ITHACA, N.Y. Penn sprint football opened its season on Friday as it traveled to Ithaca, N.Y. to face the defending Collegiate Sprint Football League champion Cornell. Penn opened the scoring with an early Michael D'Angelo touchdown, but could not hold the lead as they ultimately fell, 23-18.
Penn opened the scoring just two minutes into the game when quarterback Michael D'Angelo kept the ball himself and rushed 32 yards for the Quakers’ first touchdown of the season. The extra point attempt by Mark Dziemianowicz was no good, leaving the score 6-0, Penn.
Cornell’s first drive of the game stalled at the Penn 22-yard line, resulting in a 32-yard Mitch Ottinger field goal, bringing the score to 6-3.
After Jason Remillard intercepted D’Angelo, the Big Red drove down the field on the strength of two Zak Dentes completions. Again, Cornell found itself in field goal range. This time, Ottinger’s 38-yard attempt was short.
Sloppy special teams play was the name of the game for the rest of the first half as Penn had a punt blocked and a field goal attempt sail wide right. Ottinger had a field goal try with four seconds remaining in the half sail wide right as well for his second missed field goal of the night. Neither team was able to score and the half ended 6-3, Penn.
Half-time lasted longer than normal for the two teams as the game was delayed by lightning in the area. The teams remained in their locker rooms for over an hour until the inclement weather cleared the air.
Cornell opened the second half with the ball. Facing a third and six from his own 26-yard line, Dentes provided some lightning of his own, connecting with Matt Malleo for a 74 yard touchdown pass. The extra point made the score 10-6, Cornell.
Trailing by four with 6:44 remaining in the third quarter, Penn put the ball in the hands of its playmakers, D’Angelo and Rob Lombardi. Penn started at its own 16-yard line and needed only four plays to find the endzone. Lombardi started the drive with a 51-yard rush to the Cornell 33. Two plays later, D’Angelo finished the drive with a 26-yard scamper for his second score of the night. Santos added the extra point to make the score 13-10 in favor of the Quakers.
On the very next possession, Dentes drove his team down the field again on a 56-yard scoring drive. Dentes finished the drive himself, scoring on a quarterback keeper from four yards out. Ottinger converted the PAT and the score was Cornell 17, Penn 13 with 1:09 remaining in the third quarter.
A Raiam Santos 37-yard field goal was good for Penn, bringing the score to 17-16 with 12:16 to play in the game. On Penn’s next possession, Lombardi fumbled at his own 32-yard line. The fumble was recovered by Cornell’s Michael Brennan. The Quaker defense could not hold, as Malleo scored his second touchdown of the night, this time on a five-yard run. The extra point made the score 23-16 with 6:20 remaining in the game.
Penn went three downs and out on its next drive resulting in a punt to the Cornell 21-yard line. Penn then forced their own three and out on Cornell, forcing them to punt.
Special teams again came into play as Penn brought everyone in an attempt to block the punt. The attempt was successful as Jacques Beauvais blocked John Mackintosh’ punt. The ball rolled all the way into the endzone where Mackintosh covered it himself, resulting in a Penn safety. Penn now trailed 23-18.
Following the free kick, Penn had the ball with a chance to win the game. On second and ten from his own 42-yard line, D’Angelo found Tomas Altamirano for 12 yards, good for a first down. However, on the next play, D’Angelo was sacked for a loss of six yards. Penn went for it on fourth down, but a D’Angelo incomplete pass turned the ball over to Cornell.
Cornell was able to run out the clock, securing the 23-18 win.
Lombardi was the leading rusher for Penn, turning 27 carries into 135 yards. D’Angelo ran for 99 yards and 2 TDs on 17 carries. He was also 8-of-22 for 85 yards in the air with two interceptions.
Andrew Feigenbaum was all over the field on defense, recording eight solo tackles and assisting on six. Andrew Migdail added eight tackles including a sack and three tackles for a loss. Christian Corrigan and Mike McMullen each finished with six tackles.
Penn is now 0-1 on the season. Its next game is September 28 when the Quakers host Princeton at Franklin Field.