PHILADELPHIA – In a game that had a little bit of everything, the University of Pennsylvania sprint football team fell to Franklin Pierce in overtime Friday night at Franklin Field, 33-27.
After Franklin Pierce (3-2) scored on its offensive possession to take the lead -- the kick was no good -- Penn (2-2) appeared to be on its way to the tying touchdown and potential winning PAT when Mike McCurdy found Freddy Ordonez near the goal line. However, Ordonez was rocked as he turned to put the ball over the goal line, the ball popped out of his hands and into the end zone, and the Ravens recovered to end it.
When everything was tallied up, the teams had combined for 164 plays (88 of them passing) and 895 yards; 27 penalties that totaled 245 yards; eight sacks. The game itself lasted nearly three-and-a-half hours.
Franklin Pierce started the game with the ball, but that didn’t last long. On the Ravens’ second play, Ed Cai drove around the right end and sacked FPU quarterback, forcing a fumble that Penn recovered. Three plays later, Mike Beamish ran it in from two yards and the Quakers were up, 7-0.
Franklin Pierce responded. The Ravens forced a 3-and-out on Penn’s next possession, and then Jhamel Cohen blocked the Quakers’ punt attempt. FPU’s recovery put the ball on the Penn 18-yard line, and just two plays later Cohen finished what he started as he ran a reverse around the left end and was almost untouched all the way to the end zone.
Penn came right back, using just six plays to go 68 yards. The scoring play came when McCurdy found Andrew Donald in the right corner of the end zone for a 29-yard passing play.
Penn had a chance to really gain momentum on its next drive, taking it all the way down to the 2-yard line and in fact crossing the end zone not once but twice. Both TDs were brought back because of penalties, however, and instead the Quakers missed a 37-yard field goal wide left.
The touchdown instead came on the next drive. The Red and Blue needed less than a minute to go 54 yards, the final 28 coming when McCurdy threaded a pass along the left sideline between two defenders into the arms of Jack Epstein.
Both teams put points on the board late in the half in a final flurry. Franklin Pierce used six plays and just 39 seconds to go 73 yards for a score, a drive that ended with a Ryan O’Kelly 11-yard run to the right corner of the end zone.
Penn came right back and got three points just before halftime, going 49 yards in nine plays that took just 49 seconds and allowed Aron Morgan to kick a 39-yard field goal. It was 24-13 at the break.
Franklin Pierce scored the first points of the second half, driving 84 yards in just seven plays for another O’Kelly rushing touchdown -- this time he scrambled out of trouble, found daylight along the right side, and ran to paydirt. The Ravens unsuccessfully went for two, but Penn’s lead was a precarious 24-19.
Penn got the lead back up to eight, thanks to a 34-yard field goal by Morgan after the Quakers drove 66 yards down to the Ravens’ 17 with 3:08 left in the third.
Penn dodged a huge bullet early in the fourth quarter, when Franklin Pierce’s Tyler Holdsworth returned a Beamish punt all the way to the Quakers’ 4-yard line. However, a penalty brought the ball all the way back to the 30, and FPU eventually lost the ball on downs.
Penn had no such luck on the Ravens’ next drive. Spurred by a 44-yard run by D.J. MacDonald, FPU went 74 yards in just six plays and scored when O’Kelly found Michael Holdridge on a misdirectionpass for 20 yards to the left corner. Franklin Pierce then went for two and got it this time, O’Kelly rushing it in over the right side. That tied the score at 27-27 with 5:35 left.
Both teams stagnated after that, although the game came right down to the last play of regulation when Franklin Pierce tried a field goal for the win. The kick never had a chance, as it was booted right back into the line of scrimmage (a play that would be repeated in the OT).
McCurdy finished the night with 314 passing yards and added 40 rushing yards, while Beamish led the ground game with 81 yards. Michael Bass caught nine of McCurdy's passes for 93 yards, while Donald had six catches for 80 yards and Ordonez had five receptions for 83 yards.
Penn returns to action next Saturday at Post, kickoff is set for noon.