HANOVER, N.H. – Last year, the University of Pennsylvania football team watched as Dartmouth raced out to a big lead en route to a road victory at the Quakers’ Franklin Field.
Consider the receipt cashed in.
Penn turned the tables Friday night, scoring on its first four drives -- just as the Big Green did in 2015 -- and that set the stage for a 37-24 win at Memorial Field in front of a national television audience on NBC Sports Network. In the process, the Quakers avenged their only Ancient Eight loss from a year ago, when they shared the Ivy title with the Big Green and Harvard.
With the win, George A. Munger Head Coach of Football Ray Priore has now defeated all seven Ivy League opponents -- needing just eight Ivy games to do so. In the process, he became the third-fastest coach in Ivy League history to complete the sweep through the Ancient Eight. Only Penn’s Ed Zubrow (7-0 in 1986) and Yale’s Jordan Olivar (7-0 in 1956) did so quicker.
Penn used a balanced offensive attack Friday, rushing for 207 yards and passing for 188. Tre Solomon had 107 yards on the ground, while Alek Torgersen threw for all 188 yards and added 47 on nine rushing attempts. Justin Watson caught nine passes for 67 yards, while Cam Countryman made five grabs.
The Quakers took the opening kickoff and scored quickly on Friday night, moving 66 yards in just 2:30 with a 28-yard Christian Pearson touchdown reception finishing the drive. It was Pearson’s first score since he caught two touchdowns against Yale last October 23.
Solomon added Penn’s second score, rushing in from seven yards out to cap an 11-play, 61-yard drive with 4:41 left in the first quarter. Solomon was in the wildcat position, and made the right read to plow into the end zone to finish a drive which saw Torgersen find Pearson for six yards on a 4th-and-3 play to extend the drive.
The Big Green got on the board with a 27-yard David Smith field goal, but that was a win for the Penn defense which stood tall following a 41-yard run from Miles Smith that had Dartmouth sitting 1st-and-goal from the Penn 11. Connor Jangro and Louis Vecchio combined to stop Ryder Stone for a two-yard loss on the very next play, halting any Big Green momentum.
Torgersen would take to the ground in the second quarter, rushing it in from four yards out with 11:27 remaining in the first half to widen Penn’s lead to 21-3. He capped a 12-play, 77-yard drive which saw no Penn play go for longer than nine yards as the Quakers methodically marched down field.
Penn then proved opportunistic after a Dartmouth miscue, moving 36 yards in seven plays after the Big Green only managed 13 yards on a second-quarter punt. Solomon finished the drive with a one-yard rush for his second score of the game.
Just before the end of the first half, Dartmouth scored its first touchdown of the game. Ryder Stone rushed in from two yards out to cap a 15-play, 80-yard Big Green drive. That made it 28-10 at the break.
The teams traded fruitless drives to start the second half, but Penn made its own break after Hunter Kelley blasted a 54-yard punt that pinned Dartmouth on its own 7-yard line. Just two plays later, Jyron Walker intercepted Heneghan on the Big Green 17. Working with the short field, Penn needed four plays to find paydirt as Torgersen ran it in from three yards out.
Heneghan then threw another pick on Dartmouth’s next offensive play, this one snared by Mason Williams. Penn couldn’t fully capitalize this time around, but Kelley again figured prominently as he punted a ball that the Quakers downed at the Dartmouth 4. On first down, Taylor Hendrickson sacked Heneghan in the end zone for a safety, giving the Red and Blue a 37-10 lead.
Dartmouth recovered from those miscues, and made things mildly interesting with a pair of scores down the stretch. However, the Quakers were able to salt away the win and snap a mild two-game losing streak to the Big Green.
The Quakers return to Franklin Field on October 8, hosting Central Connecticut State in the first-ever meeting between the two teams. Kickoff against the Blue Devils is set for 1 p.m.