For any given pass in the game of football, the chances are high that the team’s number one wideout will see the ball come his way. Think of the great quarterback-wide receiver tandems of all time: Montana to Rice. Manning to Harrison.
And now, for Penn sprint football: McCurdy to Mason.
Junior quarterback Mike McCurdy and senior wide receiver Henry Mason have found success down the field repeatedly, helping lead the Red and Blue to a 3-1 start.
Mason and McCurdy have largely fueled the Quakers’ offensive surge thus far this season, one that has yielded 32 points per game for the squad. The quarterback-wide receiver tandem has combined for 417 yards and six touchdowns in four games, good for nearly half of the team’s passing yards and two-thirds of the team’s passing touchdowns.
While Mason was McCurdy’s favorite target last year in terms of receptions, the pair’s production this year has significantly increased. Mason is seeing the ball more often from McCurdy and for longer gains.
The wideout averages nearly 40 more yards per game this year. He has already eclipsed his total yards from last year and has already tripled his touchdown production from 2014. Additionally, Mason is on pace to notch 39 receptions this year, up 12 from last year’s total of 27.
The bottom line is that Mason has been McCurdy’s go-to receiver this year — and for good reason.
“He has a knack for getting open, which is huge for us,” McCurdy said.
McCurdy and Mason’s success so far has manifested itself in myriad offensive situations — both short yardage completions and long throws downfield, scoring plays and those that set the team up in scoring position. But his big-play ability in particular has stood out.
The two have combined so far for touchdown passes of 65, 35 and 21 yards and are averaging nearly 20 yards per connection. McCurdy certainly understands that Mason’s reliability as a target downfield has helped lead to not only their personal success, but also the team’s offensive success as a whole.
“Every team has that go-to guy, and he’s been really dependable on the edge,” McCurdy said. “When you have someone you can really depend [upon] on 3rd down, it opens up options for the offense to run and keeps the defense on edge.”
The chemistry between the two has been years in the making, and now it is finally paying dividends.
“Playing and practicing with each other for the past few years has really helped us,” Mason said. “You can’t substitute in-game reps, and those have really helped us develop chemistry on and off the field.”
“Our success started last year after a few key seniors left, and in his first year starting,” McCurdy added. “I knew right away he’d be a big target for me. He’s pretty fast and has quick feet.”
The pair’s success has had profound effects on the Quakers’ season so far. The offense has already scored more points (128) in four games than it had in all seven games last season (113), largely due to the tandem’s elevated pace of production. And they have also affected the team on the other side of the ball.
“The offense and the defense really feed off of each other, and our success on offense has really helped the team so far,” Mason said.
It may be a stretch to compare the duo to the NFL’s greats, but the Red and Blue have certainly found a special offensive connection. And as they head into the home stretch of their season, they will look for this connection to continue to carry the Penn offense to further success.
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