PRINCETON, N.J. - The University of Pennsylvania football team set an NCAA record Saturday by playing its third-consecutive overtime game, but you cannot blame Head Coach Al Bagnoli if he is in no rush to see any more.
For the third-straight week, the Quakers fell in extra time, this time in a31-30 decisionto Princeton. After both teams missed field-goal attempts in the first set of downs, Penn matched Princeton's touchdown in the second overtime but then never got the extra-point attempt off.
“I don’t know that either team deserved to lose the game,” Bagnoli said. “We’ve just been snakebitten. I don’t know how else to say it.”
The overtime period came after Penn (4-4, 2-3 Ivy) erased a 14-point fourth quarter deficit.
Penn went first in overtime and was stopped two yards shy of the end zone. Braden Lepisto never got a chance to get the kick off after a botched snap. Princeton was also forced to kick, but a host of Penn linemen were all over Conner Louden’s 34-yard attempt.
In the second overtime period, Penn put up a valiant goal line stand, stopping the Tigers three times. On fourth and inches, Rob Toresco was stuffed short of the end zone but lateralled it out to quarterback Jeff Terrell, who ran around the end for a touchdown. Penn responded with a first-play, 25-yard touchdown throw to Matt Carre, but the snap on the extra point was low and the kick was never attempted.
Joe Sandberg ran for a career-high 174 yards, while Carre caught five passes for 114 yards and two touchdowns. Robert Irvin threw for a career-high 365 yards.
“We’re right there,” said Sandberg. “We realize a few breaks here or there and we’re on top.”
Princeton’s Jeff Terrell hit Brendan Circle for 25 yards on the opening touchdown with less than five minutes gone in the game.
Penn moved the ball into Tiger territory to start the second quarter. After two catches over the middle by Chris Mizell, Irvin completed a pass in the flat to Sandberg, who danced along the sideline and out of bounds at the one. Nick Cisler punched it in on first down for his first career touchdown and Stine’s extra point tied it at 7-7.
Princeton responded midway through the second. Terrell connected with Jake Staser on a nine-yard touchdown pass to take a 14-7 lead.
Penn went three-and-out on its next possession, putting the Tigers into a two-minute drill situation. Terrell marched his team downfield, getting inside the 10 with 33 seconds left. The Quaker defense, however, did its job, making a goal line stand and holding the Tigers to a 23-yard Louden field goalto head into the half down 17-7.
A big play by Sandberg set up the Quakers at the start of the second half. On the first play from scrimmage, Sandberg broke loose for a 52-yard run into the Princeton red zone. After a brief breather, Sandberg appeared to have a touchdown, but the run was called back on holding, and Penn had to settle for a 38-yard field goal from Lepisto.
Circle opened the fourth quarter with a 5-yard touchdown pass from Terrell to give Princeton a 24-10 lead.
Penn needed a score, and a big play gave them that. On fourth and 18 from the 24, and down by 14 with 11:30 to go, Irvin went over the middle and connected with Carre at the one. Irvin dove in on the quarterback keeper on the next play to cut the deficit to 24-7.
The defense held on the next sequence, but a Tiger punt pinned the Quakers at their own one. Irvin connected to Sandberg on a screen pass and he took off, but was stripped from behind by Brig Walker at midfield. Doori Song fell on the ball and Princeton took over with four minutes left in the game.
The Tigers went three-and-out, however, and Penn got one final chance. Starting at his own 30-yard line with 2:18 left to play, Irvin completed a pair of passes to Billy May to move Penn over midfield. A holding penalty pushed the Quakers back into its own territory. Irvin was incomplete on second down, and took a sack on third down.
On fourth and 24, Irvin, under pressure, threw up a jump ball and May came down with it for a first down with two yards to spare. Dan Coleman caught an 11-yard pass to the 16-yard line on the next play, and suddenly Penn could see the end zone with 49 seconds left to play.
On the next play, Penn completed the unlikely comeback. Irvin threaded the ball over the middle to Carre, who dove into the end zone for the score. Lepisto’s extra point tied the game with 39 seconds left.
Game Notes: Penn is the first team in NCAA history to play three overtime games in a row in the same season ... Penn lost the toss in each of its three overtimes ... Of the three, this was Penn's only double overtime game ... Matt Carre's touchdown was the first time Penn scored in OT this year ... Braden Lepisto's 38-yard field goal snapped a six-field goal missing streak for Penn ... It was also the longest field goal for Penn this year ... Starting kicker Peter Stine, who wasadded to the roster this weekfrom the sprint football team, left the game with an injury in the first quarter after being tackles on an extra point ... Joe Anastasio racked up 14 tackles ... Penn registered just one sack, by Mike Marinelli ... Penn scored in the fourth quarter for the first time since the Bucknell game.