WATERBURY, Conn. - For just the second time in school history and first time since 2000, the University of Pennsylvania sprint football team completed an undefeated season and outright CSFL Championship after a 41-12 victory over Post.
Penn (7-0) was led by a monstrous performance from sophomore running back Jake Klaus who finished with 248 rushing yards, the most by any player in the CSFL this season and the fourth-highest total on the ground in school history.
How it Happened
Both teams traded quick three-and-outs to start the game, and after the Eagles were stymied again on their second drive of the afternoon, Penn took advantage. Senior captain Mike McCurdy connected with Aidan Kelly on the first play of the second drive for 66 yards and the touchdown, giving the Red and Blue the early 7-0 advantage. The shutout would be short-lived however, as Post returned the favor, hitting a long ball of their own for a 64-yard touchdown on the first play of its next offensive drive, before missing the PAT to make it 7-6 Penn.
Klaus then began his incredible game on the ground, pounding the ball down the field and advancing the Quakers all the way to the Post 9-yard line. McCurdy was unable to find Marcus Jones on third down, forcing a 25-yard field goal that would sail wide left, keeping the score 7-6.
The Eagles were unable to generate much heading into the second quarter, giving the ball back to the potent Penn attack. Klaus ran for gains of 14 and six, while a McCurdy pass to Jones for 18 yards was mixed in before Klaus eventually took the ball into the end zone from 15 yards away to put the Quakers up 14-6.
Post refused to fold, as the Eagles put together a 20-play drive, shaving 5:48 off the clock and marching 89 yards down the field to score their second touchdown of the afternoon, capping things off with a 23 yard pass. The home team was unable to convert for two points, allowing Penn to hold on to a 14-12 lead that it would keep into halftime.
Klaus would take over after the break, taking the ball methodically down the field for Penn, notching rushes of six, 22, 12, and 14. McCurdy would seal the opening half scoring drive for the Quakers, this time finding Charles Augustini from 17 yards away, pushing the Red and Blue ahead 21-12.
The Eagles were only able to move the ball four yards on its next drive, turning things back to Penn who quickly took advantage. A 7-play 53 yard drive was finished on a 32-yard touchdown run from Klaus, making the score 28-12.
Penn's defense again stifled the Eagles, and the Quakers capitalized, putting the game out of reach on a 10-play, 73 yard drive. McCurdy and Klaus both showed off their ground game, while McCurdy peppered in a handful of passes before Robert Diorio capped things off with a 1-yard touchdown, making it 34-12 Penn.
Post was able to control the ball on its next drive, generating nine plays before the Eagles were again forced to punt. McCurdy's last pass of the game and his career was a 10-yard gain to Jones, advancing out of their own end zone. Edward Jenkins entered the game and displayed his speed and talent on his first rush of the game, scampering 51 yards to pay dirt, giving Penn the 41-12 lead that would stand as the final score.
Inside the Numbers
Late in the second quarter, McCurdy broke the Penn single-season passing yardage record. His 1,740 yards through the air now stand as the most in Quaker history, surpassing Todd Busler's mark of 1,681 set in 2009. McCurdy broke the all-time career passing yardage mark earlier this year and ends his reign as Penn quarterback with 5,813 passing yards.
Tom Console led the way on the defense for the Quakers, totaling 10 tackles against the Eagles. Diorio was close behind with eight, while James Juliano finished with seven. Senior captain Patrick Boyle added to his team-leading sack total, taking down the Post quarterback twice on Saturday.
Jones led the receiving corps for the Quakers with four catches for 47 yards, while Kelly added three catches for a team-high 89 yards and a touchdown.
The CSFL Championship is Head Coach Bill Wagner's fifth in his career and first since 2010 when the Quakers shared the title with Army West Point.