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PHILADELPHIA - Penn was caught up in a groundswell on Friday night, unable to stop Navy's rushing attack in a 44-10 loss to the Midshipmen in sprint football.
The Middies gained 318 yards on the ground over 55 carries, producing five rushing touchdowns to knock Penn to 2-4 overall and 1-4 inside the CSFL. The Red and Blue struggled to find any traction on offense, amassing 198 yards of total offense - 80 of which came via Danny Reyes' touchdown pass to Michael Bass late in the fourth quarter.
The start of the game was an ominous one for the Quakers as Joe Raso fumbled the opening kickoff, giving Navy the ball at the Penn 27-yard line. The Quakers dug in on defense, though, and held Navy to just eight yards on the drive and conceding only a 36-yard field goal.
Penn went 3-and-out on its first drive, giving Navy its second drive in good field position, starting at its own 38. It took four plays for Navy to cross midfield, and on the sixth play of the drive Alex Cross busted up the middles for a 42-yard touchdown to put Navy ahead, 10-0.
Both sides traded possessions for the remainder of the first quarter, Navy picking up 1st-and-10 from its own 20 after a Mike Beamish punt with 13 seconds remaining in the opening period. Navy marched down field before Penn appeared to halt the drive at its own 4 after a pair of Anthony DiBella stops following 1st-and-goal for Navy. The Midshipmen lined up for a field goal, but holder Michael DeLong pitched the snap to placekicker Adrian Montecinos who rushed around left end to complete the fake for a 4-yard touchdown.
Navy was dinged for unsportsmanlike conduct after the touchdown, affording Penn good field position for its next drive after an 11-yard Whit Shaw return brought the ball out to the Penn 41. On 2nd-and-5 from the Navy 44, Beamish ran for 19 yards and added another 12 after Navy was hit for a face mask. The Quakers looked to be in prime position to answer with at touchdown, but a sack of Keith Braccia on 3rd-and-6 brought out Kai Peng who was good on a 30-yard field goal to get Penn on the board, 17-3.
Penn was again victimized by a turnover late in the half as Navy picked off Braccia at the Penn 43. The Quakers came very close to countering the turnover after D.J. Hooper fumbled on the second play of the drive following a big hit from Jack Miller, but Navy came out of the massive scrum with the ball to maintain possession. Navy's next play was a 29-yard pass from Lewis Correale to Jesse Holian and on the next play Correale found Dominic Chumich from nine yards out with 0:31 left in the half to send Penn to the locker room trailing, 24-3.
Alex Horton carried the mail for Navy on the first drive of the second half, rushing four times for 60 yards to account for all but one of Navy's 61 yards on the scoring drive. The final yard went to Correale who plunged in on a keeper for a 30-3 Navy lead after Hassan Siddiqui blocked the extra point.
Trailing 37-3 late in the game, Penn made a switch at quarterback, bringing in Danny Reyes. Usually a defensive back, Reyes was incomplete on his first pass, but his second was a pretty pitch-and-catch with Michael Bass. Reyes took a quick drop and threw a deep ball down the right sideline that Bass was able to run under and catch on the fly, evading the only tackler close and finding the endzone untouched for an 80-yard touchdown reception - Penn's longest of the season - to end the night on a positive note for the offense.
Jack Miller was busy on defense for the Quakers, making 12 total tackles - nine of which were solo while forcing one fumble. Nick Rush was also involved heavily on defense, registering 11 tacklers - seven solo. Stu Helgeson picked off one Navy pass to go with his six solo tackles, while Matt Pellegrino and Mack Pierson combined for Penn's lone sack on the evening.
The Red and Blue conclude the 2012 season on Nov. 2 against Princeton at 7 p.m. at Franklin Field.