PHILADELPHIA - Led by five touchdown passes from senior captain Mike McCurdy, the University of Pennsylvania sprint football team cruised to a 53-7 win over first-time local foe Chestnut Hill on Friday night to remain undefeated and atop the Collegiate Sprint Football League standings at 5-0.
How it Happened
The Quakers won the coin toss and deferred to the second half, giving the Griffins the ball first. Chestnut Hill was unable to muster any offense, giving Penn the ball on visitor's 34-yard line after a short punt. The Red and Blue took advantage of a pass interference call that moved the ball up to the five-yard line before McCurdy completed a pass to Marcus Jones, vaulting the Quakers ahead 7-0 just under five minutes into the game.
The Griffins would again go three-and-out and Penn struck again, this time much quicker, as it took McCurdy just one play to find Aidan Kelly for 61 yards who cut to the left side of the field for his third touchdown of the year. Mario del Cueto misfired on the point after but regardless, the Red and Blue found themselves up 13-0 in the blink of an eye.
For the third-straight time to start the game, the Quaker defense held the Griffins without a first down on their offensive drive giving the ball back to Penn, who itself would punt after a first down itself. Chestnut Hill again went three-and-out, and this time the home team would capitalize, as after a Jake Klaus 11-yard rush to open the drive, McCurdy connected with Jones for the second time for a 37-yard score to make it 20-0 after the first quarter.
The Griffins managed to generate their first first down of the game on their opening drive of the second period, but were stalled yet again by the tough Penn defense. Chestnut Hill would own possession time early in the second quarter, as the Quaker offense sputtered to a three-and-out before the visiting team went eight plays, but only gaining 10 yards in the process.
McCurdy didn't stay silent for long, completing a 15-yard pass to Kelly on the opening play of his second drive of the quarter, before running for 17 yards all the way to the Chestnut Hill 29. The senior would cap off the drive with a 29-yard strike to Andrew Sutton who joined Kelly for his own third touchdown of the season to make it 27-0 Penn.
While Chestnut Hill failed to convert on offense after the kickoff, a Penn punt would give the Griffins their first and ultimately only points of the night, as Raevon Floyd-Bennett caught the kick from Matt Caltabiano at his own 47-yard line and scampered all the way down the field, cutting the lead to 27-7 right before halftime.
After the break, the Quakers used a methodical drive, starting at their own 24-yard line and marching all the way down to the Chestnut Hill five, interspersing rushes from Klaus and McCurdy along the way. Penn was unable to punch it in however, setting up a Mario del Cueto 22-yard field goal right through the uprights.
After yet another Griffin three-and-out, McCurdy found Kelly for his second touchdown of the evening, this time a 48-yard reception, to push the lead up to 37-7. That mark would stand as the whistle blew for the end of the third quarter.
The fourth quarter opened with the Quakers inside the Chestnut Hill 10-yard line but the Griffins held strong and forced a Penn field goal, this time from 26 yards away. Del Cueto stayed true for his fifth converted kick of the season and the scoreboard showed a 40-7 Penn advantage.
Freshman Edward Jenkins entered at quarterback after McCurdy's monster night, and picked up right where the captain left off, displaying his quickness and agility on a 32-yard run on fourth down to extend the lead to 46-7 after a missed extra point.
The final score of the contest would again come from Jenkins' feet, as the rookie ran for 12 yards, again on fourth down, for the second score of his career.
Chris Colavita sealed the victory for the Quakers with an interception in the endzone, allowing the Red and Blue to run out the clock and win the game.
Inside the Numbers
Penn's 491 yards on offense rank as the second-highest total by any team in the CSFL this season, just 25 short of Army West Point's 516 against Post.
The Quakers' 5-0 start continues to be the best for the program since it last won the CSFL, in 2010.
McCurdy continues to impress as the league's passing leader, as his 298 total yards through the air are the most by any quarterback this season in the CSFL, topping his previous high of 218 versus Army West Point.
Penn's 197 yards on the ground are its most this season. Jenkins' 63 and two touchdowns led the way for the Quakers, followed by 59 from Klaus and 34 from McCurdy.
Defensively, Quinn Karam led the way for Penn with seven tackles, followed by six each from Tom Console, Patrick Boyle and Ed Cai. Jack Hennigan added his first interception of the season, while added with Colavita's pushed Penn's season total to league-high 15 picks.
The Quakers return to action in just a week's time, set to battle at historic Franklin Field for the final time this season for Senior Night. Penn will welcome in Ivy League rival Cornell at 7 p.m.