No. 25 Football Keeps Columbia at Bay, 27-13

Box Score (PDF) | Postgame Quotes | Postgame Notes

Highlights: Jack TD | Ragone to Nawrocki | Colavita TD

PHILADELPHIA - No. 25 Penn scored on its opening drive Saturday afternoon and never looked back, gaining a 27-13 win over Columbia Saturday afternoon at Franklin Field. Sophomore running back Brandon Colavita rushed for 103 yards as the Quakers outgained the Lions 281-44 on the ground and passed just five times all afternoon.

The win was the Quakers' 200th all-time in Ivy League play and improved the team to 4-1 overall, 2-0 Ivy. Columbia saw a three-game win streak snapped and fell to 3-2 overall (1-1 Ivy). The Lions remain winless at Franklin Field since 1995.

The game got off to a fast start. Penn opened with an 11-play, 75-yard drive that consumed 5:47 and ended with a Billy Ragone seven-yard touchdown scamper, while Columbia went 59 yards in 12 plays on its first drive and got three points when Luke Eddy knocked home a 34-yard field goal.

Penn's defense stiffened after that, however. In a critical play at the end of the first quarter, the Quaker defense turned momentum to the home team for the remainder of the half. Senior defensive lineman Brian Wing got to Columbia quarterback Sean Brackett and forced a fumble that Drew Goldsmith scooped up and ran 25 yards for a score. That put Penn up, 14-3 with 26 ticks left in the opening quarter.

The Lions had gained 70 total yards on their first two drives, but were held to just 22 the remainder of the half. On Penn's first drive of the second quarter, the Quakers faked a punt, but did not convert and Columbia took over at the Penn 39. The Lions went three-and-out and had to punt. Then, again, the defense came up big. A Colavita fumble gave the Lions the ball at the Penn 33, but four plays later, Columbia turned the ball over on downs.

The Penn offense responded with an 11-play, 71-yard drive in which Jeff Jack found paydirt ona 1-yard run on fourth down with two minutes left before the break. The Quakers were unable to convert the extra point due to a bad snap and led 20-3 heading into intermission.

Penn had 163 yards rushing in the opening half, while Columbia gained just 12 yards on 18 rushes. Penn's dominance on the offensive line forced them to throw the ball just once in the first 30 minutes, a 28-yard completion to tight end Luke Nawrocki during Penn's final scoring drive of the half.

Columbia scored the first points of the second half after being pinned on its own 3-yard line by a beautiful punt from sophomore Scott Lopano. The Lions used five plays to get to their 43, then hit paydirt when Brackett found tight end Andrew Kennedy along the right sideline. After catching the ball in tight coverage, he went around his defender and into the end zone for a 57-yard score.

Senior Bradford Blackmon took the ensuing kickoff back to Columbia's 41 and soon enough Penn's lead was back to 17 points. Colavita finished a six-play drive with an eight-yard rush up the middle with 3:37 left in the third quarter. During the drive, Ragone connected with Nawrocki on Penn's only other completion of the day for 17 yards to set up first-and-goal at the 10.

Columbia put more points on the board at the end of the third quarter when Luke Eddy easily made a 48-yard field goal with the wind at his back. The Lions then surprised the Quakers and popped an onside kick, but Penn sophomore defensive back Justyn Williams - surrounded by white jerseys - corralled the football to give the Quakers possession at Columbia's 45.

The Quakers melted the clock in the fourth quarter, holding the ball for nearly 10 minutes. Columbia went three-and-out on two occassions and had the ball in the waning minutes.

In addition to Colavita posting Penn's first 100-yard rushing performance since Lyle Marsh on Oct. 3, 2009 (120 at Dartmouth), Ragone ran for a career-high 78 yards and Jack added 46 yards. Luke DeLuca had 23 yards, freshman Aaron Bailey ran three times for 18 yards, Blackmon had four carries for 16 yards. Even Lopano had three yards rushing on the fake punt attempt. In all, Penn gained 4.9 yards per carry. Nawrocki had the only two receptions of the game for the Quakers for 45 yards.

On the defensive side, junior Matt Hamscher finished with eight tackles, two sacks for 14 yards and three tackles for loss - all team highs. Senior Zach Heller also finished with eight tackles while adding a sack and 2.5 tackles for loss. Wing and senior Derric Bath added the other two of Penn's five sacks.

Penn will put its 10-game Ivy League win streak on the line next Saturday with its first Ivy road game of the year at Yale. That game will kick off atnoon and be televised live on the YES Network.

Download: Penn Columbia.pdf