PROVIDENCE, R.I. - That's right, the University of Pennsylvania football team went to overtime and came out victorious. Pushing aside six straight overtime defeats dating back to 2004, Penn won in OT, 14-7, over Ivy League rival Brown at Brown Stadium on a perfect fall afternoon Saturday. The game marked the 1,300th played by the Penn football program, the first in college football history to reach that number.
Penn (5-2, 4-0) won for the fifth straight time overall, the sixth consecutive time in an Ivy road game and the ninth time in a row in the month of October. Brown fell to 4-3 on the year and 2-2 in Ivy play.
Penn got the ball first in overtime and it took just three plays to get into the end zone. Senior quarterback Kyle Olson, who became Penn's first 300-yard passer since Bryan Walker at Brown on Oct. 27, 2007, connected with senior wide receiver Kyle Derham for 15 yards and after Hamscher went for two yards on first-and-goal, Derham hauled in another pass from Olson. The wide out looked to be wrapped up on several occassions, but shook loose of the Brown defenders before diving across the goal line for a 14-7 lead.
Penn's defense continued its dominance in the overtime session. Brown gained one yard on four plays and when a fourth-down pass sailed harmlessly out of bounds, the Quakers perfect Ivy record was intact. Penn has now gone 10 quarters and 161 minutes, 31 seconds of play without allowing a single point - Brown's only score was a defensive touchdown.
After the teams combined for three straight punts to start the game, it was the Penn offense that made the best first impression. The Quakers were impressive with a 10-play, 65-yard drive. Olson connected with Derham on the drive's first play, moving into Brown territory with a 28-yard gain. Penn then converted third-and-12 with a 14-yard completion to senior Tyler Fisher. Freshman Lyle Marsh would later set up first-and-goal from the two-yard line, after converting on third-and-short. However, Marsh fumbled into the end zone on the next play, leading to a large scramble for the ball. Junior fullback Luke DeLuca eventually emerged from the pile in the Brown end zone, giving the Quakers a 7-0 lead with 3:36 to go in the first quarter.
Brown's league-leading offense punted on its first six drives before getting into field goal range on their last possession of the first half. They started at the Penn 43 when the Quakers punted from deep inside their own zone and soon had first-and-10 at the Penn 12. Three straight incompletions later, senior linebacker Jake Lewko blocked the field goal attempt and kept Brown scoreless heading into the half.
The shut out didn't last long. The Bears scored on Penn's opening possession of the second half. Olson threw an interception that was returned 42 yards for a game-tying touchdown.
Both teams drove deep into opposing territory in the third quarter, but neither could score. Brown was pushed back and had to punt, and Olson was intercepted by the Bears at the Brown 40.
Following the second interception of the quarter by the Bears, the Penn defense got a turnover of their own. Freshman Brandon Copeland fell on a Brown fumble at the Bears' 46-yard line and the Quakers promptly drove into the red zone for the third time in the game. However, on first-and-goal from the 10, the pass bounced off Fisher and into the hands of a Brown defender in the end zone.
The Bears took advantage of the momentum swing. Brown drove to the Quakers' 14-yard line before stalling. Kicking into the same stiff wind in which the Quakers' missed a field goal in the second quarter, kicker Patrick Rooney missed for the second time in the game with 12 minutes left in regulation.
On the ensuing possession, Brown hauled in its fourth interception of the game after the ball deflected high into the air. Taking over at the Penn 37, the Bears responded with another turnover three plays later. Lewko fell on a fumble at the 27-yard line and the Quakers got yet another chance to break the 7-7 tie with 10 minutes to go.
After converting a big fourth-and-inches from inside their own 40, Penn eventually punted and Brown had the last chance to win it in regulation. In the closing minutes, Brown drove 54 yards to the Penn 27 and lined up for another field goal into the wind. As time expired, the 44-yarder was short and wide right, sending the game into overtime.
Senior Kyle Olson had a career day with 313 passing yards on 27-of-47 passing. Derham was his favorite target with eight catches for 95 yards, including the game-winning touchdown. In all, eight different receivers had a catch. Sophomore Matt Hamscher led the team in rushing with 49 yards on 10 carries after getting the starting nod with Mike DiMaggio out with an injury.
Five different Quakers had a team-leading five tackles. Senior Joe Goniprow had four tackles and a half sack in his return to his native Rhode Island. Junior Zach Heller also had four tackles in addition to his 1.5 sacks, and Owen Thomas had three tackles while adding one to his league leading sack total. In stopping the best pass offense in the Ivy League, senior defensive backs Jonathan Moore and Chris Wynn combined for nine tackles, a forced fumble and three pass breakups.
Penn outgained the highest scoring team in the Ivy League, 384-304. Penn converted 40 percent of their third downs while Brown was just 1-of-13 in that prediciment.
Next week, the Red and Blue return home to take on archrival Princeton on Homecoming. The two Ivy League foes kickoff their 101st all-time meeting at Franklin Field at 3:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast on the Comcast Network.
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