It wasn’t quite like the 70-0 Princeton beatdown last year, but the sprint football still ran roughshod over the Tigers under the Friday night lights of Franklin Field this weekend.
The Quakers — led by the three-headed monster of freshman running backs Mike Beamish, Jeff Grimes and Bronson Carpenter — racked up 308 total rushing yards while cruising to a 34-0 victory.
Among the three Red and Blue backs, Beamish stood out, gaining 139 yards against the Tigers (0-1, 0-0 CSFL), including a 79-yard touchdown run with 10 minutes remaining in the third quarter. After Penn (1-0, 0-0) marched down the field to start the game, Beamish fumbled deep in Tiger territory to kill the drive.
The defense held, however, and the Quakers went right back to Beamish for what would be the game’s first scoring drive, capped off by a touchdown run by senior quarterback Todd Busler.
“We wanted to get him back on that bicycle,” coach Bill Wagner said of the decision to send Beamish in after the fumble. “See if he could still run the ball, and he’s one of our running backs, so we were trying to get his confidence back.”
Along with the new-look running game, the veteran Penn passing attack showed its potency. Busler finished 9-for-13 with three touchdowns, including two to sophomore wide receiver Andrew Donald and one to junior Whit Shaw, the league record-holder in receiving yards.
“They were giving me a lot of one-on-one coverage,” Donald said. “We have a pre-read before we snap the ball to attack on one-on-one coverage either to myself or Whit.”
“You can’t just double cover one [receiver] and stop us,” Beamish said. “You’ve got to worry about our tight end, all three of the other receivers. It’s a very balanced offense.”
The Penn offensive line dominated the Princeton front seven, paving the way for the running attack while also not giving up a single sack the entire night.
The Quakers’ stout front seven smothered the Tigers, holding them to -1 total rushing yards, sacking Princeton quarterback Jais Zachariah six times and racking up 18 tackles for loss.
The game also revealed certain weaknesses that Wagner will undoubtedly want to address going into Friday’s league game against perennial powerhouse Navy. Most notable was the abundance of penalties — 13 for 107 yards — that hurt the Quakers, including one roughing the kicker call that extended a Princeton drive in the first quarter when the game was still in doubt.
“We have to work on penalties,” Arnold said. “And to eliminate mistakes and turnovers, and I think if we can do that we’ll have a good shot against Navy next week.”
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