PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania football team scored on its first two possessions Saturday afternoon, and while the Quakers never made it a blowout there were few nervous moments as they defeated Central Connecticut State, 28-16, at Franklin Field.
The win was Penn’s second in a row, as the Quakers moved to 2-2 in closing out the non-conference portion of their season. CCSU fell to 1-4 with the loss.
After stopping CCSU’s offense to start the game, Penn scored on its opening possession, needing eight plays to cover 76 yards and finishing the drive when Alek Torgersen ran it in from seven yards out. The Quakers defense then forced a fumble that was recovered by Tyronne Quarterman in Blue Devils territory, and just three players later Torgersen found Nicholas Bokun open up the middle for a 19-yard score to make it 14-0. It was Bokun’s first collegiate reception.
The Penn offense stalled after that, and it was Central Connecticut who found paydirt early in the second quarter when Jacob Dolegala found K.J. Smith on a pass and Smith took it the distance. The play covered 62 yards.
Penn then turned it over in its own territory, but the Quakers defense held and CCSU could only get three points as Ed Groth kicked a 39-yard field goal.
Penn’s offense re-awakened after that. The Quakers drove 75 yards down the field and were successful on two fourth-down conversions during the nine-play drive. The second of those conversions went for a score, as Torgersen found Christian Pearson and lofted a pass that the sophomore caught in stride along the right sideline for a 29-yard touchdown.
The Penn defense forced a three-and-out after that, and the Quakers had a chance to put more points on the board before halftime but Jimmy Gammill missed a 37-yard field goal as time expired.
That did not deter the Red and Blue. They took the kickoff to start the second half, and methodically drove down the field for another score. Justin Watson ignited the Quakers, catching two Torgersen passes for 31 yards to start things, and the nine-play drive ended with Tre Solomon rushing around right end for a five-yard score on another fourth-down play. That made it 28-10.
Central Connecticut got the game’s next points late in the third quarter, driving to Penn’s 10-yard line but no closer. Groff hit the 27-yard field goal to make the score 28-13. The Blue Devils then held Penn to a three-and-out, drove down the field again, and with 11:22 left in the fourth quarter got a 26-yard field goal from Groff to make it 28-16.
Penn again went three and out, conservatively running the ball, and CCSU drove into Quakers territory. However, on fourth-and-5 from the Penn 40 a bad Blue Devils snap led to a fumble recovery by Taylor Hendrickson and gave the Quakers the ball back.
Penn will play Ivy League games the rest of the way, starting next Saturday when Columbia comes to town for a 3 p.m. kickoff.