WILLIAMSBURG, Va. - Despite a strong defensive effort and a late fourth-quarter rally, the University of Pennsylvania football team fell short to William & Mary, 27-14, on a rain-soaked Saturday afternoon at Zable Stadium.
Penn (2-2) was scoreless and trailed by 21 heading into the fourth quarter. But two touchdowns in just over three minutes pulled the Quakers within seven with 7:58 to play. However, William & Mary (4-2) promptly marched 75 yards on 12 straight run plays to melt the clock and ice the game with a late touchdown.
Played in a misty rain throughout the afternoon, the game featured eight fumbles (two lost on each side) and five total turnovers. The first of which came just five plays into the game. Senior Billy Ragone was sacked and stripped at the Penn 30-yard line and the ball was kicked all the way back to the 12 where William & Mary fell on the ball. Moments later, the Tribe led 7-0.
Both defenses dominated the remainder of the first quarter. Sophomore Austin Taps had a pair of third-down sacks and the Quakers did not allow another first down in the opening quarter.
The Tribe moved the ball into Penn territory on their first two possessions of the second quarter, but the Quakers twice stopped William & Mary on fourth down inside the 30-yard line.
The Quakers had seized momentum until another fumble set up the Tribe at the Penn 32. Five plays later, William & Mary led by 14 with 1:22 left in the half.
That score stuck until the Tribe's first possession of the second half. A six-play, 75-yard drive gave the hosts a 21-0 advantage.
Penn struggled to close the deficit, but the defense did its best to keep the game within range. Senior Sebastian Jaskowski, who finished with a career-high 12 tackles, forced and recovered a fumble to halt a Tribe drive inside the red zone.
The teams then traded punts until Penn's offense found a rhythm on its first drive of the fourth quarter. Starting from the Penn 34-yard line, Kulcsar ran four times for 23 yards, while Ragone hooked up for a big 27-yard gain to senior wideout Ty Taylor. Then on third-and-goal from the 1-yard line, Ragone faked the sneak and lobbed the ball to an open Ryan O'Malley in the back of the end zone with 11:20 to play.
Just 3:23 later, the Quakers were back in the end zone. After Connor Loftus booted the kickoff threw the end zone, senior Sam Chwarzynski broke threw the line on first down and strip sacked the Tribe quarterback. Senior Alex Kahn fell on the ball at the Tribe 26-yard line. Six plays later, on second-and-goal from the six, Ragone rolled right and dropped in a pass to O'Malley along the near sideline to close to within seven, 21-14, with 7:58 to play.
However, the Red and Blue never got the ball back with a chance to tie. The Tribe ran 12 straight times and took six minutes off the clock before punching it in for a 27-14 lead with 1:50 left. Penn got inside the red zone on its ensuing drive, but time ran out on a completion to Kulscar at the seven-yard line.
Ragone was 14-of-27 for 127 yards and two scores. Senior Ryan Mitchell had a team-high four catches for 43 yards and moved into 11th-place all-time at Penn in career receiving yards. Kulcsar had a career-best 84 rushing yards on 22 carries.
Senior Evan Jackson had a career-best eight tackles and Kenny Thomas had a career-high six tackles. Sophomore Dylan Muscat forced two fumbles and added five tackles, while senior captain Dan Wilk had three tackles and an interception. Tyler Drake added a sack for the second straight week.
Next Saturday, the Quakers return to league play with their first Ivy road test. The Red and Blue take on Columbia at 1:30 p.m. The game can be seen on the Ivy League Digital Network.