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PHILADELPHIA - On a rain-soaked Franklin Field, the University of Pennsylvania football team defeated Yale, 9-0 Saturday afternoon. The Quakers defense posted their first shut out in two years and accounted for the game's only touchdown when sophomore Jared Sholly ran back an interception in the first quarter.
The Quakers, who defeated Yale without an offensive touchdown for the second consecutive year, remained undefeated in the Ivy League at 3-0, and improved to 4-2 with their fourth win in a row. Yale fell to 3-3 overall and 1-2 in Ivy play.
The only scoring of the game came in the first quarter. On its first drive of the game from the Yale 48, Penn went 30 yards and scoredon an Andrew Samson 35-yard field goal 10 minutes into the contest. On Yale's subsequent drive, Sholly intercepted Brook Hart's pass attempt on 3rd-and-23 and returned it for a 15-yard touchdown, his first interception return of his career. However, a bad snap on the extra point kept the score 9-0.
Penn held Yale to 25 yards rushing and just 163 total yards of offense. The Bulldogs, who missed three field goal attempts, were sacked five times in the game - twice by junior Brian Levine and once by Ivy League-leader Owen Thomas.
The second quarter was less eventful compared to the first, with both teams going 3-and-out for most of the quarter until Michael DiMaggio's 12-yard rush for a first down with under three minutes remaining. Still, the drive endedwith Penn having to punt the ball. Yale, on the other hand, was unable to pick up a first down in the second quarter.The Bulldogs'only offensive push of the half came on the first drive of the game,when kicker Tom Mante missed on a 54-yard field goal attempt. The Bulldogs had three first downs on the drive, but managed just one more until the fourth quarter.
Penn's first drive out of halftime lasted 7:14 but ended in a Kyle Olson pass that was intercepted by Yale's Max Newton at the Bulldogs' 20-yard line. Yale finally picked up a first down, but no offense was to be found after that and the Bulldogs were forced to punt. Penn's freshman running back Lyle Marsh, exploded on the next drive, including a 20-yard rush. However, a couple of plays later he fumbled and it was recovered by Tom McCarthy of Yale at the Bulldogs'25-yard line. Yale failed to capitalize on the turnover and went 3-and-out once again.
Penn drove deep into the Yale zone at the end of the third, but were stuffed at the Bulldogs' 27-yard line on fourth-and-1. Yale seemed tomake a run, working the ball toward midfield, but the drive was cut short when Hart was intercepted for the second time in the game, this time by senior Chris Wynn at the Penn 32.
After Penn failed to get a first down, Yale's Jordan Haynes got a hand on freshman Scott Lopano's punt and Yale began its drive at the Penn 40-yard line with 10:52 left in the game. Patrick Witt took over at quarterback for Yale at that point, but the six-play drive endedwith Mante missing a 28-yard field goal attempt wide left.
Penn ran four minutes off the clock on its next drive and punted to put Yale at its own 25 with 6:05 to go. With the rain picking up in intensity, the Bulldogs moved 45 yards in under four minutes, reaching the Penn 30. The Quakers defense held them there on the next three plays and Mante lined up for another field goal attempt to get Yale within a possession. However, his kick sailed wide left yet again and Penn ran out the final 1:36 for the win.
In the Quakers' first shut out since a 7-0 win over Princeton on Nov. 3, 2007, Yale managed just 10 first downs and averaged less than a yard per rush. In the last two games, the Penn defense has allowed a total of five rushing yards. Levine and senior Joe Goniprow led the Quakers with seven tackles apiece. Senior Jake Lewko had six tackles and a sack, while four of sophomore Erik Rask's six tackles went for a loss. Freshman Brandon Copeland registered his first career sack.
The offense gained 186 yards on the ground against the league's second-ranked defense. Marsh had a game-high 73 yards on 14 carries. DiMaggio added 33 yards on just seven carries before limping off the field in the second half. In Olson's second start of the season - Penn also won in his start at Dartmouth - he threw for 94 yards on 8-of-21 passing. His favorite target was junior Matt Tuten who finished the game with four receptions (matching a career high) and 66 yards.
The Quakers defense has not allowed a point in the last six quarters, but will be tested next week. Penn will be playing in the program's 1,300th game next week when they travel to play Brown on Halloween. The Quakers will be the first team in NCAA history to play in 1,300 games and will hit the milestone during an important Ivy showdown. The Bears are in a must-win situation at 2-1 in Ivy play, while the Quakers enter the matchup tied atop the Ivy League standings at 3-0. Kickoff is at 12:30 p.m. in Providence, R.I.
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