Box Score (PDF) | Game Notes | Press Conference Quotes
PHILADELPHIA - Behind the strength of five rushing touchdowns, including a career-high three from junior Lyle Marsh, the University of Pennsylvania football team topped Fordham, 35-20 on a beautiful Saturday night at Franklin Field.
The Quakers, who have won all five meetings with the Rams, won for the second straight week to improve to 2-2 overall. Fordham, the final non-conference opponent of the season for Penn, fell to 1-4 on the year.
Penn started the night the same way they ended last week. With an 89-yard scoring drive. In addition junior quarterback Billy Ragone was once again 8-for-8 passing on the drive - just as he was on the final game-winning drive at Dartmouth last week - on the way to completing his first 11 throws of the night for a career-high 19 straight completions. Marsh ended the drive with a 2-yard plunge around the right side.
Fordham responded right away, taking 16 plays to go 58 yards for its first points of the game. The Rams' drive stalled at the Penn 19-yard line, but Michael Marando kicked a 36-yard field goal and the score was 7-3 Quakers after one quarter.
Fordham took the lead in the second quarter, going over the top to get behind the Quaker defense. Ryan Higgins found Carlton Koonce straight down the middle and hit him in stride for a 55-yard scoring connection to put the Rams up 10-7 at the 9:23 mark.
Penn got back on top with 3:23 left in the half, as Marsh completed a 13-play, 84-yard drive with a superb, 11-yard run around theright end into the end zone. Ryan Becker was the QB for Penn's second scoring drive and was 4-of-6 passing for 35 yards to put the home team up by four, 14-10, at the half.
The Quakers wasted little time extending that lead. They opened the second half with another 80-plus yard drive that ended in yet another Marsh touchdown. And moments later, on Fordham's next drive, senior Jason Schmucker intercepted a Higgins pass and ran it back to the seven-yard line. Ragone rushed it in on the next play and the Red and Blue suddenly had the game in hand, 28-10 with 8:41 to play in the third quarter.
Fordham put a scare into the Quakers with back-to-back scoring drives in the fourth quarter. The second of which pulled the Rams within 28-20 with 9:49 remaining.
In response, Penn calmly marched down the field with another methodical touchdown drive. Among the 13 plays and 73 yards, junior Jeff Jack ran six times for 40 and junior fullback Greg Schuster finished off the drive from six yards out to put the game away.
Ragone finished the night with a career high 17 completions on just 22 attempts for 209 yards. He also had 50 yards rushing. Becker was also extremely accurate as he went 5-for-7 for 39 yards. Combined the two completed 76 percent of their passes for 248 yards.
Marsh led the way on the ground with 72 yards before leaving in the second half with an injury. Jack finished the game, carrying the ball 13 times for 55 yards.
Senior tight end Luke Nawrocki had a career-high five catches and 61 yards. Sophomore reciever Mitchell had a career-best four catches for the second straight week for a team-best 65 yards. Senior wideout Ryan Calvert also had four receptions as nine different Quakers had at least one catch.
On the defensive side, senior captain Erik Rask had a career-high 13 tackles - the most for any Penn player since former linebacker Jake Lewko tallied 14 against Harvard in 2009. Junior defensive lineman Brandon Copeland had eight tackles, one sack and a forced fumble, while sophomore Justyn Williams had a career-high seven tackles. Senior Jared Sholly had Penn's only other sack as well as a forced fumble.
Next week the Quakers resume their Ivy League schedule in front of a national television audience in New York City. Penn will serve as the Homecoming opponent for Columbia. Kickoff is at 3:30 p.m. on the VERSUS Network.
Download: Penn vs Fordham Packet.pdf