Penn Turns the Ball Over Seven Times in 31 – 24 Loss
PHILADELPHIA, PA. 11/1/8/2023 –
This is a rivalry game that matters. It was not for the Ivy League Championship as both teams were eliminated from title contention. But it is the University of Pennsylvania Quakers vs. the Princeton Tigers, an archrivalry that both schools care about. And both wanted to end their season on an high note. And it was Senior Day at Franklin Field.
The Quakers outgained the Tigers 500 yards to 277, had more offensive plays 84 to 68, got record setting performances from wide receiver Jared Richardson and running back Malachi Hosley. But the Red and Blue could not overcome seven turnovers that led to 24 points for the Orange and Black. And that makes the loss tougher to swallow.
“We didn’t gave ourselves a chance,” said Penn Coach Ray Priore. “Look at the stat line, 500 yards of offense. This thing was dreamed perfectly from the statistical data. The biggest one was turnovers. The turnovers take everything away, and at really critical points.”
Despite all that went against Penn, they scored with 44 seconds to play, then recovered the onside kick for one last chance. That opportunity ended at the Princeton 18 yard line on an interception by safety Nasir Hill with 18 seconds on the clock.
Quakers quarterback Aidan Sayin threw for a career-high 385 yards, but he was picked off four times. The Red and Blue fumbled the ball 7 times losing 3 of them. More than the loss of possession, it cost Penn chances to score or left a short field for Princeton.
The Harsh Sequences
The first Princeton pickoff was at the 1-yard from the end zone by safety Tahj Owens who returned it 27-yards. The drive ended with a 45-yard field goal that cut the Penn lead to 7 – 3 early in the second quarter. Three points off a turnover. The Tigers later scored on a touchdown pass from quarterback Blake Stenstrom to tight end Connor Hulstein for a 10 – 7 halftime advantage.
In the third quarter Hill got his second interception at the Penn 46 yard line. The drive ended 1:38 later when running back Jiggie Carr ran 3-yards for a touchdown. Sayin was intercepted on the next possession on a batted ball caught by defensive lineman Collin Taylor at the Penn 31. Stenstrom found wide receiver AJ Barber 42 seconds later form 27-yards out for a 24 – 14 Tigers lead.
“That was a huge momentum swing,” Priore said. “We’re going up by two scores.”
The Red and Blue pulled to within seven in the fourth quarter on a 29-yard field goal by Graham Gottlieb. After a Tigers punt, the Quakers gave the ball back on a sack and fumble recovered by defensive lineman Ryan Savage at the Penn 7. Dareion Murphy crossed the goal line from 5-yard out 28 seconds to put his team ahead 31 – 17 with 8:37 remaining.
Penn Makes A Comeback
The Quakers took the ball when 2:06 on the clock at their 12 yard line, then scored on a 14-play, 88-yard drive that took 1:22 on a 2-yard scoring toss from Sayin to Richardson. Richardson recovered the onside kick 48-yards away from the potential tying touchdown. The Penn bench believed.
“Everybody was just up and feeling good, and the mindset was just get hands on and tie it up,” Richardson said.
The drive ended 18-yard short.
What the Numbers Say
Richardson caught 6 passes for 138 yards and 3 touchdowns, a career-high. His longest was a 59-yard scoring reception from Sayin, a collegiate-longest, in the third quarter that put Penn back in front 14 – 10. He hauled in a 37-yard scoring toss to open the scoring.
Hosely put up 119 yards on the ground for his third consecutive 100+ rushing game.
Wide Receiver Bisi Owens had 11 catches for 123 yards, both a career-best.
Sayin set a personal record with 59-yards being his longest touchdown pass.
Linebacker Isaiah Jordan led Penn with a game-high tying 10 tackles, two shy of his career-high on his Senior Day.
“It wasn’t about coming solo, I just love being out there with my boys,” said Jordan about the Senior Day experience. “Just a great feeling of getting to play one last time with everyone. Crazy things unfolded this whole season. It was a peak moment for me to be able to go out and finish with the guys.”
The Ivy League Football Season Concludes
The Quakers finish the season with a 6 – 4 record, 3 – 4 in the Ancient Eight. The Tigers post a 5 – 5 mark, 4 – 3 in the league. Penn placed 5th tied with Brown while Princeton was 4th. There is a three-way tie for the Ivy League Championship with Harvard, Yale, and Dartmouth sharing the title with 5 – 2 records.
Written By: Glenn Papazian