WATERBURY, Conn. – Junior quarterback Mike McCurdy had an outstanding day for the University of Pennsylvania sprint football team, throwing for 345 yards and four touchdowns as the Quakers improved to 2-0 with a 34-18 win over Post.
A late Post touchdown in the second quarter could have been a momentum changer, as the Eagles turned Penn over on downs deep in Post territory and then marched 91 yards the other way for a score on the final play of the first half. McCurdy did not allow that to happen, however, marching Penn down field on a long, 70-yard drive midway through the third quarter. The 10th play of the drive which took 4:18 off the clock was a 21-yard pass to Henry Mason, and Penn built a 28-12 lead.
The Eagles would answer early in the fourth quarter when quarterback Greg Volpe punched the ball in from one yard out with 13:48 left in the game, closing the Eagles within 10 at 28-18 after the two-point conversion failed.
Post looked to have a chance to get even closer after holding Penn to a three-and-out on its next drive.
Penn’s defense had other ideas, though, as Sam Smallzman strip-sacked Volpe at the Post 18 and Patrick Boyle returned that fumble to the house for Penn’s second defensive touchdown in as many weeks. The Quakers had a chance to add to their lead on their next possession, but McCurdy was picked off in the endzone. The Eagles would march down to the Penn 31, but turned the ball over on downs when a Volpe pass on 4th-and-4 was incomplete with 5:50 to play.
The Quakers opened the game’s scoring with a six-play, 80-yard drive that finished with a 65-yard pass from McCurdy to Mason with 7:43 to play in the first quarter. McCurdy and Mason connected twice on the drive for 81 yards.
Post would answer on the next possession with an 11-play, 75-yard drive that resulted in a Bryan Shepherd three-yard rushing score. The big play on the drive was a 22-yard rush by quarterback Greg Volpe which brought the Eagles to the Penn 22 yard line.
Penn’s first drive of the second quarter resulted in a touchdown, again a long pass from McCurdy. He found Jonathan Lilley from 49 yards out, capping a seven-play, 81-yard drive which took 2:39.
The Red and Blue again went over 80 yards for a score to increase their lead to 21-6. McCurdy connected on all three of his passes in the drive, finishing with a 37-yard pass to Andrew Sutton. All three passes on the drive went Sutton’s way, including a 40-yard completion which got Penn out of the shadow of its endzone.
Post entered the halftime break with momentum following a 91-yard drive in 1:25 which resulted in a 35-yard touchdown pass from Volpe to Rocco Guerrera. Penn went for it on 4th-and-1 from the Post 19 with 1:30 to go, but a McCurdy pass to Epstein was incomplete. The Eagles quickly moved down the field and scored on the final play of the first half.
Penn’s defense was in “bend-don’t-break” mode throughout the afternoon. The Quakers allowed 528 yards of offense, but were opportunistic with turnovers to deny the Eagles any true chances to tie the game. Stu Helgeson had an interception for the second game in a row, and the defensive group recovered four Post fumbles. The Quakers were spectacular on third down, holding Post to 2-for-14 on third down plays in the game … The 85 points scored in two games to open the season is the most by a Penn team since the 2010 squad scored 90 en route to a CSFL championship.
Notes: Mike McCurdy’s 345 yards passing ranks No. 5 all-time on Penn’s single-game passing list … McCurdy (3,116)became just the second passer in Penn history to surpass the 3,000-yard mark for his career … Henry Mason moved into ninth place all-time on Penn’s career receiving yards with 623 for his career … His 138 yards receiving against Post are a career-high …
Penn returns to the field on October 2, visiting Navy in Annapolis for a 7 p.m. kickoff.