TigerBlog was at Memorial Field in 1993, on the day that Dartmouth defeated Princeton 28-22 in what could have been the wildest Ivy League game TB has ever seen.
That game, which can basically be called the Jay Fiedler/Keith Elias game, was played on the last weekend of the season, as the Princeton-Dartmouth game always is now.
As an aside, Princeton and Penn used to travel to Cornell and Dartmouth to open the season every year and then would host those two to end the season and then flip-flop the next year, opening at Dartmouth and hosting Cornell, say, if it had been the other way around the year before. This was done because of the threat of bad weather in November in Hanover and Ithaca, and it wasn't until 1991 that those two hosted the season finale every other year; the first November Princeton at Dartmouth game was played for the Ivy title in near-60 degree weather.
Anyway, the 1993 game was the final one in the careers of Fiedler, the Dartmouth quarterback, and Elias, the Princeton running back. And it remains a classic.
Elias ran for 188 yards, while Fiedler shook off a 3-for-15 first half to go 13 for 20 for 225 yards and two touchdowns in the second half, including the game-winner in the final two minutes.
Princeton and Dartmouth entered that game having both lost to Penn, who was undefeated and playing Cornell in its finale. A Penn loss would have given a share of the championship to the winner of the Princeton-Dartmouth game, and the scores coming in from Penn-Cornell had the Big Red up well into the second half.
By then, Princeton and Dartmouth had played through sunshine, a blizzard and then back to sunshine, reaching the late fourth quarter even at 22-22.
Also, as TB recalls, Dartmouth had no kicker on the team, which meant that it couldn't attempt field goals and had to go for two after each touchdown.
This was still in the pre-overtime days, so the game would have ended in a tie had it been even at the end of regulation. And a tie would have eliminated both teams and given Penn the championship, even if the Quakers lost.
The result was that both teams had to play the final five minutes or so as if they were losing, no tied, meaning they had to go for it on fourth down and long, even in their own territory. For Princeton, the fact that Dartmouth had no kicker made it less risky - though Fiedler came through anyway.
Penn would come back and beat Cornell 17-14, so the game became irrelevant to the final standings. The combination of the wild weather, the wild game and the end of the careers of two of the greatest Ivy football players of all time - really both could be considered among the top 15-25 players in league history - made the game that day at Dartmouth an all-time Ivy classic.
Ask anyone who was there.
Ask TigerBlog, who was there. In fact, it was the only football game he's ever seen at Dartmouth.
For all the years he covered Princeton football at the newspaper and then for all the years he was the football contact here, that's the only time he ever went to Dartmouth for football. He's been to the Upper Valley a bunch of times in men's basketball and men's lacrosse, but something would always come up to prevent him from going to that football game (usually early-season basketball, though once it was a cruise to the Caribbean; as an aside, TB hates cruises and will never go on another one, because to do all the stuff on the ship you have to stay up really, really late and then to go to the islands, you have to get up really, really early, so what's the point, just pick an island and go and relax).
Princeton is at Dartmouth in football Saturday to wrap up the 2011 season, one that will see the Tigers go either 1-9 or 2-8.
Still, when TB thinks back to the 2011 season, he won't think about the record. Nope, he'll think about the astonishing season of Chuck Dibilio.
Going back to the beginning of the season, Dibilio's name was one thrown around as "may play a bit." The words "can't miss" were never uttered, at least not by anyone that TB heard.
Now, as Dibilio heads to Dartmouth, he has 1,002 rushing yards, accomplished in nine games, one of which was a seven-carry, 20-yard night against Bucknell. In fact, Dibilio had 176 yards in three games (58.7 per game) and has 826 in the last six (137.7 per game).
The record for rushing yards by a Princeton freshman prior to Dibilio was 346 yards, set by Cameron Atkinson. Dibilio needs 36 yards against Dartmouth to triple that number.
Dibilio has routinely put up numbers that would be career-highs for others. TB is still astonished that he went into Franklin Field and went for 130 against Penn.
TB's biggest fear for this weekend, by the way, would be one carry for minus-3 yards, which would put him back to 999, followed by an injury that knocks him out of the game. That's the absolute worst-case scenario.
No other player in Ivy League football history has ever gone from high school one year to 1,000 yards rushing in the league the next. Clifton Dawson, who transferred from Northwestern to Harvard, had 1,187 yards as a freshman, but that was after his year in Evansville.
All of this begs one question of Princeton football fans.
What would you rather be on Sunday, 5-5 for the 2011 season with no Dibilio or 1-9 with three more years to build a team around a total horse of a running back?