Penn Grabs Third Football Title in Four Years with Thrilling Win at Cornell
Courtesy of Penn Athletic Communications
ITHACA, N.Y. -- Penn clinched its third outright Ivy League championship in four seasons with the game-winning touchdown in the final minute of play to top Cornell, 35-28, at Schoellkopf Field on Saturday afternoon.
Of Penn's 16 Ivy League championships, the Quakers have won 13 of them outright -- a League record. Head coach Al Bagnoli has never shared a title and extended his own Ivy record with his ninth outright League championship.
In the 119th meeting between the two programs, Penn (6-4, 6-1
Ivy) also won the Trustees' Cup for the fifth time in six years.
The Cup is awarded to the winner of the nation's fifth-oldest
It was a typical ending for the Quakers. All but one Ivy League game this season was decided by one possession.
Cornell tied the game, 28-28, with a touchdown and a two-point
conversion with just 2:57 left.
Led by senior quarterback Andrew Holland, who made his first career start after senior Billy Ragone suffered a season-ending injury last week, the Quakers took over at their own 37-yard line. The outright Ivy title was on the line. Penn had to win to avoid sharing the title.
Holland was a perfect 3-for-3 on the drive for 38 yards and senior running back Lyle Marsh, who finished with his third-consecutive 100-yard rushing performance, ran twice for 12 yards to get the ball to the Cornell 3-yard line. Sophomore running back Spencer Kulcsar rushed it in from there and Penn had the lead, 35-28 with 1:00 left.
It wasn't over. Cornell moved the ball to midfield and then connected on a deep pass to the Penn 8-yard line with 17 seconds to play. A personal foul on Cornell moved the ball back to the 23-yard line. Then Cornell completed a pass back to the eight-yard line, but time expired before the Big Red could run another play. Once again, the Quakers were celebrating another Ivy title.
Penn outrushed the Big Red, 126-27, led by Marsh's 111 yards on 19 carries (5.8 yards per carry). He was one of four different Quakers with a rushing touchdown.
Holland was spectacular filling in for Ragone -- Penn's third-most productive offensive player of all-time (5,513 total yards). Holland was 18-for-22 (81.8%) for a career-high 255 yards with one passing touchdown and a rushing touchdown.
Junior wide receiver Connor Scott had a team-high six catches and 71 receiving yards. He finished the season with 52 catches - 11th-most all-time at Penn - and 691 yards - 12th-most and the highest total since Matt Carre (697) in 2006.
This marked the final game for Penn's Senior Class of 2013, which claimed its third Ivy title ring. The seniors finished with a record of 28-12 (70.0%), including an impressive mark of 24-4 (85.7%) against the Ivy League and a 12-1 (92.3%) mark against Ivy opponents at Franklin Field. The 24 Ivy wins are the most for a senior class at Penn in seven years. This class was also a part of back-to-back undefeated Ivy seasons (just the third time that's ever happened), and won 18 consecutive Ivy League games -- the second-longest streak in league history.
The rest of the returning Quakers will have some time off for the holiday before they set out to defend their Ivy League title.