Looking to play spoiler to Penn sprint football’s championship pursuit, Chestnut Hill came ready to throw everything they had at the Quakers. Unfortunately for the Griffins, the Quakers were simply better. Way better.
Behind senior quarterback Mike McCurdy’s 339 total yards and five passing touchdowns, the Red and Blue jumped out to a 20-0 first quarter lead and never looked back, winning by a final score of 53-7.
For Penn (5-0), it was a dominant performance in a game the Quakers needed to win to keep their undefeated championship hopes alive. But for the Griffins (2-3), who are in just their second season in the Collegiate Sprint Football League, the result was a grim reminder of just how far they still have to go to be contenders in the conference.
Outside of McCurdy, several other Quakers put up big numbers. On the defensive side of the ball, freshman Jack Hennigan and senior Chris Colavita both finished the game with fourth-quarter interceptions. And on offense, sophomore wide receiver Aidan Kelly caught two touchdown passes on his way to 138 yards while junior receiver Marcus Jones added 95 yards and two touchdowns of his own.
“We have a bunch of great receivers on the team,” Kelly said. “I think we’ve had the best receivers in recent memory, and I think just being able to have so many guys get open keeps the defense honest. They can’t put attention on any one player, and you know that in any situation, someone is going to be able to step up and make a play.”
But despite the game’s score and all of the impressive individual statistics, the Red and Blue still thought they could have played better.
“We had some mistakes, and we had some things that we need to work on, and we know that we have to get ready for Cornell,” coach Bill Wagner said.
“Honestly I think this was one of our weaker games offensively, just because the consistency wasn’t there,” McCurdy added.
Though Penn might not be entirely pleased with their performance, fans in attendance would probably feel otherwise. The Quakers did not allow a single offensive touchdown with Chestnut Hill’s only score coming on a punt return, and, as a team, the Red and Blue out-gained the Griffins, 491-131.
Those who stayed for the entire game were also treated to the play of freshman quarterback Eddie Jenkins, who was subbed in for McCurdy in the fourth quarter. Jenkins only got to run a couple of drives, but in his limited action, the rookie finished the game with two rushing touchdowns and 63 rushing yards on only four carries.
While the Quakers look set at quarterback for the next three years with Jenkins at the helm, for now, Penn is entirely focused on finishing this season out undefeated to bring home its first CSFL championship since 2010.
The Red and Blue’s next game comes again at home on Friday against Cornell, and the Quakers will conclude the season on the road against Post. So far, Cornell and Post have combined for just one win. And though the fear of a trap game is present, Penn will likely not be caught flat-footed.
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