RINDGE, N.H. - For the first time since 2010, the University of Pennsylvania sprint football team sits undefeated after its first three games following a 33-16 victory over Franklin Pierce on the road Saturday afternoon. The Quakers shot out of the gates quickly and held on late to take down the Ravens.
How It Happened
Penn used stifling defense to open the contest as the home team got the ball first, amassing just one yard on three plays. Starting at the FPU 49, Charles Augustini started things off for the Red and Blue with a 15 yard rush and just four plays later put the finishing touches on the Quaker scoring drive, hauling in a 26-yard reception from Mike McCurdy to put the Red and Blue up 7-0.
The Ravens were held to another three-and-out on the next drive, allowing Penn to return to offense less than two minutes later. McCurdy quickly found sophomore Aidan Kelly on a 56-yard throw to the FPU eight yard line, allowing running back Jake Klaus to run home Penn's second touchdown of the afternoon just two plays later.
The Quaker defense joined the scoring party on Franklin Pierce's next drive, as the Ravens were pinned back deep within their own territory by virtue of penalties, before fumbling the snap on a fourth-down punt, allowing Tom Console to fall on the ball and score another Penn touchdown.
The Ravens were able to notch a 44-yard touchdown run on their next drive, cutting into the Penn lead with six points before failing on the two-point conversion. McCurdy and Co. were unable to generate a first down on their penultimate drive of the first quarter, but junior Matt Caltabiano rocketed a punt down to the FPU yard line to pin the Ravens deep yet again. The Quakers would take advantage, pushing the home team back on rush after rush before forcing a fumble in the end zone, therefore notching a safety for two points. The safety was Penn's first since Oct. 1, 2014.
The Red and Blue punted on their next drive after the safety, but the defense was able to shine yet again as Matteo Murgia intercepted a FPU pass, setting up a Mario Del Cueto field goal to extend the Penn advantage to 26-6. The Quakers tacked on one more touchdown in the half on their next drive highlighted by four passes from McCurdy, the final a 26-yard strike to Marcus Jones in the end zone.
Penn struggled on offense throughout the second half, enacting backup quarterbacks Edward Jenkins and Zack DiGregorio, but the defense held strong, using an interception from Tracey Woods Jr. and two more from Console and Murgia, the second of the day for both, to hold the Raven offense in check. FPU scored near the end of the contest on a 55-yard pass, adding its 12th point of the day before a PAT block from Ed Cai.
Inside the Numbers
Similar to each game this season, the Quakers totaled the majority of their offense through the air, totaling 197 passing yards. Kelly led the receiving corps with three catches for 69 yards, followed by Sutton, Augustini and Jones with two grabs apiece. The defense added five interceptions, improving on their league-best turnover margin, and held FPU to just 22 rushing yards.
The Red and Blue return to historic Franklin Field in Philadelphia next Friday to face the only other undefeated team in the CSFL, Navy, at 7 p.m.