On Saturday, Penn football clinched its 17th Ivy title at Franklin Field with a 34-21 win over Cornell. Here is how the game went down, through the eyes of a reporter.
12:35 p.m. – I show up at the gates and, unsurprisingly, it’s packed. Fortunately, I get to bypass the lines with my media pass. It’s game time, ladies and gentlemen.
12:45 – Making my way through the musky corridors of Franklin Field, I can’t help but think of the history behind the stadium. It was also a good moment to think about the unlikely road this Penn football team has taken to get to this moment. One win away from an Ivy title. What a time to be alive.
12:52 – Cornell’s band is legit. I’ve got love for Penn’s band, too — it’s a lovable, albeit rag-tag group.
12:55 – The National Anthem plays, and it’s a perfect day for football. It’s still a little weird to see one side of the field empty, but the place is starting to fill up.
1:05 – And we’re off! An exciting return from Penn got the crowd going, but a personal foul on the same play dampers some of its enthusiasm.
1:09 – Justin Watson already has a long reception on the sideline. That didn’t take long.
1:11 – GO CRAZY PENN! Schoenauer puts Penn on the board with the touchdown. The Red and Blue faithful can try to forget about that disastrous two-point attempt.
1:13 – Everything is going Penn’s way! Taps deflected the ball, leading to an easy pick by Brandon Mills.
1:17 – What the WHAT? Fiore took the toss ... And threw it to Ryan O’Malley for the absurd touchdown! Penn’s up, 13-0, with an Ivy Title on the line.
1:19 – A fellow media member from an unnamed outlet rolls in late, oblivious to the fact that he’s missed an entire game’s worth of action.
1:25 – Penn gets the football right back. Right now, Torgersen is eating. This team has a lot of young weapons.
1:25 – And Watson’s eating too, putting up a 37-yard touchdown to put Penn ahead by 20. The man has had quite a year, potentially an Ivy Offensive Player of the Year kinda year.
1:31 – This thing is getting a little one-sided — I’m not gonna lie to you. And you can tell from the demeanor of the players on the opposing sideline.
1:38 – Cornell’s putting together a bit of a drive right now. I see you Big Red. They know the deal — you need to keep the ball out of the hands of the best offense in the Ivies.
1:45 – It’s the start of the second quarter, and Cornell just dropped a DIME of a pass down to the Penn one-yard line. The Big Red then punch it in to make it 20-7. The crowd goes quiet, and we’ve got a ballgame.
1:49 – INSANE!!! Penn’s Lonnie Tuff just ran about 200 yards on the kickoff to get it to the Cornell five. And Torgersen proceeds to run it right in — 27-7 Penn. The Red and Blue offense is looking just about unstoppable.
1:59 – 10 minutes left in the second quarter. It’s not quite time for Penn fans to start scoreboard watching Harvard and Dartmouth, but it’s getting there.
2:05 – Torgersen’s first interception in eight weeks. Wow. Cornell gets it back down 20 with six left in the half.
2:08 – Philippi with the athletic pick inside the Penn 10, and the Quakers are back in business. Those interceptions came BACK TO BACK.
2:11 – The sunlight is fully covering the empty side field – leading to some trippy shadow effects when the ball’s in the air. And right as I say that, a member of the Cornell straight-up drops a potential interception. Cue the slide whistle.
2:17 – With two left in the half, it’s announced that Princeton is up on Dartmouth. The crowd is loving it, and the press box erupts into a wave of concealed fist-pumps.
2:25 – The half comes to a close, and the Quakers run off the field to raucous applause. Can somebody explain to me why there’s lowkey a blow-up slide/bouncy castle inside Franklin Field? I feel like I’ve seen it before, but it still remains an enigma.
2:28 – DP Sports’ own Alexis Ziebelman and the rest of the Class Board take the field to present the senior class’ official flag. I can sense my colleague, senior Riley Steele, getting emotional.
2:40 – For 10 minutes, I decide to use halftime to link up with the rest of the sports department, which is in the stands watching of the game. Objectively, of course.
2:48 – Sitting around for a legitimate 20 minutes during halftime makes me realize how chilly it is. Thankfully, we’re back — and Cornell really needs to score soon to keep it competitive.
