Penn football overcomes Brown, 20-17


Connor Loftus' 35-yard field goal gives the Quakers a Homecoming win in the final minutes


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Kicker Connor Loftus (99) celebrates with teammates after kicking the game-winning field goal Saturday against Brown.



Yet again, Saturday’s Penn football game was a nailbiter.

Saturday’s Homecoming matchup with Brown came down to the final minutes, as Connor Loftus kicked a 35-yard field goal to give the Quakers a 20-17 victory.

“It obviously wasn’t a Picasso,” coach Al Bagnoli said. “It was two gritty football teams that play hard and determined. The game was probably as choppy a game as we’ve had.”

The game started off as a defensive battle, with both sides struggling to move the ball in the first half. The only scores came in the three minutes before halftime on a 22-yard touchdown reception by Penn receiver Conner Scott followed by a 46-yard field goal by Brown kicker Alexander Norocea.

“[The offense] was choppy, just like our team,” Bagnoli said. “We were just able at the end to make a few plays when we needed to.”

interceptionrachel

By Rachel Bleustein

Sophomore defensive back Trevor Niemann makes the final interception of the game that led to Connor Loftus’ winning field goal. Penn overcame Brown, 20-17.

The second half was a different story, with both teams cruising through each other’s defenses. A 10-yard touchdown by Tellef Lundevall — who had 16 receptions for 162 yards against the Quakers — gave the Bears (4-3, 1-3 Ivy) their first lead of the day, 10-7.

On the subsequent drive, Billy Ragone found a wide-open Jason Seifert for a 36-yard touchdown.

“It was good to see Jason Seifert catch a hitch, run out on a play and score a touchdown,” Bagnoli said. “We’d been looking for a little bit of a spark opposite of Conner [Scott] ever since Joe Holder went down with his [broken fibula].”

Penn defensive back Drew Harris then made a crucial play, an acrobatic redzone interception of Brown quarterback Patrick Donnelly to prevent a Bears score.

But Brown responded with a one-yard touchdown run by fullback Cody Taulbee.

On the next sequence of plays, set up by Dexter Davis’ 46-yard kick return, Loftus tied the game at 17 for Penn (3-4, 3-1) with a 45-yard field goal, a career long for the kicker.

With the game on the line, another interception — this time by Trevor Niemann — gave the ball back to the Red and Blue at the Brown 44-yard line.

“We were just in a little cover two and expected him to take a shot deep as they had tried it a couple of times in the game,” Niemann said. “I thought he might try to throw that way — it was a good defense to be in. I was just in the right place at the right time.”

After the takeaway, the Quakers set up Loftus for the game-winning field goal.

“That first [field goal], he hooked, and I thought, ‘Geez … I hope he didn’t hook it too much,’” Bagnoli said. “The second one would’ve been up in the bleachers if it wasn’t tipped — the ball shot off his foot.”

Defensive back AJ Cruz returned the following kickoff all the way to Penn’s endzone, but the touchdown was nullified by a holding call against the Bears. The game ended as Feerooz Yacoobi intercepted Donnelly and the clock ran out.

The Quakers now sit at 3-1 in the Ivy League as they head to Princeton next weekend. And every player will have to continue to do his part.

“This week’s focus was just ‘do your individual job’ … not worrying about what everyone else was doing,” Niemann said. “I think that mentality definitely helped us out today.”

SEE ALSO

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Soisson | Penn’s defense needs an energy boost

Penn football drops first Ivy contest at Yale

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