, 0-1) came close to snapping their run in last week’s 10-5 loss at Princeton, but Jacob Young’s recovery of a fourth-quarter blocked punt in the end zone was ruled a safety since his foot was out of bounds.
They’ll now try to capitalize on a meeting with Wagner (0-4), which lost 9-6 to Robert Morris last week.
Despite being separated by just 29 miles, this is the first meeting between Columbia and the Seahawks.
No. 24 Harvard (3-0, 1-0) has the FCS’ longest active winning streak at 17 games after pounding Georgetown 45-0 last week. The Crimson have suffocated teams from the start this year, outscoring opponents 40-0 in the first quarter and 89-10 after two.
The defense should be in for another dominant performance early since Cornell (0-3, 0-1) has totaled just six points in the opening quarter. However, the Big Red has only allowed seven points in the first stanza, and that came in last week’s 28-21 loss to Colgate.
Harvard has won nine straight against Cornell, including four in a row at Ithaca.