2:52 – This may sound sad, but I think I just heard the first legitimate “let’s go Penn” chant from the students in a long while. I sense that a win here could go a long way towards addressing student apathy toward Penn Athletics.
2:55 – “We weren’t s’posed to make it past 2-5, joke’s on you we won the Ive.” — Tommy Rothman. Gotta love Kanye.
3:00 – And my goodness, Justin Watson is over 100 yards ... again. And he’s got his second touchdown of the game. Oh man. Dartmouth and Harvard are both in tight matchups — it may be time for Penn fans to start scoreboard watching. Sole possession of the Ivy title sure would be sweet.
3:13 – Dartmouth just won. No more hope for a sole Penn Ivy title. Nonetheless, with the third quarter coming to a close, the Quakers are in great shape for at least a share.
3:16 – Well that came out of nowhere. Cornell catches Penn – and, quite frankly, me – when it wasn’t expecting it and goes deep for a touchdown, making it 34-14. In the wake of the Dartmouth win, my colleague, Thomas Munson, informs me that he has clinched the 2015 DP Sports Swamis title.
3:20 – One quarter away from a Penn Ivy title. The alma mater throughout the stadium, and toast begins to rain down from the upper deck. On my mind right now: “If the field gets stormed, how can I participate without abandoning my journalistic responsibilities?
3:25 – Okay, enough with the toast.
3:26 – There’s a dude with a rake hitting pieces of toast at another dude with a rake. And as I observe this, Torgersen hits a pooch punt to the Cornell 10. What is going on?
3:33 – Less than 10 minutes left, and Cornell is forced to punt. For real guys, are we storming the field or not?
3:35 – Meanwhile, Penn men’s basketball is out on the West Coast taking on Washington. It’s a busy weekend for Penn Athletics, no doubt about it.
3:38 – Torgersen gets taken out for Andrew Lisa. Looks like the Quakers are gonna just try to run this clock out with five minutes left in the game. Meanwhile, Torgersen is getting taped up, but it doesn’t look like anything serious.
3:40 – This clock is running out quickly. Get ready folks!
3:42 – Okay, it’s official. I’m storming the field and trying to snag pics and vids. Let’s go! Only one timeout left for Cornell. It’s only a matter of time at this point.
3:44 – The crowd goes crazy thinking Penn scored another touchdown, but there was offensive pass interference.
3:47 – Hunter the Punter and Christian Stapleton team up to pin the Big Red at their own one-yard line.
3:50 – I start to pack up my stuff. At this point, I’m not even paying attention to what’s going on at field level, but rather to what’s going on in the stands. And there’s a lot of activity going on, especially on the east end of the stadium. I suspect that students are getting ready to storm the field, so I abandon my laptop and head over.
3:56 – After fighting down the stadium steps and through a mass of ecstatic Penn students, I make my way to the east tunnel, where everybody is lined up to storm the field. Somehow, Cornell has scored again, but nobody cares in the least. Chants of “I BELIEVE THAT WE WILL WIN” ring through the crowd.
4:00 – After a long countdown, the clock hits zeros and the gates open. All bets are off. As I storm the field with the mass of students, I do what I can to get video with my iPhone and find myself in the middle of a horde of football players. I almost drop my phone but am able to catch it before it gets lost in oblivion. Disaster averted.
4:05 – Pandemonium has subsided briefly to allow for a rousing rendition of “The Red and the Blue.” In my mind, I’m thinking, “Are these field goal posts gonna stay upright?” Ultimately, they do.
4:15 – At this point, students are beginning to leave the field, and the celebration is in full force for Penn football. Cigars are out, hugs are being given and pictures are being taken left and right. Even for a bystander like myself, it was emotional.
4:22 – I suddenly realize that my backpack and laptop are in the stands.
4:25 – I retrieve my stuff from the stands and return to the celebration on the field. All is right in the world.
4:38 – After some effort on the part of the Penn Athletic Communications staff, coach Ray Priore and three other players — with cigars still in tow — are corralled and led to Donaldson Media Room for the postgame press conference. I eagerly follow behind.
4:42 – Right outside of the media room, senior Dan Connaughton enthusiastically campaigns for “Priore-Trump 2016.”
4:45 – The proceedings wrap up at the postgame press conference as I attempt to comprehend what went down over the previous four hours, in what was possibly the craziest and most significant sporting event I have covered thus far.
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.