PHILADELPHIA Penn quarterback Robert Irvin threw for 227 yards and two touchdowns, and the Quaker defense intercepted three passes as Penn dropped Dartmouth, 17-10, in its Ivy League opener at Franklin Field Saturday.
The Quakers (2-1, 1-0 Ivy) overcame three turnovers while the Big Green (0-3, 0-1 Ivy) made a late comeback attempt with a touchdown in the final minute of the fourth quarter.
Irvin, who went 15-of-25 on the afternoon, hit Billy May and Braden Lepisto for touchdown receptions. The Quaker defense was solid, making three red-zone stops, while Tyson Maugle had two interceptions and Kory Gedin made 12 tackles.
“Our red zone defense has been solid all year, and it was good again today,” said Head Coach Al Bagnoli. “Sometimes you have to fight, and we definitely had to fight today.”
Irvin found a variety of receivers, but Matt Carre was the preferred target, making seven catches for 87 yards.
“Our whole group of wide receivers is always confident that we can make big plays,” Carre said. “We knew that they were going to come in and try to stop our running game, so we were all confident that when our number was called we could step up and make a play.”
After a quiet first quarter, the Quakersdrew first bloodmidway through the second whenIrvin found Lepisto in the end zone for a 33-yard completion with 7:34 left in the half. Derek Zoch’s extra point gave Penn a 7-0 lead.
Dartmouth answered right back when Mike Fritz completed a 29-yard pass to Brian Evans to move the Big Green to the Penn 17-yard line. After another Dartmouth first down, the Quakers set up a stand on the goal line. On third and three to the end zone, Fritz’s pass for Ryan Fuselier was batted away by Jordan Manning, setting up Andrew Kempler’s 20-yard field goal to make it 7-3.
With a chance to extend the lead with time winding down in the half, Irvin completed a pair of big passes to Carre, first with a 20-yard strike to the Dartmouth 33 and then a 15-yarder to the 18. Chris Mizell made a spectacular one-handed catch to move Penn to the 9-yard line, but he was a yard short of the first down. Zoch’s 26-yard field goal attempt sailed wide left.
Penn received the ball to start the second half, but Brian Raike returned the bad kick and fumbled, giving Dartmouth the ball inside the Quakers'30. The Big Green drove to the 5-yard line, but the Quaker defense again held in the red zone, forcing Dartmouth into a field goal attempt. Unfortunately for the Big Green, Kempler’s attempt went wide right.
On their first possession of the second half, the Quakers drove the length of the field to set up Irvin’s 12-yard strike toMay over the middle to make it 14-3.
With Dartmouth threatening on the ensuing drive, Penn’s defense again came up big. Maugle picked off his second pass of the season, giving his team the ball at its own 39. With Bryan Walker stepping in under center, the Quakers marched downfield behind Walker’s 25-yard run. However,the drive stalled, and Zoch’s 39-yard field attempt was no good.
The fourth quarter began with astring of turnovers. On Penn’s first drive of the fourth quarter, Joe Sandberg fumbled on a run deep into Big Green territory, losing the ball, but Maugle provided instant redemption for the Quakers on the very next play, making his second interception of the day to give Penn the ball back at the Dartmouth 32.
“It was a great team effort today,” Maugle said. “The defensive line kept a lot of pressure on the quarterback all day, that forced the quarterback into some tough decisions, and I happened to be in the right place at the right time.”
Two plays later, Irvin did the same thing as his Dartmouth counterpart --throwing a pick to Andrew Dete to give the Big Green the ball around their own 30 --but Fritz again promptly threw it away to Pat Kimener for Penn’s third interception of the game. Zoch capitalized on that possession with a 23-yard field goal to make it 17-3 in favor of Penn.
Dartmouth had a chance to make it a one-touchdown game with three minutes left, but Fuselier’s touchdown catch was called back on offensive pass interference. A false start pushed Dartmouth further back, giving it third-and-goal on the 26-yard line, and two incompletions turned the ball over on downs.
The Quakers, however, could not gain a first down, and were forced to punt. Anthony Melillowas unable toget the punt away and was tackled in the backfield -- givingthe ball back toDartmouth --and on first down Fritz completed his first pass to Philip Galligan for a touchdown to make it 17-10. Mizell, however, picked up the on-side kick and the Quakers were able to run out the clock.