ANNAPOLIS – The University of Pennsylvania sprint football team had a chance to remain unbeaten slip through its hands at Navy, fumbling away a late chance at a comeback in a 29-14 loss to the Midshipmen.
The rally was a longshot, down 15 with 1:44 to go. The Quakers moved down field quickly, though, with a Mike McCurdy pass to Henry Mason going for 44 yards and getting Penn to the Navy 31. Two more McCurdy completions had Penn sitting at the Navy 3 and just under 1:30 to go. On the next play, the Midshipmen defense forced a fumble as McCurdy attempted to scramble, and Navy recovered to improve to 3-0 and send Penn to 2-1.
The weather was fierce at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, with rain and 20-mph winds dropping temperatures into the high 40s. The weather played a role quickly, as a Mike McCurdy pass was intercepted and returned for a touchdown on the game’s opening drive, returned 79 yards.
The Quakers would tie the game on the first drive of the second quarter, McCurdy finding Henry Mason from three yards out to cap a 13-play, 90-yard drive which took 6:55 off the clock.
Navy broke the 6-6 tie just before the end of the half, turning another interception into a quick three-play, 17-yard drive which needed just 0:30 to result in a two-yard Nick Deterding touchdown pass with 0:04 on the clock.
The Midshipmen widened their lead with one rush midway through the third quarter, as Deterding called his own number and rushed 81 yards for a long touchdown to put Penn behind,20-6. Just under two minutes later, the Midshipment blocked a Penn punt and turned it into a safety for a 22-6 lead.
Penn opened the fourth quarter with a Max Jones touchdown just 1:03 into the final period, cutting Navy’s lead to 22-14. Navy would counter with an insurance score with 5:18 to play, Eric Wellmon rushing in from 10 yards out.
Henry Mason had seven catches for 106 yards in the loss.
Defensively, James Juliano was in on 14 tackles, including nine solo stops. He also had a fumble recovery and an interception.
The Quakers are at Cornell October 9, taking on the Big Red at 7 p.m.