PHILADELPHIA – A fumble on the opening possession was an ominous sign for the University of Pennsylvania football team. The Quakers got down early and were never able to recover in a 41-20 defeat to Dartmouth on an unpleasant and rainy afternoon at Franklin Field.
Penn had nine days off prior to the start of this one after a historic win at No. 4/5 Villanova on Thursday, Sept. 24 -- the program's first-ever road win over a top five opponent. But any momentum carried from that victory was lost early in the Ivy and home opener on Saturday.
How it Happened
Penn (1-2, 0-1 Ivy) received the opening kickoff but lost the ball quickly on its first possession, fumbling on its own 32-yard line. The Big Green cashed in, needing just four plays to hit paydirt on an 8-yard pass over the middle of the field. Dartmouth (3-0, 1-0 Ivy) led 7-0 after the first three minutes and never looked back.
After Penn was stopped on downs on its next possession, Dartmouth again marched down the field. This time the Big Green needed nine plays to cover 63 yards, but found the end zone on an option keeper from nine yards out. The extra point was blocked, which made the score 13-0.
Another Penn series ended near midfield, with senior quarterbackAlek Torgersen quick-kicking and pinning Dartmouth at its own 10-yard line. The Big Green went 90 yards in 16 plays, a drive that took nearly eight minutes and ended with the visitors stuffing it in from one yard out for a 20-0 lead with 11:53 left in the half.
The Big Green added another touchdown, but Penn's offense responded before intermission. Torgersen led a 14-play, 74-yard drive, and finished it himself with a one-yard plunge just before the half. The extra point sailed wide and the Quakers trailed 27-6 at the break.
Torgersen was injured on the scoring drive and did not play in the second half. Senior Andrew Lisa saw his first career action and excelled. He completed 11 of his first 12 passes (the only incompletion was a drop) and guided the Quakers on back-to-back scoring drives in the fourth quarter.
The Big Green had extended their lead with a pair of touchdowns, but Lisa passed for 63 yards on a 70-yard scoring drive, capped by consecutive pretty passes to sophomore Justin Watson -- the first a 32-yard strike over the middle, and the second lofted to the back corner of the end zone.
On the ensuing Dartmouth possession, senior Lukas Nossem forced a fumble on a sack, and freshman Nick Miller was there to scoop up the ball and return it 12 yards inside the 20. Junior running back Brian Schoenauer accounted for the first 15 yards, and then Lisa found senior wideout Cameron Countryman for a three-yard score.
Inside the Numbers
Three different Quakers completed a pass as wide receiver Danny Ferens took a snap in the wildcat formation and completed an 11-yard pass to Eric Fiore. In addition, 10 different Penn players had a reception.
Lisa was Penn's leading passer as he finished 15-of-21 for 126 yards and the two touchdown passes. Torgersen was 7-of-10 for 29 yards and also had 22 rushing yards in addition to his touchdown. Schoenauer finished with 57 yards on nine carries, while sophomore Justin Watson was Penn's leading receiver once again with eight catches for 66 yards.
Defensively, the Quakers were led by senior Tyler Drake, who finished with a career-high 15 tackles. Junior linebacker Donald Panciello had nine tackles, including 1.5 for loss. Nossem had two sacks, while Dan Connaughton added another. Jack Madden had eight tackles and blocked an extra point.
Penn wraps up its non-conference play next week with another top-25 opponent. The Quakers welcome Fordham to Franklin Field. Kickoff is at 1 p.m., and the game can be seen on the Ivy League Digital Network.
Download: 3 - Dartmouth box.pdf