Penn Rallies To Knock Off Princeton 21-10
Nov. 3, 2001
Philadelphia - What's the difference between playing for a championship and looking up in the standings?
On this day at Franklin Field, it was five plays.
Penn held Princeton on a fourth-and-one inside the two-yard-line and then converted two big fourth-down plays on one drive and two third downs on another to rally for a 21-10 win over the game Tigers in front of 18,810.
The victory, which wasn't easy, kept Penn unbeaten at 7-0, 5-0 in the Ivy League and advanced the Quakers to a showdown in Cambridge next Saturday with fellow unbeaten Harvard. Princeton, who hosts Yale Saturday (1:07), fell to 1-6, 1-4 in the league.
Princeton led 10-7 at the half after a 37-yard Taylor Northrop field goal that tied Alex Sierk's school record of 36 field goals and a three-yard David Splithoff run. With 6:53 to go in the third quarter, Princeton took over with the three-point lead at its 18. After a false-start penalty, the Tigers drove 85 yards to the Penn two, led by Splithoff's passing and the running of freshman back Brandon Bensen. Faced with fourth-and-one and able to get a first down without a touchdown, Princeton went for it rather than take the sure three from Northrop. Splithoff's pass to tight end Mike Chiusano was incomplete, and Penn took over at the two with 2:31 to go in the quarter.
Penn then drove to the 22 as the quarter expired. Faced with its own fourth-and-inches, Penn coach Al Bagnoli decided to go for it, setting himself up for some serious second-guessing if it didn't work. Instead, quarterback Gavin Hoffman picked it up on a sneak, keeping the drive alive. The Quakers continued to move to the Princeton 38, where Hoffman threw a seven-yard pass to Rob Milanese on a fourth-and-four. From there, the Quakers finished the 18-play, 98-yard march, taking the lead on Kris Ryan's one-yard run.
Splithoff then fumbled after a big hit by Brian person to set the Quakers up at the Tiger 42. After two plays lost three yards, Ryan ran 14 yards for a first down at the 31. Hoffman then converted a third-and-eight with a 14-yard run of his own, and Adam Keslosky ran two yards for a touchdown that made it 21-10.
Before the two key third down conversions, Penn had been 3 for 13 on the day.
Princeton played without leading rusher Cameron Atkinson (knee) against a Penn team that came in leading the nation in rush defense at 27 yards per game. Despite that, the Tigers ran for 141 yards, led by 66 from freshman Jon Veach and 25 from Bensen. Splithoff added 55 on the ground, as well as completing 19 of 34 for 217 yards.
Zak Keasey made 13 tackles, the most by a Princeton player this season.
Ryan ran for 166 yards on 36 carries, pushing him over the 1,000 yard mark for the season.