The Princeton football team knew it would have to play near-perfect football as it traveled to take on the top-ranked defense in the Ivy League. Unfortunately, three turnovers and third-down miscues on both sides of the ball were far too much to overcome in a 42-7 loss at Franklin Field.
The Quaker defense bottled up the Princeton running game better than any opponent this season; the Tigers ran for only 25 yards, including 16 from junior Matt Zimmerman. Sophomore quarterback Tommy Wornham completed 18 of 34 passes for 181 yards and a touchdown, but he had two interceptions, including one that was returned for a 60-yard touchdown.
Junior Andrew Kerr caught a career-high eight passes for 71 yards and a touchdown, while Trey Peacock added five receptions for 52 yards.
The Princeton defense had three players with a team-best nine tackles. Senior Dan Kopolovich and juniors Steven Cody and Keola Kaluhiokalani each recorded nine stops, while John Callahan recorded eight tackles. Caraun Reid and Matt Boyer both recorded a pass breakup, while Joel Karacozoff blocked a field goal.
Princeton caught a pair of bad breaks on its first defensive drive of the game. Dan Kopolovich nearly recorded an interception on one Kyle Olson pass, but both he and Kyle Derham wrestled with the ball to the ground and the Penn wideout was awarded possession. One play later, John Callahan tipped an Olson pass, but it landed directly in the hands of Luke DeLuca, who brought the ball to the Tiger 1. One play later, DeLuca surged through the line for an early 7-point lead.
Princeton moved the ball on the ensuing drive, but a pair of drops forced a punt by Otavio Fleury. The kick bounced towards the goal line before being knocked out of bounds by Ivan Charbonneau, who is quickly becoming a top special teams player. The Quakers did a nice job of turning bad field position into a scoring opportunity, but Andrew Samson’s 26-yard field goal attempt was blocked by surging senior lineman Joel Karacozoff, keeping the score 7-0 into the second quarter.
A misjudged attempt on a punt catch by Andrew Kerr gave Penn possession on the Princeton 30 early in the second quarter. Two plays later, Olson found Matt Tuten alone in the middle of the field for a 14-yard touchdown.
It would get no better from there, as Wornham was hit on a pass attempt, and the ball fluttered into the hands of Jonathan Moore. DeLuca scored from one yard out on 4th-and-goal to build the lead to 21-0 with 10:42 remaining in the second quarter.
A 48-yard completion to Peacock got Princeton to the Penn 9 on the ensuing drive. Three plays later, the last of which being a quick out to Jeb Heavenrich, set up a 4th-and-goal at the Quaker 2. After a timeout, Wornham and Kerr hooked up for a perfect touchdown pass; Kerr, lined up along the Penn sideline, took two steps into the end zone before coming back to the pylon, where he met a laser thrown by Wornham. Kerr secured it as he got hit and held on to get Princeton back in the game.
Unfortunately, that would be as close as the Tigers would get. Penn scored on a long drive to open the second half and rebuilt its three-touchdown lead when Olson hit Kyle Derham on a seven-yard scoring pass. Olson added a three-yard touchdown pass to Luke Nawrocki late in the quarter, and finished off the scoring when Chris Wynn returned an interception 60 yards for a touchdown with 11:01 remaining in the game.
Princeton can now turn its focus to Senior Day and its 132nd meeting with Yale. The rivalry is the longest one in the Ivy League and the second-longest in the nation, trailing only Lehigh-Lafayette. The game will begin at 1 p.m. and will be televised live on The YES Network. Fans wishing to attend the game can still purchase tickets on www.GoPrincetonTigers.com or by calling 609-258-4TIX (4849).