Last night, the season came to a close for the Quakers and unfortunately not with storybook ending.
Penn took on Navy after their originally scheduled matchup was cancelled due to the government shutdown earlier in the season. The Midshipmen punished Penn on the ground, racking up four rushing touchdowns en route to a 35-14 victory over the Quakers.
The Red and Blue (3-4) began the night with an impressive 11-play drive down the field effectively rushing the ball and passing to move the chains. However, at the Midshipmen 34-yard line, freshman quarterback Mike McCurdy threw a costly interception.
“We didn’t protect the quarterback, it was one of the reasons why we didn’t score more points,” head coach Bill Wagner said. “I think the fact that they sacked the quarterback six times didn’t help us.”
After failing to capitalize on a three-and-out by Navy (6-1) on the following possession, Penn took a back seat to the dominant Midshipmen offensive. Navy went on an uninterrupted 35-0 scoring streak.
The scoring began in the second quarter with Navy’s lone passing touchdown on the game. For the rest of the game, Navy took over via its rushing attack, as the Midshipmen ran for 271 yards on the Red and Blue defense.
In the fourth quarter, the Quakers would finally notch some points on the scoreboard. Two back-to-back six play drives were put together by the Red and Blue, who covered a total distance of 101 yards and tallied two touchdowns to prevent the shutout.
The game was a struggle for the Quakers offense who were unable to get anything going, missing opportunities from turnovers and great field position. At the end of the contest, the Red and Blue only managed to grind out 51 yards on the ground, and 176 yards in the air, while Navy sacked McCurdy six times.
The result of this game had no championship bearing as Army had already sealed up the number-one spot in the CSFL with its second consecutive undefeated season. However, Navy finishes the season in second place and Penn ends in fifth.“I was concerned we may have just gone for a road trip but we didn’t,” Wagner said. “We played a great game. I think all of our injuries and playing a good physical navy team really wore us out.”
The season didn’t end in the most uplifting fashion but the young leadership on the squad bodes well for the years to come. Penn’s offense led the CSFL in offensive yards per game with 396.7 yards.
Additionally, McCurdy finished third in the league with over 1400 yards passing and Mike Beamish finished third in total rushing yards.
Penn now looks forward to next season where they will have significant changes throughout the offensive line and in the defensive secondary.
As for this season, Penn’s season is officially over, as Penn finishes with a 3-4 overall record and a promising young core that bodes well for the future.
“We couldn’t exist losing all those kids early,” Wagner said. “We will have a good start for next year.”
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