Samson, Defense Lead Penn to 9-7 Win

Final Stats

New Haven, Conn. – As advertised, the top two defenses in the Ivy League, made it extremely difficult for either team to find the scoreboard. But in the end, the University of Pennsylvania defense made the plays and sophomore kicker Andrew Samson made the kicks to give Penn a 9-7 win over the Yale Bulldogs at the Yale Bowl on Saturday.

With their fourth straight win, the Quakers improved to 4-2 on the year and 3-0 in the Ivy League for the first time since 2005. The Bulldogs dropped to 3-3 on the year and 1-2 in the Ivy League.

Samson made his third and final field goal of the day with 4:35 remaining to give Penn its first lead of the day and one that it did not relinquish in remaining undefeated in Ivy League play. It was the third straight possession in which Samson finished the Quakers drive by splitting the uprights.

Yale scored the only touchdown of the first half, capitalizing on a Robert Irvin’s interception. The Bulldogs took over at the Penn 17-yard line and reached the end zone two plays later. John Sheffield scored on a seven-yard touchdown run to give the Bulldogs an early seven point lead with 9:24 left in the first.

Penn’s defense was outstanding again in the Quakers’ first win over Yale since 2005. They have not allowed more than a touchdown in any of the last four games. Yale was held to 92 total yards on 52 plays, and the Bulldogs managed just 15 rushing yards and six first downs. And it was the defense that led to Penn’s first two scores.

Senior Tyson Maugle fell on a loose ball after hitting Yale quarterback Brook Hart at the Bulldogs 13-yard line. Four plays later, Samson split the uprights on a 22-yard field goal to close the gap to 7-3 midway through the third quarter.

Then, on the next possession for Yale, the Bulldogs attempted to fake a punt. However, a bad snap rolled on the ground and Yale was forced to fall on the ball and turn it over on downs.

Penn took over at the Yale 37-yard line, and drove to the Yale four-yard line. Sophomore running back looked to have given the Quakers the lead on second down, but was ruled down inside the one. On third-and-goal, a busted play led to an eight-yard loss when Olson scrambled and dumped it off to Michael DiMaggio at the 10-yard line, leading to another Samson field goal from 27 yards out to make it a one point game.

After Yale went three and out, Penn took over at its own 46-yard line when Marcus Lawrence returned the punt 17 yards. Sophomore Michael DiMaggio took over from there, rushing six times for 23 yards on the drive. In all, the Quakers took 13 plays to get down to the Yale 13-yard line where Samson lined up for his 31-yard winner.

Yale had a chance to win it on their possession, but the defense came up with yet another stop. Hart connected on four of his first five passes, moving the ball down to the Penn 32. However, on 2nd-and-7, Drew Goldsmith led a group of Penn tacklers in swarming Hart 12 yards behind the line of scrimmage and out of field goal range. Hart's incomplete pass on the next play all but sealed the victory for the Quakers.

Penn will head back to Philadelphia and the friendly confines of Franklin Field—where they are 2-0 this season against Ivy opponents—for the 2008 Homecoming game against Brown. The game will be for first place in the Ivy League as both teams stand at a perfect 3-0 in league play. The Bears and Quakers will kickoff on Saturday in front of a national television audience on VERSUS, at noon.

GAME NOTES: Jordan Manning started his 26th straight game for Penn ... Robert Irvin’s interception was the first in the last 50 attempts for the senior ... Josh Koontz has made a reception in each of the last 12 games ... Penn forced a turnover for the 18th consecutive game .. This marks the first Ivy road win for Penn since 2005 at a school other than Columbia ... Penn has scored in 106 straight games.