Penn 34, Harvard 14
Quakers quash Crimson quest for Ivy laurels.
A formidable Penn football team demolished Harvard, 34-14, at Franklin Field on Saturday.
Unbeaten in Ivy League play, the Quakers (6-0, 8-1 overall) clinched a share of the Ivy League title. They can win it outright by defeating Cornell (1-5, 2-7) at Ithaca next weekend. Penn also won the Ivy title outright in 2009.
For Harvard (4-2, 6-3), a victory in next Saturday’s meeting with Yale (5-1, 7-2) would secure a second-place tie with the Blue. If Harvard wins The Game and Brown (4-2, 5-4) beats Columbia (2-4, 4-5), Harvard, Yale, and Brown will end up in a second-pace tie.
Harvard took the field in Philadelphia with hopes of forcing a co-championship with Penn, but the Crimson was outplayed on both sides of the ball. Misplays by the special-teams units proved especially costly.
After a scoreless opening quarter, a Penn punt at the start of the second period glanced off one of Harvard’s blocking backs, and the Quakers recovered at the Crimson nine-yard line. Harvard’s defense prevented a touchdown, but Penn took a 3-0 lead on a 19-yard field goal by Andrew Samson.
Midway through the period, a Harvard drive stalled at Penn’s 22-yard line and kicker David Mothander ’14 was sent in to attempt a 39-yard field goal. His low kick was blocked, and after a six-play drive Penn got on the board with a short-yardage touchdown by sophomore running back Brandon Colavita. The Quakers held a 10-0 lead at halftime.
Penn scored again after a freak play early in the third quarter. Linebacker Alex Gedeon ’12, the Crimson’s alternate punter, boomed a kick of almost 60 yards to the Penn one-yard-line, where a Harvard player batted the ball to keep it in bounds. Bradford Blackmon, a Penn receiver who also returns punts, corralled the ball and ran it back to midfield. The Quakers then mounted a quick scoring drive, this one ending in a 25-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Billy Ragone to running back Jeff Jack.
Two more third-period scores, on Penn’s next two possessions, put the game out of reach. The first, a 44-yard field goal by Samson, came after the first of three pass interceptions by Penn defenders. With Ragone doing most of the running, Penn scored its third touchdown of the day after Harvard failed to convert on a fourth-and-four at midfield. That gave the Quakers a 27-0 lead as the third quarter ended.
Harvard fought back in the final quarter, driving into Penn territory five times and scoring two touchdowns. Junior quarterback Collier Winters finally broke the shutout with a 31-yard pass to senior receiver Mike Cook, who wrested the ball from Penn defender Justyn Williams at the goal line. With just over two minutes to play, running back Gino Gordon ’11 carried on a three-yard rush for Harvard’s second and last touchdown.
Two of Harvard’s late drives ended in interceptions. Penn scored a final touchdown on a 35-yard end run by Colavita, after Harvard misfired on an onsides kick.
Gordon gained 110 yards on 21 carries, adding four pass receptions for 22 yards. He has run for 100 yards or more in six of this season’s nine games. Quaterback Winters completed 22 of 44 passes for 219 yards, but was intercepted three times. Junior tackle Josue Oriz led the defense with eight tackles and a fumble recovery.
In almost every season over the past decade, the road to the Ivy title has gone through Pennsylvania. Sometimes it stops there. Penn now leads Harvard, 6-5, in games played since 2000. Both teams have lopsided won-lost records against the other six teams in the league.
In other Ivy action: Yale held off Princeton (0-6, 1-8), 14-13. Brown came from behind to defeat Dartmouth (2-4, 5-4), 34-28. Columbia defeated Cornell, 20-17.
Next weekend: Harvard hosts Yale at the Stadium at noon on Saturday. Penn plays Cornell at Ithaca. Dartmouth visits Princeton. Columbia hosts Brown.
The score by quarters:
Harvard 0 0 0 14 — 14
Penn 0 10 17 7 — 34
The season so far:
Harvard 34, Holy Cross 6
Brown 29, Harvard 14
Harvard 35, Lafayette 10
Harvard 31, Cornell 17
Lehigh 21, Harvard 19
Harvard 45, Princeton 28
Harvard 30, Dartmouth 14
Harvard 23, Columbia 7
Penn 34, Harvard 14
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