Yale upsets Tigers, Penn back in race CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- After last week's crushing 22-9 loss to Princeton, the Penn football team entered the final two weeks of the season apparently playing for little but pride. Now, after Saturday's 38-21 domination of Harvard and a little help from their friends up at Yale, the Quakers head into the final week of the season with a shot, incredibly, at a share of the Ivy League title. Chaos reigns in the Ancient Eight after Yale's stunning 21-13 upset of Princeton, with the Tigers, Cornell, Dartmouth and Penn all in contention for at least a share of the title. If the Quakers beat the Big Red at Franklin Field next week and the Big Green defeats Princeton in Hanover, N.H., there will be a four-way tie for the Ivy crown for the first time in the league's 39-year history. For the Yale-Princeton shocker to mean anything for the Quakers (6-3, 4-2 Ivy League), they had to get past the lowly Crimson (1-8, 0-6). Fortunately for Penn, 267 rushing yards from Aman Abye and Jasen Scott and the sharp play of backup quarterback Steve Teodecki helped the offense awaken from its two-week slumber. "We knew that Pennsylvania was a very fine football team coming in," Harvard coach Tim Murphy said. "Certainly nothing that happened on the field today changed our opinion of them." In search of a spark as the second quarter got underway with the game tied at 0, Penn coach Al Bagnoli took the reins from starting quarterback Mark DeRosa, who had misfired on several pass attempts and thrown an interception in the first quarter, and turned them over to backup Steve Teodecki. "We had plans for probably the last four weeks of playing Steve," Bagnoli said. "We got into these bad weather games, and we never thought that was the optimum time to actually put him in the game?But we knew coming in that he was going to play." The switch paid immediate dividends. Teodecki hit Felix Rouse with his first pass attempt for 14 yards to midfield, and the Crimson offense never seemed to regain its balance. Two plays later, Teodecki handed off to Abye on a draw play at the 50-yard line, and Abye made it through a large hole at the line of scrimmage before any Harvard player realized he had the ball. Abye was tripped up at the 15 but regained his balance and got into the end zone. Next came the key sequence of the game. Jay Snowden -- Harvard's backup quarterback who had also been brought in to relieve an ineffective starter -- was picked off by Penn free safety Mike Ferguson on a severely underthrown pass at the Quakers' 28. Seven plays and 72 yards later, Penn was in the end zone again. Scott picked up 34 yards on the ground during the drive, and Teodecki was 2-for-2 for 26 yards. Teodecki increased the Quakers' lead to 14-0 with an eight-yard keeper, running right over would-be tackler and Harvard captain Justin Frantz to get in. "I just got a chance to play," Teodecki said of the boost he gave the Quakers offense. "The offensive line started opening up some holes up front, and the running backs had a couple long runs, and things just worked out for the best." The Crimson's nightmarish second quarter continued when Snowden was once again unable to mount a sustained drive and Harvard had to punt. This time it was DeRosa's turn to put points on the board. After 11 plays of short passes to Miles Macik and solid running by Abye, the Quakers found themselves 20 yards away from the end zone with 18 seconds remaining in the half. DeRosa dropped back, looked off Macik, and lofted a pass over the middle for wide receiver Mark Fabish. Fabish caught the ball in stride in the end zone for a 21-0 lead going into intermission. The outcome was all but decided at that point because the Penn defense had completely stymied running back Eion Hu and the Harvard offense. A hard-hitting Penn defense led by strong safety Nick Morris, linebacker Tim Gage and defensive tackle Mitch Marrow made Hu (13 carries, 40 yards in the first half) look like he was wearing shackles until after the outcome was decided. With Harvard's go-to guy on offense a non-factor, quarterbacks Snowden and starter Vin Ferrara combined to go 9-for-22 for a paltry 89 passing yards and four interceptions on the day. "On defense, they put a lot of pressure on you all the time," Murphy said. "I think the thing that really hurt us the most was their pass rush. We really struggled against their pass rush. Consequently, they forced us into some errors." The Penn offense, meanwhile, continued to look sharp at the start of the second half. Jasen Scott gained 48 yards on his first four rushes to move the ball from the Penn 20 to the Harvard 32. Scott eventually capped the drive with a one-yard sneak to make the score 28-0. Hu, last year's Ivy League Rookie of the Year, did put the Crimson on the board with a 58-yard touchdown sprint off the right side of the line. After Harvard recovered a Scott fumble on Penn's 34-yard line with 5:10 to go in the third quarter, things got a little interesting. But it didn't take long for the Quakers defense to snuff out what little glimmer of hope remained for the Crimson. Three plays later Ferrara, back in the game after his benching, attempted a pass while under heavy pressure from Penn defensive end Tom McGarrity. The ball fluttered into the hands of free safety Dana Lyons, who ran 61 yards the other way for a 35-7 lead. It was the second touchdown of the year off an interception for Lyons, who just got his four-week-old thumb cast removed. "I was just hoping to help out, and it was pretty much a gift from the defensive line," Lyons said. "He just threw the ball up for grabs, and fortunately I was able to catch it. Gotta thank the doctor, too, for taking my cast off." The final 18 minutes featured little besides the proverbial garbage time. Penn kicker Jeremiah Greathouse's 34-yard field goal tied the Ivy League record of 10 field goals kicked in a season in league games. Bagnoli's smile walking off the field after the win may not have been as wide as it was when he heard the Princeton result. "You've got to love this league," he said.Comments powered by Disqus
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