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Video: Final Play | Jack's last-minute catch-and-run
On Field Highlights
PHILADELPHIA - Some costly turnovers put the University of Pennsylvania football team in a deep hole, but the Quakers fought their way back and had a chance to win on the game's final play. Senior Billy Ragone's pass to the back of the end zone was batted down as time expired and William & Mary held on for a 34-28 win at Franklin Field on Saturday afternoon.
Penn (1-3) fumbled twice inside its 25-yard line and trailed by 17 late in the third quarter. But Ragone threw for two touchdowns and ran for another in the second half to get the Red and Blue within six with 3:23 to play. He then drove the Quakers 59 yards in the final 1:30, but they were unable to score on four plays from inside the Tribe's 30-yard line, including a last-ditch Hail Mary.
On its second possession of the game, William & Mary (2-4) scored first with an efficient 83-yard drive that took just 3:04 off the clock.
Later, the Quakers took over at the Tribe 35-yard line when William & Mary was flagged on a punt for interfering with Eric Fiore during his fair catch attempt. With senior Andrew Holland under center, it took just seven plays to find the end zone - a three-yard rush up the middle from senior Jeff Jack - and tie the game with 5:13 left in the opening quarter.
William & Mary, visiting Franklin Field for the first time since 1992, reached the Penn 10-yard line on its ensuing drive, but settled for a field goal. A few minutes later, Fiore fumbled a fair catch attempt and the Tribe were back at the Penn 10. Five plays later, the Tribe led by 10, 17-7, with 6:34 to go in the half.
It looked as if the half would conclude at that score, but Jack was stripped of the ball as the Quakers tried to run out the clock in the final minute. William & Mary recovered with 34 seconds left at the Penn 25-yard line. A 22-yard scoring strike with 12 ticks left made it 24-7 at the break.
Penn's offense - which produced six more first downs than the Tribe, outgained the visitors (395-380) and outpassed them (246-220) - did most of its damage in the second half.
The Quakers scored on their first two drives after halftime. The first of which consisted of 12 plays and went 75 yards in 5:23 and ended on a one-yard touchdown pass from Ragone to junior wideout Ryan Mitchell - his first of the year.
William & Mary needed just five plays to go 80 yards and were quickly back up 17 midway through the third quarter.
The Red and Blue's second straight touchdown was aided by sophomore Kevin Ijoma's kick return to the Penn 45-yard line. Ragone was 3-for-3 passing to reach the William & Mary five-yard line. He then rolled to his left and sprinted to the corner of the end zone where he dove and knocked over the pylon to pull the Quakers within 31-21 with 4:18 to play in the third quarter.
The Tribe led by 13 when the Quakers reached the William & Mary two-yard line with just over eight minutes to play. But Ragone was stopped on a fourth-down run.
Undeterred, the Quakers defense forced a three-and-out and the offense took over in Tribe territory. Just 48 yards later, it was a six-point game. Ragone lofted a 15-yard pass to the back corner of the end zone and junior Conner Scott out-leaped his defender and hauled in his second touchdown of the season.
William & Mary had a chance to run the last 3:23 off the clock, but the defense forced a quick punt. It still looked bleak as the Quakers had just 1:30 left and the ball at their own 12. Three passes got the ball to the 25. Then Jack caught Ragone's pass, broke a few tackles and found daylight down the far sideline. He sprinted to the William & Mary 24-yard line before he was caught. The Quakers had 40 seconds to work with, but two incompletions and a sack left just a few ticks left. Ragone had to heave the final pass into the end zone, where it was knocked away by the Tribe.
Jack had a team-high 77 rush yards on 14 carries (5.5 yards/carry). He also had four receptions for 59 yards. Senior Lyle Marsh had a team-high eight catches that went for 47 yards and Scott led the Quakers with 74 yards on five receptions. Ragone was 21-of-35 for a season-high 207 yards through the air and added 39 yards on the ground.
Junior Sebastian Jaskowski led the team with a career-high 11 tackles. Senior Dave Twamley had a season-best eight tackles, as did senior captain Brandon Copeland, who also recorded his second sack of the year. Sophomore Jimmy Wagner had a sack and shared another with senior C.J. Mooney - the first of their careers.
Penn returns to Ivy play for the rest of the 2012 slate. The Quakers host their first league opponent at Franklin Field when Columbia visits on Saturday. The Lions haven't won in Philadelphia since 1996. Kickoff is at 1 p.m.