PHILADELPHIA - It was an inspiring rally. The University of Pennsylvania football team came from 25 points down against one of the nation's top-ranked teams and tied the game late in the fourth quarter. However, No. 13/12 Fordham escaped Philadelphia with a last-second field goal, 48-45, at Franklin Field.
Penn (1-3) turned the ball over on three of its first five possessions, and trailed 28-3 and 35-10 in the second quarter. But the Quakers made a furious comeback. Penn outscored the 12th-ranked Rams, 42-17, over the last two and a half quarters to tie the game with 1:46 to play. But Fordham (5-1) drove into field goal range and hit the game-winner with six seconds left.
It would have been Penn's second victory over a top 15 team in three weeks as the Quakers defeated No. 5/4 Villanova on the road, 24-13, on Sept. 24.
How it Happened
Penn turned the ball over on its first two possessions, and the Rams jumped out to a 14-0 lead after the first eight minutes.
Senior Jimmy Gammill knocked home a 39-yard field goal to get the Quakers on the board at the 11:47 mark of the second half, but Fordham added two more scores to make it 28-3 with 8:01 left in the half.
Senior Andrew Lisa, making his first career start, and junior Brian Schoenauer, who ran for a career-high 161 rushing yards, needed just three plays to get Penn in the end zone -- the first of four straight touchdown drives. Schoenauer ran for 20 and 15 yards on the first two plays, and then Lisa found Justin Watsonfor a 21-yard score.
Fordham scored again to make it 35-10, but Penn responded quickly once more. Lisa hit Watson, who eclipsed 100 receiving yards for the second time this season, for 53 yards and then Schoenauer scored the first of his career-high three rushing touchdowns from 10 yards out to make it 35-17 at halftime.
Momentum carried into the second half for the Quakers and then built after the defense forced a punt, the special teams blocked it (freshman Nico Ament), and the offense drove 44 yards in nine plays to close the deficit to 35-24 on a three-yard touchdown run from Schoenauer.
After another punt, the Quakers were backed up to their own four-yard line. But Lisa, Watson and Schoenauer once again led the Quakers into the end zone. Lisa connected with Watson for 37 yards on the first play of the drive. Schoenauer ran for 20 yards on the next play, and just minutes later, Lisa connected with senior tight end Ryan O'Malley from nine yards away to bring Penn within 35-30 just before the end of the third quarter. Penn missed the two-point conversion.
Fordham finally got on the scoreboard in the second half on its next drive and led 42-30 with 13:03 to go.
Yet again, the Quakers refused to give up. On an 11-play, 77-yard drive, Lisa was 5-of-6 for 41 yards, and ran for 12 yards, while Schoenauer rushed for 29 yards and scored from two yards out to get back within five, 42-37, with 6:44 left.
The ensuing kickoff was returned inside the Penn 30-yard line, but the Quakers held the Rams to a field goal to stay within one possession.
Penn countered with Lonnie Tuff's 44-yard kick return to the Fordham 47-yard line. Eight plays later, Lisa threw his third touchdown of the game -- a 13-yarder to senior tight end Ryan Kelly with 1:46 left. Penn needed a two-point conversion and went back to its top receiver. Lisa threw a strike to Watson on a quick slant. The game was tied and the Franklin Field faithful were roaring.
Fordham slowly made its way to the Penn 14-yard line before the Quakers forced a 31-yard field goal attempt that split the uprights. Penn tried to lateral on the kick return, but it was recovered by the Rams to officially end the game.
Inside the Numbers
Lisa finished 24-for-37 for 263 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for 32 yards and was not sacked at all in his first start. Watson was his top target with six catches for 134 yards. Watson also caught a touchdown for the fourth straight game, which is the second-longest streak in Penn history and ties the eighth-longest streak in Ivy history.
Schoenauer averaged 7.3 yards per carry on 22 rushes. His 161 yards were the most by a Penn player since quarterback Keiffer Garton had 174 yards on the ground against Harvard on Nov. 15, 2008.
Almost lost in the offensive contest were a few defensive and special teams standouts. Senior Tyler Drake had four sacks and 12 tackles, while junior Matt Henderson finished with a team-high 16 tackles. Sophomore punter Hunter Kelley, who booted Penn's first 70-yard punt since 2009 (73 yards), averaged 59.0 yards on two punts.
In all, Penn's defense had seven sacks, which is the most for a Penn team in at least the last decade.
More notables from today's game can be foundhere.
The Quakers prepare for a matchup at Columbia. Kickoff from Kraft Field is set for 3:30 p.m. The game can be seen on the Ivy League Digital Network.
Download: 4 - Fordham box.pdf