Dartmouth engineering a run at Ivy League football title

Dart FB vs. Brown 111415

Football players can be engineers and engineers can be football players.

That is the message of a video produced by Dartmouth’s Thayer School of Engineering, which put together similar productions highlighting other sports.

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It is appropriate that Kyle Bramble and Brian Grove are featured in the video along with the graduated Rob Lauzen. Bramble and Grove arrived at the campus in Hanover, N.H., in 2012; both are senior engineering sciences majors; both are running backs; and they rank second and third on the team in rushing with just 19 yards separating them.

“A lot of people at Thayer really don’t appreciate the work that goes into football and vice versa with how much work we put into engineering,” said Bramble, who hails from Floyds Knobs, Ind. “When we found out they were making a video we really appreciated it because people were noticing how much time we put into both things.”

Their time on the gridiron could result in concluding their careers with at least a share of the Ivy League title, which a win over visiting Princeton Saturday on ASN would guarantee. Sitting atop the Ancient Eight is something the Big Green last accomplished 19 years ago. (A win combined with a Harvard loss at Yale and a Penn defeat at the hands of Cornell would give Dartmouth an outright championship.)

Before they could think ahead to Saturday both have been engaged in the x’s and o’s of engineering projects. Bramble and a few other students are putting together a game plan to help a local company expand a 2.5-mile stretch of congested roadway leading to its offices. The project would include a bike lane and pedestrian walkway.

Meanwhile, Grove was part of a group that earlier this week wrapped up a project devoted to designing a bridge and calculating how much force it can handle.

What else would you expect?

“We came in as freshmen together and have since taken a lot of the same classes together,” said Grove, a native of West Palm Beach. “We even play the same position. We spend a lot of time together and it has been awesome to get to know (Bramble) on the field and in general as a friend.”


During their sophomore years Bramble and Grove were involved in a project that resulted in a prototype of a battery-operated ice chipper. Why scrape away when this tool can do the dirty work?

“We notice that people try to chip ice with their bare hands, with a little ax or whatever, so we built something that would improve the quality of life in the winter,” said Bramble. “We ended up making this automated ice chipper that was like a weed-whacker in that you pull the trigger and break up the ice.”

Someday down the road they may want to get a patent and market the device. Alas, such logistics are on hold at least for the time being.

“We have talked about it and met with patent lawyers, but at this point it is not something we are looking into because of the expense,” said Grove. “It is something we will think about when we have the funds available. Right now it is kind of on the backburner. It was a pretty cool project, no doubt.”

It would be pretty cool if they celebrated at least a share of an Ivy title together. As the team belted out the alma mater following their win in a turnover-plagued game at Brown last week, a roar emerged from the Big Green faithful that made the trip. That could have meant only one thing: what was pace-setting Harvard lost to Penn forcing a three-way tie atop the standings.

“It was the most unreal thing,” said Bramble, who rushed for a game-high 93 yards on 17 carries to up his season total to 318 yards with an average of 4.7 per tote. “We looked at each other, finished singing, and started cheering because we knew we were back in the mix to win the championship. It was a great feeling and hopefully we can pull off the win this week to secure the title.”

Grove opened the scoring with a 61-yard TD run and finished with 90 yards on eight carries. He enters Saturday’s game having rushed for 299 yards with an average of 5.4 per carry.

“It was unreal,” he said of last week’s win. “When my class came in as a freshman we were only 6-4, but that was our best record (since 1996). Ever since then we have progressed and it means a lot to our class to have an opportunity to win an Ivy League championship.”

Should the Big Green succeed the running backs and engineers will likely have chipped in.

On the cover: Brian Groves has found engineering and football can mix at Dartmouth (Courtesy John Risley)
Middle: Kyle Bramble said once he learned a video was being made about playing football and studying engineering, he wanted in. (Courtesy Mark Wasburn)


Tom Layberger

Tom Layberger

Tom Layberger is a freelance writer based in Glen Mills, Pa.