Courtesy: Beverly Schaefer Tim Boardman had 12 tackles in the 7-0 loss at Penn.
A 26-yard touchdown run by Joe Sandberg was the lone scoring play in a 7-0 victory for the Penn football team over Princeton Saturday afternoon at Franklin Field. The two defenses dominated the game, but it was Penn’s that came up with the crucial touchdown-saving interception that ultimately saved the shutout for the Quakers.
Princeton, which was shut out for the first time since the 1999 season, fell to 3-5, 2-3 in Ivy League play. The Tigers were eliminated from title contention, although they can still factor into the race. Princeton will host unbeaten Yale next Saturday at Princeton Stadium for Senior Day, as well as the dedication ceremony for Powers Field.
Senior quarterback Bill Foran led Princeton with 36 yards rushing and 91 yards passing, while Rob Toresco caught four passes for 69 yards. Adam Berry also had four catches for 49 yards.
Following a scoreless first quarter in which Princeton never moved past midfield, the Tigers nearly scored first on Greg Mroz’ only drive at quarterback. Following a fortunate special teams break, when Penn was unable to down the ball at the 1-yard-line, Mroz hit Berry on a 10-yard out. The next pass went significantly further, as Mroz found Toresco on a seam pattern down the middle of the field. Toresco got between both safeties and seemed headed for six points, but he was caught from behind by Chris Wynn. That would prove crucial, as Britton Ertman picked off a tipped 3rd-and-goal pass in the end zone and returned it to the Princeton 38-yard-line. Mroz was injured on the tackle and didn’t return to the game. Wideouts Will Thanheiser and Brendan Circle were also early injury casualties, leaving freshmen Trey Peacock and Matt Ransom to join Adam Berry in the offensive packages.
That would be the best scoring opportunity for either team in the first half. Princeton ended the half with 102 total yards, most of which came on that drive. The Tigers had 16 rushes for three yards in the half, but the Princeton defense limited Penn to only 122 total yards.
Penn opened the second half with an effective offensive drive, and tailback Joe Sandberg finished the drive by taking a pitch 26 yards for the score. The senior found a hole along the left side of the line and turned it upfield to score untouched. It was his fourth run of the drive, while quarterback Bryan Walker added a 13 yard run and a 9-yard completion to Braden Lepisto.
Looking to maintain momentum, Penn head coach Al Bagnoli called an onsides kick, and Ertman again came up with a big play. The straight-ahead squib kick was pounced on by the Penn junior. The Princeton defense came up with a stop, and Foran got the Tiger offense moving immediately. A pair of passes to Berry and a long run by Foran moved Princeton past midfield, and a screen pass to Jordan Culbreath moved the ball to the 26-yard-line. The drive stalled outside of field goal range, and a fourth-down pass by Foran was just over the outstretched arm of Peacock.
Princeton got the ball back following another defensive stand, and long runs by Lagomarsino and Foran moved the ball to the 38-yard-line. Again, a fourth-down pass fell incomplete to end the drive, and Princeton entered the fourth quarter scoreless.
The Tiger defense remained up for the challenge. Keeping pressure on quarterback Bryan Walker, Princeton never let the passing game get in rhythm. Joel Karacozoff’s third-down pressure forced an incompletion, which gave Princeton another offensive opportunity. The Tigers moved to midfield before setting up for a punt at midfield. The snap went directly to upback Ray Simnick, who dragged a Penn defender past the first-down marker. The drive stalled from there, but Ryan Coyle was able to pin Penn inside its 20-yard-line.
After consecutive three-and-outs, Penn ran a five minutes off the clock with a nine-play, 34-yard drive that allowed Princeton only 2:31 left in regulation to even the score. A 17-yard pass to Berry moved the ball to the Tiger 34-yard-line, and a third-down conversion run by Foran set Princeton up on its own 46-yard-line. Four plays later, needing five yards to stay in the game, Foran’s crossing pass to Peacock was incomplete.
Princeton’s final home game, which will resume what has become a tremendously exciting rivalry with Yale, will be televised live on the YES Network Saturday at 1 p.m. Princeton clinched a share of the Ivy League title last season with a wild 34-31 comeback win, while Yale ended the Tigers’ championship hopes in 2005 with a 21-14 comeback win of its own.