PHILADELPHIA -SeniorSpencer Kulcsarfinished with 14 catches -- one shy of his school record and third-most in a game in school history -- but the University of Pennsylvania football team's Homecoming game was mostly a defensive battle on a rain-soaked Saturday afternoon at Franklin Field, and Penn came up one score short in a 21-13 loss to Brown.
In the end, a late touchdown pass to freshman Justin Watson -- the first score of his career -- pulled the Quakers (1-6, 1-3 Ivy) within a possession, but the onside kick was recovered by the Bears to seal the game.
Much like the end of the game, the start and most everything in between was played in a cold, driving rain. That led to a scoreless first quarter, but the Bears (4-3, 2-2 Ivy) jumped out to a 14-0 lead over the Quakers in the second stanza. A quick, three-play, 65-yard drive was capped with a 36-yard touchdown pass at the 11:38 mark. Then after freshman Hunter Kelley’s punt pinned the Bears at their own 9-yard line, Brown marched 91 yards in nine plays to go up two scores with 4:19 left in the half.
The Quakers offense immediately drove down field. Sophomore quarterback Alek Torgersen completed all four of his pass attempts on the drive for 46 yards, including a 19-yard connection to Watson thatgave the Quakers the ball at the Brown 1-yard line. With 36 seconds remaining in the half, sophomore receiver Adam Strouss scored his team-high fourth touchdown of the season on a 1-yard rush to pull the Quakers within onescore at the break, 14-7.
Almost on cue, the rain slowed for the halftime festivities, but picked back up at the start of the second half and aided another scoreless quarter that featured five punts. Brown eventually began to move the ball in a drive that ended with a two-yard score on the first play of the fourth quarter.
Penn's offense responded once again. Torgersen completed six straight pass and drove the Quakers inside the Brown 10-yard line. However, the Bears forced 4th-and-goal from the five and Torgersen completed another pass to Kulcsar, who was stopped at the one-yard line.
Brown burned the clock and kept Penn at bay until an errant punt snap led to a 16-yard loss and gave the Quakers the ball at the Brown 27-yard line with 1:37 to play. Six plays later, Torgersen found Watson to get within eight. The extra point failed on a bad snap, but the Quakers still had a chance until the Bears swallowed the onside kick.
Torgersen was 30-of-47 for 252 yards and a touchdown through the air. He has thrown a touchdown in five straight games. Kulcsar was his main target and was just one catch shy of matching the program record he tied earlier this season with 15 catches at Dartmouth on Oct. 4. He finished with 103 yards to earn his third 100-yard receiving game of his career. Watson finished with a career-best six catches and 72 yards, and maintained his stretch with multiple catches in every game of his career.
Defensively, senior captain Evan Jackson had a game and career-high 17 tackles. Senior Kevin Ijoma and junior Nolan Biegel also finished with career highs with 12 and 10 tackles, respectively. Junior Tyler Drake added his second sack of the season in addition to five tackles.
Another national televison appearance awaits the Quakers next Saturday. Penn will take on archrival Princeton for the 106th time. Kickoff from Princeton Stadium is slated for 3:30 p.m., and will be shown on the NBC Sports Network.
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