On a beautiful Saturday afternoon, Penn sprint football fans got their first glimpse of the 2013 Quakers’ explosive offense.
And that explosive offense coupled with a hard-nosed defensive front was enough to notch Penn a 26-12 victory in the annual alumni game.
The alumni game is played in two 45-minute halves, each of which opened with a couple of three-and-outs by both squads. Eventually, class of ’13 alum Whit Shaw reminded fans of his talents by making a 19-yard grab over the middle. The drive was capitalized by a 12 yard rush by class of ’11 alum Mike Bagnoli. The alumni missed the extra point, leaving the game at 6-0.
Then Penn’s offense kicked into high gear. Freshman quarterback Mike McCurdy exploded for a 25-yard run up the middle after bobbling the snap, followed by a 22-yard catch by senior Michael Bass. Penn punctuated its drive with a nine-yard sweep to the outside for a touchdown by junior running back Mike Beamish.
Immediately following the kickoff, Shaw took a beautiful pass down the seam for 70 yards, putting the score at 12-7 after a failed two-point conversion by the alumni.
The Red and Blue defense would not allow the alumni to score again, and Penn added an eight-yard Longtin touchdown from McCurdy to close out the first half.
Junior quarterback Keith Braccia showed playmaking ability by shedding two tacklers en route to a 35-yard touchdown jaunt at the outset of the second half. More importantly, the defense stepped up its efforts in the second half, as exemplified by its two picks in the period.
The game says a lot about this year’s squad. Last season, the alumni easily dispatched the Quakers, 20-0. But Saturday, the rumored potency of the offense was on full display.
Last week, junior wide receiver Nick Longtin commented that the offense hasn’t “missed a beat” in the absence of Whit Shaw. Though this was merely the alumni game, the Quakers got to show their new-look offense focused around their big-play versatility and ability to run the ball.
On the flipside, freshman defensive back Robert Diorio was a tour de force all afternoon, adding a sack and a rushing touchdown in the latter stages of the game.
Penn’s next matchup is slated for Friday at 7 p.m., at Army.
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