Football Pulls Away From Dartmouth, 23-10

Box Score

Press Conference Quotes

PHILADELPHIA - After a half of football that was dominated by the defenses, the Penn offense was able to put together a pounding display in the second half and rolled to a 23-10 win over Dartmouth Saturday in the 800th Penn football game at Franklin Field.

The win was Penn’s first of 2008 after two losses, and it came in the Ivy League opener for both teams. Dartmouth fell to 0-3 overall.

Penn gained 425 yards to Dartmouth’s 191, and allowed the Big Green to gain just five rushing yards all day (on 23 attempts). By comparison, the Quakers ran for 120 yards in the second half, after gaining just 17 on 13 rushes in the first as Robert Irvin provided most of the offense to start the game (146 first-half passing yards).

Irvin finished the day with 22 completions on 39 attempts for 270 yards and two touchdowns. The senior became just the 10th player in Penn history to surpass 3,000 career passing yards. The ball was spread among 10 different receivers on the day, led by Kyle Derham's five catches for 97 yards and including defensive back Tyson Maugle (whom Kyle Olson hit on a successful fake punt). When it was time to put the ball on the ground, Penn turned to sophomore Michael DiMaggio and he delivered. The bruising back started the second half with just six rushing yards, but by the time the day was over he had upped that to a career-high 129 on 21 carries.

“I was just seeing the seams and looking for the holes,” said DiMaggio. “Especially on the ends, our line did a really good job against their linebackers.”

On the other side of the ball, Penn was a constant presence in the Dartmouth backfield, getting to Big Green quarterback Alex Jenny on a number of occasions and holding leading rusher Milan Williams to 33 yards on 13 carries. Jenny finished with 169 passing yards, and Tim McManus caught eight balls for 99 yards, but Dartmouth struggled all day to find any offensive punch.

In fact, Dartmouth’s only touchdown came in the first half, and it came in the same manner by which Penn scored in the opening 30 minutes -- via a defensive play.

While Dartmouth’s first four possessions all went the same way -- three plays and punt -- the Quakers were not having much more success. Penn gained a few first downs to start the game, but five possessions yielded five punts.

It was not until Dartmouth’s fifth possession that Penn finally got what it needed. On second down at his 14-yard line, Williams ran and coughed up the ball to Penn’s Britton Ertman at the 18. The Quakers needed just one play to find paydirt, as Irvin rolled right, brought the whole field with him, then crossed everyone up and threw to a wide-open DiMaggio in the left corner.

Just as football giveth, though, so can it taketh away. After yet another unsuccessful Dartmouth possession, Penn handed the Big Green a gift when sophomore Bradford Blackmon fumbled at his own 17-yard line on the Quakers’ next possession. The ball was eventually recovered by the Big Green at the Penn 1-yard line, and two plays later Hudson Smythe ran it in to tie the score at 7-7. That is how the half ended.

If Dartmouth intended to show that things were going to change in the second half, they got off on the right foot. Taking the kickoff, the Big Green marched 67 yards in 10 plays before having to settle for a 22-yard field goal by Foley Schmidt and a 10-7 lead.

Penn came right back, though, and took a lead it would not relinquish on the very next drive. While DiMaggio and the offensive line began to establish themselves -- DiMaggio had a 33-yard run on the drive -- the points came when Irvin hit Tyler Fisher on a pair of plays, the first an eight-yarder and the second a nine-yarder in the end zone for a 14-10 lead.

The fourth quarter was the Andrew Samson Show, as the sophomore kicker finished off three consecutive drives with field goals of 27, 33 and 27 yards. For Samson, it marked a career high for field goals in a game, and it provided the Quakers with some breathing room down the stretch.

Penn is back in action next Saturday, traveling to Washington, D.C. to face Georgetown in the final non-conference game of the season. Kickoff is slated for 2 p.m.