PRINCETON, N.J. – The University of Pennsylvania football team fell from the unbeaten ranks in the Ivy League standings on Saturday, as Princeton defeated the Quakers 28-0 at Princeton Stadium.
With the loss, Penn fell to 4-1 in Ivy play while Princeton improved to 4-1.
It was an inauspicious start for the Quakers. After receiving the opening kick, they gained just five yards on three plays. On the ensuing punt, Hunter Kelley struggled with the snap. He quickly picked it up and tried to kick it, but Jesper Horsted blocked it and Jeremiah Tyler picked it up for a Princeton score. The extra point was no good, but the Tigers had a 6-0 lead just 1:23 into the contest.
The Quakers had entered the game with a 10-game Ivy League winning streak dating back to last season and were riding a five-game overall winning streak. Over those past five games, Penn had never trailed and had only been tied for a total of 16:56 of game play. On Saturday, the special teams touchdown conceded ended that run and the Quakers would never recover.
Penn’s next drive stalled near midfield, and from an offensive set Alek Torgersen pooch-punted to the Tigers 6-yard line. On offense for the first time in the game, Princeton drove down to Penn’s 22-yard line but lost the ball on downs when Alex Moore beautifully knocked down an attempted touchdown pass at the goal line on a Princeton fourth-down play.
Penn’s offense finally found a bit of traction off the defensive stop. However, on fourth-and-6 from the Princeton 26, Justin Watson was stopped just short of a first down at the Tigers’ 22-yard line. On its second possession, Princeton used 12 plays to go 78 yards and hit paydirt when quarterback John Lovett leaped over the line from a yard out.
The teams went scoreless the rest of the period, although Princeton had a chance to put points on the board on the final play of the half. However, Tavish Rice was wide left on a 51-yard field goal attempt to keep the score 13-0 at the break.
Princeton started with the ball in the second half and extended its lead. The Tigers burned more than half of the third period off the clock, using 15 plays to drive 80 yards and scoring when Lovett found James Frusciante from four yards out. Princeton then converted a two-point conversion to make the score 21-0.
Penn looked like it might be finding its feet offensively, but the Quakers were derailed deep in Princeton territory when James Gales picked off Torgersen trying to find Justin Watson on a wheel route. He then returned the ball 27 yards nearly to midfield, effectively ending any hope of a Penn comeback.
Princeton put the finishing touches on the game with 4:39 left when Joe Rhattigan cut back and went around the right side for 12 yards to the end zone. That completed an 11-play, 72-yard drive that took nearly seven minutes.
Penn can still earn a piece of the Ivy League title with wins in its last two games. The first of those comes next Friday at Franklin Field, when the Quakers host No. 23 Harvard at 8 p.m. The game will be televised live to a nationwide audience on NBC Sports Network and will feature an anniversary celebration of the 1916 Penn Quakers team which played in the Rose Bowl. It is also Senior Night for the Red and Blue.