Quakers prevail at sloppy Yale Bowl It was ugly, but ugly often gets the job done -- especially when the opponent is a mediocre team with neither a running game nor any kind of established quarterback. And so the Penn football team, thanks to a stifling defense and an offense that did an effective job of controlling the ball if nothing else, left sloppy, rain-drenched New Haven, Conn., with a 16-6 victory over Yale. The Quakers' second consecutive win keeps them solidly in the Ivy League race, which should take greater shape next Saturday when Penn plays host to league-leading Princeton. While the Tigers dazzled Ivy watchers all over with their 44-14 dismantling of Columbia Saturday, Penn (5-2, 3-1 Ivy League) was not as spectacular in moving toward its 19th win in its last 20 Ivy contests. Quarterback Mark DeRosa turned in a shaky 11-for-24 performance featuring several misfires. DeRosa did go without an interception for the second consecutive week after throwing 13 through five games, and Penn racked up 205 yards on the ground. Another positive offensively was Miles Macik's sixth and final reception of the day, which gave him 122 career Ivy League catches. That mark ties him with Princeton's Derek Graham, who played from 1981 to 1984, for the all-time Ivy record. Macik will break the record with his first catch next week against the Tigers. Penn's offensive performance aside, the bottom line in this game was the Quakers' dominance on defensive. The Yale offense has been out of sync since quarterback Chris Hetherington was sidelined with a rotator cuff injury three games ago, and things got so bad Saturday that Elis coach Carm Cozza decided he had to play musical quarterbacks. Backups Kevin Mayer, Kris Barber and Blake Kendall all saw action, combining to go 13 for 33 for a paltry 183 yards. None of the three was helped by the performance of Yale's running backs, who as a group accounted for just 97 yards on the ground. Before a long scamper down the sidelines by Kena Heffernan with six minutes remaining in the game, the Elis had racked up a mere 45 yards rushing. Leading 3-0, the Quakers picked their performance up a notch in the third quarter. While Yale was going four possessions without a single first down, Penn started to take control of the tempo and -- eventually -- the scoreboard. When Mayer wasn't being harassed by Penn's swarming defensive line, he was missing receivers or having passes dropped, or else silly Yale penalties were negating big gains. "The third quarter was as good a quarter as we've played in a long time defensively," Penn coach Al Bagnoli said. "The game plan was accurate as far as what Yale was trying to do. The kids did a good job digesting what we were telling them. All the credit goes to [defensive coordinator] Mike Toop and his staff." Meanwhile, the Quakers finished two medium-range drives with Greathouse field goals to push their lead to 9-0. "We bogged down in the red zone," Bagnoli said. "We would have liked to have scored more touchdowns." When the Elis finally did start moving the ball at the start of the fourth quarter, Penn's defense stepped up at just the right time to start the key sequence of the game. After being benched a second time, Mayer came back to lead Yale on a 63-yard drive to the Penn 17. But on second-and-10, Mayer tried to throw under heavy pressure and was intercepted by Quakers linebacker Joey Allen. The pick capped off an impressive afternoon for Allen, who may have enjoyed his best day as a Quaker. He had six tackles and a quarterback sack in addition to the interception, the first of the senior's career. "I got helped by lots of pressure from my cohort [and fellow linebacker] Tim Gage," Allen said. "I just happened to be there. I was lucky to make the pick." On the very next play, DeRosa hit wide receiver Felix Rouse over the middle for a 76-yard touchdown strike and a 16-0 advantage with just under eight minutes to play. "They were playing lots of robber coverage, which pulls the safeties up and leaves the middle open," Bagnoli said. "We were looking to go over the middle." There was still time for the Penn defense to have one more chance to shine. Keyed by Heffernan's 52-yard burst, the desperate Elis had four shots at the end zone from two yards out. But two runs by Heffernan and one by Mayer went nowhere. On fourth down, Heffernan took a pitch but was met head on in the backfield by defensive end Mike Soyster. The Quakers had held. Yale did score a touchdown with 14 seconds remaining on a two-yard pass from Kendall, but when the Elis failed the two-point conversion, the issue was completely decided. Penn now has its sights on the biggest game of the season. "It's a chance to get back to where we expected to be," Allen said of next weekend. "Princeton is the top dog right now. I'm looking for an all-out war."Comments powered by Disqus
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