PHILADELPHIA - Sprint Football started out the 2011 season with a 34-0 shutout victory over Princeton. The Quakers racked up 436 yards offensively and held their rivals to negative one yard rushing on the evening. The Penn offense was efficient all night long as the Quakers were only put in a third down situation five times. They also scored three of the five times that they took the ball into the red zone.
The Quakers started off the night driving down the field, but a costly turnover gave Princeton the ball after Penn had taken it deep into Tiger territory. However, the Quakers' defense would set the tone early in this game as they forced the early punt and the offense would not be denied on their second drive of the evening.
Taking the ball on their 45 yard line after the punt, the Quakers took the ball the remaining 55 yards in just eight plays and used just over three minutes to do so. After a pair of runs by Mike Beamish took Penn past midfield, quarterback Todd Busler made the big play on the drive with a 26 yard run on the keeper. Four plays later he would finish the drive himself, calling his own number and taking it in from two yards out, giving Penn the early 7-0 lead after Kai Peng's extra point.
On the next drive, the Penn defense would force a turnover on downs and take the ball right back down the field for its second score of the evening. This drive it was freshman Jeff Grimes who did the heavy lifting on the ground, getting Penn into position to score. Busler would cap off the drive with a 26 yard pass to Andrew Donald along the sideline and Penn would take a 13-0 lead after the extra point was blocked.
Two drives later, Penn would get the ball back again after forcing the three and out. This drive it was freshman Bronson Carpenter carrying the ball for the Quakers' backfield as they took over just shy of midfield. After Busler hit Whit Shaw on second down to get 10 yards and the first down. He would then hit Kamil Okroj two plays later for the 27 yard gainer, taking the ball down to the Princeton two yard line. Shaw and Busler would then finish the drive when they connected on a two yard completion, capping of the eight play, 51 yard drive to make the score 20-0.
Princeton would make a run at putting their first points on the board in the final minutes of the second half, but with time running down they attempted a 43 yard field goal that came up short and Penn took a 20-0 lead into the break.
Coming out of the break, Princeton received the second half kick, but the Penn defense held them to negative yardage as it forced the three and out and quickly took over. On the punt return, Shaw would put Penn in prime position as he returned the punt 36 yards and into Princeton territory, all the way down to the 20 yard line.
From there, Penn would need just four plays to score as Donald hauled in his second touchdown of the evening, coming on a 17 yard pass from Busler. This put the Quakers up 27-0 just under three minutes into the second half.
On Princeton's next drive, the Tigers would get a first down on the first play from scrimmage, but get just 1 more yard on the next three plays and ended up punting it away to Shaw who hauled in the fair catch. 79 yards away from the end zone, Beamish covered that distance in a hurry as he took the first-and-10 carry the entire distance on the first play of the drive. This made the score 34-0 with just over nine minutes remaining in the third quarter.
That would be more than enough offense for the Quakers' defense. The next two Princeton drives each went backwards five yards before the Tigers punted. The final two drives of the evening saw the Tigers gain some traction offensively, but a turnover on downs and a missed field goal attempt would end both of these drives, preserving Penn's shutout on the night.
For the Penn offense, Busler made the most of his 113 yards passing as he threw for the three touchdowns to start the season. Donald led the receiving corps with 61 yards on the night through the air. Beamish made a strong debut, carrying the ball eight times for 139 yards, including his 79 yard touchdown run in the second half. Busler, Grimes, and Carpenter also gained over forty yards on the night for a Penn ground attack that managed 308 total yards.
Defensively, the two captains Matt Cuccinello and Anthony DiBella were all over the field all night long. Cuccinello recorded nine solo tackles and assisted on another. He also had two sacks which resulted in a net loss of 16 yards, while making five and a half tackles behind the line of scrimmage. DiBella made eight solo tackles and assisted on another. He made two and a half tackles in the backfield on the evening. For the game, Penn had six sacks and 18 tackles for loss. The six sacks resulted in a net loss of fifty yards, while the tackles behind the line of scrimmage cost the Princeton offense 84 yards.
Up next for Penn will be a showdown with Navy next week at Franklin Field. A year ago, Penn defeated the Navy 24-14 in a crucial win on its way to the CSFL Championship. The Quakers will be looking for similar results next Friday at 7 p.m.
Download: Princeton Box.pdf