The Quakers rode kris Ryan's four touchdowns and 256 yards rushing to a 35-18 win over struggling Fordham. You can't fault Fordham for trying. The Rams (0-5) came into Franklin Field with the right game plan on Saturday, but in the end Penn (2-2) was simply too much for the inexperienced and still winless Fordham, who lost 35-18. Tailback Kris Ryan turned in the third-best running performance in Quakers history, rushing for 256 yards and four touchdowns on 35 carries, good for 7.3 yards-per-carry average. That alone would have been enough to sink the Rams, but Quakers quarterback Gavin Hoffman went 14-of-29, chipping in 135 passing yards and a touchdown throw to Brandon Carson. While Fordham tried to force the Quakers into throwing situations by bringing eight-man fronts, the strategy ultimately worked against the Rams. "We packed our two safeties in the box and we did not want to let Penn go four, five, six yards a clip and control the clock so we just tried to outnumber them in the run game," Fordham coach Dave Clawson said. "[But] whenever your safeties are that involved in the run support, all it takes is one missed tackle and you have a 50-yard play." On multiple occasions, the 6'0", 235-pound Ryan burst through the line and broke simple off-tackle runs into huge plays. On the Quakers' second drive of the day, Ryan single-handedly took Penn 70 yards on four carries. After runs of nine, four and 10 yards, Ryan burst through the line for a 52-yard touchdown scamper. Ryan then broke through for a 30-yard run to the Fordham one-yard-line midway through the second quarter, setting up his second touchdown of the day, a one-yard dive into the end zone. On the ensuing Fordham drive, Rams tailback Al Lundy coughed up the ball, which Penn defensive lineman Mike Germino recovered at the Fordham eight-yard line. Although an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty pushed the Quakers back 15 yards, two Ryan runs set up Hoffman's touchdown pass to Carson, a nine-yard throw which Carson corralled with one hand while falling away. That gave Penn a commanding 21-3 lead going into the half. At times in the second half, it appeared there might be a repeat of Fordham's comeback effort last season, when Penn won 34-31 after leading 34-14 in the third quarter. Ryan broke an off-right-tackle run for a 43-yard touchdown score on Penn's first drive of the half but Fordham scored 15 points in the third quarter to pull within 10 at 28-18. Fordham sophomore quarterback Matt Carney hit wide receiver Gerry McDermott for a 25-yard touchdown completion with 9:41 remaining in the third quarter. McDermott, who had three touchdown catches against the Quakers last year, struck again later in the period. Carney's replacement, junior Matt Georgia, hit freshman wideout Kendal Creer for a 77-yard completion, bringing the ball to the Penn three-yard line. That pass was Fordham's first third-down conversion of the game; it set up a three-yard fade pass from Georgia to McDermott in the end zone. But Penn, behind Ryan and his mammoth performance, staved off the Fordham scare. Ryan added his fourth touchdown soon after and Penn linebacker Jim Hisgen stuffed a critical Fordham fourth-down rushing attempt for a loss late in the fourth quarter. "I think they had a sound game plan," Penn coach Al Bagnoli said. "They see the inconsistencies. If you were trying to defend us, I think you'd want to try to get us into a situation where we had to throw the ball to win the game." But even when the Quakers had to throw, the sometimes-erratic Hoffman gave his most consistent effort to date in a Penn uniform. Hoffman spread the ball around to seven different receivers and averaged 9.6 yards a completion. On the other side of the ball, the Penn defense frustrated the Fordham offense all day. After allowing 31 points and 333 passing yards to the Rams last year, the Quakers consistently forced Fordham into third-and-long situations. "Our main game plan was to keep them at third and long, so we could game plan for them to pass the ball, and then we could run our blitzes and stunts off that," said Hisgen, who led the Quakers with seven tackles, two of them for losses. Once the Quakers had third-and-longs, they took advantage. Fordham converted only 1-of-15 third down plays. Much of Fordham's failure was due to intense pressure form Penn's defensive line. Jason Maehr had four tackles and two sacks and Germino chipped in two tackles for loss while picking up a sack and a fumble recovery. But Fordham's inexperience was evident. The Rams started 11 freshmen and sophomores on Saturday, and at times played like it. Penn's bigger, more experienced offensive line manhandled the Fordham front four, which averages a mere 242.5 pounds compared to the Penn offensive line's 265-pound average. Clawson also pointed to the series just before the first half ended as evidence of his team's need to learn. Kick returner Marcus Stinson, a freshman, bobbled Roman Galas' kickoff in the end zone, then tried to run it out but was tackled at his one-yard line, barely avoiding going down for a safety. Then, with Fordham simply trying to run out the clock before halftime, the sophomore Lundy fumbled the ball, allowing Penn to steal another touchdown before the half. Although Fordham's eight-man front was good in theory, in practice the Rams did not have the personnel to pull it off. But it did serve as good practice for the Quakers, who next week begin the rest of their Ivy League schedule at Columbia, a team known for using eight-man fronts.Comments powered by Disqus
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