CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - The University of Pennsylvania football team suffered its third Ivy League loss in a row Saturday, dropping a29-3 decision to Harvard at Harvard Stadium.
The loss marked the first time in three years that Penn (5-4, 3-3 Ivy League) had been held to three points and the first time since 1991 that the Quakers had lost three-straight Ivy games. Harvard (6-3, 4-2 Ivy League) kept itself mathematically alive for a share of the Ancient Eight title.
Sam Mathews reached a career milestone in the game. With 26 yards on eight carries, Mathews took over sole possession of fourth place on the all-time rushing list with 2,505 yards.
The Quakers took a 3-0 lead on their first drive of the game. Senior quarterback Pat McDermott connected with junior Dan McDonald for nine yards and Mathews for 13 yards on the drive. Junior Joe Sandberg and Mathews each carried the ball once. Sophomore Derek Zoch nailed a career-best 39-yard kick through the uprights. The drive took 10 plays, went 39 yards and used 2:28 off the clock.
Harvard struck on their first drive as well, when quarterback Liam O’Hagan hit Kelly Widman with a 4-yard pass in the end zone to put Harvard up 6-3. The Crimson faked the extra-point attempt and were unsuccessful in adding two when Penn’s Matt Williams intercepted the ball in the end zone.
On the Crimson's second drive, a few complete passes and Penn penalties put Harvardin good scoring position. O’Hagan and Widman connected again this time on an 18-yarder. Harvard tried to go for two again, but for the second time in the game, Matt Williams took away the ball.
The Quakers were unable to get anything going in their third drive, but an Anthony Melillo punt to the Harvard 1-yard line appeared to pin Harvard in a bad situation. However,a penalty on the Quakers during the punt gave the Crimson a fresh start. O’Hagan connected with Ryan Tyler on a 45-yard pass to the Penn 16. But the Crimson would only get a field goal attempt out of it. Harvard’s Matt Schindel attempted a 29-yard kick that was blocked by Penn junior JJ Stanton. Senior defensive back Michael Johns picked up the ball and returned itfour yards to the Penn 26.
The Quakers could not get the offense moving, however. But it didn’t hurt them as the Penn defense continued to dominate. On first and 10, Brian Fairbanks sacked O’Hagan. Michael Marinella followed witha quarterback hurry, and a Williams tackle forced the Crimson to punt.
On first and 10 with just under five minutes remaining in the half, McDermott, under pressure, threw a pick to Matt Thomas. Clifton Dawson rushed 58 yards to the Penn 7, but a clipping call on the Crimson pushed Harvard back to the Penn 22-yard line. On the next play, O’Hagan hit Widman in the end zone for third time in the half. Johns blocked the extra point.
With 37 seconds remaining in the half, O’Hagan kept the ball and dashed 12 yards for a score and then ran in the two-point conversion to go ahead 26-3 heading into the locker room.
The Red and Blue held the Crimson scoreless in the third quarter and let just a field goal by in the fourth as the two defenses dominated the second half.
McDermott was 18-for 38 for 158 yards and two picks. The Penn defense was led by senior captain Ric San Doval who made 13 stops includng 11 solo.
Penn returns to Franklin Field forits final game of the 2005 season. The Quakers match up with Cornell on Saturday, Nov. 19 at noon.
Written by Heather Palmer, associate director of athletic communications.