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Game of the Year of the Day, 1970: Dartmouth 10, Yale 0

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Bob Blackmon’s 1970 Dartmouth Indians: one of the 50 best* of all time.

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John Short
Dartmouth athletics

The date: October 31, 1970

The matchup: Dartmouth (5-0) at Yale (5-0)

The stakes: The Ivy League title, an AP ranking, and, potentially, the Lambert Trophy for best team in the East. Other than that, just a normal Saturday in the northeast.

The back story: At the turn of the 1970s, Bob Blackman had turned Dartmouth into an elite or nearly elite football program. From 50 Best*:

Blackman was thorough and innovative. He was an early adopter of Clark Shaughnessy’s V-formation, a wishbone predecessor in which the fullback lined up a little bit ahead of the halfbacks in the typical T-formation. He was organized and ambitious in his recruiting practices, opening up the Dartmouth umbrella to include most of the country and creating a national network as a talent base. He was miles ahead of the game from a scouting perspective, using computers to spot play tendencies long before most realized this was even an option.

Put it all together, and Dartmouth was bigger, stronger, more talented, and more well-prepared than any other team in the Ivy League.

In 1970, quarterback Jim Chasey was capable of posting big numbers with his arm and did enough to win the Asa Bushnell Cup (awarded to the Ivy League’s most outstanding player), but he only got so many chances because most games were over after two or three quarters. Halfback John Short was steady and reliable, and the Dartmouth defense was untouchable. Rover back Murry Bowden, safety Willie Bogan, and defensive lineman Barry Brink all landed on 1970’s All-East team, and sophomore end Fred Radke quickly came into his own.

To top things off, the Indians were great in special teams: Tim Copper was the best punt returner in the country this side of Nebraska’s Johnny Rodgers, and Wayne Pirmann was one of the country’s more reliable place-kickers.

Now came the biggest test for the big green: Carmen Cozza’s Yale squad. Cozza was 23-3-1 over the last three years, and his Eli would dominate most of the 1970s. And his 1970 squad would be dominated by a powerful running game that featured Dick Jauron (future head coach of the Chicago Bears and Buffalo Bills) and Don Martin.

A crowd of more than 60,000 awaited at the Yale Bowl for the biggest Ivy League game in years. The better team won.

The game: Take it away, Hartford Courant:

NEW HAVEN -- Dartmouth's football team went trick or treating this Halloween and at the end of the last Saturday afternoon of October had a bagful of the of the good things of football life.

The final score of Dartmouth 10, Yale 0, did not come close to telling the true story of tricks the Indians played on a frustrated Bulldog. Indeed, it may have been as one witness suggested, the most one-sided 10 to 0 football game ever unfolded on the floor of the Bowl.

With 60,800 looking on, two of the East's finest football teams went at it hammer and tongs, but there never was a moment when any of them had to doubt Dartmouth would emerge the winner.

The blunt truth is that Dartmouth's overpowering defense and ball control attacking never allowed the Elis to be contenders. The Bulldog had to throw up a stubborn defense of its own to keep from getting riddled.

Dartmouth threatened countless times, and Yale really only mounted one sustained drive. The outcome was never in doubt, but red zone turnover issues kept the score close for quite a while.

The box score:

1970 Dartmouth-Yale box score

This was a 10-point game, but it was as close to a 35-point Dartmouth win as a Yale win. Yardage: 480-190. First downs: 25-11. This was dominant, and it was only the start. Blackman’s squad would finish the season crushing Columbia, Cornell, and Penn by a combined 107-0. The Indians finished 14th in the AP poll and won the Lambert Trophy. And the level of domination here suggested that this was a legitimate top-10 or top-15 team, not simply a mid-major that won all of its games.

It was the end of Dartmouth’s run, though, at least with Blackman. He left to take the Illinois job in 1971, and while John Crouthamel would go 15-2-1 over the next two years, he couldn’t keep it up. Blackman couldn’t either — he went just 29-36-1 at Illinois, then came back the Ivy League and went just 23-33-1 at Cornell. But Dartmouth was basically the Boise State of the late-1960s, capable of punching up quite a few weight classes but really never getting the opportunity.