PHILADELPHIA, PA. 11/7/2015 – The University of Pennsylvania seemed to have everything going against them, but they found a way to keep the game going. In their first overtime possession quarterback Alek Torgersen threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Eric Fiore and Penn pulled out a 26 – 23 win to keep their hopes for an Ivy League championship alive.
“I am very thankful that our kids were very resilient throughout that game,” said Penn Coach Ray Priore. “We’re the comeback kids, we’ve done that five weeks in a row. We talk about believe in the system and execute what you are supposed to do and that’s what we did.”
It was a wild last few seconds in regulation that sent the game to an extra few minutes. Princeton went for the game -winning field goal from 35 yards out with 4 seconds to play, but Penn blocked the kick and they were going to play some more.
“It was do or die,” Donald Panciello about blocking the kick.
The Tigers scored on their possession when kicker Nolan Bieck was good from 42-yards. The Quakers turn. Running back Brian Schoenauer gained 14 yards to the Princeton 11 setting up the final play.
There were many twists and turns in the game, especially the fourth quarter.
Princeton went for a touchdown on 4th and goal at the 1-yard line. It would put the contest firmly in their direction. However, Penn would hold Rhattigan to a one-yard loss which gave them hope as 12:52 showed on the clock. Momentum to Penn. A 38-yard run by Torgersen and a 26 yard completion to Justin Watson set the ball at the Princeton 26. Three rushes by Tre Solomon drive the ball 5-yards away from paydirt. But a Solomon fumble was recovered by the Tigers at the 5 yard line. A 95 yard drive yielded no points for the Quakers.
Undaunted, the Red and Blue go the ball back. Torgersen and Watson combined on big plays to move the ball to the 25 of the Orange and Black. Jimmy Gammill tied the score at 20 with 3:22 to go converting a 42-yard field goal.
“We are always very confident, said linebacker Tyler Drake. “We had to play more physical and we knew if we gave the ball to our offense, they would put up points and they did.”
The game seemed to turn in the direction of Princeton (5 -3, 2 – 3) late in the first half. After the tied it at 10 on a Joe Rhattigan 4-yard run, the Quakers drove into to midfield. On 4th and 4 Penn tried a pooch kick that went 20 yards to the Princeton 30 yard line with 2:42 to play. The Tigers drove 70 yards in 10 plays capped by a 2-yard run by Rhattigan to take a 17 – 10 lead with just 17 seconds on the clock. The Orange and Black pooch kick continued to dog the Red and Blue who fumbled and turned it over. Princeton got a 39-yard field goal from kicker Nolan Bieck for a 10-point halftime lead.
“It was a matter of coming out in the second half, that’s familiar territory for us,” Torgersen said.
Penn answered in the second half when running back Tre Solomon took it in from 4-yards out to cut the deficit to 3-points. That score put things back into balance for the Quakers.
The Red and Blue (5 – 3, 4 – 1) goes to Harvard next week to play for a share of first place in the Ivy League.
“We want to play meaningful games in November, that’s our biggest thing,” Priore said. “That’s where we are right now. All the work you put and seeing pay off is meaningful. All we want to do is win by one.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian