PRINCETON, N.J. - Sprint football closed out its solid 2011 season with a convincing 38-6 victory over Princeton in the league game between the two schools. Penn (5-2, 4-2 CSFL) jumped out to the 31-0 lead at the half on the strength of 24 second quarter points. The Quakers finished the season as Ivy League champs and will once again take home the William R. Wagner trophy for doing so. They also finish third overall in the CSFL behind Army and Navy.
For the game, Penn finished with 387 yards of total offense, while limiting the Tigers to just 224 yards of offense. Of Penn's total yardage, 236 of those yards came in the second quarter. After allowing 103 yards in the first quarter, Penn allowed just 121 the rest of the way to slow down the Princeton offense. Todd Busler finished his Penn career with 280 yards passing and four touchdowns, completing 16 of his 25 passes. Whit Shaw added five receptions for 93 yards and a touchdown, while Kamil Okroj caught two passes for 39 yards. Both of his receptions went for touchdowns.
Penn got off to the quick start receiving the opening kick and starting at their own 40 after Shaw's return. From there, the Quakers would make it a quick drive as Busler found Shaw for 30 yards, taking the ball down to the Princeton 30. Mike Beamish took his first carry for 16 yards to the Princeton 14 and after an incompletion, Busler again found Shaw for the final 14 yards and the early touchdown just 1:15 into the game following the drive that went four plays and 60 yards.
The Quakers' defense would also answer the bell with a quick stop, allowing just nine cumulative yards on five plays and forcing the early punt. However, Penn would then go three-and-out, giving the ball right back. On the next drive, Penn would again force the punt, but could not move the ball into scoring position after crossing the midfield line on its third drive.
The Tigers began to show life on the next drive going 58 yards in just eight plays, taking the ball down to the Penn 12, but Shaw would force a fumble in the red zone and Nick Rush would be there to recover and allow Penn to take over after the big turnover at the end of the first quarter.
That turnover would light a spark behind the Penn offense and it would march 86 yards in just eight plays. A 27-yard run from Beamish got Penn across midfield and down to the 34. On the next play, Busler found Okroj for a 34-yard hook-up for the touchdown. Michael Bass added the extra point to make the score 14-0 Penn with 12:45 to go in the second quarter.
After forcing Princeton to go three-and-out for the first time all game the following drive, Penn again took over with some offensive urgency, this time going 69 yards in nine plays. Busler again was sharp on the drive, completing all four of his passes. This included the five-yard touchdown pass to Okroj for his second receiving touchdown of the night. This scoring drive gave Penn the 21-0 lead with 6:46 to play in the opening half.
Penn's defense just continued to play at a high intensity, forcing another three-and-out for the second consecutive drive. The Quakers took over at their own 33 and Busler found Andrew Donald for a 22-yard completion on the first play of the drive. The next play he found Shaw for another 18 yards through the air. Following a Beamish six-yard run to the Princeton 21, Busler would cap off this drive with his legs, running for the remaining 21 yards and giving Penn the 28-0 lead after Bass added his fourth PAT of the night.
After getting the Princeton offense off the field after just over 1:35 of time on offense, Penn got the ball back at the Princeton 40 following Anthony DiBella's interception with 1:51 to go in the half. A few plays later, Busler again found Donald for the 22-yard reception to the Princeton 20. Penn would have a big run by Busler called back on an illegal block and would eventually settle for a 35-yard field goal from Bass to give them a 31-0 lead at halftime. Bass recorded seven points just in the kicking game alone in the first half. In that first half, Busler went 12 of 15 for 177 yards and the two touchdown passes, plus his rushing touchdown.
Princeton would start the second half off with a penalty laden drive that took 6:48 off the game clock, running 12 plays, but only netted 13 yards in the end. Following a punt that Beamish returned 10 yards to the Penn 47, Busler would find his running back out of the backfield for a 53-yard reception giving Penn a 38-0 lead with 7:53 to go in the game.
Neither team could do anything on its next two drives to close out the third quarter. Princeton took over at the Penn 43 after pinning the Quakers back deep and forcing the punt. From that spot, the Tigers would cover the 43 yards in just four plays, taking 5:17 off the clock, but Zach Plona blocked the extra point attempt to keep the score at 38-6 with 8:55 left to play in the season.
Penn would take over with Keith Braccia under center and run just three plays on the drive, but took 3:30 off of the clock in the process and the Quakers would pin Princeton at its own 1 with 5:25 to play following a nice punt by Beamish.
The Tigers would hold onto the ball for 5:06 of the remaining time, but get just 15 yards during that span before being forced to punt. Taking over with 19 seconds remaining, Braccia ran for six yards and the game clock expired to seal the 38-6 victory.
For the game, Beamish finished with 73 yards rushing on 10 carries, all for positive yardage. The freshman also had 53 yards receiving and 10 yards on punt returns to finish with 136 all-purpose yards. Busler added 18 yards and the score in the ground game, while Braccia and Jeff Grimes each finished the night with two carries. Mathew Wetherell finished his career with four catches for 37 yards in the game, while Donald caught three balls for 53 yards. Shaw finished the night with 154 all-purpose yards.
Defensively, Alexander Starr led the team with 10 tackles. Chris Twombly made seven stops, six solo, while DiBella finished the game with six tackles, five solo. Kai Peng, Jack Miller, and Matt Cuccinello each finished the season finale with five tackles. Peng and DiBella each finished with an interception, while Peng also recorded a sack, as did Brandon Batzel.
After a strong 4-2 record in the league, Penn should be well represented on the All-CSFL squads to be announced later this month. For all the latest news on sprint football and upcoming alumni events, be sure to check out PennAthletics.com throughout the winter months.