PHILADELPHIA - Ivy League Champions! On Senior Day at Franklin Field, the University of Pennsylvania defeated Cornell, 34-21 to claim its 17th Ivy title, first since 2012 and fourth in seven years.
Head Coach Ray Priore became just the seventh coach in league history to win an Ivy championship in his first season. He guided the Quakers to five straight wins to end the season -- Penn's longest winning streak since 2010.
In their final game in the Red and Blue, Penn's seniors celebrated their second Ivy title and became the fifth class in the last six years to graduate with at least two championship rings.
How it Happened
Penn (7-3, 6-1 Ivy) scored on its first four possessions and never looked back. Sophomore Justin Watson became just the third player in school history with 1,000 career receiving yards in a season, and is the third receiver in Ivy history with five straight 100-yard receiving games.
He was the focus early as his 33-yard reception set up running backBrian Schoenauer's six-yard touchdown run on an option pitch from quarterbackAlek Torgersen. The two-point trywas unsuccessful and Penn led 6-0 after the first possession of the game.
The Penn defense followed the offense's impressive start with an interception on Cornell's first play from scrimmage. Big Red quarterback Robert Somborn's pass was hit on the play by defensive linemen Austin Taps and his pass fluttered into the arms of linebacker Brandon Mills, setting the Quakers up at the Cornell 32-yard line.
Five plays later, Penn struck again. This time, with a bit of trickery. Senior wide receiver Eric Fiore took a handoff and then threw a 14-yard touchdownpass to Ryan O'Malley in the back of endzone. Jimmy Gammill connected on his extra point and the Quakers led 13-0 less than five minutes into the contest.
After a three-and-out from the Penn defense, the offense went back to work with another touchdown drive. Torgersen delivered a 37-yard pass to Watson again, this time with Watson crossing the goal line, to put the Quakers on top, 20-0, with 7:40 left in the opening quarter.
Cornell scored early in the second quarter to make it 20-7, butLonnie Tuff returned the ensuing kickoff 93 yards to the Cornell 4-yard line. Torgersen walked in for a one-yard score three plays later to push the lead back to 20, and the Quakers led 27-7 at the break.
Penn continued their impressive offensive showing with a score on its first drive on the second half. The Quakers went 67 yards in 11 plays and capped the drive with another touchdown pass from Torgersen to Watson. The 11-yard score marked the ninth receiving touchdown of the season -- third-most all-time at Penn.
Cornell scored at the end of the third quarter and with 1:11 remaining in the game to close the final margin to 34-21.
Inside the Numbers
Watson finished his day with 133 receiving yards on nine catches. He is just the fourth player in Ancient Eight history to record seven 100-yard receiving games in a season.
Torgersen was 15-of-22 overall for 195 yards and the two touchdowns to Watson. He also ran for 42 yards and a score on eight carries. Schoenauer notched his third 100-yard rushing performance of the year as he ran for 118 yards on 19 carries (6.2 yards/carry) and a score.
The class of 2016 is the seventh consecutive class to win at least one Ivy League championship. With this year's title, that will continue through the 2019 class, a streak of 10 years.
Coach Priore isjust the second coach in school history to win the Ivy title in his first season (Ed Zubrow, 1986).
Started in 1995, Penn won the Trustees’ Cup for the 15th time. This was thee the 21st time it has been awarded to the winner of Penn-Cornell in honor of the FCS’ fifth-longest rivalry (122 meetings).