PHILADELPHIA, PA. 11/2/2019 – The 1,400th football game for the University of Pennsylvania was played this day, the first school to do so on any level. While Franklin Field has a special quality from the past, present, and will in the future, what mattered most was the outcome. Penn won it 38 – 36 on a 22-yard field goal by sophomore kicker Daniel Karrash with 2 seconds on the clock. It looked like the Brown Bears would get their first Ivy win, but the Quakers rallied to be on the positive side of the ledger. It would take contributions from the offense, defense, and special teams to get this win.
“It wasn’t beautiful, but I’m not sure any football game is,” said Penn Coach Ray Priore. “If it is 6 – 3 the offense doesn’t feel good. If it’s 36 – 35 the defense doesn’t feel good. You have those highs and go down to the lows. We talk about the up’s and down’s and everything you go through in sports. You just have to keep on swinging, and don’t stop.”
Brown was ahead 36 – 35 after quarterback TJ Perry ran it in from 16-yards away with 13:09 on the clock. The score capped a run of 17 straight points by the Bears.
The Rhode Islanders could have put the game away late as they drove to the Penn 29 yard line. With just over 4 minutes left Brown tried for a fourth down conversion. The pass from Perry to Demitri Jackson was just short of a first down resulting in a turnover.
The game-winning Penn drive was 16 plays, 74 yards, taking 4:08. A key play was a 19-yard completion from quarterback Nick Robinson to wide receiver Ryan Cragun on a 4th and 7 from the Brown 46 yard line. The Quakers went to the ground game, 8 straight running plays to put Karrash in a position to win the game. It was his first collegiate field goal.
“I was just trying to stay composed, and just put the ball through the uprights,” said Karrash before the game-winning attempt. “I didn’t want to try and switch anything.”
The Quakers led 21 – 19 at halftime. Penn linebacker Brian O’Neill intercepted a pass setting the offense up at the Bears 11. On the next play Robinson threw a scoring toss to Rory Starkey Jr. On the ensuing possession linebacker Hunter Hayes pressured Perry who threw a lateral pass that Hunter forced a fumble. O’Neill picked up the loose ball and returned it 17-yards for a touchdown and a 35 – 19 Penn advantage with 13 minute to play in the third quarter. Later, the Red and Blue denied the Bears a touchdown forcing them to kick a field goal. Brown would rally, but the lift the Quakers got from the defense was big.
“We always talk about big plays, when you turn them back, definitely changes the momentum of the game,” said O’Neill. “We gave the ball back (to the offense) and allowed them to score.”
“We were playing good ball,” said Brown Coach James Perry. “We were down double-digits. We weren’t going to changes strategically what we were going to do. It’s nice to be in a position where you fell like you’re taking a step forward.”
Playing without Karekin Brooks the Quakers still gained 304 yards of total offense, but most of those gains came via the air. Robinson threw for 247 yards and 2 touchdowns. Of his 19 completions, 11 were made by Cragan who totaled 144 yards and a score. Running back Abe Willows crossed the line twice.
Perry ran for 117 yards, including a 50-yard scamper for the first score of the game. He also threw for 225 yards and had a hand in 4 Bears touchdowns.
Penn improves to 3 – 4 overall and are 1 – 3 in the Ivies. Historically, the Quakers recorded their 854th win overall. Game number 1,401 is next week when Cornell comes to town.
“we said the team that had the ball last would win, and we had the ball last,” Priore said.
Written By: Glenn Papazian